Learn the Art of Persuasion in Everyday Life

Persuasion isn’t just for salespeople. You’re influencing others all the time. You might be influencing your kids to do their homework or an employee to spend his Saturday working. When you can influence others effectively, you can get more done and life is easier.

Use time-tested techniques to influence the people in your life:

1. Understand reciprocity. There are few psychological phenomena better documented than the idea of reciprocity. In a nutshell, people are more likely to do something for you after you’ve done something for them. We tend to return favors.

2. Ask nicely. Saying “please” can get you further than you might think. Avoid acting as if you’re deserving of assistance. Ask nicely and say “thank you” afterwards.

3. Tell the truth. It’s easier to influence others when you’re willing to be honest. It’s very challenging to lie successfully, especially to those that know you well. Honesty is often rewarded.

4. Do what you can on your own. We’re more likely to give assistance to those who are working hard. It’s easier to feel compassion for someone that’s already doing everything they can to help themselves.

5. Treat others with kindness. We like to go along with those we admire and respect. We resist those that we view as unkind. You’re presented with countless opportunities each day to be a pleasant and helpful human being. Take advantage of them. People will be more easily influenced by you.

6. Tell them what’s in it for them. People are wondering, “What’s in it for me?” most of the time. It’s wonderful when people are willing to do your bidding out of the goodness of their hearts, but be realistic. If there’s a benefit to the other person, make it known.

7. Smile. Studies have shown that smiles open doors. Smile, and people are more likely to respond positively. You’ll feel better, too. Smile at the beginning of any interaction, unless inappropriate.

8. Seek agreement. Find common ground. If you can get the other person to agree to several of your statements or ideas, they’ll be more likely to agree to your primary request. Understand what the other party wants and needs. Find similarities between you and the other party.

9. Compliment them. A few sincere compliments can appeal to the ego. Make the other person feel good, and they’ll be more likely to make you feel good in return. Avoid getting carried away, but a simple compliment can be powerful.

10. Timing is everything. Would you ask your spouse for a big favor when you come home two hours late from your golf outing? Unlikely. There’s a time and place for everything. Be wise.

11. Be reasonable. It’s a lot easier to borrow a dollar than it is to borrow a million. Keep your request reasonable, and it will likely be granted. If you want something big, be prepared to provide something big.

Influencing others is a learnable skill. Those with good skills have an easier path through life. Persuasion skills can be applied at work, home, in all relationships, and even to interactions with strangers. Some people are seemingly born with the ability to lead and influence others. The rest of us have to learn. Now is the perfect time to get started.

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