JS Tip 237: From the Personal Communication Workshops: Persuading Others

Persuasion is identifying the other person’s interests and serving those interests.

For example.

It’s eleven-thirty at night. Your eight-year-old is bouncing on the couch. This is the sixth time you’ve asked him to go to bed.

“That’s it. Young man, if you’re not in bed in one minute, I’m taking away your vegetables!”

Whoa. You laughed out loud at this.

Taking away his vegetables won’t work. He doesn’t like vegetables. (He gets a double-bonus: he doesn’t have to go to bed and he doesn’t have to eat his vegetables.) You’ve mis-identified his interests.

What are his interests? What does he value?

Probably electronics. Probably his Xbox.

You rethink. You revise.

“That’s it. Young man, if you’re not in bed in one minute, I’m taking away your Xbox.”

He bounces off the couch. He bounces into his bedroom. He bounces into his bed. He pretends to snore. You’ve persuaded him to go to bed.

How might this work in business?

The CEO values money: “The new system can save you thousands of dollars a month.”

The director values time: “You’ll get your product to market faster with this new system.”

The new guy wants to make a good impression: “If we can pull this off, we’ll give you full credit.”

Integrity and honesty are critical. Never make promises you can’t keep. But you can tailor your approach to the other person’s interests. You’ll be more successful that way.

Next week, we’ll talk about how to identify the other person’s interests.

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