Everyone is in the persuasion business. Sometimes that persuasion is directed to other people. Sometimes it is inwardly directed to your self-talk. Persuasion can occur in a simple conversation with one or a few people, or it can be while speaking to an audience of 500 or more people, as part of your professional world or within your personal activities.
Persuasion is part of everyday reality and greatly determines the quality of your life and the success you achieve.
If you use persuasion to unfairly influence another per-son’s thought process, that could be called manipulation. When you seek a win/win situation, then persuasion is used as motivation. Be conscious of your intention as you explore this topic.
The ideas, methods, and techniques presented here will benefit you in the following ways:
• You will have better conversations.
• You will be more persuasive.
• You will have better business and personal relationships.
• You will handle difficult communication with ease.
• You will have more success, however you define it.
• You will have a great deal of fun listening to others and watching their body language.
Incorporate one idea or a few ideas into your life at a time. When you are ready, come back for more.
Listen actively when there is high emotion or the possibility of misunderstanding, when the person is important to you, or when you need the information they have. The better you listen and respond to others, the better they will listen and respond to you. The more attention you pay when someone else is talking, the more attention they will pay when you are talking. Here are ways to listen actively
Think of listening based on the ratio of having two ears and one mouth. Use them in that ratio. Listen twice as much as you speak.
Maintain eye contact. It shows others that you are paying attention.
Make notes. This will reinforce your memory. It is advisable to ask permission first in some situations. That permission is seldom refused. If you wish to take a tape recording, it is vital to ask permission.
Allow people to finish their own sentences no matter how enthusiastically you want to jump into the conversation. Doing so will indicate respect for what the person is saying.
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Get all the information that is available within a conversation so you will not jump to any false conclusions. Wait for the end of the sentence or end of the conversation to be sure this conversation is unique from any other that may sound similar to you.
Respond so the other person knows you are listening. Your response may be “Yes” or “I see” or merely nodding your head. Any of these will do.
Be accepting rather than judgmental so you can truly hear the message being given. Different accents, catch phrases, speeds of speech, and cultural generalizations can get in the way of hearing the actual message.
Ask questions when you do not understand something that was said. This goes a long way to building strong communication.
Ask core questions. That is typically a series of “why” questions that go deeper into a particular subject to gain the greatest understanding of a situation. Start with broad information and continue seeking more specific responses.
Pause before replying. Pausing will add power to what you say. It indicates you are giving a considered response, that you thought about it, that it is not just some answer you offer every time this question comes up.