Throughout your working life, it is likely that you will have goals and objectives - some set by you, some set by others, some set by your organization’s strategy.
The ability to meet objectives - let us call it getting things done – is sometimes simply beyond your remit as an individual.
Part of having a successful career, whatever the company or organization you work for, hinges on working effectively with other people in the pursuit of these objectives. A key part of that is your ability to influence other people to do their share.
Whether it is convincing others to agree to a commitment, to pursue a course of action, to take responsibility for something, or simply to lend a hand. Persuasion is a core professional skill. And it is highly prized by employers.
How Does Persuasion Work?
Think about how those around you influence others.
- In your work environment, do some individuals pull rank to influence others? “I’m your boss, so do as I say?”
- Are other people pushy in their requests – making demands that make them unpopular with their colleagues?
- What about those people who simply seem to inspire others to make things happen?
Persuasion skills are a broad mixture of inter-personal competencies that empower us to harness the collective strengths of other people to realize our goals.
Perhaps first among these is confidence – coming across positively and feeling secure in yourself and what you want to do. Beyond that there are a raft of attributes that can all be developed: great communication skills, being flexible, knowing how to build rapport with other people, and how to infuse them with a sense of energy.
Besides these attributes, there are actions you can take that build relationships, trust, and persuasiveness. Getting better at listening, for instance, avoiding assumptions, taking the time to understand those you are working with and their needs. And making the effort always to be sincere and truthful about what you want and why.
Let us look at some of these in more depth.
5 Things Persuasive People Do
Has anyone you know ever gotten you to do something on his or her behalf that yielded a good result for all of you? It is likely that they did it by deploying some of these behaviors.
- Have Genuine Human Connection
A persuasive person does not see you as a means to an end or as an opponent to be won over. They see you as integral part of the process – and as a person. Persuasive people treat others with respect and integrity and will usually take the trouble to make a real, personal connection with other people.
- Are Assertive Versus Pushy
There is a pretty big difference between these two qualities. Persuasive people are confident and upfront about their ideas and their requests without becoming overly aggressive or persistent. They know how to take no for an answer and when to back off. It is not in their interest to antagonize anyone – they will want others to get involved because they can see the benefit in doing so.
- Possess Great Communication Skills
Getting the buy-in from other people means getting ideas across simply, concisely and effectively. It means ensuring that colleagues understand the value and the benefit of what needs to be done. Persuasive people will always have a firm grasp on what they need – and know how to make it sound (and feel like) a good idea.
- Are Known for Their Integrity
It is usually pretty straightforward to spot when someone is being insincere. The truly persuasive are totally genuine about their needs and their ideas. People usually gravitate towards those they can trust and whose motives are clear.
- Listen Carefully
And ask good questions. Part of being sincere is the ability to really focus and attend to other people and demonstrate your interest in them – while showing them that you value them.
Take the time to listen and to ask questions. And while you are doing that, think about what other people want, how your request might interplay with their priorities. How can you ensure they see the clear benefit of what you are proposing? One of the best ways to convince someone to do as you are asking, is to show them how it in their benefit.
Consider how these five traits can lay the bedrock of future collaboration in upcoming projects. Be positive, enthusiastic, and be sure to thank others for their time and expertise. Be graceful if things do not pan out as you want – perhaps a reconsideration and new approach will offer a better outcome. People will pay attention to you being adaptive and openminded.