In a world saturated with information and options, being persuasive can be the deciding factor between success and failure. Whether it’s convincing other execs to support a major software change, persuading a customer to buy additional services from your MSP or TSP, or getting end-user buy-in for a new security initiative, persuasion techniques are invaluable tools. This article will unpack powerful persuasion techniques that can help you communicate more effectively and drive action.
It will also help you know when someone is using persuasive strategies on you.
As you read it, think about your favorite persuasion techniques.
The Art of Framing
Framing is a persuasion technique that involves presenting information in a particular way to influence how it’s received. The same fact can be interpreted differently based on how it’s framed. For example, stating that a glass is ‘half full’ sounds more optimistic than saying it’s ‘half empty’, even though both statements describe the same reality.
Framing is more than just a linguistic trick. It requires careful consideration of three core elements:
- Placement: Selecting the right time, place, and audience for your message can significantly impact its reception.
- Approach: People generally respond better to positivity. Presenting the benefits of your viewpoint rather than potential downsides can lead to more favorable responses.
- Words: Choosing the right words to convey your argument can make a big difference in how persuasive you are.
The Power of Inclusivity: The ‘We’ Approach
Referring to ‘we’ rather than ‘you’ can make your message more persuasive. When you use ‘we’, it implies that your idea or strategy is relevant to the entire team, not just your personal interests. This persuasion technique creates a sense of unity and inclusivity, making your proposal more attractive.
Confidence and Clarity: The Key to Convincing Communication
When you speak confidently, clearly, and concisely, people are more likely to listen, take your words seriously, and agree with you. Preparation is key to confident communication. Make sure you fully understand your argument before you present it to others.
Filler words like ‘umm’, ‘err’, and ‘like’ can undermine your message. They suggest that you’re struggling to express yourself or uncertain about the validity of what you’re saying. Aim to communicate your message as clearly and directly as possible.
What’s in It for Them? Highlighting Personal Benefits
Persuasion often involves getting others to do something that serves your interests. However, an effective way to persuade people is to highlight the benefits they will experience. If someone sees and appreciates that agreeing with you offers personal advantages, they’ll be more inclined to do so.
Creating Scarcity and Urgency: The Appeal of the Limited
Scarcity and urgency are powerful persuasion tools. When something is in short supply or available for a limited time, people are more likely to want it. This could be a limited-edition product or a time-sensitive offer. The fear of missing out can drive people to act quickly.
The Simple Power of the ‘But You Are Free’ Technique
The ‘but you are free’ (BYAF) technique is a straightforward yet effective persuasion strategy. It involves reminding people that they are free to make a decision on the issue at hand. This subtle reminder of their autonomy can make them more inclined to agree with you.
Harnessing the Herd Effect: The ‘It’s Working for Others’ Approach
People often look to others to guide their decisions and behaviors. This ‘herd effect’ can be a powerful persuasion tool. If a particular strategy or service is popular within your industry or profession, highlighting this fact can help win people over.
Getting a Foot in the Door: The Power of Small Agreements
In sales, getting someone to agree to a minor point or request can make them more likely to agree to a larger one. This is known as the ‘yes ladder’ technique. Once someone has agreed to a small task or point, they are more likely to continue agreeing, making them more receptive to bigger asks.
Using Data and Evidence to Bolster Your Argument
If you have evidence and data to support your proposal, it will carry more weight. This could come from academic studies, industry reports, or internal research. Having solid evidence to back up your claims makes your argument more persuasive and credible.
Non-Verbal Persuasion Techniques: The Role of Body Language
Your body language can significantly affect your ability to persuade others. Smiling naturally, maintaining eye contact, and avoiding defensive postures can make you appear more approachable and trustworthy. Conversely, negative body language can undermine your argument and make you seem less credible.
Robert Cialdini and Influence
Robert Cialdini, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, identifies six principles of persuasion that you can use, both professionally and personally. The six principles are:
Reciprocity is the idea that we humans like to return favors. Do a favor for someone and they’re likely to reciprocate.
We also like to count on others, to know what to expect when we’re dealing with other people. That’s why commitment and consistency are important characteristics in our relationships with others. The concept of commitment is that, once someone commits to doing something, they’ll probably deliver on their commitment.
Social proof is best explained through the example of a busy restaurant. That suggests that many other people think it’s good, therefore it must be good. This is a basic concept of social psychology. Another example is how, in a meeting, no one wants to be first to speak, but once the first person speaks, others speak up as well.
We tend to respect experts. If someone has the appearance of authority, we tend to believe them, such as physicians, academics,
We’re influenced by people we like. Be likable.
This is the principle that applies when stores make discounts available “for a limited time only”. Things that are less available are seen as more valuable. Think about the pandemic era runs on toilet paper as an example.
It’s easy to think of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion as manipulative, and there’s no doubt that unscrupulous people use them for unethical purposes. An ethical person, however, can also use them to help persuade others of valuable ideas to improve an organization. Additionally, by knowing these persuasion tactics, you’re better able to spot them when someone tries to use them with you.
Persuasion isn’t just about what you say, but also how you say it. By understanding and applying these persuasive techniques, you can enhance your ability to influence others and achieve your goals. So whether you’re a CIO, an IT manager, or an MSP/TSP owner, crafting a persuasive message will help you be a better leader.
What are your favorite persuasion techniques? What is the most effective persuasion technique someone has used on you? Leave a comment below.
Next Level IT Customer Service Training
Enroll your team now in Compassionate Geek IT online customer service training so they can work together, get things done, and take care of customers.