Persuasion is easier to apply during a conversation between two people, as opposed to communicating in front of a group.
This is because in a person-to-person setting, the opportunity to better understand the point of view of the other party exists. You can nitpick and delve into every single detail, as opposed to speaking to an audience, where the interaction is usually one sided.
In this kind of setting, it is possible for you and the other person to reach a compromise that would bring the best probable value for both of you. You may even want to change your stance while you’re at it.
In short, person-to-person conversations are so open and flexible that it allows not just you to change course, but also allow you to alter another person’s mindset.
How do you get the most out of person-to-person interactions?
1) Have patience.
Persuasion may not happen on your first try – or even the second, the third, or the fourth. There are times that a certain idea has to be pondered on and assessed more deeply and critically, that to be too aggressive in getting acceptance might only ruin chances of a good deal.
We’ve been through this situation before. How many times have we been told, “If you try to push me one more time, I will have to turn you down”?
Effective persuasion requires skill, not annoying pushiness. If you are sensitive enough to know the symptoms of agreement or submission, you will be able to steer the conversation to a point where you have the opportunity to persuade.
If the other party doesn’t seem to be leaning toward your idea and his or her body language shows it, then you should know better to try at another time instead.
2) Stop yourself from rebutting too much.
One of the greatest mistakes of persuasiveness is your penchant to answer back and rebut. We often try to pretend to listen to another person’s idea, which we do not really agree to, when in fact, what we are doing is preparing for a rebuttal to his or her statements.
No matter how discreet you try to be at this, the other party will eventually notice that you are zoned out and will do the same to you when it’s your turn to give your ideas.
What ensues is a discussion that has two levels: one that is verbal and obvious, and one that is based on underlying meanings and subliminal banter. You may be able to prove your point and so will the other person, but nobody really wins.
Nobody can successfully persuade if the conversation is just based on a subliminal battle. When you’re trying to sell something, this will be your deal killer. In a friendship, this is what will burn bridges. This habit is very undesirable. Try to stop yourself every time you feel inclined to do so.
3) Be passionate.
To effectively persuade another person, you have to truly believe in what you are saying. Intellectual honesty and genuine concern for other people will give you that persuasive edge.
If you don’t feel passionate enough, the other party will notice it and will not be convinced. It’s not likely that you will be able to successfully sell an idea you have feel no passion about.
4) “Allow” others to persuade you.
You can’t be effective at persuasion if you are not open to being persuaded also. Remember, you’re not the only one who is trying to get your point heard. In a person-to-person setting, the other party is also seeking to win you over to his or her side.
5) Be generous with compliments.
People love to hear something nice about themselves. So find something praise-worthy about the person in question. It doesn’t have to be too profound.
People feel good about hearing compliments, so try to express your delight more freely. However, don’t over do it because that might cause them to doubt your sincerity; and more importantly, don’t sound like a crazy stalker.
In order to persuade, you must be sincere. Aside from that, you also need to effectively communicate your emotions and thoughts. You can do this not just by saying the right things, but also by employing the proper assertive behavior and body language. Thus, if you want to improve your persuasion skills, don’t be a drag. Be open-minded and show it.
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