The Strategist

The art of being convincing

10/26/2018 - 16:32

A good leader can convince. He is able to motivate his workers to actions that they would never do. He can convince managers, investors, colleagues and the whole world that his ideas are right. But what to do if a person does not have charisma, and the “crush an opponent with a powerful argument” method does not help? In the end, the ideas of such a person are tuned out and neglected.

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Yet, there’s an excellent tool coming to the rescue, and this is the correct line of argument.

Not by force, but by conviction

What is the line of reasoning? This is a logical system of arguments to convince the listener of the truth of your ideas. There is no point in haphazardly using all conclusions and facts in an attempt to convince opponents. Ideally, one conclusion should flow smoothly into the second in your statement. All arguments are interrelated, and their logic is undeniable. Such a line will be an impregnable wall for the truth of your ideas.

Determine who is in front of you

First decide who you will convince. It is very important to assume the level of benevolence and disposition of listeners to you. If the audience is positive, then it probably knows about you or heard something about you. It is curious and loyal. You can be sure that your ideas will be accepted by the audience with approval. The rest of the audience is considered unfriendly. 

If people hear about you for the first time, or know that they will not support your ideas, prepare for possible force majeure and play it safe.

Argument Leader and Argument Outsider

Once you defined the audience, prepare all the arguments that may influence its decision.

Evaluate each of the three indicators:

1. Depth

Pay attention to depth of your argument, and whether it is socially significant. For example, you want to introduce corporate volunteering and convince employees of the need for this solution.

Argument number 1: "Volunteering helps to get closer with colleagues and strengthens the team."

Argument number 2 "Corporate volunteering is one of the important social responsibilities of business."

In the first case, the argument refers to the corporate culture, in the second - to social assistance. Which of these is the weightiest? Of course, social assistance. In terms of depth, argument number 2 is more advantageous. In contrast to the first, it affects large-scale values.

Depth of the winning argument can be very different: economy, safety, ecology, a bright future, etc. Repeat the context, audience and conditions of your speech.

2. Proof

Is your argument true? If the argument is unproven or controversial, it is not an argument. When the conclusion can be supported by examples and support, then it is proven. Use only those that are sure.

3. Versatility

The argument can be universal and contextual. Universal will effect on any audience. Contextual will be successful only with certain listeners. The more universal the argument, the more effective it is.

So, a strong argument must be proven, universal and deep.

When the leader argument has been identified, find the weakest one on your list. It may be not proven, context sensitive and too superficial. Cross it out and forget it.

You shouldn’t have weak conclusions in your line of argument since they may become targets for strikes. They will definitely be beaten. Do you need this?

Line up

We have determined who we will convince, what arguments to use. Now we need to think about the script. If the audience is unfriendly to you, start your line with a strong argument, and at the end use the second most powerful conclusion.

Skeptical listeners, to whom your point of view is far away, will first hear a very powerful argument. He will crush their skepticism and make them want to listen to the end.

For a friendly audience, save the most powerful argument for a spectacular ending. Thanks to the “edge effect”, listeners will better remember the outcome of the performance.

Divide and rule

Prepare various arguments so that the audience could differentiate between them. For instance, If your speech is monotonous, homogeneous and boring, it will appear that you have only one very long argument. 
And most importantly, your entire line of reasoning should draw a picture in the minds of the audience. Be sure to use bright illustrations in the minds of listeners.

Form an amazing bright image in their imagination that will emphasize the correctness of your idea.

Based on “Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive” by Robert B. Cialdini, Noah J. Goldstein и Steve J. Martin