persuasive

Are you hoping to become more persuasive when you speak? Do you want to get others to buy into what you are sharing? If the answer is yes, you wouldn’t be alone.

A common reason people enter counseling is to gain assistance with communication skills. This is particularly true for folks working in sales and management, where dialogue is critical to success.

Being able to persuade others is an ability that takes time and effort. But with a little bit of work, you can dramatically increase this skill area.

What follows are 7 hacks for strengthening your communications skills with an eye on convincibility.

1. Know what you want

Before you do anything, it’s important to know exactly what you want. Your chances of selling an idea increase when you have clarified the goal in your mind (Dubrin, 2008).

The more committed you are at the outset of dialogue, the stronger you are as a persuader.

2. Always mention the benefit

If you are explaining a new policy to employees, always explain how that policy is beneficial. For example, if your company is changing its 401-K plan, tell employees how this helps them over the long term.

One thing to remember here is that people can detect BS. When you mention a benefit, make sure it’s tangible. Answer the question that most people want to know: What’s in it for me?

3. Anticipate objections

An effective aspect of persuading others is anticipating objections. By listing out how you think others might respond in advance, you’ll be better prepared and more convincing.

Assume a potential customer says, “I like this computer but I’m not sure it’s right for me.” An effective response would be, “What features do you like in this desktop?”

4. Use power phrases

Communication experts will tell you that to be persuasive, it’s important to use power phrases. That’s because they stir emotion and inspire.

Examples of power phrases include: bonding with customers, capturing customer loyalty, and repositioning for success.

5. Quantify when possible

You will become more persuasive when you back up your words with measurable data.

For example, if productivity was increased by 5% because of a policy change, make sure you say it.

One tip on this point: Don’t rely too much on data when conversing. Doing so can cause people to tune out. Instead, sprinkle it here and there.

6. Avoid wimp phrases

If you are involved with interactive group communications, be mindful of wimp phrases. These are statements that unintentionally make you look weak or indecisive.

Examples include: Don’t quote me on that and I’ll do my best to get it done.

Better responses might be: I need to check that and will have an answer to you by 5 pm and I’ll have the report completed by 10 am tomorrow.

7. Smile

This final tip is common sense but worth mentioning all the same. To be persuasive, it’s important to be likable. You don’t have to be a super charismatic.

But you will need to be approachable.

An easy way to do this is to occasionally smile. No need to force it. Instead, make it part of the organic flow.

By the way, smiling is a wonderful way to disarm negative responses.  Research suggests it also helps with the buy-in process.

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