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Being persuasive often gets a bad reputation as a skill as most people associate it with being manipulative, but this isn’t the case. Having the ability to persuade someone is not only an excellent way of making connections but it can be a fantastic tool to help boost your business. It’s so valued in fact that a Global Talent Trends 2019 report by LinkedIn placed Persuasion as the second most sought-after soft skill for companies. Now that you know it’s time to perfect your persuasion and read on for advice on how to be more persuasive.

The rule of reciprocity

This isn’t promoting a sneaky ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ way of thinking, but instead places importance on treating others with respect. While people may often want to help you out if you’ve helped them out previously, don’t do nice things for people just with the intention of getting something back. Treat everyone you associate with, work with or just meet through networking with respect and if you can help someone out with advice or assistance do, this will show that you’re a helpful person and make a positive impact on them.

Building blocks

One of the most important things you need to know in your quest of how to be more persuasive is that you can’t just rush into it. If you try to persuade someone who clearly isn’t interested you’ll come across as pushy or worse forceful. People are primarily interested in themselves so don’t sell them a notion that only focusses on you and what you want. Listen to people, find out their interests and opinions to establish trust and a good relationship and then when they are interested in what you have to say you can talk to them about something that would benefit you both.

Catching flies with honey

Everyone loves a compliment but just like the rule of reciprocation, don’t give them out if you’re not sincere and just want something for yourself. People are more likely to be persuaded by someone they actually like and so if you praise someone for work they’re doing or a successful project they’ve completed they will warm to you and listen to what you have to say.

Know your audience

Sometimes it’s not that people aren’t buying what you’re selling just to be difficult, but because your approach is wrong for them. If you know the person you want to convince, for example your boss, you should take a look at their decision making style. Are they a spur of the moment deal maker or do they like time to reflect and consider? When you’ve got an idea of how they like to process information you can tailor your tactic to suit them.
Be enthusiastic for fast thinkers and express how valuable you feel your idea could be in the immediate future, or give ponderers time by saying ‘I’d like your thoughts on this, so if you’d like to mull it over for a day or two and get back to me I’d appreciate that.’

Keep it simple stupid

Want to know another way how to be more persuasive? Make sure what you’re trying to convey is easy to understand. Remember the KISS principle – keep it simple stupid and look at your usual persuasion approach. If it’s full of technical jargon that would confuse most people chances are it may not work. Terminology has its place, but most people like to be spoken to and not feel like they’re being lectured by someone more superior to them.
Try a more conversational approach the next time you want to discuss something and don’t beat around the bush with ‘possibly,’ ‘potentially’ or ‘probably.’ Be clear and concise without being demanding and you’ll find people may listen to you more.
Want to check out our other great advice on everything from staying happy in a job to how to resolve conflicts at work? Our blog is updated twice a week and full of fantastic tips and tricks!