The Strategist

Simple rules to apply science of persuasion


07/16/2021 - 03:56



Some people seem to possess a magic wand when it comes to persuading others. In reality, it's not magic, but a science that can be learned.



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The human brain has three layers. The bottom one, the reptilian brain, provides the "hit or run" response. The middle layer, the mammalian brain, is the reservoir of emotion. The upper one, the primate brain, is responsible for rational assessment of the situation. In order to persuade someone, you have to appeal to the upper layer. But when a person is angry or frustrated, that layer is off. Your task is to turn it on.

Mirror neurons can help. They allow us to understand how others feel. They also explain the need for the outside world to reflect our feelings. Mirroring - understanding and responding to another person's desires - is a powerful persuasive tool. Here are several simple rules that will help apply it.

It's important to instantly switch from reptilian to mammalian and then to human brain. This process can be called 'from 'gosh' to 'I agree'. Take a short pause, breathe slowly and start looking for an exit.

You know less about people than you think you do (interfered by filters, evaluations and beliefs). Analyse the opinion you have and compare it to reality.

Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes. Ask: "How would I feel in that situation? Frightened? Anger? Frustration?" Then try saying, "I want to understand how you feel. I think it's..." and discuss the problem.

Think of the conversation as a game of detective, with the objective of finding out everything about the person. Ask questions. The more interested you are, the less mirror neuron deficit the interlocutor has.

Nice people deserve affirmation that you appreciate them. The annoying ones need it, too. Give both of them a sense of self-importance, and they'll give you what you expect of them.

If you are trying to make contact with a person who is suppressing feelings, ask, "Have I ever made you feel like I don't respect you?" or "Have I ever made you feel like you're not worth listening to?" Allow the person to let off steam.

Your confidence may seem arrogant and your concerns may seem hysterical. Find two or three people you trust and ask them to describe your worst traits. Try to correct them.

People will understand, forgive you and even try to help you if you are honest. Lying will make them angry and frustrated.

It is your attitude towards yourself that counts. If you believe that your colleagues perceive you as a successful and productive person, you will feel more influential.

Ask. People tend to say 'yes' 3 times more often than we think. This means we don't know how to predict whether a person will agree to our request or not. It's important not just to ask for what you want. If you aspire to influence people, learn how to ask them questions to find out what they are thinking, feeling, wanting.

Be generous. Effective people approach almost every situation with a desire to help others.

Based on ‘’ Just Listen. Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone” by Mark Goulston