3 Principles of the Art of Persuasion


by Kevin Watson



What is the difference between persuasion and manipulation?

When hearing the word persuasion, some people think of it as simply another word for manipulation.

There is, however, a big difference.

Manipulation is using any means necessary to motivate or force a person to do something that fulfils YOUR needs or desires, whether or not they are in the other person’s best interests.

On the other hand, persuasion is the art of guiding one’s mind through a field of ignorance, confusion, misinformation or misunderstanding to a destination where there is enough information and understanding to make a choice to do that which is in the best interest of the person being persuaded.

So, true persuasion enables the other person to understand what you are saying, feel what you are feeling, and consequently become motivated to do what is in HIS or HER best interests.

Can you think of the tactics manipulators use?

Think of those professions that are generally looked down on by others: insurance salespeople, used-car sales, double glazing, kitchens, etc, etc.

Do you think they use manipulation or persuasion techniques?

There are good leaders who actively guide and bad leaders who actively misguide. Hence, leadership is about persuasion, presentation and people skills.Shiv Khera

To understand the art of persuasion, here are 3 three easy to learn principles:

1st Principle of Persuasion: Honour and Respect

Honour and respect are communicated in various ways. For example, you can respect people’s time by being sensitive to your timing.

Imagine barging in and demanding someone’s attention simply because what you have to say is more important to you than to them. How are they likely to respond?

Some would ignore you, or, if you are in higher authority than them, you lay the foundation for silent aggression and resentment rather than effective and persuasive communication.

As well as what you say and how you say it, you show respect by the way you communicate non-verbally. We all pick up these non-verbal signals when we’re with people.

If you don’t respect the other person, you will find that anything they do for you will be done out of obligation rather than will. And they may perform what you ask, but only to the letter of your request rather than to its spirit.

2nd Principle of Persuasion: Understand Others’ Frame of Reference

Have you ever said, “that person simply doesn’t ‘get it’”?

Just as everyone has their own fingerprints, everyone has their own unique personality prints. You are the only person on the face of the planet that thinks and feels the way you do. Having said that, you CAN get to know a great deal about the other person by approaching things from their point of reference.

How can you check their reference?

It all boils down to being curious, asking questions and listening.

Let people guide you into an understanding of their frame of reference. Ask how what they notice about something. However, refrain from asking why they feel the way they do, as it can come across as judgmental.

It’s critical that you don’t interrupt them, or attack, criticise or belittle their thoughts and feelings, either verbally or non-verbally.

If you do, they will mentally and emotionally withdraw from the conversation and build defensive walls.

Remember, your goal is not to change their mind or argue the point – it’s simply to seek an understanding of where they’re coming from.

3rd Principle of Persuasion: You Have To Be Effective First!

All the right words don’t mean all the right messages.

Think about the times when someone did something that surprised you. And when you asked why they did it, their reply was “But you said…

Or, how many times have you told someone who didn’t do something the way you told them to, “But I told you to do it this way!

You might have said the right words, yet the person didn’t understand what you truly intended to communicate.

After all is said and done, you need to be an effective communicator before trying to effectively persuade people!


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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.



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