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Scott Adams – the name is here to stay. This is my 5th blog on Scott’s book and brace yourselves, there’s more coming your way. This man has scores of valuable gems. Let’s talk about persuasion in this article.
To persuade is to induce someone to do something, through reasoning or argument. Whether we agree or not, we spend a great deal of our time persuading others into one thing or another.
You have to consider ethics, of course. Don’t use your skills to manipulate someone to do things that are not in their best interest. So, it comes with a warning: handle with care.
It is hard to be brutally honest with everyone. The world doesn’t work that way. The alternative is to be politely honest and still make your point. Controlled studies show some words are more persuasive than others, and we can use them to our advantage.
6 Persuasive words and phrases:
- Would you mind…
- I’m not interested.
- I don’t do that.
- I have a rule.
- Thank you
Studies suggest that people are more cooperative responding to a sentence that has the word ‘because‘ even if the reason makes little or no sense. The word ‘because‘ signals reasonableness which lets people drop their defenses and objections.
How do you think you’d respond when a friend asks, “May I borrow 50 bucks from you because I won’t get paid until next week?” That’s not a justification for borrowing money and in fact, your friend hasn’t even told you why (s)he needs it. Still, you might give in because of ‘because.‘ Try this and let me know.
2. Would you mind…?
It is hard to say no to a question containing these magic words. A question beginning with ‘would you mind‘ is well-received, possibly because it signals you have a reasonable request that might be inconvenient. It comes across as honest, while also showing concern for the other person.
3. I’m not interested.
This is for people having a hard time saying no. Let’s say your friend is trying to sell you something (a product, or an idea) you don’t want. One way you could resolve this is by giving logical explanations of why you don’t need it, but what if they are persuasive and give their own reasons? Usually, they would be ready with arguments to counter your every valid reason.
In this scenario, your go-to phrase could be, I’m not interested. Don’t give a reason why you aren’t interested. There’s no argument against a lack of interest. Repeat this as often as it takes; it works like a charm. A total conversation killer.
4. I don’t do that.
Another good phrase is – I don’t do that. It is not a reason and it barely tries to be. This sounds more like a rule. When a colleague invites you for an annual yoga festival, don’t tell them it doesn’t sound fun. It might give them a perfect chance to endlessly describe how fun it could be if only you would try it.
So, just say “I don’t do yoga festivals” and if they ask why, tell them “I’m not interested.” Mix-n-match the phrases, they work well in tandem.
5. I have a rule.
This is similar to the previous phrase. In fact, I experienced this first-hand and I can vouch that it works pretty well. Kavi and I once went for dinner with a couple who are our friends. It was our first dinner together.
After we finished eating, I insisted on paying the bill, but my friend calmly claimed, “We have a rule. We always split bills.” It was hard to press further. Thinking back now, I feel he couldn’t have said it any better.
6. Thank you.
This is my favorite. A thank you is like a treat for a human. When we do something nice or generous, we want to know it’s appreciated. But, it is important to focus on the quality of your thanks. Whenever you thank someone, always include a little detail of what makes you thankful. Was it the surprise, the thoughtfulness, or how helpful the favor or gift was? Be specific.
I use this often. For example, whenever a friend proofreads my article, I thank them saying, “Thank you for taking the time to proofread my post, I’d not have found these mistakes if it wasn’t for your help. It makes my article look more professional.” Compare that with “Thanks for your help.”
Gentle persuasion succeeds where force fails. Let’s learn a few tricks and form healthy relationships in our journey. Which one of these is your favorite? Comment on the post.
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– Kavi & Ninja
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