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10 Steps to Excel With the Power of Persuasion

10 Steps to Excel With the Power of Persuasion

There are a number of persuasion steps you have to implement in order to get someone to see your side of things, even/especially when it’s not necessarily in their best interest to. Everything from timing to approach to preparation is key for your success in an argument or debate. Here are ten persuasion steps you should always keep in mind.

1. Pick the right environment

You don’t want to try to persuade someone in a place they’re not already comfortable. One of the first persuasion steps is always to carefully choose when and where you’re going to have your debate. The best place is somewhere the person you’re persuading feels like he has the home field advantage, like their actual home, because they’ll feel less pressured. To determine the best time to persuade, pay attention to the person’s mood swings on a typical day and pick a period where their mood is on the upswing.

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2. Start subtle

Don’t launch into an intense argument right off the bat. Rather, ease into it so that the person you’re persuading doesn’t immediately tune your words out. You might even want to start a conversation about an entirely different topic and gently nudge the subject in the right direction. The ideal scenario is when the person you’re trying to persuade thinks that they’re the one that brought the subject up.

3. Display confidence

Richard Nixon won the 1960 Presidential Debates according to people who listened on the radio, but John F. Kennedy was the clear winner to everyone with a television set because he looked confident, not sweating profusely like Nixon. If your debate is over the phone then you don’t have to worry about persuasion steps like this, but most persuasions are achieved in-person, so you need to act confident in your mannerisms and body language. Another big part of displaying confidence is actually being confidant, which is why you absolute need to…

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4. Be prepared

Don’t try to persuade someone without knowing exactly how you’re going to go about it. If you’re trying to persuade someone to side with you politically, you can research facts and statistics to prove your point. If you’re persuading somebody to do something against their nature, look in advance for reasons that your suggestion is a sensible option for them. The rest of these persuasion steps will get you almost nowhere if you’re not already properly prepared for your verbal sparring match.

5. Predict counter-arguments

Don’t just limit preparation to opening statements. Think very carefully about the arguments your opponent will make in response to yours and plan accordingly. If you’re defending someone, for example, consider what the other person doesn’t like about who you’re defending and know in advance how to respond to those complaints.

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6. Consider their needs

Really get into the mind of the person you’re persuading. What are they really after? Do they want things to be easier? Simpler? Do they want to make a decision that makes them feel good about themself? This is among the most important persuasion steps.

7. Appeal to reason

One of the most effective persuasion steps is an appeal to someone’s rational side. Emotions are unreliable, so cold hard facts are your best bet to change somebody’s mind. This step goes back to preparation. If you have the facts at your disposal, use them to effectively change someone’s mind.

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8. Appeal to emotions

If all else fails, hit them on an emotional level. This is among the riskiest persuasion steps for reasons mentioned above, but it can also be one of the most powerful.

9. Make the decision seem urgent

When rushed, people are more prone to make poor decisions or decisions they otherwise wouldn’t make. If that’s the kind of decision you want someone to be making, this is the preparation step for you. If there’s no inherent hurry in what you’re trying to persuade, do what you can to create an urgency.

10. End with something positive

Absolutely do not end with an “I told you so.” Make the person you persuaded feel like they benefitted from your talk with them, even if it resulted in a different outcome than they expected. The more you can make it seem like a win-win scenario, the more likely someone will continue to see things your way even after you’ve left the room.

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Matt OKeefe

Freelance Writer, Marketer

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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