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12 Practical Ways To Persuade Anyone To Do Anything Easily

12 Practical Ways To Persuade Anyone To Do Anything Easily

Have you ever met someone who could get you to do anything? I have, and I’ve always craved this seemingly out-of-reach ability.

There are countless books and college courses that all claim to hold the keys to persuasion. They’re valuable resources for learning how to persuade, but they tend to overcomplicate the matter and ignore practical methods of communicating effectively with people.

You don’t have to be a master salesman with endless confidence in order to be more persuasive. You simply need to pay closer attention to the basics so that you can twist the odds of success in your favor.

1. Make your words powerful.

The pitch itself needs to be full of words that actually elicit a response. You can do this easily by framing your statements around key phrases.

For example, “car accident” is a phrase that makes you think of many different types of vehicle collisions. But if you’re trying to persuade someone to buy car insurance, you won’t say that there are thousands of car accidents each day. You’ll say that there are thousands of car-related deaths every day.

“Death” is a more powerful word than “accident,” and advertisers use this method every day in order to convince people to buy products.

Here are some more words that are claimed to be the most persuasive in the English language.

2. Dress up, but don’t talk down.

Nice clothes go a long way in helping you maintain confidence, even if no one is around to see you. The nasty side effect is that being the most well-dressed person in the room can result in talking down or being condescending to people who are actually above you.

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This is an easy trap to fall into because if we feel like we have the power in a conversation, we’re more likely to patronize the person by saying things like, “Oh, well let me explain this to you. It’s really quite simple.” The problem is that if it isn’t simple, or if you’re not communicating well, you’ve pretty much lost them.

Keep in mind that the person you’re pitching to is above you. They have the power to say “no.” You don’t want them to realize this, obviously, because you need to maintain control over the conversation, but talking down to the person is challenging them to a contest you don’t want to take part in. Remember that there is a fine line between arrogance and being assertive.

3. Focus on the future.

Using future tense is a great way to establish confidence. It helps the other person know that you are moving forward and ready to carry out what you promise.

You can do this easily by abusing the word will. Phrases like “We will” and “Then we’ll do this” will get the person used to the idea that this is going to happen.

That said, don’t be pushy. Try not to make decisions for the other person, but instead talk about possibilities and the effects of decisions that can be made.

4. Make yourself scarce.

People want what they can’t have. Make it clear that this offer you’re extending to them won’t last for ever, and they will be missing out.

This especially works if you’re selling a product. Common tactics for offloading new products is by intentionally making them scarce and rare, which triggers something in people to “Get it now while you can!”

Here is a great guide on the psychology of scarcity that you can refer to.

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5. Choose the right medium for your pitch.

You’re trying to convince someone to do something they probably don’t want to do (yet). This means that cultivating the environment for your pitch is quite essential.

Study the person and determine how they prefer to communicate. Simply asking them if they like to talk on the phone instead of email goes a long way, just as long as you give them some options.

I’ve even come across people who are more comfortable texting than talking face to face. Keep this in mind and choose a medium centered around them, not you.

6. Speak their language.

Finishing a person’s sentence is a bad habit to get into. This is because you’re inserting your own “speak” into their independent thoughts.

Who wants to feel invaded?

Listen closely to how the person talks and watch how they carry themselves. Choose your own approach accordingly. Do they stray from jargon? You should too. Do they make jokes and end their sentences with prepositions? Match that with your own relaxed style.

Even body language should be matched effectively. If they like to talk with their hands, that means their ideal form of communication is active, so it is helpful for you to do the same. If their language is reserved and closed off (arms are closed, etc), then you know to avoid gestures that would make them feel uncomfortable.

This technique is useful for addressing groups of people as well. Try to get a feel for the room and study what makes people react positively to what you say. Learn what works and apply it accordingly.

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7. Avoid verbal fillers.

Every time you let “um” or “uh” interrupt your speech, you lose credibility with the person you’re speaking to. It won’t even matter that what you have to say is important.

Be clear and let your speech flow. The best way to do this is by practicing your speech at home or thinking for a second before speaking.

8. Do something for them.

As a kid, you probably said something nice to your parents before asking them for something. Even at a young age, we realize that people are more likely to help us out if they’re returning the favor for something we’ve done.

You can do this before you even pitch anything. If you start off a networking relationship with a favor, that person will be more likely to work with you later on.

You should also return the favor, because you never know what’s being noticed about you. I once recommended a great website on this site, which was an unsolicited favor. The recipient of this favor was so grateful for the spike in sales that they sent me free merchandise. I didn’t ask for it and they definitely didn’t have to, but it cemented a relationship that could lead to more mutual benefits in the future.

9. Be a master of timing.

This goes along with getting to know the person you’re pitching to. Study them and find out the best time to talk to them.

For example, some busy executives are swamped during the beginning of the week and check out mentally on Friday. This means that Thursday may be the best time to approach a person you need to persuade.

This is easier if you’re trying to persuade a friend or loved one because you understand them better. Pick the right timing to talk to them, and your odds of success will shoot way up.

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10. Express your opinion reluctantly.

You want the other person to believe in you. You have all of the answers, but how did you get there?

Talk about what you used to believe, and what you believe now. Use your own learning experience as a story that they can model after. By doing this, you are pacing the conversation/pitch and giving the person assurance that this will work for them.

11. Repeat what they say.

Prove that you are listening to and acknowledging the thoughts and feelings of the person you’re talking to. You can affirm their stance by simply saying,

“If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying that you find this important because of XY and Z. I ubderstand that,  and think AB and C.”

Trust me, this comes in handy even when you’re not addressing the alphabet.

12. Build to your emotions.

Let your emotional responses, such as enthusiasm and excitement, naturally develop during the conversation. Don’t overwhelm the person with a zeal they don’t feel yet.

In many cases, you’ll want to wait until the end of your pitch to start sprinkling in the emotion and passion. This will ensure that it comes across as sincere and logically founded on what’s already been said.

A good rule of thumb is to start the conversation on an upbeat but relaxed note. As you start discussing the topic at hand, gradually grow more excited and passionate about what you’re talking about. This way, the person won’t feel like they’re being “worked.” They’ll instead feel like you are doing them a favor.

More by this author

Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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