The Art of Persuasion

That sounds nice doesn’t it. Art is peaceful and serene. Persuading people to do what you need or want them to do peacefully. Yeah – so how exactly do we do that?

Persuasion means getting people to do something or believe something you want them to do or believe. It means getting them to agree with you so that some end you have in mind will be accomplished.

Whether you are trying to persuade people to vote a certain way or do some job you need them to do or to purchase whatever it is you are selling, if you can persuade people to help you, your life will be made easier.

The problem is, you can’t make people think the way they want or do the things you want them to do. People are autonomous; they can disagree if they want. Withhold help if they feel like it and work against you if they feel like it. You can’t force them to do anything.

This is why learning how to persuade people to see your point of view – is such a useful life skill. The goal of persuasion is to convince people to see your point of view without them fighting you.

First, you can only really do this if what you want them to do or think makes sense.  If you want people to do or think things they think are stupid, you aren’t going to persuade them of anything, which is why the first thing you need to do is make sure that what you think you know is actually so. It’s amazing how many people just assume they are right and then try to bash other people over the head.

Here’s a clue, if you have to argue your point, you might not have a point. So, if you want to persuade people and are having difficulty, don’t argue with them. Find out why they are resistant to your ideas instead. They probably have REALLY good reasons for resisting you.

If you don’t ask questions and just assume that they aren’t agreeing with you because, they are stupid, all you are doing, is proving to them how stupid YOU are instead. There is nothing so infuriating as someone who thinks they are right but who is actually totally wrong totally not getting it. Don’t do this to people. If they aren’t agreeing with you find out why and ACTUALLY LISTEN to what they tell you. Learn from them. If you don’t do this don’t be surprised if you not only fail to persuade them of your cause, but that you actually turn them away as well.

After you ask questions, probe further. Keep asking. Find out what it is they need and want to accomplish and then ask them why they think their way will work. And if it turns out, through guided inquiry that what they think will work won’t, you can then help them figure out a better way to accomplish their objectives, and by the way – that might help you accomplish your objectives at the same time.

That – is the art of persuasion. And you can’t do it manipulatively. I mean, you can try, but smart savvy people won’t ever buy in with you so you will only be persuading gullible people and they usually aren’t too helpful when it comes to problem solving.

Want to learn more about how to persuade without arguing – take my course – how to win arguments without arguing – the art of socratic jujitsu. 

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