Want to Persuade Someone?

There are different approaches to persuasion, anywhere from gifts of cookies, cogent arguments, or tearful pleas for help to a loaded gun. Some of these tactics work better at mediations and negotiations than others.

One way to help get the other person to take a position or action is to make them feel good, according to an article in Lifehack by Nina Bonander.

  • Use the other person’s name because it makes them feel that you are sincere and paying attention.
  • Let the other person make the decision. The author recounts buying her first car, including an expensive extended warranty. After hearing its features and a sales pitch, the dealer’s employee said the decision was up to her, and if she wanted it, the employee would do the paperwork. Bonander stated she felt empowered and liberated because (she thought) she was exercising her freedom without being influenced by others.
  • Tell the person why they should do something then provide instructions. By telling the person why they should take action (it’s in their interests) chances are better they will follow through and follow your directions. If the individual knows the reason for the action and its effects they are more likely to follow through to get the benefit (for themselves and others).

Bonander suggests being open, not forceful because gentleness, objectivity, transparency, and open-mindedness can get you farther during a negotiation.

Travis Bradberry in Entrepreneur has similar advice. He says persuasive people take certain actions to increase the chances of success, including,

  • They try to please the other party while standing their ground as needed. They make sacrifices to help their cause, giving ground and doing things to make others happy because, in the long run, this wins people over because it’s better to be successful than to be “right.”
  • They smile because we unconsciously mirror others’ body language and a seeing a smile makes people feel good.
  • They aren’t pushy because that’s a huge turn-off. It can cause the other person to backpedal then run away. Persuasive people don’t ask for a lot, and they don’t actively argue because it’s subtlety that wins the day in the long term. Focus on being confident but calm and avoid being impatient because that can lead to pushiness.
  • They aren’t wishy-washy either. Don’t present ideas as questions or as though the other person’s approval is needed because that makes the ideas seem flawed and unconvincing. Present ideas as statements and interesting facts the other party should think about.
  • They are genuine and honest. Who likes a fake? We gravitate to people who we believe are sincere and trustworthy. It’s hard to believe a person if you don’t know who they are or how they feel. Persuasive people are self-aware, confident and comfortable in their own If you focus on what drives you and makes you happy, you’re much more convincing if you try to win others over by trying to be the person they might want you to be.

This kind of “soft power” approach will most likely get you positive results without the stress and drama of a “hardball” approach. If you take this advice, you’ll be a bridge builder trying to get the other party off their island and hopefully towards the destination of a settlement.