More Strategies for Persuasion

As I’ve previously admitted, I have been harping on the importance of working well with other people, but I’ve said only a little about effective ways of persuading them to join your team.

So I’ll take another crack at that right now:

It’s a New Dawn

Having someone tell us we’re flat-out wrong is one of the worst means of persuasion. For whatever reasons, the more adversity we face, the more deeply we dig in to defend our opinions and choices.

But when someone provides us with information that sheds light from a new angle on the situation at hand, it’s a very different matter. Here are some examples of persuasive information that can trigger a new dawn of thinking, feeling, and choosing:

  • If you to help me with this project, you’ll get extensive experience that will greatly enhance your prospects for getting on with your career.
  • This charity I’m soliciting for is highly rated by BBB Wise Giving AllianceCharity Navigator, and CharityWatch for spending the least on administration and the most on actual good works.
  • I want your help in making a tough decision because one of our mutual friends has more confidence in your analytical skills than anyone else’s.

One reason providing new information works so well is that it allows a person to change their mind without having to admit they were wrong. The new dawn effectively resets the landscape so people can gracefully make a different decision that’s more compatible with whatever you are asking.

Don’t Let It Be Personal

To the extent a person’s choices are tied up with his or her identity, getting persuaded of something different is roughly analogous to murder. For example, if the car I drive is important to how I see myself, you’ll never persuade me to buy a totally different vehicle.

So a helpful persuasive tactic is to find and highlight the gap between the person you’re trying to persuade and the choice you’re asking them to change. For example:

  • If a car’s mileage is more important to you than its price, you’ll be happy to hear this one ranks in the top two percent.
  • Because you’ve built your reputation on results, not simply following a formula, you’ll appreciate how well the method I’m suggesting has worked in the organizations that have tried it.
  • Although you’ve had success with vertically integrated teams in the past, you’ve also done well with other ways of operating.

Simply put, it’s far easier to persuade someone to change their mind than to change some part of their self-image.

Find Common Ground

One of the most overlooked reasons people disagree is they hold different beliefs and assumptions about the situation under discussion. For example, you may believe people buy your company’s products because of its pricing or thought leadership, while the person you’re trying to persuade may credit customers’ choices to the products’ styling or features.

Operating from different perspectives, you’ll steadfastly stalemate about how to move forward on a wide range of opportunities and challenges.

But you can often bridge at least some of these differences if you strive to find beliefs and assumptions you share, which might be the steadfast loyalty of your customer base or the attractive power of your company’s reputation for reliability and quality.

When you can both find seats on the same side of the figurative table, it becomes far easier for you to join forces, compromise, and work together toward any particular task, project, or goal.

Be Open to Persuasion

Although the main point here is persuading others, you may encounter situations where you’re on the wrong side of the argument. With today’s information landscape, it’s all too easy to pick and choose a portfolio of facts and analyses to support your subconscious preferences and beliefs.

The result: you heartily believe you’re right, but you could still be wrong.

So while you’re searching for persuasive new information, divorcing identities from ideas, and striving to build common ground with others, it’s important to remain open to having your own mind changed by the people you’re trying to persuade.

After all, the goal is not to score points and win the argument, but to participate in making the best possible choices in your work and your life.

Important: If this material resonated with you, please take a moment to forward it to someone you care about who might also benefit. If this material was forwarded to you, please click here for your free subscription and have me send future posts to you directly. In either case, please “stay tuned” to read more great stuff. Thank you in advance for helping fulfill my dream – of making all of us more productive and successful – by spreading this information free, far, and wide!

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