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7 Psychological Tricks That Make You A More Persuasive Person

7 Psychological Tricks That Make You A More Persuasive Person

Maybe you need to persuade a friend to go on a holiday with you, a colleague to see your point of view or get your boss to give you that promotion. You may have to close a sales deal, counsel somebody to avoid self-harming behavior or persuade someone to do you a favor. Whatever the situation, you will need to be more persuasive.

Magicians and advertisers are using hidden persuasion techniques and manipulative tricks which are rarely obvious. The only problem is that they are not so willing to reveal these so we will have to resort to more mundane hacks which are nevertheless more than effective.

Choosing your words carefully will be an enormous advantage. But body language and other tactics will help you to deliver your message or present your case much more effectively. Here are 7 tricks you should keep in mind when you want to be more persuasive.

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1. You use emotional intelligence (EQ)

Not many people realize that emotion al intelligence is the innate ability we may possess to recognize, understand and manage emotions. This is a powerful tool in persuading people to convince them that certain actions are no brainers. Martin Luther King Jr. and his speechwriter Clarence Jones knew this very well. It was a clever combination of indignation, reason, anger and hope. Just reflect on the emotions he aroused when he said that a land “sweltering with the heat of oppression” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”

In normal situations, you will demonstrate your EQ by showing social awareness by being conscious of the emotions and feelings of the people you are dealing with. This helps you to empathize and you show that you see where they are coming from. It helps you build a rapport and a stronger bond which are essential elements in the process of persuasion.

2. You use body language effectively

Albert Mehrabian is current professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California and he has done extensive research on non verbal communication. His work shows that when words fail to convince or persuade, body language wins the day and will be the more effective way of communication. That is why it is so important to pay attention to the way we stand, sit, talk, use eye contact and how we wave our arms about!

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Imagine trying to persuade someone to vote for an issue in a referendum. You may spout a slogan with arms folded, no eye contact or mumble something unclearly. It is obvious that the person will notice your body language much more and will neither be impressed nor persuaded.

3. You prefer face to face contact

You might be tempted to use an email to make a difficult request or a phone call. But when it comes to being more persuasive, nothing beats face to face contact. Next time, take a walk down the corridor and talk to the person rather than using the phone. It is also good exercise! In politics, there are lots of studies that show that face to face contact is the most effective method of all in persuading people to vote for a candidate or cause.

4. You know the power of touch

There are lots of studies on how the power of touch can influence and persuade people whether in personal relationships or in business. We know that waiters will be tipped more if they learn the art of unobtrusive touching. There are research studies on shoppers who were touched who spent more time in the store and bought more! Time and time again, studies show that the power of touch tends to put people in a better mood and has a powerful healing effect. Touching makes people more open to requests and persuasion. While this is powerful, you need to be aware that certain cultural and religious customs might regard it as an intrusion. It is also very interesting to reflect on the fact that the healing power of touch has almost always been avoided by psychotherapists.

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5. You know the power of active listening

Persuasive people are not great talkers, they are great listeners. It works almost every time. Why? Well if you want to persuade, you must first find out how likely they are to accept your idea or request. Then, you have to find out whether there are any obstacles, objections or doubts. The most important thing of all is to be ready when you spot the openings for agreement which is when you will go for the kill and capitalize on it. Above all, you are in a stronger position when you know the other side of the argument. It pays to listen!

6. You know how fast to speak

In a fascinating study done by the University of Michigan, researchers found that the rate of speech when persuading was an important, and often, overlooked factor. Speech rates, pitch and fluency were all measured in telephone interviewers where they were trying to persuade people to take part in a survey. The optimal speed of speech was about 3.5 words per second which is moderately fast. Also, the interviewers who built in 4 or 5 pauses every minute were more successful. Speaking too quickly was perceived as being suspicious (the classic fast talker!). Speaking too slowly gives the impression of being too pedantic or less intelligent. Also, researchers found that being too lively and enthusiastic was off putting in many cases.

7. You are aware of the value of flexibility

If you are trying to persuade somebody to do something, think like you or buy from you, you are aware of the enormous benefits flexibility can bring. We can learn from young children here who have a variety of behaviors which usually help them get what they want. They can go though the usual list of crying, sulking, bargaining, pleading and even charming you before you give in and give them what they so desperately want. Parents always say “No” which is often ineffective. The lesson we can learn from this is that we need a more flexible approach as regards behaviors when we are involved in the persuasion process. Being open minded and never dogmatic will also help enormously.

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As we have seen, the art of persuasion is a fascinating area. Let us know in the comments if you have perfected the art with some examples, if you are willing to share them!

Featured photo credit: April Lewis and Carol French lead a discussion about emotional intelligence/Oregon Department of Transportation via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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