The power to persuade should never be underestimated. It can help you in your personal and professional life. When you learn how to bring people around to your way of thinking you learn how to influence their actions. Mastering the art of persuasion and influence can have a tremendous effect on your work life, your family life and your social.
Whether you are in a business situation, selling products or services to a prospect, a family situation bargaining with your kids to go to bed on time or in a social situation, seeking to bring your friends to your way of thinking, the basic elements of persuasion are the same. You must approach your subject with a well planned presentation designed to convince them of your logic.
Take the following example: in an effort to get publicity for her new restaurant, Ginger attempts to get a local reporter with a popular column to attend her grand opening. She starts by telling him about her new menu and the avant-garde dishes she learned from her time in Europe. She goes on to talk about the décor and the interesting background of the designer she hired and as a last ditch attempt to get more enthusiasm from the other end of the line, she talks about the crowd she anticipates.
Ginger’s three approaches fail. When she planned her presentation, much thought and effort went into what she would say about her restaurant but little went into what the columnist would actually find interesting.
There is a simple set of steps I tend to take when trying to persuade someone. I have found, like a scientific experiment they can be repeated over and over with similar results. First, Ginger needs to check her own demeanor. When you walk into an impossible situation you should believe without a doubt that what you want is possible. Your voice, stance and approach should project this belief.
Second be sure to inject gratitude. Don’t just wait until you have what you want, show gratitude before you get it. You change the relationship between you and the person you are trying to persuade when he or she sees you as someone who appreciates their efforts. Third, be respectful of the other person’s time. Asking if he is on deadline would have shown the reporter that Ginger understood his position.
Ginger began her conversation talking about herself, her restaurant, her menu and her hopes for the event. These were not issues the reporter cared about. In order to get this reporter interested in her proposition, Ginger should seek to present it in a way that matters to him. Reporters write stories, not menu critiques, how could he present this to his readers in a way that they would want to read about? Was he a reporter at a local or national magazine? This would affect the possible angles the story could take. He has no reason to be interested in a straight restaurant critique any more than his readers would. With an approach more tailored to hit the objectives of her target, Ginger could have had a more successful pitch.
Persuasion powers can do wonders for your sales career, it can even do wonders for your personal life. To acquire and achieve great things both professionally and personally, you must learn how to ask for them in the right way. When you unlock the key to powerful persuasion, you unlock the key to influencing others. This is the greatest of interpersonal skills.