Like what’s going on among the dozens of Republican [and Democrat] presidential candidates right now. Wednesday night’s “debate” was a nice display of serious attempts to be persuasive by people with extensive experience in this.
Persuasive people get what they want more often. Sometimes they get to be president of the U.S. You have a natural advantage on the persuasion spectrum if you can check off any of these qualities.
The more you can check off, the more persuasive you already are.
- You’re often complimented on your looks. People sometimes ask you if you’re a model or actor.
- You are tall.
- You are charismatic, which means you have a nice combo of personal warmth, power (the ability to affect others) and presence (people notice when you enter the room.)
- You own the company or are in top management or have some sort of high rank.
- You are quite chatty.
- You are famous.
- You are a billionaire.
[Interesting aside: U. S. presidents have a lot more left handers in their ranks than in the population at large. So lefties have some sort of magical persuasion powers.]
So these tips are for the rest of us, the witty-but-obscure non-billionaires of average height, not magazine-cover attractive and less well connected. The best part is persuasion can be learned. Even introverts who are not naturally motivated by winning people over can cultivate these simple hacks to be more persuasive.
First, persuasion is largely domain specific. So you may listen to Ralph for technical details on the project, but not look to him for direction in personal style. I mean, who even looks to Kanye for investment advice?
In what context would you like to be more persuasive? These tips are geared to being more persuasive at work. Most of them work at the subconscious level, as our somewhat lazy brains constantly work off shortcuts and these tips leverage that.
1. Never speak badly of others.
If others start bashing someone in a conversation with you, either change the subject or bring up a really good quality of the person being dragged through the mud. Your message will be taken. Eventually. Pointless criticism (not the constructive type) downgrades your persuasiveness,
2. Dress up.
Research overwhelming supports the influence of status symbols, as superficial as they are. If you wear classy clothes of excellent quality without obvious branding, you become more persuasive.
Yes, even well-dressed nincompoops are more persuasive than those not satorially-blessed.
3. Stand up straight.
Good posture exudes confidence. If you act confidently, people assume you do so with good reason.
4. Be more visible. (Read THIS for more details.)
Power derives from proximity. You have to be noticed in a positive way to be more persuasive.
5. Pay it forward.
Psychologists call this the Reciprocity Rule. The best part is this hack it is not person specific. Don’t look for people who can help you, look for people you can help and lend a hand. Turns out good karma makes you more persuasive.]
[Note: Pope France and the Dalai Lama are amazing karma experts and see how persuasive they are!]
6. Don’t try to be perfect.
Perfect isn’t persuasive; real, competent and confident is. Pretending you’re perfect only annoys us. Making fun of yourself from time to time builds your cred. Remember this any time you’re tempted to plaster on a fake smile.
7. Use the testimony of others.
Make sure you’re saving emails that praise your work. Mine are filed under “Raves.” Not only does looking over these help you when you’re banging your head against the wall; these comments come in handy when you can say, “Actually Helga agreed with my proposal… I can show you the email if you want.” You probably won’t ever show these to people, unless it’s expedient in a performance review, but just having them where you can access them is helpful.
8. Seek common ground with others.
When it’s a moment of [dreaded] idle chit chat, like before the meeting starts, look for shared interests or things in common with people. People like people who are like them and we are more persuaded by people we like. This doesn’t mean you have to have dinner with everyone, just build the bridge whenever you have the opportunity.
9. Pause before answering a question.
Of course not if you are being asked to pass someone a pen. That is not the most opportune time for a powerful pause. But when asked about almost anything else, silently count to 3 before answering. That shows extreme confidence and thoughtfulness.
More on the power of the pause HERE.
10. Match the body language of the person you want to persuade.
Most of the time this happens automatically. If Ms. Big Shot has her legs crossed, you can do the same. Or cross your arms. Or see if this is already happening. It’s just another shortcut our brain relies on to establish that another person is trustworthy.
For a great Body Language exercise, click HERE.
11. Match the speaking speed of the person you want to persuade.
This is a finesse technique of adapting your language and message to your target audience, the basic key to communication excellence.
You probably already practice some of these 11 World Domination Hacks. See which tip most strikes your fancy and practice it and see how fast you move toward world domination. Don’t forget — Mixonian Institute knew you before!
Laura Mixon Camacho, PhD, is obsessed with communication as a tool for building bridges and careers. She believes all conversations should be carried out with style and enthusiasm. And a presentation is just a special sort of conversation. Laura facilitates interactive, fun communication workshops and she does private one-to-one coaching. She is the go-to coach if you want to improve your communication skills so that you can move your business or career forward with more confidence, more impact and less stress. Contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.