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6 Persuasion Strategies To Help Others And Get What You Want

6 Persuasion Strategies To Help Others And Get What You Want

Have you ever noticed that just about everything we do in our lives and the results we achieve revolve around our ability to persuade and influence others? From getting your four year old to put their toys away, to getting someone you admire to go out with you, to convincing someone to employ you or simply getting your wife to leave the toilet seat up, we are doing it all day.

Interestingly, it’s something that we can’t avoid and is vital to our success, yet most people don’t want to talk about it. Many of us associate the concept of persuasion as something reserved for the call centre or the car showroom when it’s actually a far nobler pursuit.

Persuasion is about getting others to do what you know is in their best interests, and once you’ve learned how to do so, you often get to benefit too. Here are some suggestions to help you become better at the art of persuasion.

1. Think in tweets

We are all subjected to thousands of demands for our attention every day. Many of us are overwhelmed with emails at home and at work, text messages, media advertising, and incessant demands from our colleagues, customers, and our boss.

When you are trying to persuade anyone to do anything that you know will serve them well, they will tune you out if you drown them with more “noise.” Your message has to be simple, clear, and compelling. Summarise what you have to say that will help them in the form of a mindfully crafted tweet.

For example, when people ask me why they should consider buying my book Hamster to Harmony, this is what I tell them, using the tweet approach:

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“Some of us find ourselves wishing, hoping and dreaming for more. This book is for those who are tired of tiptoeing their way through life.”

2.  Focus on the goal

If you are going to persuade anyone to do anything, you need to have a very clear goal. That goal should contain how you want people to feel. You can talk all day long but if the people you are speaking to don’t connect emotionally with your words, they are unlikely to act.

I once worked for a CEO who insisted on calling the entire team together at 8:30 AM every Monday morning every week for a three-hour meeting. His goal was to ensure that he understood everything that had happened in the business the previous week and to ensure the team was focused on the new week.

It was a clear goal but it only served to make the executive team resent him and dread the Monday morning “inquisition.” Persuading him to switch to the Monday afternoon for an hour satisfied his goal but in a way that left him feeling that he was building his executive team rather than alienating them.

3. Make it about them

In the above example, the CEO was a very exacting and anxious man who needed to feel in absolute control, and he needed to feel that at the very start of the week. There was no point trying to persuade him to change those meetings without understanding what he needed and how any change to his preferred start of the week would impact him.

Once he understood the adverse impact that having such long, repetitive, and arduous meetings first thing on a Monday morning were having on his team, he was prepared to listen. More importantly, he was only persuaded to shift the meeting to a more sensible time when he felt he would have even more control through a management team who were given the space to at least gather their thoughts.

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4. Watch your language

Choose your words carefully to ensure that your audience not only understand your message, but feel it makes a significant difference.

In the current American presidential election campaign, Donald Trump is trying to get people to vote for him by using words like:

“Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.”

Hillary Clinton has chosen to use words such as:

“We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.”

Donald Trump appears to be trying to persuade his audience using the language of fear whilst conversely Hillary Clinton chooses words of hope.

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5. Play nicely

Remember when you were a child and you asked your mother if you could go outside to play with your friends? If she was anything like mine, you probably heard something like, “Yes, but play nicely.”

Those were powerful words from our mothers, and evidence that she understood the keys to a life of connection, success, and happiness. She also understood that if you were “likeable” enough, you could increase your chances of persuading anyone to do anything.

Playing nicely as adults and professionals is the same today as when we were small children. It involves smiling, listening carefully, being kind, being generous, and paying compliments.

6. Share a vision

As I began my long, hard journey to climb the corporate ladder over 30 years ago, my boss told me something which I didn’t realise at the time would have a profound impact on me personally and professionally. He said: “The only people who need to be motivated are the people who can’t see a future and it’s your job as their leader to help them to see a future.”

That one simple truth has always held great wisdom and power for me and I believe it’s at the heart of persuasion and influence.

The idea of persuading anyone to do anything must not only be based on their best interest but also offer them a glimpse of the possibilities and opportunities available to them. If you can help someone to see and feel a brighter future, no matter how small your idea or suggestion, you are more likely to succeed.

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I believe that if you embrace these 6 simple strategies you will learn to master the art of persuasion. Whilst you consider and practice these principles, please don’t follow the advice that some suggest as the means to successfully persuading people to do things.

1. Don’t create scarcity

Unless something is genuinely likely to soon become unavailable and you really don’t want someone to miss out on the benefits of the opportunity, don’t pretend it’s scarce.

2. Don’t be overbearing

Healthy persistence is one thing, but there is nothing worse than someone becoming a pest by repeatedly calling on you when you have already made your perspective very clear.

3. Don’t give to get

Reciprocity, similar to persistence, is a principle which can persuade people to respond positively to you and act on your idea. That said, if you give something to someone with the sole objective of receiving something in return, that isn’t good practice and something I would avoid.

4. Don’t rush them

Have you ever noticed that a magician or stage hypnotist will often try to rush a participant to choose the first answer that pops into their mind? If you have, then it’s worth knowing that the reason they do that is to increase the likelihood of you saying what they have already planted in your mind. When you are trying to persuade someone to do something that is genuinely in their own best interests, there is rarely, if ever, a need to rush them.

Featured photo credit: Endostock via dreamstime.com

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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