Think about all the extremely successful people you know. I guarantee they’re incredibly good at selling themselves, selling their ideas — in short, they’re incredibly good at persuading other people. Maybe that’s because selling is the one skill everyone needs to be successful? But 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 — and that means we all need to be more convincing: to persuade others a proposal makes sense, to show stakeholders how a project or business will generate a return, to help employees understand the benefits of a new process, etc. And that’s why the art of persuasion is critical in any business or career — and why successful people are extremely good at persuading others. How can you be more persuasive? 1. Take strong stands. You would assume data and reasoning always win the day, right? Nope. Research shows humans prefer cockiness to expertise. We naturally assume confidence equates with 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.» Stop adding qualifiers to your speech. If you think something will work, say it will work. If you believe something will work, say it will work. Stand behind your opinions — even if they are just opinions — and let your enthusiasm show. People will naturally gravitate to your side. 2. Start slow by getting small «wins.» Research shows — yep, more research — that gaining agreement has an enduring effect, even if only over the short term. So 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. 3. Adjust your rate of speech to the audience’s perspective. There’s reason behind the «fast-talking salesman» stereotype: In certain situations, talking fast works. Other times, not so much. Here’s what one study indicates:

  • If your audience is likely to disagree, speak faster.
  • If your audience is likely to agree, speak slower.

Here’s why: When your audience is inclined to disagree with you, speaking faster gives them less time to form their own counter-arguments, giving you a better chance of persuading them. When your audience is inclined to agree with you, speaking slowly gives them time to evaluate your arguments and factor in a few of their own thoughts. The combination of your reasoning plus their initial bias means they are more likely to, at least in part, persuade themselves. 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 moderately unprofessional. Take swearing. Cursing for no reason is just cursing. But say your team needs to pull together right freaking now. Tossing in an occasional — and heartfelt — curse word can actually help instill a sense of urgency because it shows you care. (And of course it never hurts when a leader lets a little frustration or anger show, too.) In short, be yourself. Authenticity is always more persuasive. If you feel strongly enough that you would naturally use stronger language, do it. Research shows you’re likely to be a little more persuasive. 5. Take into account how your audience most prefers to process information. A fellow supervisor used to frustrate the crap out of me. (See? That swearing thing works.) I was young and enthusiastic and would burst into his office with an awesome idea, lay out all my facts and figures, wait breathlessly for him to agree with me…and he would disagree. Every. Freaking. Time. After a number of failed attempts, I finally realized he wasn’t the problem. My approach was the problem. He needed time to think. He needed time to process. Demanding an immediate answer instantly put him on the defensive. In the absence of time to reflect, he would fall back on the safe choice: staying with the status quo. So I tried a different approach. «Don,» I said, «I have an idea that I think makes sense, but I feel sure there are things I’m missing. If I run it by you, could you think about it for a day or two and then tell me what you think?» He loved that approach. One, I showed I valued his wisdom and experience. Two, I showed I didn’t just want him to agree — I genuinely wanted his opinion. And most importantly, I gave him time to process my idea in the way he felt most comfortable with. 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 both positives and negatives… According to University of Illinois professor Daniel O’Keefe, sharing an opposing viewpoint or two is more persuasive than sticking solely to your argument. Why? Very few ideas 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. … And then focus on drawing positive conclusions. Which of the following statements is more persuasive?

  • «You’ll stop making so many mistakes,» or
  • «You’ll be much more accurate.»

Or between these two?

  • «You’ll stop feeling so tired,» or
  • «You’ll feel a lot more energetic.»

While it’s tempting to use scare tactics, positive outcome statements tend to be more persuasive. (The researchers hypothesize that most people respond negatively to feeling bullied or guilted into changing a behavior.) So if you’re trying to produce change, focus on the positives of that change. Take your audience to a better place…instead of telling them what to avoid. 8. Choose the right format. Say you’re a man hoping to convince a man you don’t know well, or even at all. What should you do? If you have a choice, don’t speak in person. Write an email first. As a general rule, men tend to feel competitive in person and turn what should be a conversation into a contest we think we need to win. (Be honest; you know you do it sometimes.) The opposite is true if you’re a woman hoping to persuade other women. According to the researchers, women are «more focused on relationships,» so in-person communication tends to be more effective. But if you’re a guy trying to convince another guy you know well, definitely communicate in person. The closer your relationship, the more effective face-to-face communication tends to be. 9. And above all, make sure you’re right. Persuasive people understand how to frame and deliver their messages, but more importantly they know their message is what matters the most. So be clear, be concise, be to the point, and win the day because your data, reasoning, and conclusions are beyond reproach. Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author. Read full profile ⌄ Scroll down to continue ⌄ We all like to get our way. I don’t know one person who doesn’t. But how do we make that happen? We all use persuasion every day, whether we know it or not. Getting someone to comply with what you want them to do can take place in many different contexts. You can persuade your significant other, your boss, your client, or even give a persuasive speech or presentation. Regardless of what context you are applying your persuasive skills, there are some useful strategies that can help you get what you want easily.

1. You need to give your “audience” what they want and desire.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “what’s in it for me?” And I’m sure most of you reading this have thought or even said it yourself! We all have. Let’s face it: we’re all inherently self-centered. If something doesn’t make us happier or our lives better, we are not very interested in it. So in order to persuade your “audience” (whether it is an individual or an audience of 1,000 people), you need to tell them how it is going to benefit them. You can’t just focus on yourself or they will tune out. If you focus on helping them achieve their wants and desires, they will be ready to sign on the dotted line. ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄ ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

2. Don’t require the “audience” to change too much.

Human beings are not only self-centered‒many of us are lazy too! Anyone who has made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more knows how difficult it is to change your habits or your lifestyle. Plus, it is much easier to persuade people on simple things (“Here! Try this new hot fudge sunday!” or “This new toothpaste is great! You should try it!”) rather than deeper convictions (“Hey! You should switch religions!” or “I love the president, but you hate him. Vote for him anyway!”). Audiences need to be exposed to a message multiple times before they even consider changing their attitudes or behaviors.

3. Make your audience like you.

Let’s say you are out at a furniture store to buy a new couch and love seat. A sales person comes up to you and starts up a conversation. You had already picked out your couches, but the sales person really annoys you. He smells bad, talks too much, and follows you around yammering on and on about nothing. Even if you were just about to whip out your credit card to buy the furniture, you might just want to make your escape to get away from the sales person. You might even do that and try to find another store that sells the same couches‒I think you get the point. If your audience doesn’t like you, they’re not going to buy into what you say. Be nice, friendly, and connected. Make sure you think about the impression you’re giving off at all times. ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄ ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

4. Make your audience trust you.

Would you vote for a political candidate who you didn’t trust? Would you lend money to a friend if you didn’t think she would pay you back? Of course not! People are more easily persuaded by others that they trust. That is one of the reasons Oprah has the “golden touch.” If she recommends a book to her audience, it automatically becomes a best-seller. Why? Because they trust Oprah! They trust her opinion, so they will automatically do what she says to do. So in order for you to get people to do what you want them to, you need to gain their trust as well.

5. Use emotional strategies to persuade them.

One of the easiest ways to persuade someone is to use emotion. Great examples of this are the television commercials that show the starving children in third world countries. They ask you to donate money to them on a monthly basis so they can have clean water, food, clothes, and schooling. The visual images are very sad, and so it makes people want to give money to help them. Even in personal relationships, we use emotion to persuade. However, you have to be careful doing this. Sometimes it is not ethical if you use guilt to manipulate someone on purpose. But appealing to positive emotions like love, happiness, belonging, or togetherness is a great way to get your “audience” to agree with you. ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄ ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

6. Use logic to persuade your audience.

Not everyone is an emotional person. Some people might be turned off by overly using emotion to persuade them. So it’s important to remember to use logic sometimes, too. If your “audience” is one person, try to assess their personality as best as you can. See if they seem to appreciate logic and rationality over emotion. But if your audience is a large group of people, you will have a mixture of different people. So the best thing to do is to combine logic with emotional appeals. That way, you will likely influence everyone in some way.

7. Use your personal qualities.

If you are an expert on the topic, make sure the audience knows. Dress the part. Look the part. Act the part. Be dynamic. Be engaging. Your audience will be much more persuaded if you give them reasons why they should pay attention to you. People are very easily persuaded by people they know or respect. That is why advertisements use celebrities so often. They are recognizable, and many people will buy a product simply because that particular public figure is telling them to. So selling yourself is key to persuading others. ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄ ⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄ Sometimes persuasion can be easy. Sometimes it’s difficult. But if you keep these 7 tips in mind, you will be very successful in getting what you want. Most facets of business rely on persuading others. In sales, the goal is to convince the buyer that your product is better than your competitors’. In a job posting, it’s to persuade the candidate that your company is better than others. The art of being persuasive, however, is something many entrepreneurs overlook, despite it being such a core component to a successful business. But how can today’s business owners be more influential in their business operations? Is it worth investing time and money to learn how to persuade others? Below, seven leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council suggest several methods that business owners can use to improve their persuasion tactics within their daily lives. Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss how to be more persuasive in business. Photos courtesy of the individual members. 1. Be Likeable Be honest, fair, responsive, sincere and reasonable as a person and as a company. Doing so in the long run will secure clients who will come back to you, customers who are pleased, employees who become loyal and investors who develop trust. Of course, it’s needless to say that you (or the company) also should be competent and responsible for the given tasks to gain credibility and respect. Adding likeableness on top of your skill set will persuade a broader audience and will apply universally. — Meeky Hwang, Ndevr, Inc 2. Be Curious My one tip for being more persuasive in business is to simply be curious about how you can add value. Be curious about your customer’s pain points, about how you can help potential employees and job applicants and about an investor’s motivation in your startup. You don’t need to actively persuade the other party to hear you out. By intending to add value to your (potential) stakeholders, even when money is not exchanged, persuasion becomes easier because there is no ulterior motive like closing a deal. It’s about developing a genuine relationship with the other party, and that relationship will do all the persuading for you. — Diana Goodwin, MarketBox 3. Truly Understand The End Goals Grow the pie before deciding how to cut it. With persuasion, the end goal is that both parties walk away with what they want. By asking pointed questions of the other party first, you can brainstorm what’s important to them and modify your offer accordingly. With keen listening skills, you can pick out the language they’re using and use that to formulate your plan. Working in advertising, I often have to persuade clients to test and scale new campaigns. With a solid understanding of their end goals, I use this end result when pushing for new ad sets, new channels or more scale. — Kaitlyn Witman, Rainfactory 4. Believe In Yourself And Your Product Most often, entrepreneurs or companies aren’t successful because they don’t believe in what they do. If you truly believe that what you do is helpful, worthwhile and gets results, then it will show in your interaction with your customers, investors, employers, etc. People will be able to pick up on whether the opposite is true and that there is a lack of confidence in yourself or your product or service. — Jean Ginzburg, 5. Be Knowledgeable And Trustworthy Persuasion can go a long way, but before you can be persuasive, you have to be knowledgeable and trustworthy. The best advice I can give is to be an expert at your craft. It won’t take a lot of persuasion for someone to realize that you know what you’re talking about. The need to persuade will be less about trying to convince someone and more about educating them about what you know and what will work best for them. Build up your own knowledge repertoire and reputation and the amount of persuasion will be less than you think. — Maria Thimothy, OneIMS 6. Have Passion And Confidence Being persuasive comes down to two things: passion and confidence. People are attracted to positive people. When you truly care about what you do, it comes through to everyone you talk to, from clients to potential employees to investors. Know what you’re talking about, speak with authority and let people know why you care. People don’t remember statistics; they remember humanity. Connect to them with humility and empathy and you will have a loyal follower for life. — Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity 7. Leverage Solid Storytelling In my experience, persuasion and storytelling go hand in hand. I’ve observed that people are not as easily persuaded by facts as they are by emotions, and few things evoke emotion more effectively than narrative. For example, when selling, sharing the origin story of your company can be a powerful tool. Additionally, offering the specific anecdotal wins of past clients is often more persuasive than citing any particular statistics that illustrate your company’s successes. Storytelling, at its core, is about connection. So, ask questions of those you’re speaking with and actively listen while sharing your own story too—you may be surprised by the unexpected moments of persuasion that are evoked. — Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep

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