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Beware Of These 7 Common Traps! They Can Weaken Your Power Of Persuasion

Beware Of These 7 Common Traps! They Can Weaken Your Power Of Persuasion

The power of persuasion can be an extremely powerful tool when it is individually mastered to its fullest potential. It could affect whether you’re able to clinch that dream job after the interview or make that million dollar sale after hours of convincing a customer.

How to be more persuasive

Although you look dashingly smart and eloquent, unfortunately, focusing too much on how you present your pitch instead of whether what’s being said makes sense or not, will not be a boon for your power of persuasion. However, having said that, being presentable is still an important element to be persuasive but its importance is being superseded by having a clear, logical and irrefutable argument.

If you’re looking for concrete solutions on how to be more persuasive, here are 7 fallacies you should stop committing as they can weaken your power of persuasion.

1. Exaggerating Opposing Ideas

When debaters deploy this technique, what they’re actually trying to do is to undermine the credibility of the opposing idea by making the opponent seem extreme. For example in an everyday context, you might choose to omit certain facts of what’s actually been said in a heated argument between you and your partner. By saying that your partner hates kids when he or she merely just wants to shelve that plan to build a more secure future before the baby comes is a fine example.

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By exaggerating, not only would you undermine your own credibility in the argument, you are also jeopardising the strength of your future arguments in the debate.

2. Taking It Too Personal

Debates or arguments might sometimes get so heated up, you might think it’s fine to take a swing at something personal. For example, by calling someone a crafty and untrustable person just because they look like one, only presents a weak argument from your side.

As much as possible, refrain from getting too personal but instead, argue against the idea, not the person.

3. Using Fear Tactics Without Evidence

We’d like to believe that appealing to the sense of fear would get our arguments across easily. Yes, it is worth looking at how to be more persuasive because when our audience is struck with fear, they’re susceptible to believing extreme claims of what can happen if they’re not willing to accept the argument.But that is only if these claims are backed with evidence.

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Nothing would destroy your credibility faster than fabricating or exaggerating on facts and having your audience see through those lies.

4. Appeal To Ignorance

When you dismiss something to be untrue, it doesn’t mean that the opposite is true either. For example, you can’t say that the iPhone is the best smartphone in the world just because Samsung may not be considered the best since there have been instances where their phones exploded. There are other phones out there that are on par with the iPhone.

By choosing to ignore hard facts and going straight to validate a claim, not only are you showing people how shallow your depth of knowledge is, you’re also making yourself vulnerable to a strong counter-attack.

5. Using The Majority

By using the majority to back up a claim and to say that it is something “accepted” by many, is one of the fallacies we commonly use in our arguments. Like most of the argument fallacies we commit, laying claim to something that is accepted by the masses, when it clearly isn’t, would only spell trouble for your arguments.

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If you’re a computer salesman for example, and you convince the customer that the computer is well received by the masses, only for them to find out otherwise later, then your credibility will be tarnished and you definitely won’t have them coming back to you.

6. Using Flowery Anecdotes

Using anecdotes can definitely put a point across as it helps to put things into perspective. But when you replace hard data with flowery anecdotes that don’t even hold water then people will start to think that you’re just full of hogwash.

Anecdotes such as praising oneself have a weak argument to it. For example, coming back to being a salesperson; if you’re trying to convince a customer by telling him or her that you’ve been very honest and that many people have bought the product and believed in it, chances are, you’re not going to get far with that argument simply because you don’t have the evidence to back that claim up.

7. Overgeneralising

Overgeneralizing and stereotyping are keys to failure. By judging a person or something based on one bad experience, you are only showing how ignorant you are to omit the good that’s been experienced by others.

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For example, by saying that China makes sub-par products based on just one bad experience only makes for a lacklustre argument.

Featured photo credit: People via pexels.com

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Lim Kairen

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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