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How to Be More Persuasive

How to Be More Persuasive


    Have you ever wished you could be more charming? You know – like someone who instinctively knows how to get the right people on side at just the right time?

    The reality is that we all need to get along with people at some point in our lives, whether it be at work or home – so it really does pay off to be able to persuasively state your opinions when you need to.

    Take work for example – you may not realize it, but regardless of your official job title – it’s likely that you are frequently in a situation where you’ll need to sell either your ‘point of view’ or yourself for that matter! Simple things like ‘asking for a day off’ or ‘giving your boss an update on your progress’ all require an element of selling.

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    And the most important part of selling is the ability to be ‘persuasive’: to be able to present your case in a favorable light that will get you the best outcome. Lets face it – the more you are able to ‘influence’ people around you, the more you can achieve in life.

    Rapport is one of the most underutilized methods of persuasion. Many people do it naturally, while others are unknowingly behaving in ways that ‘break’ rapport and create adverse reactions. A large element of rapport boils down to body language. Subconsciously our body language will build deeper relationships with those we naturally admire and weaken connections with those we may be intimidated by or less impressed with.

    Let’s explore a few handy tips to use body language, voice matching and observation skills to your advantage so that you can become naturally more persuasive.

    5 Tips To Become More Persuasive By Building Rapport

    1. ‘Match’ your body language to the person you’re talking to.

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    So if they cross their right leg, then you cross your right leg too, if they put their left hand on their hip, you do the same. Be careful not to be too obvious with this – subtlety is key!

    2. ‘Mirror’ your body language.

    Similar to ‘matching’, you simply ‘mirror’ body language. So if the person you’re speaking with makes a hand gesture with their right hand, when you start to speak you would make a similar hand gesture with the opposite hand (so it’s like you are mirroring them). Again – be sure to be subtle!

    3. Change the volume of your voice to suit the person you are speaking with.

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    If their voice is soft then it pays off not to shout at them! Similarly if they have a loud booming voice, you should adjust your voice so that it is confident and loud to match their style

    4. Change the speed of your voice so it’s in time with your conversation.

    If your peer speaks very slowly the worst thing you could do is talk really quickly at them as this will break rapport and result in frustration and feelings of awkwardness! It’s important to match the ‘pace’ of the person you are speaking with.

    5. Notice what’s important to them.

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    Listen for words or topics that keep coming up. This is what’s important to them, so they will feel like you’re really listening to them if you repeat the same words or focus on the same topics when it’s your turn to talk. An example: if your boss keeps using the word ‘priorities’ then make sure you also use this same word when you are reviewing your workload for the week. This really makes them feel understood and builds your relationship at a subconscious level

    The purpose of rapport is to build a deeper connection with someone so be careful not to go over the top with your approach. If someone feels like you are ‘mimicking’ them then you’ll get a bad reaction! Remember that subtlety and sincerity is key!

    Have a go at using the methods I mention above and notice how much easier it is to be persuasive once you have built up some rapport first! For example if you need to ask a favour of someone, don’t steam straight in and ask them! Take the time to build up rapport by focusing on the other person first – you’ll be surprised by how much this will impact their response to your request. And you might just find they are more willing to help you!

    Once you’ve nailed the rapport side of things the next step is to learn how to win any argument

    (Photo credit: The Bait via Shutterstock)

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    Zoe B

    A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

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    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

    Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

    1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

    Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

    There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

    Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

    2. Pace Yourself

    Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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    Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

    Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

    3. You Can’t Please Everyone

    “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

    You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

    Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

    4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

    Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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    We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

    Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

    5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

    “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

    No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

    We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

    6. It’s Not All About You

    You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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    It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

    7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

    No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

    We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

    Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

    8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

    That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

    Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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    Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

    9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

    Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

    The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

    10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

    We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

    When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

    Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

    This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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    Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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