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How to Persuade People Effectively

Have you ever noticed the behaviour of confident people? How they make use of their language, their way of articulating language, and how they earn people’s respect. In this blog, we will talk about strategies on how you can persuade people effectively.

Why is persuading people necessary?

Imagine a sales pitch, a salary negotiation, a brand new assignment at work, writing cold emails, or even a friendly argument- is there a way that you actually win over people? Yes there is- more than one in fact. Since the beginning of time, people have studied and observed persuasive tactics because they are so beneficial in so many facets of daily life. However, social psychologists didn’t start explicitly studying these potent strategies until the early 20th century. The ultimate objective of persuasion is to persuade the target to get them to internalise the argument and make them consider your attitude as their belief.

Here are just a few examples of powerful persuasive strategies.

1. Establish a Need

Making a need or appealing to an already existing need is one way to persuade someone. This kind of persuasion plays on a person’s basic requirements for safety, health and happiness. See if your argument/discussion can tap into such needs. Of course, it may not be useful if you’re negotiating salary, but it may certainly be useful if you’re having a group discussion with peers. 

2. Appeal to Social Needs

Appealing to a person’s desire to be well-liked, distinguished, or becoming the same level as popular personalities is another powerful persuasion strategy. We see this kind of persuasion in television ads, where advertisers urge viewers to buy products, so they may fit in with the crowd or emulate a famous or well-respected figure. This is also particularly useful while writing cold emails. When you have social proof that what you do is liked by people, the receiver is also drawn towards knowing more about you. 

3. Use persuasive language and images

Using rhetoric and vivid imagery is a common tactic in persuasion. Positive language, colours, appealing images all influence action. Would you like to be in a presentation that has pure text, or would you like it if it has images, with each image having a story to tell? Use this strategy if you’re someone whose job duties involve a lot of presentations and speeches- either with clients or with stakeholders within an organisation. Having an engaged audience in order to persuade them is the key. 

4. Put One Foot Through the Door

The “foot-in-the-door” technique is another strategy that is frequently successful in persuading individuals to comply with a request. This method of persuasion involves asking someone to do something tiny, like buy a small item, then asking them to do something much bigger. This is great when you want a new assignment at work. You can ask your manager to start off by giving you something smaller than the actual assignment. This is also useful when you want to get a job at your dream company. First, see what you can do for them to get you an internship. Then, walking your way up wouldn’t be a problem. 

You have already “put one foot in the door” by persuading the subject to agree to the tiny initial favour, which increases the subject’s likelihood of granting the larger request. For instance, a neighbour could ask you to watch their two kids for an hour or two. They ask if you can merely watch the kids for the remainder of the day after you grant their modest request. This is a fantastic illustration of what psychologists call the rule of commitment, and marketers frequently employ this tactic to persuade customers to purchase goods and services.

5. Go big then go small

This strategy is the opposite of the “foot in the door strategy”. A salesperson will start by putting up a huge, frequently unattainable demand. The person answers by declining, thereby shutting down the sale. In response, the salesman makes a far more modest request that frequently comes out as accommodating. People frequently feel compelled to accept these offerings. People frequently feel pressured to assist the salesman by accepting the lesser request because they declined the original one.

6. Norm of Reciprocity

You undoubtedly feel an almost overwhelming duty to repay favours when they are done for you. This is referred to as the reciprocity norm, which is the social duty to repay someone for what they have done for you. Do this with neighbours, professional acquaintances. They will be a safety net for you when you need them. It goes without saying that you cannot take undue advantage of this relationship, but it is a proven way to get things done from someone you barely know. 

7. Create an Anchor Point:

A small cognitive bias called the anchoring bias can have a significant impact on negotiations and choices. The initial offer has a potential to become the starting point for all subsequent conversations when trying to reach a conclusion. Therefore, if you’re seeking to negotiate a salary raise, being the first to offer a figure, even if it’s a bit high, can sway the course of the subsequent conversations in your favour. The starting point will be that first number. Check more about negotiation strategies here

8. Limit your Availability:

If people are informed that it is the last one or that the sale is about to finish, they are more inclined to purchase it. For instance, a print by an artist could only be produced in a small quantity. People may be more likely to buy a print as there are just a handful left for sale before they sell out.

The above examples are just a handful of the many persuasion strategies that social psychologists have discussed. Look for instances of persuasion in your everyday life. Watching a random half-hour of television and keeping track of every incident of persuasive advertising is a fascinating exercise. The sheer number of persuasion strategies employed in such a short time may surprise you.

These strategies are great to get people to do what you want them to, but, what do you do when you are thoroughly not confident? How do we project confidence in times of such extenuating circumstances? Stay tuned for our part 2!

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