Business Skills

Persuasion Skills: 15 Ways To Persuade People


Persuading vs Negotiating vs Influencing

Persuading is successfully convincing others to do something. Negotiating is successfully discussing and reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. Influencing involves both of the previous two skills, and the outcome depends on which of the two was used more.


This surprising psychology study finds that if one person in a group repeats the same opinion three times, it has 90% of the effect of three different people in that group expressing the same opinion.

- Psychology Study, Psyblog


If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit.

- Anon


The best defense against logic is ignorance.

- Anon


When somebody says 'I am here to help you, hold on to your wallet.

- Forrest Gump


He who lives by the sword shall perish by the bullet.

- Anon


You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

- Attributed to Abraham Lincoln


The basics principles of persuasion

No guide to persuasion now starts without mentioning Robert Cialdini's principles of persuasion (just like no guide to lateral thinking ever does without Edward De Bono).


1. The Principle of Liking: People like those who like them.


2. The Principle of Reciprocity: The 'give and take' principle. People repay in kind. Give what you want to receive.


3. The Principle Of Social Proof: People follow the lead of similar others - testimonials, peer power, etc.


4. The Principle of Consistency: Once you commit to something, stick to it - Stick to your logo, your slogan, your promises, your colors (Coca Cola and red)...


5. The Principle Of Authority: People defer to experts. Prove your expertise, and/or get others to do it for you.


6. The Principle of Scarcity: People want more of what they can have less of. Highlight unique benefits and exclusive importance. 'Only three days left for the 30% off sale!'


(Source: ‘Influence: Science & Practice’ by Robert B. Cialdini)



15 Ways To Persuade People


1. How to get anyone to do a favor for you

- If you need something done in the near future, ask when they are not preoccupied with something else; if it is something that does not need to be done right away, ask as soon as possible

- Do something for them

- Avoid apathy by increasing personal responsibility by letting them know that you have no one else to turn to

- Include three components: Specifically what you want - how they will in some way feel good about doing you the favor - the relative ease with which he can accomplish the task

- Focus on any elements of your predicament that were not your own doing

- Reshape their self-concept to include the idea that helping you is something that is consistent with who they are

- Knowing others 'did the right thing' invokes the unconscious desire to do the same

- If they feel threatened by your success you will not get cooperation; explain the situation as the two of you working toward a win/win

- Keep asking

- Follow steps in earlier section for 'follow through'


2. How to get someone to like you

- Be around the person as much as you can because familiarity breeds fondness, not contempt

- Law of association: by pairing yourself with a pleasurable stimuli another person will begin to associate you with this feeling

- Repeat exposure: the more you interact with someone, the more they will like you

- Law of reciprocal affection: We tend to like more those who like us.

- Be similar to that person: We like more those people who are similar to us and have similar interests

- Match posture and movements

- Match speech (match rate of speech)

- Let him do a simple favor for you

- Have positive attitude

- Make them feel good about themselves

- We are drawn to confident people. Show your confidence by being able to laugh at yourself and not taking yourself too seriously


3. How to get anyone to find you irresistibly attractive

- Engage in an activity with the person where emotional arousal is high (adrenalin accelerates passionate feelings)

- Youthful posture and gait makes you more attractive to others

- Gazing into a person's eyes to make yourself more attractive

- You will be more attractive to someone else when they have recently experienced a rejection

- Reciprocal liking; Once someone likes you, deepen the attraction, by letting them know that you are attracted to them.


4. How to test if someone is a true friend

- Interest - Loyalty - Pride - Honesty - Respect - Sacrifice


5. How to know when someone is trying to manipulate you

- Guilt: 'I'm hurt that you wouldn't trust me.'

- Intimidation: 'Don't you have enough confidence to make a decision?'

- Appeal to Ego: 'I wouldn't try to put anything past you. How could I?'

- Fear: 'I sure hope you know what you're doing.'

- Curiosity: 'Look, you only live once. Try it.'

- Desire to be Liked: 'Come on, nobody likes it when a person backs out.'

- Love: 'If you loved me, you wouldn't question me.'


6. How to uncover a bluff

- A person who is bluffing will always overcompensate to create the illusion that he is 100% behind his convictions.


7. How to get anyone to reveal what they are really up to

Ask a question that does not accuse the person of anything but rather alludes to it. Then simply gauge his response and you'll learn right away if he's hiding anything.


8. How to take control of any situation and get anyone to take action

- Narrow someone's options before you present them to him (2 options is ideal)

- Give a deadline: A task will expand or contract depending on how much time you allow for it

- We don't like our freedom to be restricted. Human beings respond to that which is scarce

- Engage the law of consistency by first having an individual commit to a smaller request. When we take a small step in one direction we are driven to maintain a sense of consistency by agreeing to larger requests.

- Maximize inertia: get someone moving in the right direction either physically or mentally with something easy or fun

- Law of Expectation: People will do what you expect them to do. take the appropriate corresponding physical action people will respond to you – Assuredness: Show that the task is simple and easy

- Offer any small additional benefit for taking action now


9. How to get anyone to take your advice

Most decisions are based on emotions. We then use logic to justify our actions. You must arouse emotions in your attempt to persuade.

- Offer a specific game plan with a clear-cut course of action for proceeding.

- Add to this how your idea will prevent negative or unpleasant consequences. This is more effective than explaining what someone will gain.

- If true, remind him how he is in some way the one who first gave you the idea.

- Let him know that this way of thinking is really consistent with who he is.

- Don't come across as a 'know-it-all'

- Remember that enthusiasm is contagious.


10. How to get anyone to follow through on a promise

- Let them know that you believe that they are the type of person who does follow though

- Lay the groundwork when you first ask for the favor. Make sure that you give a quick verbal confirmation

- 5 steps to guarantee follow through: Get them to say it - Get a specific time frame (when or how long) - Develop a sense of obligation (because of their help, you are going to alter what you were going to do, the withdrawal of the offer will cause a disturbance) - Appeal to conscience (mention consequences) - Have them tell you how things will unfold

- End the conversation with a firm verbal confirmation and a simple phrase such as, 'So I'll see you next Saturday, right?'

- Finally, as the day approaches let him know that you appreciate that he's someone who really follows through and/or that you are glad that he knows the true value of friendship/responsibility/loyalty--whichever best applies.


11. How to get a stubborn person to change their mind about anything

- Begin with the Crowbar Test to determine just how closed-minded someone really is.: Tell them that you want them to agree to do what you ask, but only if you can achieve some highly difficult and amazing task. For instance, you tell someone to write down on a piece of paper a number from one to one hundred and if you can guess what it is then they will agree to what you want.

- Have them agree to a similar idea or a way of thinking that will negate their own objection later

- Restrict in some way their ability to do what you want and give them the opportunity to provide the solution

- Let them know hat you've been recently influenced by their ideas

- Adopt a two-sided argument to increase your credibility, being sure to present the evidence to support your position first

- Show them that they were in some way responsible for the idea in the first place

- If the idea goes against their value system, change the parameters of the request, making the behavior acceptable.


12. How to get people to forgive you

Show responsibility, give an apology, and be sincere about it


- Apologize for your behavior

- Make sure that your sincerity comes out

- Remorse: make it clear that you are ready to face any consequences of your actions (give them back the power)

- Make it clear that it will not happen again: give a plausible explanation

- Explain your actions were rooted in fear

- Relay that your actions did not produce any benefits or satisfaction

- Let time pass


13. How to break bad news

- Avoid harsh language

- Focus on the good news/silver lining whenever you can


14. How to win over anyone

Reasons why people might treat you poorly: They think you dislike them; feel threatened by you; they act cruelly to themselves, or, you've given them a reason to dislike you

- Make sure the problem isn't yours

- Reciprocal affection: tell a third party that you honestly like and respect the person

- Become interested in other people and you will get them like you faster than if you spent all day trying to get them to be interested in you


15. How to stop verbal abuse instantly

- Ask what is wrong?

- Call their attention to the behavior and explain that it is unacceptable

- Become more upset at yourself than they are


16. How to handle dangerous situations


Sexual Assaults

- Pretend to be interested and excited

- Try to calm your attacker

- Tell them that someone will be back soon or repulse the attacker

- Use physical self-defense


Physical Assaults

- Let it go

- Acknowledge authority and power

- Become more upset at yourself than the other person

- Do whatever you can to make them think that you are nuts

- Finally, hit first and hit hard (eyes, nose, throat, and groin are the more vulnerable)


(Source: Adapted from 'How to get anyone to do anything' by David Lieberman)


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