To ensure your success when persuading people, and help propel longevity in a career where you must be persuasive, you must take the time to analyze your actions and constantly work towards improving yourself. These ten tips will help you continue to build the foundation beneath your career as a public speaker, as a salesperson, as a small business owner, and as a professional in many other vocations as you work towards a long, prosperous career.
From Successful Persuasion Through Public Speaking, a book by John Hayes, Zig Ziglar introduces ten concepts for us to consider that will ensure success if followed. These tips are primarily for people who work in fields where they interact with their clients, such as salespeople or public speakers, but can be applied to most any profession or work relationship where persuasion is employed.
1. Don’t dictate
People are naturally curious. When you tell someone that your way of thinking is the right way of thinking, they are instantly going to be apprehensive about believing you. It is incredibly important to never attempt to dictate the thoughts and ideas of other people because that will immediately put them on the defensive and make it much less likely that you will convince them of anything. To ensure success when persuading people, don’t dictate.
2. Convince people you are correct
To reach success when persuading people, you must do exactly that: persuade. Convince people that your idea is correct, that it is the right way to think. In his interview with Hayes, Ziglar told the story of Aristotle and Galileo – a prime example of the power of persuasion.
“Many years ago Aristotle made the statement that two weights of the same material would fall at different rates of speed and the larger, heavier one would hit the ground first. This was taught at the University of Pisa. However, many years later a young philosopher named Galileo said that was untrue—that if they were of the same material they would fall at the same rate of speed. He was challenged to prove it. He went to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, dropped two weights different in size but made of the same material, and they hit the ground at exactly the same time. He had convinced everyone there that he was right. However, guess what happened? They continued to teach what Aristotle had said many years before because Galileo had convinced them but he had not persuaded them.”
Ziglar’s story is especially important when learning how to find success when persuading people because it shows how a scientific experiment was not believed to be true because he did not convince people he was correct. You should not convince people. Never assume the facts will do the work for you.
3. Convince people your advice is good
Additionally, “In the world of speaking, sometimes you have to convince people that your position is right, that the advice you have given is good.” You must get people to also understand that what you are saying is good. Sometimes an audience will understand what you are saying is correct, but they still may not buy into the quality of actually implementing the advice you give them. Sure, they know they should work out every day if they want to become more fit… but is that really good advice when they have such pressing matters at home and work that take up their time? If you don’t convince them that their health is more important than their finances, if you don’t convince them that they need to maintain their wellness to maintain balance in their life – they may not ever take action, despite agreeing that your advice is correct.
4. Take a walk in their shoes
Sometimes, in order to get people to “personally adopt and buy into the concept and use it in their own lives,” we need to see the world from their point of view. Ziglar uses an example of a chess match to show how this works, saying that in chess it is often seen that chess masters “will frequently move from their own side of the chess board to the opponent’s side and look at the board from the other’s perspective.” This can be employed in the world of persuasion as well. “It’s true everything is in plain sight, but something seems to happen when they move to the other side and see their own board as their adversary sees it.” To understand where your prospect’s life is currently sitting, and to understand their frame of mind, you have to open yourself up and put yourself in their shoes. “We need to look at things from their side.” It is vital to “better [be] able to plan… strategy” when persuading others.
5. Give a reason