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The Art of Persuasion: 20 Skills That Make Everyone Agree with What You Say

The Art of Persuasion: 20 Skills That Make Everyone Agree with What You Say

Are you a leader, entrepreneur, marketer, business executive, administrator etc. as long as you relate with people, especially a boss/subordinate kind of relationship, you should have the vital skills to persuade. Persuasion in this context does not mean coercion rather it is the ability of a person to get others to willingly and enthusiastically carryout specific tasks in the manner deemed by the instructor for the attainment of specific goals and objectives.

The problem with most people is their inability to grasp the art of persuasion and unwillingness to acquire the vital skills needed to successfully persuade people. Being persuasive doesn’t warrant you to manipulate or pressure other people; it’s all about convincing. But for you so successfully persuade people to enthusiastically and willingly follow a course of action or believe in your ideas, these skills should be found in you;

Everything starts with your planning skills

Your ability to persuade people successfully every time is dependent on preparation. Nothing is achieved without planning. The most important thing is to have adequate information of the people and situations around you. Adequate preparation allows for effective persuasion.

Jeff Haden says ‘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’.[1]

Story Telling Skills

Telling stories is quite fascinating when you trying to make a point. Stories have the power to persuade people and influence them. People seem to pay attention differently when hearing a narrative or illustration as opposed to presenting out facts and figures.

By demonstrating your idea or strategy to people through stories, they can better understand you. Martin Zwilling says ‘stories are often more convincing than simple statements of fact. If you can integrate the receiver directly into the story, the potential impact is even greater.[2]

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Motivational Skills

Persuasion has a significant relationship with motivation. You can’t persuade people without knowing the art of motivation. Getting people motivated is a tough task because it is dependent on personality; the factors that can motivate an individual may be different from the ones that motivate another.

Understanding what causes a person t o become motivated – and stay that way – can help with making sure people are the most productive that they can be.[3] Hence in order to successfully persuade people, one should be able to know what it takes to motivate.

Problem Solving Skill

In our contemporary world where there are lots of socio-economic and political issues, people with problem solving skill are highly respected and have the capacity to persuade people to believe on their ideas.

People are constantly looking for problem solvers.[4] Once you have the ability to dissect problems and come up with the best alternatives that solved a given problem, people will naturally approach you and bow to your persuasive power.

Strategic Thinking Skill

Have you ever thought of the great inventors and wealthy entrepreneurs in the world today, they are great thinkers. This is why they have been able to make enormous impact on people. Warren Buffett is considered by some to be one of the most successful investors in the world; Mark Zuckerberg is the chairman, chief executive officer, and co-founder of Facebook; while founded the world’s largest software business, Microsoft. These men are great today because they are strategic thinkers. With this skill, they can easily persuade people to adopt their ideas.

Confidence

Confidence is a pre-requisite for persuasion. No one will ever regard your ideas, views and opinion if they perceive you lack self-confidence. If you really believe in yourself and what you do, you will always be able to persuade others to do what’s right for them, while getting what you want in return.

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Listening Skills

Influential people are attentive listeners. They tend to give attention to every complaint and discussion which make people naturally adore them. Have you ever asked yourself why most people usually say ‘thank you for your listening ears’? They feel happy that someone cared to listen to their problems. By gaining their trust, you can easily influence them.

Charisma

Charisma is about what you say and do as opposed to who you really are as a person.[5] Your subconscious, social cues, physical expression, and the way you treat others all play a part in developing your charisma.

Charisma is a great influencer. When people naturally like you because of how you talk, your composure, calm personality, attitude etc., you can have a big influence on them.

Rapport Skill

Rapport skill are crucial for developing mutual trust and friendship with someone or group of individuals. Once you have established a good interpersonal relationship with someone or group of people, this gives you the opportunity rapport with them and share some ideas and values.

Jason Nazar says ‘by mirroring and matching others habitual behaviors (body language, cadence, language patterns, etc.) you can build a sense of rapport where people feel more comfortable with you and become more open to your suggestions.[6]

Loyalty

You will hear people often say ‘respect is earned rather than commanded’. This is because people actually expect those they revere to first of all conduct themselves in an orderly manner. You have to be loyal to be able to draw the attention of others you want to influence.

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Research skill

A person desiring to have the power to persuade must be a good researcher in order to communicate accurately and authoritatively on a subject. By having a research skill, you will be able to explore unlimited knowledgeable about the points, ideas and views you want to convey. Your level of vast knowledge gives you an added advantage in persuading others to believe in your ideas.

Human Relations Skill

Human relations skill is critical to persuasion. The classic management theorists failed partly because the neglected the human relations approach to employees’ management. To be a powerful persuader, you should be able to understand a person’s pain and problems.

Persuasive people are likable and influential because they put the needs of others above themselves.[7] When you genuinely try to understand another person’s background and motivation, you’ll be able to more effectively persuade him or her.

Communication Skill

Communication is very essential when you want to successfully persuade someone or group of people. It should be a two way communication where feedback is encouraged. The art of persuasion rest lies with interaction and encouraging responses to ascertain the state of mind, motives and views of the people you want to powerfully persuade to follow a particular course of action.

Language Skill

As a result of globalization, we tend to meet people from different nations with different language, value system, norms and culture. One way of establishing interpersonal relationship with them is to understand and speak their languages. Constant communication with them will give you the opportunity to share your ideas and influence their opinions.

Mentoring Skill

Mentors are usually respected by people especially prodigies. It is not difficult to have a mentoring skill. Just get people around and tell them about your belief, ideas and goals. They will be naturally persuaded to join your course as long as you are successful at what you do.

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Critical Skill

Reasoning is a product of critical thinking. You don’t expect to persuade people when you do not know a thing about them. Critical thinking makes one an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information. Critical thinkers utilize observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference and explanation to make people believe them

Public Speaking Skill

To be successful in persuading people, one must master the art of public speaking. Most people will rather die than stand in the stage to address audience no matter the size. Public speaking requires confidence, planning, research, focus, story-telling, analyzing your audience and lots more. These and more make up public speaking skill. Hence to persuade successfully, public speaking skill is a pre-requisite.

Public Relations Skill

The art of persuasion requires public relations skill especially when one is a public figure. Here, the qualities one needs to successfully persuade people are flexibility, boldness and adaptability.

Collaborative Skill

Two or three people cannot work together except there is a desire to collaborate. Collaborative skills are the behaviors that help two or more people work together and function well in the process. You cannot influence people without actually knowing them. One way to know and understand people is to collaborate with them.

Creative Skill

You have to be super good in bringing something new into being or device a whole new exciting way of doing things to attract peoples’ attention. Creative thinkers are usually admired and people want to identify with them.

Organizations led by creative leaders have a higher success rate in innovation, employee engagement, change and renewal says Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work.[8]

Decision Making Skill

Our daily life is full of decision making. Most of the aforementioned skills are dependent on decision making. For instance, selecting the group of individuals you want to persuade; picking the kind of message to communicate and selecting the strategies and techniques for convincing them are functions of decision making. Without this skill, one cannot achieve much when trying to persuade people.

Reference

More by this author

Dr. Jeff Shuford

President of Tech From Vets

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2]Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3]Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4]Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5]Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6]The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7]Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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