How to Persuade People

VIEWS: 180,186 PAGES: 7

More Info
									21 SIMPLE WAYS TO
By Jason Nazar

                                                                               Edited/Designed by Rochelle Bailis

The Purpose of Persuasion
     This is a brief but important lesson on how to      universities to elect me student body president, both
persuade people. The ability to persuade can             in undergraduate and business school.
enhance many aspects of your life, from business to           For a brief period of time after college I was
your personal relationships.                             actually a stage hypnotist, and became certified in
     My goal is not only to help you get what you        something called neuro-linguistic programming. I
want, but help other people get the things they need     use the skills I gained during this period of my life to
and want from you. True persuasion facilitates better    better understand how human beings motivate one
human interaction, bargaining and reciprocity.           another to do things.
     I've always been fascinated by the way political,        After graduating, I launched DocStoc and raised
business, religious leaders and other influential         a few million dollars to expand it in spite of never
people are able to persuade so many people to follow     having raised money before. Now DocStoc is one of
them. I have studied the art of persuasion for years,    the top 500 most trafficked sites on the internet, and
and have integrated it in my daily life.                 we are profitable.
     When I was a teenager I used to volunteer for a          This wasn’t magic, it came from my own
crisis hotline counseling people that were on the        motivation, and my ability to convince others to help
brink of suicide, helping persuade them to take a        me, to invest in me, to believe in me. I’d like to share
step back and reconsider their choice.                   lessons in persuasion I’ve developed over my lifetime,
     In spite of being pretty unpopular in school, I     in the hopes that you can use them to achieve your
convinced the population of two different                goals as well.
                                                                                1.       Persuasion is
                                                                                         not Manipulation

                                                                                     This is a misconception that I’d
                                                                                  like to dispel right off the bat.
                                                                                  Persuasion is not a skill that allows
                                                                                  you to force people to do what they
                                                                                  don’t want to.
                                                                                    It’s about helping people make
                                                                                  decisions, and assisting them in
                                                                                  accomplishing things that are in your
                                                                                  mutual interest. If you believe in the
                                                                                  benefit what you are pushing, it
                                                                                  should not require coercion.

  2.       Persuade
           the Persuadable                                         3.       Context and Timing
                                                                      Everyone is persuadable at some point, and the two
    Everybody is persuadable, but not at any given time.
                                                                   most critical factors for setting up the right moment are
    Think of a political campaign; if you're a Democrat
                                                                   context and timing. These two circumstances define your
 running for office, you won’t try to persuade Republicans
                                                                   interaction with an individual, and determine whether
 to vote for you. You will go for that middle ground, and
                                                                   or not they’ll be more easily persuaded.
 appeal to the persuadable “swing” voters. In the end about
                                                                      These two variables are what magicians count on to
 10% of the voting populace decides the leader of the free
                                                                   make their tricks believable. They set the ambiance of
 world. Those are the people you try to sway.
                                                                   their stage, and control the timing of how their tricks are
    Some people are more persuadable than others, and
 about certain things. But with the right timing and context,
                                                                      I also know from experience that these two elements
 everybody is persuadable at some time or another.
                                                                   are the reason stage hypnosis shows work. The power of
                                                                   context and timing allowed me to stand in front of a
                                                                   large audience, pull people on stage, and within 15

                                                                   minutes have the biggest, burliest guy think he was
            You have to be                                         giving birth to a baby.
            Interested to be Persuaded                                That would not work if I just stood outside of a
                                                                   supermarket and said, "Hey, who wants to get
    One of the biggest mistakes that we all make is assuming          It worked because people came to a hypnosis show
people are interested in what we have to say. Most of the time     expecting a specific experience. They were in the right
they aren’t, trust me. When they seem interested, it’s only        state of mind and place, and this made all the difference.
because they’re waiting for you to stop talking so that they can
    That’s because the thing that everybody cares about most,
is themselves. Your goal then, should be to listen closely, and
                                                                   “      If you learn to talk to people
internalize what they want. If you learn to talk to people                about what they want and how
about what they want, what they need, and how you can fulfill              you can fulfill their needs, you
those needs, you will have their full attention.
                                                                          will have their attention.
5.      Reciprocity Compels                                       6.       Compliment Sincerely

   On an evolutionary level, we have grown, survived                The trick to persuasion is not to be a sycophant and lay it
and flourished as a species by helping one another.               on thick. People will not only see through this, they will end
Humans developed the instinct to abet each other so              up distrusting you.
that we’d have a helping hand when we needed it.                    Your compliments should be sincere, and come from
   So if I do my best friend a favor, he will feel               genuine feeling. I’ve found that the most effective way to
compelled to return that favor. The real genius,                 commend people is to compliment them for the things they
however, comes from using the power of reciprocity to            are the most insecure about.
get an even bigger favor in return.                                 Telling a gorgeous woman that she’s beautiful won’t be as
   For example, in business there are plenty of people           meaningful as telling her that she’s smart. Telling a really
I could reach out to who wouldn’t respond because                smart guy he’s inventive won’t affect him as much as saying
they are too busy or influential to give me the time of           he looks handsome.
day. One of the ways I’ve counteracted this problem is              Really stop and evaluate how many compliments you give
by hosting dinners over the last couple years where I            away in the course of the day, and make an effort to increase
gather a group of CEO’s and business founders. I                 those. Don’t force them, but look for qualities you admire in
would often invite a big law or accounting firm (who              people, and don’t be afraid to point them out. The most
would often pay for the dinner), and some people I’ve            persuasive
worked with in the past.                                         people I’ve
   The people who know me would speak highly of                  ever known
me, while the fresh business leaders would get a free            very
meal and feel indebted to me for this great food and             sincerely
networking experience. A $50 plate of food bought                find a way
me a ticket to communication, a guarantee this person            to
wouldn’t ignore my email down the line.                          compliment
   In fact, more often than not, helping people                  others on a
without any expectations compelled them to go great              very
lengths to assist me, far beyond my original gesture of          consistent
kindness.                                                        basis.

 7.      Persistence Pays

    My favorite story about persistence is that of Abraham Lincoln. Many
people don’t know this, but Abraham Lincoln lost eight different elections
before becoming president. He also suffered greatly in his personal life; his
mother died when he was only 9, his first love died of typhoid, his sister
died in her early 20’s, and he lost three of four of his sons before they
reached adulthood. To top it all off, two of his businesses completely failed.
   In spite of what today seem like unimaginable trials, he managed to get
back on his feet again and again, and continue running for office until he
became a president who changed history. He may not have persuaded
people to vote for him the first few times, but his persistency demonstrated
his ardor and dedication to his country.
8.      Set Expectations

   This contributes to your ability to control the context
and timing of a situation. The entire movie Life is
Beautiful is a touching example of how a father manages
to shield his son from the horrors of the holocaust by
managing his expectations.
   In business, I use the power of expectations to
maintain a great relationship with my board. I make a
financial projection and maintain those revenue
expectations for my team, but tell my board we’ll
accomplish 20% less.
   Let’s say I promise $70 million in revenue and deliver
$50 million, versus promising $40 million and
delivering that same $50 million. The number hasn’t
changed, but I become more trust-worthy for simply
setting the right expectations.

  9.        Don’t Assume                                             10.          Create Scarcity

   The best sales advice I ever got was not to make assumptions        Objects beyond basic necessities, such as food and
 about what someone can pay for.                                    shelter, only have value relative to what people want.
   Try not to judge people at first glance. Too many salespeople     Objects that are scarce always have the most value,
 assume somebody doesn’t have the money for their product,          and people naturally desire them more.
 and won’t spend time persuading that person.                          The first example that comes to mind will be
   Even people who don't have much money will find money for         relatable to those of you who are or have been single.
 the things they want. If you believe in your product, service or   Think about what happens when you meet a guy or
 idea, present it with confidence. Don't make an assumption of       girl in a bar who you feel somewhat ambivalent
 what someone needs or doesn't need, let them decide.               about, and the person wants to exchange numbers.
                                                                    You’re not particularly interested, but maybe you’ve
                                                                    had a couple drinks, and you oblige.

    “      Even people who don't have
                                                                       Maybe a few days later, when you’re feeling bored
                                                                    or lonely, you text this person. Of course, you
                                                                    immediately regret this decision. You didn’t even like
           much money will find money for                            this person, and now you’re leading them on.
                                                                       And then an hour goes by, then two, then three…
           the things they want. If you                             and you start wondering why the heck this person
           believe in your product, service                         isn’t texting you back. A few hours ago you regretted
           or idea, present it with                                 even reaching out, and suddenly all you can think
                                                                    about is hearing back.
           confidence. Don't make an                                    Maybe you finally get a response; the person’s
           assumption of what someone                               phone was dead, but they’re very excited to hear from
                                                                    you and are interested in meeting up. Suddenly, the
           needs, let them decide.

                                                                    scarcity has vanished, and so has your interest. People
                                                                    want what they can’t have, or must work for.
 11. Create Urgency                                                                       13.        Truth Tell

   Creating a sense of urgency can completely transform how somebody sees                    Oftentimes, telling people
an idea. When DocStoc was looking for venture deals three years ago, I                    what they want to hear is the
pitched to dozens of VC’s to no avail. It wasn’t until we got the first term sheet         best way to persuade them.
that four other VC's immediately put out an offer to match it. Suddenly there             However there are
was buzz around DocStoc, and people realized that if they wanted to be a part             circumstances when you can
of this round they needed to jump in quickly.                                             persuade people by telling them
   The most successful people I know create a heightened sense of urgency                 something nobody else will.
around things, so that people feel like, if they don’t jump on it, the opportunity        This honesty can sometimes be
will be lost forever.                                                                     the trick to inspiring
                                                                                          confidence, to set people off
                                                                                          balance and sway them in
                                                                                          another direction.

12.          Images Matter
                                                                                             The most simple example of
                                                                                          this is the children’s fable, The
                                                                                          Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone
                                                                                          in the crowd was a sycophant,
                                                                                          and went on about how
  The way you present things matters. This is true of business pitch decks,
                                                                                          beautiful and intricate the
interviews and so much more. My favorite example, however, is
                                                                                          emperor’s clothing was. It
pharmaceutical commercials.
                                                                                          wasn’t until one child told the
  These commercials calmly list off a long list of horrible side effects, while
                                                                                          truth, and said "The Emperor
showering you with images of a happy family going for a hike, a man fishing
                                                                                          has no clothes," that everybody
with his grandson, a beautiful couple laying on a tropical beach… and
                                                                                          started laughing and cheering.
suddenly the side effects just don’t seem as bad. The perfectly crafted images of
                                                                                          That one, powerful outburst of
people enjoying life are what linger in people’s minds.
                                                                                          truth-telling persuaded
  Be deliberate in the image you put forward when attempting to persuade
                                                                                          everybody to switch their
someone, that’s what will be burned in their brain long after the facts subside.
                                                                                          opinions and beliefs.

“                                                                     14.            Build Rapport
      When you’re talking to                                            Everyone naturally likes people who are similar to
      someone you naturally match                                     them. When you discover a shared point of interest,
                                                                      background or connection with somebody, you relate
      their speech and body language                                  to them and like them a little more.
      to some degree. Focusing on                                       In fact, science has demonstrated that we all have a
      improving this ability builds a                                 subconscious desire to bond and reflect those around
                                                                      us. Human have a neuro-linguistic instinct called
      subconscious rapport with the                                   matching and mirroring, where we develop patterns in
      person you’re interacting with.                                 how we talk, speak and hold ourselves based on those
                                                                      around us.
      They see a bit of themselves in
                                                                        In fact, when you're having a one-on-one
      you and instantly feel more at                                  conversation with somebody, you naturally match their
      ease. In this state, they are                                   speech and body language to some degree. Focusing
                                                                      on improving this ability builds a subconscious rapport
      more likely to be persuaded.

                                                                      with the person you’re interacting with. They see a bit
                                                                      of themselves in you and instantly feel more at ease. In
                                                                      this state, they are more likely to be persuaded.
15. Behavioral
                                           16. Learn to Energy 17.
                                                                                                  Clearly is Key

   The person with the most power                Have you ever been talking to                The best example of
isn’t necessarily the one in control,         somebody, and felt like they weren’t         communicating clearly is Ronald
but the one with the most behavioral          fully present in the conversation?           Reagan. I used to watch his
flexibility.                                   Maybe their attention slipped, or            speeches, and my mother told me
   If you have children, you’ll               they don’t quite understand your             to pay close attention to the way
understand how this works. Parents            train of thought. Talking to                 he spoke. He had a gift for
often forbid their children from doing        someone in this state is draining,           speaking to the masses because
things, but end up caving in. Why?            and saps you of energy and                   he spoke in very clear and simple
Because kids are great at crying,             enthusiasm.                                  terms, and this garnered trust.
bargaining, pouting, throwing fits,               On the other hand, when                      Remember, if you can't explain
putting on the charm, being cute …            someone is empathetic, maintaining           your idea or concept to a fifth
they test out every single behavior           eye contact and reiterating what             grader and have that fifth grader
possible to achieve the end result they       you tell them, you feel invigorated.         relay the idea to his or her friends
desire. And it often works, not               If you learn to carry enthusiasm             clearly, you’re explaining it too
because they have the power, but the          and transfer this energy to others,          complexly.
most behavior flexibility.                     you can more easily persuade them.

 18.          Being Prepared
              Gives you the Advantage

   There is a fantastic book called Talent is Overrated, where Geoffrey Colvin argues that the idea of “natural born talent” is
 a myth. He explains how some of the most accomplished people throughout history, such as Michael Jordan, Mozart and
 Tiger Woods, weren’t simply born with an amazing gift as people suspect. They all had an incredibly disciplined and
 systematic approach to practice, at a level most people simply don’t have the dedication to maintain.
   Meticulous preparation is a huge part of success, and helps you compose the context of a situation so it’s move favorable
 to persuading people.
19. Detach and Stay
    Calm in Conflict                                   20. Use Anger Purposefully
   The first person I’d want with me                    Anger is very powerful, but is often misused and unleashed during a
during a war or a natural disaster, would            rush of emotion. You run the risk of losing self control, then struggling
be Spock from Star Trek. While                       to regain your composure. Lashing out in anger does not put you in a
everybody else is panicking, that clear              position of power, but instead makes you look unstable.
headedness and calm is what people look                However, if you’re willing to use anger when others are not, it can
to. When there is conflict, people are                give you an advantage. Most people would rather avoid conflicts, and
easily persuaded by the detached,                    will do so whenever it’s easiest. If you demonstrate a willingness to
practical voice who speaks to them with              handle a higher level of conflict than them, you often have the upper
reason.                                              hand and can persuade them in that moment.

21. Confidence and Certainty
  Finally, there is no quality that is as addictive and attractive as confidence and certainty. In excess, or without the
previously mentioned qualities of empathy and flexibility mentioned earlier, confidence can come off as overbearing.
  But if you really have certainty in your own ideas, in spite of external validation, this confidence you have in yourself
will be contagious. If you really believe in what you do, you will always be able to persuade others to do what’s right for
them, while getting what you want in return.
To top