Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5 Ways to Sharpen Your Persuasive Skills

Much of our time is spent trying to persuade others.

We try to persuade a customer to try a new product. We try to persuade a colleague to lend his expertise to a project. We try to persuade our kids to eat broccoli and the dog not to eat the new carpet.

Sometimes our efforts are successful, but often they are not. One of the reasons may be our lack of preparation. Whether you're going to try to talk your 5-year-old into trying brussel sprouts or your boss into letting you handle a top client, here's the prep work necessary to make sure your persuasion is successful:

1. Understand the needs. Decide what it is the other person needs. Is it to cut time, or costs or errors? To eliminate poor service? How soon could your proposal make things better for this person?

2. Decide on a plan. Write out a concise solution to the problem.

3. Press play. Explain, for example, how your new system will increase efficiency by making sure steps aren't duplicated. What are the complete costs of your plan?

4. Talk about results. What benefits will this other person receive if they go along with your plan? How much money will it save? What errors will it stop?

5. Take action. This step asks for specific action by a specific time. If the person goes along with you, when will you be up and running on your proposal?

Once you have this outline put together, then you can better write a formal proposal or deliver it in person. Try to keep it to one or two pages, or a 15-minute presentation.

What other tips do you have for preparing to successfully persuade someone else?


1 comment:

Bryce Christiansen said...

Thanks Anna,

The first step is so important and often the one people get wrong.

We sometimes assume everyone must behave and want the same things we do. Unfortunately, it's much more complicated than that. Just look at how much we spend on market research.

If you want to be persuasive, you first have to know your audience.

Great tips,