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Tactics to Persuade

3rd May 2017

Persuasiveness is one of the most important ‘life skills’ you can learn.

At work or at home, the ability to persuade and influence people can be instrumental for achieving your goals and happiness.

Learning about the tricks of persuasion will give you insight into when they’re being used on you. And maybe money will stay in your pockets as you realise just how sales people and advertisers try to sell you things you really don’t need!


Here are 5 of the best tactics for persuading others:

1. Framing
Framing is a technique often used in politics. A popular example of framing is inheritance taxes. Politicians who are opposed to inheritance taxes will call them ‘death taxes’. By using the word death instead of inheritance, all kinds of negative connotations come to mind.

Framing is quite subtle, but by using emotionally charged words, like “death”, you can more easily persuade people to your point of view.

Studies have shown that emphasising the positive can be more persuasive than pointing out the negative. Try framing your marketing message in the positive (“Gain an additional hour every day” vs “Stop wasting time”) and see if it makes a difference.

2. Scarcity
This is one that advertisers use a lot. Opportunities, whatever they are, seem a lot more appealing when there is only limited availability.

This can be useful to the average person in the right situation, but even more importantly, this is a method of persuasion to be aware of. Stop and consider how much you’re being influenced by the fact that a product is scarce. If the product is scarce, there must be a ton of demand for it right?

3. Reciprocation
It’s the old saying, “Do unto others…”. When someone does something for us, we feel compelled to return the favour. So, if you want someone to do something nice for you, why not do something nice for them first. In a business setting, maybe you pass them a sales lead. If at home, maybe it’s you letting the neighbour borrow the lawn mower. It doesn’t matter where or when you do it, the key is to compliment the relationship.

4. Timing
People are more likely to be agreeable and submissive when they’re mentally fatigued. So before you ask someone for something which they might not be quick to agree to, try waiting until a more opportune time when they’ve just done something mentally taxing. This could be at the end of the work day when you catch a co-worker on their way out the door. Whatever you ask, a likely response is, “I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”

5. Congruence 
We all try, subconsciously, to be consistent with previous actions. One great example is a technique used by salespeople. A salesperson may shake your hand as he is negotiating with you. In most people’s minds, a handshake equates to a closed deal, and so by doing this before the deal is reached, the salesperson is much more likely to negotiate you in to a closed deal!

A good way to use this yourself is to get people taking action before they make up their minds. For example, if you were out with a friend and you wanted to go see a movie but the friend was undecided, you could start walking in the direction of the cinema while they make up their mind.