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The One Concept You Need to Know to Strengthen Your Persuasion Skill

The One Concept You Need to Know to Strengthen Your Persuasion Skill

Have you noticed that certain people are more persuasive than others? Is it possible for us to improve our persuasion skills? Yes, you just need to master this technique: syllogistic reasoning. [1]

Let’s now take a look at how this technique works and how you can apply it in daily life.

What Exactly Is Syllogistic Reasoning?

Syllogistic reasoning is a form of deductive reasoning. If we look at the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning, we can see how the approach is flipped. Let’s compare this by way of an analogy. Inductive reasoning is much like an artistic painter who combines various colors together to form a painting. By contrast, deductive reasoning is like a sculptor removing material until the artist reveals what she wishes to portray.” [2]

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    So, what exactly is syllogistic reasoning?

    Syllogistic Reasoning means the use of syllogisms to deduce arguments that draw conclusions from two premises–a major one and a minor one. [3]

    Here’s an example of Aristotle’s Syllogism:

    • All humans are animals.
    • All animals are mortal.
    • Therefore, all humans are mortal.

    In this example, we have a logical argument in which a pair of sentences serve as the premises, where the third sentence is the conclusion. A syllogism can be labeled as valid if the premises are true, where it would follow that the conclusion is also true. [4]

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    How Mastering Syllogistic Reasoning Will Benefit You A Lot

    • Intelligence. In a 2011 study, researchers found a close association between syllogistic reasoning and intelligence. They found that syllogistic reasoning is key to our IQ. [5]
    • Objectivity. Researchers and mathematicians typically use syllogistic or deductive reasoning when testing whether a principle is true or not. The scientific method uses deduction to test hypotheses and theories. This provides them the advantage of objectivity and certainty. For example, when we say, “If X, then Y” demonstrates that Y is true if X is true. [6]
    • Not affected by new premises. In an inductive argument, when you find new evidence (premises) the argument is affected, where a deductive argument is not. Let’s look at an example. [7]
    • “Today, John said he likes Romona. So, John likes Romona today.” However, this statement is radically changed when we add a new premise. “John told Felipe today that he didn’t really like Romona.”

    But Beware of the Loopholes in Syllogistic Reasoning As Well…

    • Syllogistic fallacies. One of the advantages to syllogistic reasoning was objectivity. Recall the statement, “If X, then Y.” But what happens if X is not true? The following illustration demonstrates this perfectly.

      • Affirming the consequent. This is one of Aristotle’s 13 fallacies and is defined by assuming an “If Then” statement is commutative. Think in terms of mathematics, where one term operating on a second is equal to the second operating on the first (a x b = b x a). Here is an example: I am in London, England. I am in England, therefore I am in London. [8]

      3 More Techniques to Improve Your Persuasion Skills

      Use the Priming Technique

        Priming is described as a stimulus influencing a person’s future thoughts and actions. In essence, priming will either introduce something new or bring an old thought back to the surface of our subconscious. Here are three ways to use this technique: [9]

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        1. Be subtle with priming. Attempt to influence another person toward a desired outcome without them realizing it.
        2. When a thought pops into your mind out of nowhere during a conversation, try to think back to what triggered that thought. Did the other person use this technique against you?
        3. Use images if you have an implicit idea of what something should look like. Images can be used to help prime user actions. Essentially, we can draw something from nearly nothing because we have an idea of what it is. [10]

        Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic

        Typically, we will base our decisions on known anchors (familiar positions). Adjustments will then be made using the anchor as the starting point. You can use this in two ways. [11]

        1. When negotiating, suggest the condition (or price). The ‘other party’ will typically base their counter relative to this condition (your anchor). Make sure you list your top choice first if you have to offer alternatives.
        2. Don’t fall victim to this if you are the ‘other party’. When they suggest a price (or condition), do not simply assume it is close to their actual price.

        Understanding Theory of Mind (ToM)

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          We form theories about the beliefs, values, and motivations of other people when interacting with (or thinking about) them. Typically, we make conjectures as to what they are feeling and thinking. In essence, we attempt to predict the intent of others. This is the Theory of Mind. Let’s look at the following example from Dr. Ashutosh Ratnam. [12]

          • Misunderstanding (Glove). A burglar who has just robbed a shop is making his getaway. As he is running home, a policeman on his beat sees him drop his glove. Key point: He doesn’t know the man is a burglar, he just wants to tell him he dropped his glove. But when the policeman shouts out to the burglar, “Hey you, Stop!”, the burglar turns around, sees the policeman and gives himself up. He puts his hands up and admits that he did the break-in at the local shop.

          Let’s look at two ways to use this to our advantage. [13]

          1. Recognize that our thoughts about what other people are thinking are simply thoughts. We can never know for certain what another person is actually thinking. So, make sure to test your assumptions prior to reacting.
          2. If someone has falsely judged you or created a false impression of who you are, ask them to describe their impression of you. See if you can pinpoint where this false impression originated.

          The most important piece of advice for improving your persuasion skills is to remain calm and keep a proper perspective at all times. We become vulnerable when we are emotional. Conversely, you can use emotion to your advantage. Think of a pinball machine where the player becomes frustrated and physically starts tilting the machine attempting to guide the pinball toward the flippers. In essence, strive to use a poker term referred to as “Tilt” and confuse your adversary. You will notice they will start using less than optimal strategies when they are angry and emotional.

          In the end, always keep a proper perspective.

          “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

          Reference

          More by this author

          Dr. Jamie Schwandt

          Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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          Last Updated on March 31, 2020

          How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

          How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

          How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

          There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

          The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

          For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

          1. Feeling Eager and Energized

          This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

          2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

          The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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          3. Still No Action

          More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

          4. Flicker of Hope Left

          You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

          5. Fading Quickly

          Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

          6. Vow to Yourself

          Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

          Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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          How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

          Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

          To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

          1. Feeling Eager and Energized

          This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

          2. Plan

          Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

          3. Resistance

          Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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          What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

          4. Confront Those Feelings

          Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

          Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

          5. Put Results Before Comfort

          You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

          6. Repeat

          Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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          Final Thoughts

          Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

          If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

          Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

          Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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