When we talk about techniques to achieve persuasion with anyone, it makes it sound like you can do it with everyone, no exceptions. Some people assume that they can’t be persuaded against their will. But if you have ever bought something as a result of an advert, poster or leaflet, and afterwards realised you didn’t really need it or even want it, we recognise we have been duped or persuaded into doing something that we weren’t consciously aware of.
So what can you do when you want to persuade someone, and not manipulate them?
The first problem you face when you want to communicate is getting someone’s undivided attention. They are probably thinking about something else when you want to communicate with them. So you must grab their attention and get it focused on what you want to communicate. You can use something called the ‘hook’.
Advertisers do this all the time. Just like a fish being hooked on a line, you need to ‘hook’ the other person with a real reason for focusing on you. This could be a question or a strong statement – something that takes them away from their current line of thought and onto you and your request or idea.
When you’ve hooked someone, how do you keep them there? By using something called ‘salting’.
You’ve heard the expression ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’. Well, that was said by someone who wasn’t very persuasive!
How about if you put salt in the horse’s oats and made him thirsty? When he gets to the water, you bet he’s going to drink!
So, you can ‘salt’ your communication in such a way that it will make the other person thirsty for what you’re going to say next. This could be a statement, a group of statements or a question that creates curiosity.
The third technique is by using something called ‘emotional word pictures’ (EWPs). These can simultaneously communicate with a person’s heart and mind, to convey understanding and emotional feelings.
Your understanding or analytical abilities come from the left side of the brain, while your emotions or feelings come from the right. EWPs not only bring added clarity and understanding to the left side of the brain, they can also stimulate feelings and emotions on the right. When you use EWPs they can immediately enable the other person to understand what you are saying and feel what you are feeling.
Here are the benefits of using EWPs:
1. They grab and direct a person’s attention
2. They have the power to change a person’s thinking and beliefs
3. They make communication come ‘alive’. By stimulating both right and left sides of the brain, the person begins ‘picturing’ what he or she is hearing
4. They lock words into a person’s memory – remember, we think in pictures, not words
5. They provide the gateway to provide better quality feedback, more easily received without negative consequences
So if you are able to utilise exactly how people ‘like’ to be persuaded, there’s a better chance of you creating a willingness in the other person to actually get the thing done that you are suggesting. These techniques to achieve persuasion with anyone must be used with integrity, or the person may well feel they are being manipulated, and will reject it at the conscious or subconscious level. make sure that you do it with integrity and honesty.
Head of Training
Originally published: 12 December, 2012