How many times did you wish you could use the skill of persuasive communication in your personal or professional life?
Well, it’s your time to shine – here are some science-backed, super effective tips to master the art of persuasive communication.
1. Match the Body Language
Your body language is definitely a part of communication. Harder to read, as it might be at times, it’s still essential in getting the message across effectively.
For one, how you act has a strong impact on how others perceive you and how persuasive you are in delivering the message. If your arms are crossed across your chest, this means that you are not open in your communication, you are not welcoming to ideas or other people, for example. However, open arms show confidence and openness.
So, study the psychology of your body language and try to employ techniques that make you seem more confident and likeable.
Next, there are two techniques called mirroring and matching that have been proven helpful in persuasive communication.
Mirroring is when someone waves their left hand, for instance, and then you mirror their behavior and wave your right hand. This helps the other party feel more connected to you, even if it’s just subconsciously. Another way to achieve this is to match their moves. When they move their hand into their lap, you move your hand to your lap.
These techniques are effective but only as long as you are subtle in them. You don’t have to repeat their every move, but when you use it occasionally, it can be effective.
2. Be Direct
Beating around the bush may seem like a good idea – sort of how a magician primes his audience. However, this is not a good thing to do. For one, people get bored easily. If you wait too long before you tell them what you really want, it can have an opposite effect.
It’s okay to have a little intro into your subject before you begin talking, but keep it to a minimum. Be direct.
A good example of this is, “Hey boss, yesterday I got this great idea for increasing the conversions on our website. Would you be interested in hearing it?” instead of “Hey boss, remember yesterday when you gave me that assignment to redesign the CTA of our landing page and I did – as you asked – and then I had to take a look at other elements and then… (and so on until you get to the point.” Which one sounds better?
The first one sounds confident and genuinely helpful. You have their attention for a short amount of time and the first example makes every sentence count. The second example sounds insecure, scared, and the other party loses interest quickly. Not good if you want to master the art of persuasive communication. So, make sure you are always direct – no need for a hefty backstory.
3. Use Persuasive Words
There are certain words in every language that sound more confident, trustworthy and persuasive. While you don’t have to know them by heart and insert them into every sentence you say, using them occasionally and where naturally appropriate can definitely benefit you.
For instance, adverbs weaken our point. “Talking quietly” is the same as “whispering”, but you can actually see someone whispering while it’s harder to pinpoint what talking quietly really means. You can see someone “stab” a straw into the juice box, but “poking swiftly is elusive.
Questions that start with “what, why, when, where” and so on are better than “would, should, are, is” and so on because the first group gives them more space to answer and doesn’t limit or pressure them in any way. The most persuasive words in English are you (or the person’s name), because, free, instantly and new.
4. Be Confident
People can sense when someone is not confident. It’s in your posture, in your words and in your behaviour. So, if you are not confident about your idea, why should they trust you?
Your insecurity translates to them and you lose your chances right then and there. If you are confident, the other party senses this as well and they automatically become more receptive to your ideas. You also look like an authority when you are confident. People are naturally inclined to respond to authority.
5. Take a Strong Stand
Similarly to being confident, taking a strong stand makes people feel like what you believe is true. We naturally assume that confidence equates skill and expertise.
If you want to take advantage of persuasive communication, stop using words like “I think” or “I believe”. If you think that something will work, say that it will work.
This study confirms that people prefer confidence over expertise and that even the most skeptical ones can be partly persuaded by a confident speaker. People also forgive bad results if you are confident and would gladly take advice from a confident person.
6. Win Some Battles Before You Win a War
Getting people to agree with you for a few times before you make your main point could be a deal-breaker for you. Research shows that getting people to agree with you has an enduring effect.
Before you jump to the end of your argument – or rather, instead of it – try setting a few arguments or premises you know that your audience will agree with. People agreeing to those simpler terms will later agree with other terms easier. If you were right about the first few, how wrong can you be with your final statement, right?
7. Be Authentic
People prefer agreeing with people who are genuinely themselves. So, throw in a little personality into your argument. For instance, swear if that’s what you do. Not in the sense of offending someone but more just for the sake of cursing.
For example, say, “We need to pull it together right freaking now” or “How the hell are we supposed to do that?” While it may seem unprofessional, it’s effective. It has a humorous effect and it relaxes people. Throw in some other personality elements as well and see how it works.
8. Adjust Your Approach
Before you can persuade them, you need to know them. Understand what makes your audience tick, what they want and how they make decisions. Do they like to think about it? Or do they respond instantly?
If you are dealing with someone who needs to think about your proposal or argument, pressuring them to respond right away can only result in them saying no because status quo is better than the uncertainty of this new thing you are proposing. If you are dealing with an audience that makes decisions easily, you can pressure them without risks.
Persuasive communication is all about being yourself, being confident and knowing when and what to say to whom. Hopefully, these tips will help you develop and use the skill of persuasive communication.
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