Ever notice how some people always seem to be able to get everything they want? No matter how tricky a situation they’re put in, they just seem to know how to talk things out to their advantage. One of my good friends has this gift and it’s incredibly entertaining to watch. There’s an art to persuasion that even the verbally clumsy and introverted (like me) can learn with practice. I want to review some tips and insights I read in a great book by Kurt Mortensen, Persuasion IQ, along with some of my own thoughts. What’s your persuasion IQ?
Why are persuasion skills important?
Being able to influence and persuade others can be applied to so many everyday situations: parenting, customer service, mentoring a friend, impressing your boss, etc. Even if you like to be alone and don’t want to work with other people, it’s pretty hard to escape people altogether. And anytime you have to interact with others, being able to persuade them can be extremely handy.
Think about a time when you or someone you know has gotten fired or failed at a critical task. Chances are ineffective communication and a lack of persuasion skills were part of the cause. People who get let go are usually fired because of their inability to work and communicate with others. On the same token, entrepreneurs who fail typically were unable to persuade others to take action and use their product or service.
Change your mindset and gain more self-esteem
Feeling confident isn’t always easy but we all need self-confidence in order to effectively persuade others. If you suffer from low self-esteem, think about which of the causes below are at the root of your uncertainty and doubt:
- Lack of trust
- Resentment of others
- Scarcity mentality
- Fear of potential failure
- Unwillingness to take risks
- Comparing yourself to others
- Inability to accept constructive feedback
- Lack of experience
Work on changing your mentality. Even small shifts in perception can bring increased happiness and greater confidence. Happy people view the world with more optimism, are more open with their feelings, make decisions faster, have less stress, rate others more fairly, enjoy better relationships, have a stronger self-image, tend to make more money, and are more skilled at persuasion.
Acquire these top traits of skilled persuaders
Once you are starting to feel more confident in yourself, work on acquiring even more common traits of the super persuasive. Here’s a list of top traits that skilled persuaders share.
- Well informed
- Solution oriented
Skilled persuaders are also great at using humor to build rapport and mediate uncomfortable situations. I always admired my former boss for his negotiation skills and ability to break the ice even in the most stressful of situations. He was great at leading meetings and talking to difficult clients because he could always work in phrases and stories that got people to laugh. There were countless times I observed how people became so much more engaged when my boss got them to laugh and be more willing to hear his point of view and come to common ground.
Tap into your inner psychologist
Another way to increase your persuasion IQ is to become more in tune with people’s emotions. The better you get at reading people, the more successful you’re likely to be in the art of persuasion. Feel out your audience for your own benefit, whether it’s one person or a packed auditorium full of investors.
For example, if you’re trying to pitch a product or service, be prepared to adjust your approach on the spot from one presentation to the next based on your audience’s reactions or non-reactions.
People are receptive to stories, metaphors, testimonials, photos, and events that stir their emotions. By tapping into their heartstrings, you increase your persuasion IQ. Utilizing hard facts and charts is often necessary too, but emotions are great at motivating people to take action.
Some of you may recall “The Andrea Doria” Seinfeld episode when George tries to win back an apartment that the tenant association is planning to lease to an elderly survivor of an ocean liner collision. Because it’s George, we don’t think he stands a chance, but after telling a bunch of sob stories about his life as a short, fat, bald man, the tenant association is moved to tears and takes his side. He had no idea that pulling on their heart strings would be so effective!
If you watched the entire episode you know that unfortunately in the end both George and the elderly Andrea Doria survivor unexpectedly lose out on the apartment to Elaine’s “bad breaker-upper” date because he bribed the committee for 50 bucks, but that’s beside the point. 🙂
Aim for confidence, not arrogance
As you gain confidence, keep in mind there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Nobody wants to listen to a slimy, arrogant person. Overbearing and conceited people are such a turn-off and customers don’t trust people like that; I certainly don’t.
All it takes is one bad review to cast doubt in current and prospective clients’ eyes so never stretch the truth or in an effort to be more persuasive. It’s more effective to strategically under promise and over deliver.
As you increase your persuasion IQ, work on regularly analyzing your progress. Stay disciplined and open minded, learn from your mistakes, embrace competition, focus on the positives, make action plans for your goals, and keep visualizing your success.
Focus on your value added perks
If you’re trying to persuade your boss you deserve a promotion or get more people to become long term customers for your business, highlight the value added you’re offering them. People love getting good value for something.
This is why marketing 101 classes highlight the sales power of offering free bonuses with purchase and selling $200 worth of products for only $99, etc. Persuade your target audience that whatever you’re offering them is worth more than what they’re paying for it.
Increase your persuasion IQ to get what you want
If you want to increase your persuasion IQ, stay patient and determined to get out of our comfort zone. Remind yourself that a goal without a plan is just a wish, and remember you can become a better leader at any age.
Start off with a few small goals to increase your skills in persuasion, experiment and track your progress. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Being able to influence people in positive ways and get what you want out of life, love, and your career is a big part of the untemplate lifestyle!
If you’re burnt out of your day job, believe that you have options and can turn your career around for the better. I didn’t believe I could escape the grind for the longest time, but fortunately I wised up before stress destroyed my life. I never would have thought I could negotiate a severance package and get paid to leave a job I grew to hate, but I did! Learn how you too could get paid to leave your job like I did and open your eyes to new opportunities.
Untemplaters, how do you rate your persuasion IQ? What methods do you use to get what you want? Have you ever persuaded someone to do something that you didn’t think would be possible?
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I’m always trying to persuade my wife to make improvments around the house. About a year or so ago, I was able to convince her to paint the inside of our front door red (it was white at the time). In order to persuade her, I had to show her magazine clippings of homes that have doors painted and how nice they look and how this will go with the color scheme of our home. Plus I said we already have red paint left over so it won’t cost anything either and I can do it myself. It didn’t take long for her to agree because I was able to back up my reasoning so it made the persuasion part easy.
That’s quite interesting! I can’t recall seeing a door painted red on the inside. It’s nice to have a pop of color inside so I can see how that could work. Nice job convincing her!
Financial Samurai says
Good overview regarding persuasion. Those who are most persuasive are simply living their beliefs. I’ve found it’s much better to show folks how to use the tools than tell people to use the tools.
You can tell when people have conviction due to the confidence you mention. I’m persuaded by people who are extremely passionate about their beliefs, but also not delusional!
It’s so true that confidence makes such a huge difference. My boss always had great confidence – I learned a lot from observing him in negotiations.