Here are ten ways highly influential people persuade people, according to science.

Hey there! By the time you finish reading this article, we’ll be able to convince you on how you should be a more persuasive person. Doubting our word? Continue reading.

Every successful person is extremely good at persuading other people. This is not manipulating nor pressuring, but genuinely building convincing arguments with logical and rational ideas to gain their agreement. Sounds right? And thinking of it that way, then everyone needs to learn how to convince and persuade others into accepting their ideas — whether its a corporate agenda, a new product or service, or simply talking it over with bae who should do the dishes. Kinda!

Dear friends, if we’ve not persuaded you enough already, then here are ten genuine and authentic persuasive tactics, according to science.



#1. Share Positive And Negative Sentiments

Sharing one or two opposing views is more persuasive than holding on an idea solely, according to professor Daniel O’Keefe of University of Illinois. The catch? People think your idea isn’t perfect, and you know that. They know there are different and opposing perspectives to your idea, and you have to address it. You’d have to discuss the potential negative issues, if you really want to convince your audience. People are more likely to be convinced by negative sentiments rather than positive ones. Speak in opposition to your own arguments, then later talk about why your idea is still worth it.



#2. Emphasize On Positive Conclusions

Which of these statements would likely convince you: given positive results for changing your behavior, or negative results. Most people will respond negatively to any opinion if they feel bullied or guilt into changing their behavior. If you wish for someone to change, convince them with the positive outcome rather than what would happen if they don’t. This will persuade them into seeing themselves in a place instead of what they would avoid.



#3. Always Take Bold Stands

We generally think being rational is always the best persuasive tactic, right? Not at all. According to research, people prefer cockiness to expertise; and it seems you’re more likely to assume that a confident person is well skilled. But even the most skeptical among us will be partly persuaded by someone’s level of confidence. Nonetheless. We’ll accept advice from a confident person, even if the odds of that advice is mediocre or having a poor track record.

Truth is, if you’re seeking to convince people, be bold; and stop pretending or hiding under your own fear of not being confident. Don’t say, “I think…” when you’re not sure of what you’re saying. If you strongly believe it will work, say it will work out, and if you strongly believe it won’t work, say it won’t. That’s how to persuade people. Being certain. Hold on to your opinions — even if the odds aren’t good. You show off a sense of enthusiasm, and the people who you seek to convince will be persuaded easily.



#4. Adjust The Rate Of Your Speech

Ever encountered a fast-speaking salesperson? And there’s a reason for that stereotype. Talking faster encourages your audience to pay attention, else they’ll miss out. However, this is not typical in any situation. One study found that speaking quickly gives your audience less time to form counter arguments against your opinions. This gives you a better chance at persuading them. 

On the other hand, speaking slowly gives your audience ample time to assess and evaluate your arguments. They will be able to chip in their own thoughts against yours. When combined, your logic together with their biases, will make them more likely to persuade themselves, inadvertently. Long story short, if you preach the word, speak slowly. If not, speak quickly. Just remember to control the pace of your speech.



#5. Start With The Small Wins

They say little drops of water makes a mighty ocean. The same applies with an agreement, and winning an argument takes time, winning step by step. Instead of making your final conclusion, begin with easy premises that your audience will agree with. Continue building their trust with each step until you finally do so — a sort of foundation for further agreement. Just like Newton’s … law of motion says, a body in motion tends to remain in motion, in as much as a nodding head tends nod in agreement.



#6. Often Swear (Not Always, But Occasionally)

Swearing? Like seriously! Swearing isn’t as bad as you think it is — only if its serving a good course, its okay. Uttering a few nasty words just to convey a sense of urgency to your team at work won’t cause much harm than you think. And, of course, what kind of a leader are you if you can’t yell out instructions to your team. Huh? Our word of caution: don’t over do it. Don’t! Be yourself if you never use swear words. Being authentic is more persuasive, but if you’ll let out a few harsh words to get your team running, feel free.



#7. Know Your Audience

Always know your audience. Don’t overcomplicate your message if your audience find it hard to understand your message. Speak to them as if you’re speaking with a child. Or as Albert Einstein puts it, if you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it well enough. So don’t push to win their agreement if their personal experiences will make them think otherwise.



#8. Know How They Prefer To Process Information, Especially

Knowing your audience is just the tip of the iceberg. How they process your information is what’s beneath the iceberg. If you’re communicating your ideas hoping that they agree with you in as much as you think you want them to, spoiler, they don’t think the same way as you do. They will immediately disagree with your ideas, and if you push for their immediate feedback, they will feel like you’re just trying to play a fast one on them. In their defence, they will stick to their status quo

So if you want them to agree, let them pause to marinate before they decide what they want. By doing so, you let them think as if they are in charge of the argument, not you. But you know what you’re up to, anyway. There are reasons why: one, it shows that you respect their personal values over your biases, two, it shows that you don’t want them to agree without their genuine interest, and most importantly, it gives them time to process your ideas the way they feel comfortable.



#9. Communicate With The Right Medium

Communication isn’t necessarily talking to someone. There are several ways of doing so. We’re even a medium, by the way. Factors that affect communication include gender differences, social differences, educational level, age differences, and a host of other factors, that when combined, makes it somewhat difficult to communicate with the right medium. Knowing your audience will help you out with this one.



#10. Finally, Make Sure You’re Right

Your positive and negative thoughts, your small wins, your speech rate, and your medium of choice, aren’t what you want to deliver. You want to be right, after all. So be precise, be concise, and go straight to your point. Your long speech is not going to win the day if you’re message isn’t right. A great persuader knows how to end an argument the right way.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Nov 20, 2021.

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