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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.

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Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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