by Jayaram V
People have their own beliefs and values which they form over
time. Hence, it is difficult to change their thinking and make them
you. However, with some effort you can persuade them to
say yes or see your ponit of view, at least
partially. Research in human behavior and social psychology
proves that in specific circumstances people change their
opinions and responses, even if they seem to contradict their
inner conditioning and established patterns of behavior. By
knowing it, you can improve your effectiveness and
likability. The following suggestions are based on actual
research done in this field. You can use them in your real life
as well as your business to improve your persuasive skills and
your chances of influencing people and changing their minds.
1. Let them know how your ideas worked in the past and how
people found them useful or effective in similar circumstances. Research shows that
people tend to follow other people's behavior especially if they
are more like them. We are conditioned to accept majority
opinion and follow what others find useful, convenient,
profitable and beneficial. This herd mentality is very
noticeable in what people do, the products they purchase, the
clothes they wear, the movies they watch and the trends they
2. Do not offer too many choices or options, when you are
trying to resolve a problem. Research shows that when more options
are offered to people, it tends to have a damaging effect upon
them, as it subjects them to confusion and discourages them from making
timely and effective decisions. With too many choices
people feel overwhelmed, suffer from anxiety, uncertainty
and frustration and withhold their decision.
3. Offering free products and services as part of a marketing
stratgey is a normal practice. However, research proves that
offering free gifts to push your ideas or promote your
products may not be a good idea if it is done carelessly without
letting the customers know the value they are getting for free.
Studies in this regard show that when free gifts are offered, their
value declines in the minds of the people as they may think that
since it has been offered for free it must be cheap or
useless. Therefore, if you want to give away a product or service
for free, make sure that they know its value or price in clear
4. If you want to push an idea, product or service, offer a
more expensive or difficult one first and present the one you want to push as
the alternative. Research shows that an option looks more
attractive and economical, even if it is expensive, when it is justexposed with a more
expensive or difficult one and people tend to feel comfortable choosing the
less expensive one as a
compromise even if it is somewhat overpriced.
4. Do not try to invoke fear to persuade people unless the
threat is real and you give them a clear and specific means of
reducing their fear or threat. Research proves that people
block out fear producing messages if they have not been provided
with effective remedial measures or specific plans to deal with
them. In other words, if you want to warn others about
some imminent threat or danger in doing or not doing something,
you must combine your message with a specific action plan to deal with it.
Otherwise, your message will be ignored or repudiated as people may block out the message
altogether or act as if it may not happen.
5. Cultivate a helping attitude. By helping others you
generate immense goodwill and create favorable impressions in
their minds about your or your business. Being generous and
helpful by going the extra mile brings you rich rewards in the
long run. People tend to
reciprocrate the good done to them. It rarely goes unnoticed. By helping people
especially those who make a difference to you or your business, you increase your
zone of influence and create more favorable opinions about
yourself and your business in their minds.
In the present day world, persuasive skills are very
important since you have to deal with many people and seek their
help and cooperation in various aspects of your life. If you are
in business or leadership positions, you need these skills even
more. We know that we cannot influence everyone we meet in our
lives or change their opinions. However, with effort and
following suggestions such as the above, we can make our way
through the maze of human relationships and interactions.
Source: Information in this article is based on the book "Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive,"by Noah J.Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B.Cialdini.
This book is exceptionally good, higly readable, practical
and very useful to those who are in the service industry and who
have to deal with customers and stakeholders on a regular basis.
You can use this link to purchase this book
Suggested Further Reading