Thursday, June 10, 2010

How to be more persuasive.

Post 503 - The authors of Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, share these top five ways to increase your influence and persuasiveness with others:

- Be the first to give.
Studies show that we’re more easily persuaded by people who’ve done something for us first. We’re more likely to help colleagues with their projects if they’ve helped us with ours in the past. And personalized requests are the most persuasive of all. When researchers randomly sent out surveys, they were able to double the response rate when they personalized the requests by including a handwritten note with each one.

- Don’t offer too many choices.
Too many choices often frustrate people whether it’s the number of products you offer or the number of benefit plans you allow employees to choose from. For example, companies offering a small number of retirement plans have far greater enrollment than similar companies that offer a large number of plans.

- Speak against your self-interest.
Trust is a critical component to persuasion. The surest way to be seen to be honest is to admit to a small weakness in your argument, product or business immediately before presenting the strongest positive argument for your product or service.

- Losses are more persuasive than gains.
Instead of telling your audience what they stand to gain from taking your advice or buying your product, research shows that people are more often persuaded if you tell them what they stand to lose if they don’t take your advice or buy your product.

- Let people feel they’re already making progress toward a goal.
A car wash offering a loyalty card nearly doubled customer retention by changing their offer from “Buy eight washes, get one free” to “Buy 10 washes, get one free - and we’ll start you off by crediting you with two washes.”

Robert Cialdini's six universal principles of social influence are very similar:

- Reciprocation.
We feel obligated to return favors performed for us.

- Authority.
We look to experts to show us the way.

- Commitment/consistency.
We want to act consistently with our commitments and values.

- Scarcity.
The less available the resource, the more we want it.

- Liking.
The more we like someone, the more we want to say yes to them.

- Social proof.
We look to what others do to guide our behavior.

Some people have the ability to convince the undecided and others don't. However, persuasion isn’t just a skill that a chosen few are born with. Researchers have developed rules and guidelines for moving people in your direction and learning about these can help you become a more effective influencer.

Finally, here's what Napoleon Hill has to say on this subject.
"Your view of yourself will greatly influence how others perceive you. If you are a confident, cheerful, positive person, your co-workers, friends, and family will be attracted to your personality. If you are unhappy, negative, and always complaining about your situation, others will be repelled. Even when at times you don't feel very happy, by forcing yourself to behave in a positive fashion, you will find that you soon feel genuinely upbeat, because your subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between an artificial emotion and the real thing. When you behave positively, you will positively influence everyone around you-including yourself."

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