Becoming a Master of Persuasion

Learn how to get what you want through the power of persuasion.

Persuasion power can help you get more of the things you want faster than anything else you do. It can mean the difference between success and failure. It can guarantee your progress and enable you to use all of your other skills and abilities at the very highest level. Your persuasion power will earn you the support and respect of your customers, bosses, coworkers, colleagues and friends. The ability to persuade others to do what you want them to do can make you one of the most important people in your community.

Fortunately, persuasion is a skill, like riding a bicycle, that you can learn through study and practice. Your job is to become absolutely excellent at influencing and motivating others to support and assist you in achieving your goals and solving your problems.

You can either persuade others to help you or be persuaded to help them. It is one or the other. Most people are not aware that every human interaction involves a complex process of persuasion and influence. And being unaware, they are usually the ones being persuaded to help others rather than the ones who are doing the persuading.

Persuasion Through Motivation
The key to persuasion is motivation. Every human action is motivated by something. Your job is to find out what motivates other people and then to provide that motivation. People have two major motivations: the desire for gain and the fear of loss.

The desire for gainmotivates people to want more of the things they value in life. They want more money, more success, more health, more influence, more respect, more love and more happiness. Human wants are limited only by individual imagination. No matter how much a person has, he or she still wants more and more. When you can show people how they can get more of the things they want by helping you achieve your goals, you can motivate them to act in your behalf.

President Eisenhower once said, "Persuasion is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, and to like it." You always need to be thinking about how you can get people to want to do the things that you need them to do to attain your objectives.

People are also motivated to act by the fear of loss. This fear, in all its various forms, is often stronger than the desire for gain. People fear financial loss, loss of health, anger or disapproval of others, loss of love and the loss of anything they have worked hard to accomplish. They fear change, risk and uncertainty because these threaten them with potential losses.

Whenever you can show a person that they can avoid a loss of some kind by doing what you want them to do, you can influence them to take a particular action. The very best appeals are those where you offer an opportunity to gain and an opportunity to avoid loss at the same time.

Getting What You Want
There are two ways to get the things you want in life. First, you can work by yourself and for yourself in your own best interest. You can be a "Robinson Crusoe" of modern life, relying on yourself for the satisfaction of your needs. By doing this, you can accomplish a little, but not a lot. The person who looks to himself or herself completely is limited in his or her capacities. He or she will never be rich or successful.

The second way to get the things you want is by gaining and using leverage. Leverage allows you to multiply yourself and get far more out of the hours you put in rather than doing everything yourself.

There are three forms of leverage you must develop to fulfill your full potential in our society: other people's efforts, other people's knowledge, and other people's money.

1. You leverage yourself through other people's efforts by getting other people to work with you and for you in the accomplishment of your objectives. Sometimes you can ask them to help you voluntarily, although people won't work for very long without some personal reward. At other times you can hire them to help you, thereby freeing you up to do higher-value work.

One of the most important laws of economics is called "Ricardo's Law." It is also called the Law of Comparative Advantage. This law states that when someone can accomplish a part of your task at a lower hourly rate than you would earn for accomplishing more valuable parts of your task, you should delegate or outsource that part of the task.

For example, if you want to earn $100,000 a year, in a 250-day year, you need to make $50 per hour. That means you must be doing work that is worth $50 per hour, eight hours per day, 250 days per year. Therefore, if there is any part of your work--like making photocopies, filing information, typing letters or filling out expense forms--that is not valued at $50 per hour, you should stop doing it. You should persuade someone else who works at a lower hourly rate to do it for you. The more lower level tasks you can persuade others to do, the more time you will have to do tasks that pay you more. This is one of the essential keys to getting the leverage you need to become one of the higher paid people in your profession.

Management can be defined as "getting things done through others." To be a manager you must be an expert at persuading and influencing others to work in a common direction. This is why all excellent managers are also excellent low-pressure salespeople. They do not order people to do things; instead, they persuade them to accept certain responsibilities, with specific deadlines and agreed-upon standards of performance. When a person has been persuaded that he or she has a vested interest in doing a job well, he or she accepts ownership of the job and the result. Once a person accepts ownership and responsibility, the manager can step aside confidently, knowing the job will be done on schedule.

In every part of your life, you have a choice of either doing it yourself or delegating it to others. Your ability to get someone else to take on the job with the same enthusiasm that you would have is an exercise in personal persuasion. It may seem to take a little longer at the beginning, but it saves you an enormous amount of time completing the task.

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