Learning to be a skillful and persuasive communicator is one of the most sought after life skills in our society. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what your level of education happens to be, or your technical expertise, if you have the ability to influence others, then you will be very valuable to an employee or organization. This is why learning and perfecting these 3 powerful elements of persuasion is critical to your success – regardless of what of your professional or personal standing.
There are many people out there who tend to underestimate life skills like persuasion simply because college degrees are not required for them. Yet there are thousands of college graduates who have zero persuasive skills.
One reason for this lack of knowledge about the powers of persuasion is that even though you need no college courses to be persuasive, it can be difficult to master. And like every other craft that can be learned on your own, it requires lots of practice to achieve a workable skill level.
Now let us examine these 3 powerful elements of persuasion.
Mastering the Art of Persuasion
Unfortunately, there are many folks out there who view persuasiveness as manipulation or trying to force others into doing things they really don’t want to do. Nothing could be further from the truth.
People who are successful influencers will tell you that they are only sharing with others certain opportunities and information that will enhance their lives. And if their intentions were not good ones, then they would have no persuasive skills – because effective persuasiveness depends of helping others.
The real key in becoming an influencer is to understand human nature and using that nature to illustrate your message.
We begin with the most important element first because without rapport, the rest of the elements will fall way short. When you have that connection with someone, they are much more apt to believe your message and become influenced by your words.
Most of the time, great sales are made, powerful speeches are heeded, and even romantic connections are sparked from a strong sense of rapport. Developing rapport with someone is when they feel that you really do understand their plight and the things that affect their lives.
Human Nature of Rapport
There are a few things you can do to speed up the process of building rapport with someone:
1) Share a Secret or Personal Story. When you share something that is personal and that you obviously wouldn’t share with many people, you are giving them a level of trust. Most of time, they will share something in return. Whether they reciprocate or not, the rapport between you and them has increased.
2) Mirror Their Movements. You have to be very subtle with this one, but as you converse with someone, start mirroring their movements ever so slightly. If they cross their left leg over their right leg, then you do it too. If they lean forward, then you do likewise. But again, do not make it obvious.
Over time, they will begin feeling connected to you and know really know why. Incidentally, you can check to see if it’s working by changing you position and see if they mirror your movements as well.
3) Describe How You Have Dealt with Their Common Problems. This is an extremely powerful method and if it is done right will build solid rapport with anyone. When you can describe to them feelings that they have felt, and experience things that they have experienced, then creating rapport with them is the most likely result.
Now when you have solution for their common problem, they will be all ears. It could be a product that you are marketing or it could be a service that you are offering.
4) Authenticity. I must mention an important thing here. Your words must be authentic. Do not make up lies or stories in using these rapport methods. Instead, you should tell them experiences that you have actually experienced – otherwise, many of them will see right through you.
Most people refer to this as “social proof”, but in my mind it is really social validation. Before we make a decision on something, we like to know that other people have made the same decision that we are considering. They are “validating” our decision and it gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling that we are making the right choice.
If you look at the world around you, then you will no doubt witness countless examples of social validation everywhere. We see it on TV commercials where regular people are sharing their experience with a product or service they bought. We see them in magazine ads and even on internet sales pages. The reason for this is that they work – period.
As you are attempting to persuade others to take an action, then you should share with them stories about other people who were hesitant but later benefited from taking that action. The more of these stories you can tell, the better. This is especially true when people in the stories have a lot in common with the person at hand.
Human Nature of Social Validation
There are basically two powerful human nature laws at work here:
- No one wants to feel like the only idiot who took a certain action.
- No one wants to be judged by family and friends for making a bad decision.
Regardless of what people say, all of us worry about what other people think to some extent. Some of us worry a lot about it, but all of us worry at least a little about the opinions of others. And none of us want to lose face among friends and family. Your powers of persuasion are greatly enhanced when you understand this.
The most influential people in our society are often those who command authority within a certain field. Whenever you are perceived to be an authority in a given topic, then you automatically earn a certain level of respect with them. This alone entitles you to a certain amount of influence.
There are a couple of great things on authority when it comes to persuasion. The first one is that it is not that difficult to be viewed as an authority in any topic. You only have to follow that topic for a few weeks and you will be shocked at how much you will learn – especially if you follow the topic’s powerful influencers online.
Secondly, when coupled with building rapport and social validation, your level of authority will be perceived to be even higher. This is because those forces of persuasion are at work as well.
Human Nature of Authority
Using authority as an influencer can be seen as an advanced level of social validation. While one regular person’s opinion counts as one vote, the opinion of an authoritative person might count as 100 votes. This is why we often see celebrities on TV promoting products.
How We Can Create Authority
There are basically three ways to cultivate our own authority:
1) Become Extremely Knowledgeable of Our Topic. When we are able to address every little detail about our message or product, this in itself will cause others to view us as an authority.
2) Be Involved in the Hottest Issues. You must know what the hottest topics and issues are within your field. This means that when these topics are discussed online, then you need to participate in their important discussions. This is especially true with those threads that have attracted lots of people.
3) Link Ourselves to Influencers in Our Field. In this day of social media, this is actually very easy to do. As influencers make comments, we need to respond and engage with them as much as possible.
Our responses must be quality responses and we need not worry whether the influencers engage back with us or not. The important thing is our name being seen alongside the names of the influencers as much as possible. Over time, our authority will grow.
Hopefully, you can now see the value of using these 3 powerful elements of persuasion. Do not underestimate them, they definitely work. All you need to do is practice using them until they become second nature to you. If you keep applying these elements, then one day you will realize how they are quietly changing your life.