8 Common Habits of Influential And Persuasive People
The art of persuasion is a powerful tool. It can help you land new clients, hire the best employees and form new business relationships. Persuasive people are likeable and influential because they have an uncanny ability to get you leaning toward their way of thinking. Their secret weapon? They get you to like more than their ideas; they get you to like them. Use these eight practices to become a more influential and persuasive in your business or career.
1. Start by gaining small “wins”
Gaining agreement has an enduring effect, even if only over the short term. Instead of jumping right to the end of your argument, start with statements or premises you know your audience will agree with. Build a foundation for further agreement. Remember, a body in motion tends to remain in motion, and that also applies to a head nodding in agreement.
2. Take strong stands
You would assume data and reasoning always win the day, right? No. Research shows humans prefer confidence to expertise, because we naturally assume confidence equates to skill. Even the most skeptical people tend to be at least partly persuaded by a confident speaker. In fact, we prefer advice from a confident source, even to the point that we will forgive a poor track record.
So be bold. Stop saying, “I think” or “I believe.” If you believe something will work, say it will work. Stand behind your opinions, and let your enthusiasm show. People will naturally gravitate to your side.
3. Adjust your rate of speech
There’s reason behind the “fast-talking salesman” stereotype: In certain situations, talking fast works. Other times, not so much. In short, if you’re preaching to the choir, speak slowly; if not, speak quickly. And if your audience is neutral or apathetic, speak quickly so you’ll be less likely to lose their attention.
4. Don’t be afraid to be (appropriately) “unprofessional”
Think telling a joke or swearing. There is a time and place for everything though, and cursing for no reason is just cursing. Just be yourself. Authenticity is always more persuasive. If you feel strongly enough to slip in a mild curse word or joke and the audience is appropriate to do so, feel free.
5. Know how your audience prefers to process information
Always know your audience. Don’t push for instant agreement if someone’s personality style makes that unlikely. But don’t ask for thought and reflection if your audience loves to make quick decisions and move on.
6. Share the good and the bad
Sharing an opposing viewpoint or two can be more persuasive than sticking solely to your argument. Why? Very few ideas or proposals are perfect. Your audience knows that. They know there are other perspectives and potential outcomes. So meet them head on. Talk about the things they’re already considering. Discuss potential negatives and show how you will mitigate or overcome those problems. The people in your audience are more likely to be persuaded when they know you understand they could have misgivings. So talk about the other side of the argument and then do your best to show why you’re still right.
7. Focus on drawing positive conclusions
While it’s tempting to use scare tactics, positive outcome statements tend to be more persuasive in generating positive outcomes. If you’re trying to drive change, focus on the positives of that change. Take your audience to a better place instead of telling your audience what to avoid.
8. Most of all, make sure you’re right
Persuasive people understand how to frame and deliver their messages, but most importantly, they embrace the fact that the message is what matters most. So be clear, be concise, be to the point, and win the day because your data, reasoning and conclusions are beyond reproach.
What do you think?
Being persuasive doesn’t mean you have to manipulate or pressure other people. At its best, persuasion is the ability to effectively describe the benefits and logic of an idea to gain agreement. How have you become more persuasive? I’m interested to learn why the art of persuasion is critical in your business or career. Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Entrepreneur; Forbes and Inc.