Would you like to be more persuasive with people? How can you get people to like you, respect you and listen to your suggestions? Studies have shown these five simple expressions to be highly effective when used in the right circumstances:
1. What I really like about you is.................
Tell someone something that you admire in them and they will like you for it. This works with your boss, your colleagues, your partner, your parents, your children - indeed just about everyone. Find something nice you can honestly say about them and say it. If your boss is a difficult overbearing person to deal with, you can still find something good to say, 'What I really like about you is that you are always clear and decisive.' A variant on this is, 'What you are really good at is....................' Everyone likes praise. You can always find something that is good about the other person. So start your conversation on a positive note by sincerely giving them credit. It will put them in a better and more receptive mood.
2. Please ......... because..........
Research in a large study at the University of Wisconsin found the the addition of a 'because' at the end of a request doubled the chance of getting a positive response. So you could say, 'Please give me your report by Tuesday.' But you will more likely be successful if you say, 'Please give me your report by Tuesday because I really need it before the management meeting on Wednesday.' Similarly you might say to your partner, 'Please come with me into town.' Then add, 'because I need some help choosing a new outfit.' Give people a reason to comply and it is more likely that they will.
3. But you are free.............
Make your request. Push a little. Then reduce the pressure with a get out phrase. 'I really think you should see the doctor about this, but you are free to carry on doing nothing if you want.' Research shows that taking the pressure off a little increases the chance that the other person will agree. Variants on the phrase include - 'It is entirely up to you.' 'You are not obliged.' 'It is your choice.' So you might say, 'I firmly believe it is time to get a new and more reliable car but it is entirely up to you if you want to stick with the old one.'
4. If you .............. then I.............
This is a great phrase to use in any negotiation situation. Put the first obligation on the other party and then offer your exchange. 'If you will do your homework then I will buy you an ice cream.' When the client asks for a better price you can say something like, 'If you can pay cash now then we can give a 3% discount.' Don't start your negotiation by offering up a concession. Start with a request that you both move forward. Make your offer conditional on their action.
5. Two stars and a wish.
When the teacher at junior school wants little Johnny to improve his poor writing she does not criticise him. She uses two stars and a wish. She might say, 'Johnny, your stories are really clever and your characters are fascinating but I wish I could read your writing more easily.' She gives two pieces of praise and then adds a wish - not a reproach. This can be used in any situation where you want a change of behaviour. It can be combined with phrase 2 above. 'Jane, your reports are well researched and really useful but I wish I could always receive them on time because I need them for the management meetings.'
As we go through life we all have to try to secure agreement. We cannot just tell people what to do; we have to persuade them. Try using these tactics with conviction and sincerity. They will make you more convincing and persuasive.
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