How to convince anyone of anything

You might want a raise from your employer, a partnership with a new business that opened up, or maybe just some extra dipping sauce for your chicken fingers without paying that 50-cent additional charge.

You can get many things in life by simply convincing someone else to give them to you — but they aren’t going to give it to you without a good reason.

Your greatest tool to get what you want is through the psychology of persuasion.

Here are seven persuasive tactics you can use to get what you want from anyone.

1. Be confident

Your first step is to remain and project confidence throughout the entirety of your appeal. The more confident you are, the more convincing your arguments are going to sound, and the more powerful you’re going to appear. Confidence is easy to fake and hard to distinguish, so don’t be afraid if you don’t feel confident — just act confident, and that will probably be enough.

A study by the University of Leicester found that “the single significant behavioral difference between persuaders and persuadees was in the expression of confidence.”

Confidence subtly implies that you’re already convinced you’re going to get what you want, which subtly influences the other party to give it to you. Just be careful not to overextend your exhibition of confidence, or you’ll run the risk of turning people off with arrogance.

2. Introduce a logical argument

People are easily persuaded by logic. The Conflict Research Consortium of the University of Colorado states that “persuasion is the process of convincing an opponent to change his or her beliefs and/or behavior through moral or logical argument (rather than force). When someone is persuaded to do something, they do it because they have come to believe it is the right or best thing to do.”

For example, let’s say you’re persuading your coworker to take on one of the more challenging pieces of an assignment you’re working on together.

Initially, your coworker might resist, but you can use a logical argument to explain that he/she is better equipped to handle that section, meaning the assignment will be done faster and more efficiently, making both of you look good and helping the company in the process.

3. Make it seem beneficial to the other party

One of the more effective means of persuasion is making your request seem valuable for the other party . Doing so can be tricky, but under the right circumstances, it can be a perfect fit. For example, let’s say you’re trying to convince a friend to help you move.

Obviously, there’s a lot of work involved with moving, and your friend may not be so willing to go along with it. Instead of talking about all the furniture you need to move, talk about how much fun it will be to go through your old junk, or about how you’re buying pizza for everyone afterward, or how you’re giving some old things away in the process.

4. Choose your words carefully

Certain words have an inherently higher value than others , and some words have more positive associations than others. For example, “lucrative” is a more powerful word than “good,” and “reasonable” is a more powerful word than “alright.”

Your goal here isn’t to inject big words into your sentences, but rather to arrange your sentences to ensure your meaning comes across precisely. In the process, you’ll come across as a better communicator, which will make you seem more intelligent and thoughtful, and therefore more trustworthy.

5. Use flattery

It’s one of the cheaper tricks on this list, so be aware that a good percentage of the population will catch onto you quickly if you’re too blunt or obvious. Instead of outright bribing your intended subject with flattery, use subtle phrasing and off-the-cuff remarks to flatter your recipient .

For example, instead of telling your boss, “Hey, that’s a really nice tie, do you think I could take an extra hour for lunch today?” try something like, “Can I have an extra hour for lunch today? I know you’re usually flexible, but I wanted to run it past you to be sure.”

6. Be patient, but persistent

You can’t always persuade your subject to give you what you want on the first try. If you’re unsuccessful, don’t resort to pleading, begging, or arguing. Instead, let the situation go, recollect yourself, and try again at a later time.

Your persuasive messages will linger in his or her subconscious, and the next time you bring up the argument, you have a chance to seem more reasonable (and more persuasive). Don’t abandon your goal, but do leave plenty of time between attempts.

Remember that persuasion is a skill that can be honed and improved over time. You won’t be successful the first time you put these tactics into practice (most likely), but the more often you use them, the more skilled and natural you’ll be in their execution.

Take care not to manipulate or bully people; instead, your goal should be to help them see things in a different light.

Jayson DeMers is the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing and social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

The word argument itself makes people think of lawyers or divorce proceedings, which are poor connotations if you’re hoping to charm someone into agreeing with you. It’s worth shifting to the more positive word: convince. The goal is to persuade, to make them want to agree with you and feel happy, smart, or right, when they do. This has higher odds of success than trying to pin them into a mental submission hold, using logic to corner them into admitting stupidity. If you use your smarts to wrap someone’s mind into a pretzel, don’t be surprised if when you leave it will return to the shape they had before. And resent you for twisting them up too.

You should know that all of us are bad at convincing others and at being convinced by others. We’re even bad at acting on ideas we’ve agreed with for years. Read about Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Socrates… some of our greatest minds, perhaps our greatest people, tried to convince their followers of simple ideas (e.g. do not kill, love thy neighbor, the golden rule), ideas which were ignored and perverted by many of their followers in less than a generation. If this crowd of notables couldn’t pull it off with the name of god, the threat of damnation, or the gift enlightenment behind them, the odds for us can’t be great. Set your expectations accordingly.

No matter how persuasive you are most people will not hear you. Most people will not change. But why do you need anyone to change? It’s a question most compulsive arguers never ask. Perhaps all you need is to be heard, or feel smart, which can be done in other ways. The goal of sharpening of your own mind through the process, a goal you can’t fail at no matter how others respond, can be achieved without convincing anyone of anything. This might lead you into the pleasure of actual conversation.

If you must, a secret for pitching, persuading, selling or inspiring is to focus on the individual person you’re talking to. There is no magic recipe for convincing large numbers of people of something all at the same time. That’s very hard to do. But if your goal is to convince one person of something, you can listen to their interests and beliefs, using that knowledge as a foothold for the ideas you want them to consider. If you are talking to 5 people, identify the most influential or interested person in that room. That’s where you should start. A classic mistake is obsessing about the pitch or the argument, while ignoring the landscape of who is present in the room, their moods and their goals.

Instead, work the opposite way. Shut up and listen. Take time to understand the people or person you are trying to convince. Understand their goals, their core beliefs, their preferred kind of thinking (data driven, story driven, principle driven, goal driven) – what views do they already have and why?

It’s hard to convince anyone of anything if your mind isn’t just as open as you are demanding theirs to be. The best outcome of all might just be that in listening and learning you discover good questions you need to consider about your own beliefs and positions.

But most people find this boring. They can’t get their egos excited about thinking, much less listening. And then they attack blindly with generic arguments and fail. And then they blame the people they know nothing about, but want so much from, for their own failure. But if you can be generous of mind, and patient in effort, you will understand them. And once you understand them you might find the common ground where opportunity lives.

How to convince anyone of anything

A person’s ability to have people do what he wants is the ultimate exercise of power. A person can get people to do his bidding through force or by convincing them. It has been established throughout history that forcing people to do things doesn’t really work. They do the work poorly and according to J.S. Mills the cost is eventually higher. People who employ force also do not win the people’s loyalty for long.

Advantages of Convincing People

Convincing people, leads to better results and the convincer’s influence lasts longer. Convincing people is the most accepted way of getting them to do things. A person has to learn the art of persuading and convincing people so as to be useful in public decision making.

Ways to Convince People

There are many methods used to convince people. These methods mostly involve the use of words. The following is a list of possible methods to convince people.

  1. The Persuader Should Exude Confidence

People are unlikely to follow someone to someplace he seems unsure about what they are talking about. The person seeking to convince others has to remain confident of what they are saying throughout the period of engagement. Confidence may be difficult to muster at times. If one is not feeling confident, they can act confident. A show of confidence should be balanced. This is because if it is overdone, it looks like arrogance. People rarely follow arrogant people.

  1. They Should Let the Other Party Know How They Will Benefit

People do not like the notion that they are being used to pursue someone else’s agenda. They want to know what is in it for them in whatever they are being persuaded to do. In addition to that, the persuader’s argument in persuasive essay should inform them of the benefits they will receive from the venture.

  1. The Convincer Should Employ Logic

A person needs to believe that what they are doing is the right thing to do. Whether something is right or wrong is determined by logic. A student requesting a fellow student to assist them to study needs to let them know how they would benefit from helping them. In such a scenario, the persuader can point out that the fellow student will understand the subject better in the process. Should he explain it convincingly, he is likely to be helped.

  1. Choice of Words Should be Made Carefully

There is a reason why many politicians are lawyers.

People who have a natural disposition for the use of language know how to persuade others. Certain words create the impression that the thing being talked about is superior. For example, although the word profitable means the same as lucrative, lucrative is considered more persuasive. The person seeking to convince others should pick the words likely to cause more impact.

  1. Appeal to Emotions

Many times, people make decisions based purely on emotions. Demagogues have a way of preying on other people’s emotions. They may convince people by appealing to their sense of outrage, sadness and such emotions. People have been caused to do strange things when their feelings of love have been appealed to. In today’s technology-driven world, bloggers have appealed to the youth’s sense of outrage to stoke revolutions in some countries.

Conclusion

When setting out to convince people, it is important to know who they are. A careful study of such people would inform the one seeking to persuade them on what works best on them. All factors constant, appeal to logic would work better among intellectuals than emotions. Among oppressed people, anger is easier to appeal to and so on.

Kidal D. is author at LeraBlog. The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.

How to convince anyone of anything

People do not choose what they like best, but what they fear least. We have a “loss aversion,” which is why we have a greater motivation for avoiding pain than for increasing joy. Thus, reducing uncertainty becomes a fundamental driving force of human behavior. When making a decision, we are – above all – trying to avoid making a mistake.

For our ancestors, almost every misfortune was a direct path to the afterlife: a simple cold – and death was imminent. Our ancestors had to be on guard at all times simply not to make a mistake. The careful and the cowards survived. Our forefathers.

This legacy is revealed to us again and again every day in the most trivial situations. Some years ago, I visited my Oxford friend Sasha in Brussels, who had just started working for NATO. Sasha was delayed by about one hour – presumably the Third World War had to be avoided (Sasha would often use this five-star excuse) – and so I wanted to sit down in a café and do some reading. I had the choice between a small Italian café and, right next door, a Starbucks, which I am not a great fan of. So where should I go?

My legs led me straight as a die into Starbucks. Eventually, Sasha showed up and was amazed that I did not choose Luigi’s, which presumably served the best espresso outside of Italy, but instead sat in this mediocre place which I could have found back home, right outside my front door. He was right, of course. But it was the fear of my forefathers that had driven me towards the Starbucks. Here I knew what to expect: at least decent coffee. And so, I had not chosen what I liked best, but what I feared least.

So why does McDonald’s keep serving billions? Because above everything else, customers want to avoid making a bad choice. You know exactly what a burger from McDonald’s tastes like. It is this necessity of minimizing the risk for customers that Ray Kroc, the founding father of McDonald’s, recognized early on as the key to success. His aim was to offer “the same” burger from Atlantic City to Zaragoza, or as he put it: “There is a science to manufacturing and serving hamburgers.” This idea catapulted McDonald’s and the entire franchising industry into new stratospheres.

So if you want to convince other people of anything – buying a burger or hiring you –, you would do well to follow the words of the US marketing strategist Harry Beckwith: “Do not try to be a good choice. Eliminate everything that could make you a bad choice.” This may sound banal, but it represents a paradigm shift – no matter who you want to convince, and no matter of what.

Persuasion is hard, especially when people have different perspectives, worldview, mindsets and values in life. Our brains are faster at processing opinions we agree with than those we disagree with.

“A little over a decade ago Leonid Rozenblit and Frank Keil from Yale University suggested that in many instances people believe they understand how something works when in fact their understanding is superficial at best. They called this phenomenon “the illusion of explanatory depth”, writes Tom Stafford of the BBC.

Even though you’ve done your homework, and your arguments are well researched and founded, don’t expect people to agree with you all the time. Everyone who crosses your path may have a different view about topics you deeply care about.

People rarely change their minds, which makes persuasion even harder but not impossible. The economist J.K. Galbraith once wrote, “Faced with a choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof.”

We don’t always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about.

In some situations, fear of change is the ultimate nemesis of persuasion, says Rob Jolles, author of How to Change Minds: The Art of Influence Without Manipulation. Jolles explains, “If it’s a small problem in another person’s eyes, fear of change will shoot down any solution. If it’s a big problem, you have to help others move past their fear of change.”

As difficult as persuasion is in life and at work, at some point, you will have the difficult task of convincing a colleague at work, or a close relation to agree with you. In spite of differing points of view, you can still find common ground with the other person.

Show them how they’re right

If you start any conversation by telling someone they’re wrong, you will only make the other person defensive, causing them to entrench themselves further in their beliefs.

Instead, listen carefully, pay attention, be curious about their ideas, and tell them all the ways they’re right, before guiding them to realise they’re wrong on their own. You have to help them move past their own perspectives, beliefs, and biases. Show them what they may not be aware of.

This approach to persuasion goes back to the 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal who found that the best way to help people change their own minds is to first show them how they are right.

In Pensées, Pascal writes, “When we wish to correct with advantage and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken and that he only failed to see all sides… People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.”

When you tell someone they are wrong, they will get offended, because it feels like a personal attack on their intellect. Once you do that, your chance of connecting with them, or convincing them from a different perspective goes out the window.

Arthur Markman, psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, says this approach works well because you’re giving someone the opportunity to lower their guard and permission to change their mind without fear of it making them look bad.

In your effort to persuade anyone, don’t aim to just win, provide them with information that will lead them to their own enlightenment. Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their entrenched beliefs. It takes more than your own beliefs.

Nobody wants their worldview torn apart. People have strong attachments to their opinions. To change someone’s mind, you also need to address their emotional attachment to what they believe — acknowledge their right arguments to increase the chances of convincing them.

Aim to connect — Be kind first, be right later

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami once wrote, “Always remember that to argue, and win, is to break down the reality of the person you are arguing against. It is painful to lose your reality, so be kind, even if you are right.”

Keep an open mind, and meet them halfway, before you make your case. Don’t make them feel worse about their current beliefs.

In a conversation, you can easily forget that the goal to connect with the other person, and sometimes collaborate with them. Focusing on just winning can backfire — connect first.

Art Markman, PhD, a professor of Psychology explains, “Develop counterarguments to their most significant sources of support. Then expose them to more pieces of information that are consistent with the new belief. It’s also important to provide all of this information from multiple sources. After all, the easiest way for people to maintain their current beliefs is to decide that any contrary information is unreliable,”

In a difficult conversation, explain precisely why you think you are right. Don’t lead with our own perspective and what the other person needs to do to change.

Take a step back and truly try to understand the other person’s perspective, validate his or her point of view — and then work with them to arrive at your desired outcome or solution.

“If you want people to adopt your beliefs, you need to act more like a scout and less like a soldier. At the centre of this approach is a question Tiago Forte poses beautifully, “Are you willing to not win in order to keep the conversation going?”, writes James Clear.

People are more likely to change their mind if they reach the conclusion for themselves, not because you told them. Work with people to change their minds.

People can easily feel your stubbornness if you are defensive about your beliefs. A better way involves more listening, and less trying to get the other person into submission.

Before you go…

If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly. It’s an email I send to 30,000+ readers once a month, filled with my best essays, posts about behavior change, great books, tools I find useful and more. Join us today.

How to convince anyone of anything

I mean, really disagree with something that you actually believe.

It seems difficult, doesn’t it?

For example: are employees who hate their boss likely to believe that their boss did a great job running the last meeting?

Are politi c ians who want to take measures against climate change likely to support the struggles of coal miners?

What about a dogmatic Christian believing that the bible contains lies?

You probably won’t find people like this. They’re a rare breed.

The reason? Consistency.

People, if they are still sane, generally do not want to contradict themselves. If they believe in something strongly, they want to continue that belief to all its logical conclusions. They seek intellectual consistency.

An inconsistency in one’s beliefs means that a person is wrong — and this is something everyone wants to avoid. Back down the evolutionary line, wrongness meant death; inability to understand one’s situation meant he couldn’t function in it. This fear of wrongness then became wired into our genetic code over time.

Therefore, in our efforts to be right, we seek to be logical — which means making sure that our beliefs do not contradict each other.

Logic allows for accurate problem solving and predictions of the future based on known facts. Without logic, dark clouds wouldn’t mean rain, sharp teeth wouldn’t mean danger, and bright colored berries wouldn’t mean food. Every sense experience would just be a series of random data, unconnected from every other experience. Logic is what ties data together, and allows us to be able to make sense of the world.

Failing to embrace the logical conclusions of your own beliefs produces the infamous “cognitive dissonance” — the mental anguish that one experiences due to holding two conflicting beliefs at the same time. It’s a warning sign from your brain that something has gone wrong, and you need to reevaluate your circumstances.

I term this particular technique “self agreement” because that is how this mental bias is generally put into practice.

Get your audience to understand that your message is already in agreement with another of their beliefs — and their need to avoid the impending cognitive dissonance will cause them to adopt whatever it is you’re pitching.

You only need to convince your audience of their own “self agreement”.

Let’s take the hotly debated and taboo subject of abortion. When you see images of anti-abortion activists protesting outside of a planned parenthood, what is the overall message that they are trying to convey?

Abortion = murder.

This is the association that anti-abortion protesters want to cultivate in the minds of passerby — abortion, something that people have divided opinions on, is the same as some other thing which almost no one has divided opinions on — murder.

You already agree that murder is bad. So if abortion is just another name for murder, then of course you already agree that is also bad. You must — otherwise, here comes the looming threat of cognitive dissonance.

To believe in the equating of abortion to murder is to almost automatically endorse the criminalization of abortion — or else legitimize murder.

The only way to combat this is to understand that the equivalency that is being drawn is a false one, and there is no actual contradiction.

It’s a powerful persuasion technique that plays on this human need to avoid contradiction, and it is used in the argumentation of every political issue.

Gun Rights — Well you don’t like when guns kill people, right?

Climate Change — You want penguins to have a place to live, right?

Immigration — You want to keep your job, don’t you?

And the list goes on.

This technique is a sort of “appeal to authority” but taken to an extreme degree. After all, from the point of view of any one particular person, who is a better authority than themselves? Every person believes their own beliefs. If they didn’t…they wouldn’t have those beliefs.

It’s self evident, but bears pointing out.

Join the conversation over at our subreddit, r/societalengineering. We feature only the best content on social influence, curated specifically for those looking to keep up with the best and latest techniques.

Check out my personal development book, Ideal Attainment: How to Reprogram the Mind and Undo Your Faulty Conditioning. This book contains the basic laws of the mind on which all societal engineering is based, and outlines exactly how to apply those laws to attain any goal.

For more articles on social engineering, media control and the culture wars, follow our publication right here on Medium.

How to convince anyone of anything

How To Convince Others Wouldn’t life be much easier if you could convince others to do what you want? It most certainly would. In fact, this skill of being persuasive can really come in handy in your professional life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or have a job at a company, some of your success could depend on your ability to convince others.

Of course, you should remain totally honest when you’re trying to win over other people. Deception and manipulation won’t last very long, and they could have the opposite effect on your success. So, let’s take a look at how you can ethically convince others.

Understand Their Perspective
Everyone looks at life with their lens. At the end of the day, it’s your perspective that defines how you view every single thing in your life – be it your career, relationships, goals, success, or anything else. So, while trying to convince other people, you should try to be mindful of their perspectives.

Perhaps the best way to do this is to put yourself in their shoes and try to think how they think. You might get many answers regarding why they do what they do or why they behave in a particular way. You can then use this knowledge to speak to their soul.

Get Others Talking
​Everyone wants to express themselves in today’s world, but hardly anyone wants to listen and understand. It’s ironic considering how communication is a two-way streak! If you can actively and genuinely listen to what others have to say, you will have a much better chance of winning them over. Many business leaders and entrepreneurs use this technique.

When you do this, you create a healthy rapport with the other person. A sense of respect and trust is created between the two of you. Naturally, your opinion will have more weight, and the other person will be more likely to do as you say. So, the next time you want to persuade someone, encourage them to speak their mind first.

Focus On The Merits
We humans like to do things based on their merits. Consciously or subconsciously, we are always running a cost-benefit analysis in our minds. So, it only makes sense to focus on the merits when you’re trying to persuade someone for something.

You could talk about how you logically arrived at your conclusion, its benefits, why you want the other person to do something, etc.

For instance, if you’re trying to get someone to start waking up early, try to present them with the benefits of doing so. Show them how it could have a positive impact on their lives.

Use A Picture
The age-old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is extremely relevant when you’re trying to persuade someone. Things that you can’t communicate in words can be said with a single picture. Granted, you won’t always have the right image ready to make your point, but this can be really useful in certain situations.

Let’s say you are trying to convince your boss to adopt a particular initiative in the workplace. Instead of giving him or her a lengthy report that they might be reluctant to go through, it’s better to present them with a chart or other visual to relay your point with minimal effort and time.

Appeal To Their Emotional Side
We, humans, are emotional beings. We like to think that we are more logical, but we are more emotional. Many important decisions of our lives are based on our emotions, or how we feel about a particular thing. So, when you’re trying to win somebody over, it’s better to appeal to their emotional side.

Let’s say you are trying to convince your friend to go to the beach with you. You could appeal to their emotional side, and talk about how fun it would be to play in the sand, feel the cool ocean breeze, play with the waves, and so on! Some of the world’s best business leaders prefer using this technique of telling a story with their words.

How to convince anyone of anything

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