Leadership 101: Mastering Your Persuasion Magic

Persuasion is a skill that comes in handy in many scenarios, whether it is to get an extension from a professor, to earn your dream job, or to convince the President of a country to give up nuclear weapons. Having influential prowess is a prerequisite to becoming a good leader; persuasion is a leader’s bait to fetching support. Explained below are a few psychological tactics that you may use to develop your persuasive skills.

Understand Your Audience

Before diving into a conversation with your audience, you must spend some time understanding them. Discern why they need to be convinced and what objections they may have. Understand their strong points; to be persuasive, you need to be like-minded and establish great rapport with them. Try getting the details of the person you’re trying to persuade – you may use these to start your conversation and get them interested.

Timing is Key

This is an aspect that is easily overlooked. You must approach your audience at the best time possible, when they are at ease. Mood plays a pivotal role in persuasion. The happier your listeners are, the easier your job will be in getting them onto your side. That’s why starting your conversation with a light topic (preferably a humorous one) is a great way to go. Research also shows people are most persuasive when they feel indebted. In other words, strike when they owe you one.

The Listening Game

Before you jump into your reasoning, you must take a moment to listen to people’s concerns. They might not match up exactly with your own beliefs, but never say “you are wrong”. Sympathize with them, understand how to agree with them, and make them feel comfortable. Appreciate their opinions and use the element of empathy to your advantage. This lays the foundation for the most important part of persuasion, your reasoning.

Framing Your Reasoning

The reason why I haven’t used the word ‘argument’ here is because it is tagged with negative connotations; you should not be authoritative while reasoning. Always put your listeners in context (people first, your ideas second); use a positive tone to elucidate how they would benefit from your ideas. Use logic, facts and, above all, confidence to support your statements. Make sure their worries and concerns are addressed here. You may even use anecdotes to pull the emotional strings of your audience for more impact. Frame your language accordingly to fit the context of your speech.

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