How to be convincing

From the birth of the iPod in 2003 to the iPhone 11, Apple’s revenue grew from $8 billion to $260 billion. Famous ad campaigns like “Think Different” and the silhouette “iPod People” are still recognizable today. Netflix changed an entire industry by convincing customers streaming was the next big thing. Queen Elizabeth, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi all changed the world with just one speech. Persuasion is powerful. You won’t get far in business or life without knowing how to convince someone to do something. Tony says, “When two people meet, the person who is most certain will always influence the other person.” With the right tools in your toolbox for how to persuade someone to do something, you’ll always be the most prepared, confident and certain person in the room – and get your way without seeming pushy or demanding. Boost your chances of persuading people at Business Mastery Learn more here

The science behind how to convince someone to do something

You can implement the basic tenets of human behavior to learn how to convince someone to do something: pain and pleasure. Every decision a human makes is either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. Since the days of cavemen, the human brain has evolved so that things we need for survival – food, reproduction – bring pleasure, while things that endanger us – heights, predators – bring anxiety and fear. The world has changed: We’re no longer running away from lions. Food is abundant. But the modern human brain remains hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. This is why we have irrational fears, like public speaking, spiders or dentists. It’s the reason it’s so hard to put down that chocolate ice cream or overcome other self-destructive habits. On the positive side, it’s why growth is addictive and habits like volunteering or meditation feel so good. It’s also the foundation for how to convince someone to do something.

The three elements of persuasion

In our quest to avoid pain and feel pleasure, we are constantly answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Will this action help me avoid pain? Will it bring me enjoyment or fulfillment? Why do I need to do it right now? The answers to these questions fall into three categories – and they’re the key to how to convince someone to do something.

DRAB: Dominant reasons to avoid buying

Humans may want to avoid pain and maximize pleasure, but we also don’t like being told what to do. It’s so common, it has a name: psychological reactance. When we sense “threats to freedom” – like the freedom to choose what to do with our money, our time and our lives – we often do the opposite. It’s part of the reason people always seem to be able to come up with reasons to avoid buying your product or otherwise doing what you want them to do. DRAB can also include logical reasons, such as not having enough time or money. You can overcome all of these reasons using the next two elements of persuasion.  how to convince someone to do something

ERBN: Emotional reasons to buy now

Emotional reasoning is pathos, from the Greek word for feeling or experience. Emotional pull is the most essential part of how to persuade someone to do something. With a friend or partner, you might explain how meaningful a certain action would be to you. In advertising and sales, this includes techniques like using cute animals, inspirational music and great storytelling, like beating overwhelming odds or finding true love. ERBN leaves prospects with a “want” – they want to feel the way you’re describing.

LRBN: Logical reasons to buy now

Have you employed all your best ERBN, but you still haven’t uncovered how to convince someone to do something? It’s time for LRBN. Logical reasoning is known as logos, from the word for reason or plan. It appeals to prospects’ “needs” by explaining directly and logically how they will benefit from your product, plan or idea. It’s often a great antidote to DRAB, because this reasoning speaks directly to real concerns. Will your product or idea save the person money or time? Will it help them lead a healthy lifestyle? Appealing to logic can be an influential component of persuasion. how to persuade someone to do something

How to persuade someone to do something

To learn how to convince someone to do something, you must tailor your argument to speak to their DRAB, ERBN and LRBN. In his program Mastering Influence, Tony dives into eight questions that every prospect – or friend, relative or coworker – has on their mind as you’re persuading them. Mastering Influence is a 10-day program t

  • What is this?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • Can you prove it?
  • Will this really give me what I want and need?
  • If I do this, will it be worth it?
  • Can I justify it?
  • What will other people say?
  • Do I really need it now?

Answer these questions for your prospect using ERBN and LRBN, and you’ll ease their DRAB and make the sale. That’s how to convince someone to do something in an ethical, empowering way.

Want to learn more about business mastery?

The art and science of persuasion are vital to building a thriving business – but that’s not all you need. Discover Tony’s free resources on the7 Forces of Business Mastery.
This website uses cookies to personalize your experience and target advertising.. By continuing to use our website, you accept the terms of our updated policies The greatest public health achievement of the 20th Century was tobacco control. In 1965 — the year that the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking was published—some 42% of U.S. adults smoked, and only half of Americans believed smoking was a cause of lung cancer. Today, the proportion of people who smoke hovers around 15%, and 90% of Americans believe smoking causes lung cancer. That’s progress, for sure. Despite growing understanding of the negative health effects and increasing social pressure not to smoke, millions of people just aren’t into quitting. The key to “motivating the unmotivated” is to stop thinking of motivation as something we have to manufacture or inflict on people. That issue has plagued wellness programs, health care providers, and scientists for decades.

The approaches to solving it have generally fallen under three categories

Unfortunately, far too many programs — and much of the scientific literature — have taken this approach. Many programs accept only those who are willing to attempt a quit. This approach makes programs look effective (quit rates will be higher when you’re dealing only with a population of people who want to quit), but it also excludes those who are most in need of support and a lifeline.


As a general rule, people who smoke know that smoking is bad for them, with at least 70% already saying they want to quit. Health risk information may grab people initially, but constantly repeating it in hopes of getting them to change will likely only frustrate everyone involved and may even scare them. The truth is that most education-centered quit programs are trying to convince people to make a difficult change today in hopes of avoiding something that might happen in the future. That’s unlikely to keep them motivated through the immediate and oftentimes difficult challenges that come with quitting tobacco.


Behavioral economics and incentive design have both garnered a lot of attention in recent years. While we have gotten smarter about how to more effectively deliver incentives, there are many ways incentives can backfire. Penalties like insurance premium surcharges can frustrate people who smoke and make them feel discriminated against. This is likely to lead to them misrepresenting their smoking status or trying to find other ways to game the system — like going through the motions with health coaching or other “reasonable alternative” activities just to check the box, rather than moving toward positive change. Also, many incentive approaches, while effective for short-term change, can actually make it harder for people to sustain change over time, which is really what’s important for success when it comes to quitting smoking.

So, how do we motivate people who don’t want to quit smoking?

It starts with understanding two things.

Why people smoke

Anytime we’re trying to help people make a change, whether it’s managing their weight, improving their diet, or taking charge of their financial well-being, it helps to remember that the status quo serves a purpose. For example, no one eats junk food because they want to be unhealthy. They eat it because it’s convenient, it’s cheap, and/or it tastes good. Similarly, smoking can help people to feel calmer when they’re stressed. It gives them a way to take breaks and socialize. For a lot of people, smoking is one of the only things they can really count on. Quitting doesn’t simply mean giving up an unhealthy habit; it also means giving up some things that are working for them, like having a way to unwind or connect with others. So, if we’re going to help someone quit smoking long-term, we need to understand why they smoke, then help them develop skills for dealing with other aspects of their lives.

Why people don’t want to quit

Some people might feel that they’re incapable of quitting because they’ve tried (and failed) before. It takes people an average of 7-10 quit attempts before they find the right collection of skills, support, and internal motivation to succeed. For others, there may be areas of their life that are a higher priority right now. And for some people, refusal to quit might be a form of rebellion against the social pressure not to smoke. Additionally, many people who smoke feel isolated, misunderstood, and even stigmatized, judged for smoking and their inability to quit. When people feel that their struggles with trying to quit aren’t understood, or when they feel that their value as a human is contingent on their ability to quit, this takes the wind out of their sails, leaving them with little psychological energy to devote to a quit attempt.

It’s time to look deeper

When people seem like they aren’t motivated to change, it’s not time to push harder. It’s time to look deeper. If we’re going to effectively reach those who aren’t yet ready to quit, we have to understand what’s standing in the way. That’s where Pivot comes in. ‍ Directives have been a standard approach to changing public behavior for decades. But they often fail because people hate being told what to do. There are three ways to overcome this obstacle. First, highlight a gap between their thoughts and action, or the advice they would give others and what they do themselves; they will want to reconcile the two. Second, pose questions, rather than making statements; when you force them to figure out their own feelings or opinions on the issue, it is more likely to drive action. Finally, ask for less; start with small requests and ramp up to big ones.

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Government and public health organizations have been tasked with the challenge of changing behavior — getting people to not only practice social distancing and shelter in place but do it for weeks and potentially months. Not surprisingly, almost everyone is relying on the standard approach to drive change: Tell people what to do. Issue demands like: “Don’t go out,” “Stay six feet apart,” Wash your hands,” and “Wear face masks.” While a lot of us are following recommendations so far, making sure everyone sticks with them for the long haul is a tougher ask. Some people are still or have resumed congregating in groups. Some churches, with support from their local leaders, are flouting stay-at-home orders. And protesters have begun to demand that businesses reopen sooner than experts suggest. Directives aren’t particularly effective in driving sustained behavior change because we all like to feel as if we are in control of our choices. Why did I buy that product, use that service, or take that action? Because I wanted to. So when others try to influence our decisions, we don’t just go along, we push back against the persuasive attempt. We get together with a friend, shop more than once a week, don’t wear a mask. We avoid doing what they suggested because we don’t want to feel like someone else is controlling us. Our innate anti-persuasion radar raises our defenses, so we avoid or ignore the message or, even worse, counter-argue, conjuring up all the reasons why what someone else suggested is a bad idea. Sure, the governor said to stay home but they’re overreacting. Maybe the virus is bad in some part of the country, but I don’t know a single person whose gotten it. And besides, many people who get it are fine anyway, so what’s the big deal? Like an overzealous high school debater, they poke and prod and raise objections until the persuasive power of the message crumbles. So if telling people what to do doesn’t work, what does? Rather than trying to persuade people, getting them to persuade themselves is often more effective. Here are three ways to do that.

1. Highlight a gap.

You can increase people’s sense of freedom and control by pointing out a disconnect between their thoughts and actions, or between what they might recommend for others versus do themselves. Take staying at home. For young people who might resist, ask what they would suggest an elderly grandparent or a younger brother or sister do. Would they want them out, interacting with possibly infected people? If not, why do they think it’s safe for them to do so? People strive for internal consistency. They want their attitudes and actions to line up. Highlighting misalignment encourages them to resolve the disconnect. Health officials in Thailand used this approach in an anti-smoking campaign. Rather than telling smokers their habit was bad, they had little kids come up to smokers on the street and ask them for a light. Not surprisingly, the smokers told the kids no. Many even lectured the little boys and girls about the dangers of smoking. But before turning to walk away, the kids handed the smokers a note that said, “You worry about me … But why not about yourself?” At the bottom was a toll-free number smokers could call to get help. Calls to that line jumped more than 60% during the campaign.

2. Pose questions.

Another way to allow for agency is to ask questions rather than make statements. Public health messaging tries to be direct: “Junk food makes you fat.” “Drunk driving is murder.” “Keep sheltering in place.” But being so forceful can make people feel threatened. The same content can be phrased in terms of a question: “Do you think junk food is good for you?” If someone’s answer is no, they’re now in a tough spot. By encouraging them to articulate their opinion, they’ve had to put a stake in the ground — to admit that those things aren’t good for them. And once they’ve done that, it becomes harder to justify the bad behaviors. Questions shift the listener’s role. Rather than counter-arguing or thinking about all the reasons they disagree, they’re sorting through their answer to your query and their feelings or opinions on the matter. And this shift increases buy-in. It encourages people to commit to the conclusion, because while people might not want to follow someone else’s lead, they’re more than happy to follow their own. The answer to the question isn’t just any answer; it’s their answer, reflecting their own personal thoughts, beliefs, and preferences. That makes it more likely to drive action. In the case of this crisis, questions like “How bad would it be if your loved ones got sick?” could prove more effective than directives in driving commitment to long-term or intermittent social distancing and vigilant hygiene practices.

3. Ask for less.

The third approach is to reduce the size of the ask. A doctor was dealing with an obese trucker who was drinking three liters of Mountain Dew a day. She wanted to ask him to quit cold turkey, but knew that would probably fail, so she tried something else. She asked him to go from three liters a day to two. He grumbled, but after a few weeks, was able to make the switch. Then, on the next visit, she asked him to cut down to one liter a day. Finally, after he was able to do that, only then did she suggest cutting the soda out entirely. The trucker still drinks a can of Mountain Dew once in a while, but he’s lost more than 25 pounds. Especially in times of crisis, health organizations want big change right away. Everyone should continue to stay at home, by themselves, for two more months. But asks this big often get rejected. They’re so different from what people are doing currently that they fall into what scientists call “the region of rejection” and get ignored. A better approach is to dial down the initial request. Ask for less initially, and then ask for more. Take a big ask and break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Government officials responding to the pandemic are already doing this to some extent by setting initial end dates for social distancing measures, then extending them. But there might be more opportunities, for example when experts allow for some restrictions to be lifted — say, on small gatherings — but insist that others, such as concerts or sporting events, continue to be banned. Whether we’re encouraging people to socially distance, shop only once a week, thoroughly wash hands and wear face masks, or change behavior more broadly, too often we default to a particular approach: Pushing. We assume that if we just remind people again or give them more facts, figures, or reasons, they’ll come around. But, as recent backlash against the Covid-19 -related restrictions suggests, this doesn’t always work over the long term, especially when your demands have no fixed end date. If we instead understand the key barriers preventing change, such as reactance, and employ tactics designed to overcome them, we can change anything. US Markets Loading… H
S Flickr/Apps for Europe Unless you’re striving for a level of zen on par with the most dutiful Buddhist monks, there’s pretty much always something that you want. You might want a raise from your employer, a partnership with a new business that opened up, or maybe just some extra dipping sauce for your chicken fingers without paying that 50-cent additional charge. You can get many things in life by simply convincing someone else to give them to you — but they aren’t going to give it to you without a good reason. Your greatest tool to get what you want is through the psychology of persuasion. Here are seven persuasive tactics you can use to get what you want from anyone.

1. Be confident

Your first step is to remain and project confidence throughout the entirety of your appeal. The more confident you are, the more convincing your arguments are going to sound, and the more powerful you’re going to appear. Confidence is easy to fake and hard to distinguish, so don’t be afraid if you don’t feel confident — just act confident, and that will probably be enough. A study by the University of Leicester found that «the single significant behavioral difference between persuaders and persuadees was in the expression of confidence.» Confidence subtly implies that you’re already convinced you’re going to get what you want, which subtly influences the other party to give it to you. Just be careful not to overextend your exhibition of confidence, or you’ll run the risk of turning people off with arrogance.

2. Introduce a logical argument

People are easily persuaded by logic. The Conflict Research Consortium of the University of Colorado states that «persuasion is the process of convincing an opponent to change his or her beliefs and/or behavior through moral or logical argument (rather than force). When someone is persuaded to do something, they do it because they have come to believe it is the right or best thing to do.» For example, let’s say you’re persuading your coworker to take on one of the more challenging pieces of an assignment you’re working on together. Initially, your coworker might resist, but you can use a logical argument to explain that he/she is better equipped to handle that section, meaning the assignment will be done faster and more efficiently, making both of you look good and helping the company in the process.

3. Make it seem beneficial to the other party

One of the more effective means of persuasion is making your request seem valuable for the other party. Doing so can be tricky, but under the right circumstances, it can be a perfect fit. For example, let’s say you’re trying to convince a friend to help you move. Obviously, there’s a lot of work involved with moving, and your friend may not be so willing to go along with it. Instead of talking about all the furniture you need to move, talk about how much fun it will be to go through your old junk, or about how you’re buying pizza for everyone afterward, or how you’re giving some old things away in the process.

4. Choose your words carefully

Certain words have an inherently higher value than others, and some words have more positive associations than others. For example, «lucrative» is a more powerful word than «good,» and «reasonable» is a more powerful word than «alright.» Your goal here isn’t to inject big words into your sentences, but rather to arrange your sentences to ensure your meaning comes across precisely. In the process, you’ll come across as a better communicator, which will make you seem more intelligent and thoughtful, and therefore more trustworthy.

5. Use flattery

It’s one of the cheaper tricks on this list, so be aware that a good percentage of the population will catch onto you quickly if you’re too blunt or obvious. Instead of outright bribing your intended subject with flattery, use subtle phrasing and off-the-cuff remarks to flatter your recipient. For example, instead of telling your boss, «Hey, that’s a really nice tie, do you think I could take an extra hour for lunch today?» try something like, «Can I have an extra hour for lunch today? I know you’re usually flexible, but I wanted to run it past you to be sure.»

6. Be patient, but persistent

You can’t always persuade your subject to give you what you want on the first try. If you’re unsuccessful, don’t resort to pleading, begging, or arguing. Instead, let the situation go, recollect yourself, and try again at a later time. Your persuasive messages will linger in his or her subconscious, and the next time you bring up the argument, you have a chance to seem more reasonable (and more persuasive). Don’t abandon your goal, but do leave plenty of time between attempts. Remember that persuasion is a skill that can be honed and improved over time. You won’t be successful the first time you put these tactics into practice (most likely), but the more often you use them, the more skilled and natural you’ll be in their execution. Take care not to manipulate or bully people; instead, your goal should be to help them see things in a different light. Jayson DeMers is the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing and social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter. Read the original article on Contributor. Copyright 2016. Read next Something is loading. Thanks for signing up! Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you’re on the go. Features
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