By: James C. Price
At some point in your professional career, you will need to persuade employees, clients, or peers to do a certain thing or think a certain way. And though you may not want to admit it, most people want to be more persuasive in their encounters and relationships. So, we at Refresh Leadership would like to offer five principles to help strengthen your influencing skills!
Know What You’re Selling
You are always selling something—an idea, a process, an emotion. The options are endless. To set yourself up for success, it’s important to not only know exactly what it is you want your audience to think or feel, but you also have to understand what you’re selling. Examine your product thoroughly.
Understand Your Audience
To be able to persuade people to join your side, it is imperative to find out where they’re coming from. Work toward understanding your audience by asking what they want or need. What may work for one person, won’t always work for another. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and understand what they are looking for and how they feel toward your particular “product.”
Stay Positive, Build Up
It’s important to avoid negative statements that tear down. Instead use language that builds up. People want to follow those who encourage them to be better versions of themselves. It is difficult to try to persuade someone to be or do something that is against their nature. So, you have to find a way that makes them feel good about the choice they’re making.
Don’t Be Pushy
As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Often when people come to an impasse in persuasion, instead of taking a different approach, they keep pushing the same idea. Instead, it’s best to allow the person to make their own decisions about what you’re selling. Successful persuasion is buttressed by mutual understanding.
Focus on Character
Aristotle once said “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” In many instances, what you do and how you tend to business can be more persuasive than speaking or selling. Focus on being a well-rounded leader who stands up for personal convictions and cares for others. When it comes time to selling, it will be easier because they will already hold you in high esteem.