There are people who are very good at getting other people to do what they want, especially at work. So how do they do it?
You may be surprised to know that you probably already have the qualities you need to be persuasive. It doesn’t mean you have to be manipulative or a suck-up. Genuine persuasiveness is an important part of being successful.
Here are 12 secrets of the most successfully persuasive people. Do you recognize any of these qualities within yourself? What areas do you need to cultivate?
1. Know how to connect.
A large part of whether persuasion is effective is based on the general rapport between you and your client/colleague/co-worker. If you don’t know the person well, it’s imperative to start building this rapport immediately — find common ground as soon as possible and work cultivating a relationship.
2. Find other people’s sweet spots.
Persuasive people make it a point to know the people they are speaking to. They learn who they are and study their preferences. They would never give a high-board vision to a person who likes details, and they wouldn’t speak in declarative statements to a person who values collaboration. The more you pay attention to the sweet spots of others, the more you can tailor your message to their preferences.
3. Make a good impression.
Persuasive people know that making a good impression matters, because others will make a judgment about you within the first few seconds of meeting you. Persuasive people are aware that they must bring their best to every encounter.
4. Learn how to define needs.
Persuasive people know there has to be a need for what you are trying to sell or buy or get others to do. If there’s no need, it just won’t happen. Find an area that is missing something, then sell the needed improvement.
5. Develop emotional intelligence.
Persuasive people know how to manage their emotions. They stay calm in conflict, and they don’t get wrapped up in drama when things don’t go their way. They stay steady and calm, and this leads people to trust them.
6. Know how to dance.
Persuasive people know that if they want to exert influence, pushing hard rarely works as well as dancing. One step back, two steps forward, one step to the side, one step forward — progress requires a constant, graceful flow. Pushing forward just causes people to become defensive.
7. Be curious and inquisitive.
Persuasive people don’t come with all the answers, but they do come ready with questions. The gift of being curious is that you can always learn more than you already know — often you’ll glean as much from the questions as the answers.
8. Display confidence.
Confidence is always compelling and impactful in a way no other quality can match. The more you believe in what you do, the more positively others respond. Most people seek in others the same confidence they desire in themselves.
9. Know how to inspire.
Persuasive people understand that it’s human nature to want to fit in. When you empathize and connect on common ground, it reassures others and makes them feel they won’t be left behind, which makes them want to follow your lead.
10. Learn how to be a great storyteller.
Persuasive people know how to tell a captivating story. They know that others are more likely to buy into an idea when they have a compelling vision of what they are being sold.
11. Get personal.
Persuasive people learn names and use them in conversation. This shows respect and validates the person they’re speaking with.
12. Be authentic and genuine.
Last but maybe most important, persuasive people know the value of being genuine and authentic. When people believe you are who you say you are, they know that you’re not being manipulative or playing games, and they trust you all the more.
Don’t underestimate your own capabilities — you can learn what it means to be a persuasive person. Just do it with an authentic heart and genuine intention, and you’ll always be on the right side.