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121 Persuasive Techniques to Influence People
All of us live different lives and there may be some of you out there who go into battle each and every day within your own society. For that reason, I created a list of all the known persuasion techniques that master persuaders use to influence people and get what they want.
Nevertheless, please take note that with great power comes great responsibility. Always use your knowledge for the benefit of everyone and not just your own. Do you get that, Spidey?
How To Make People Cooperate
1. Humor – If you can make people laugh, you make them feel good. This allows you to easily establish a relationship with them.
2. Smile – First impressions last, and first impressions created with a smile is definitely an advantage. Try smiling at every person you come across the street and you’ll see what I mean.
3. Respect – We all know that respect is earned and not given. However, you should always give respect, initially, to any person you meet. It’s always easy to do a favor for someone who shows you respect.
4. Build instant rapport – People who can create rapport instantly with anyone has more friends and can establish good relationships than those who can’t.
5. Use body language – Understanding body language is part of the plan. Our everyday communication is 55% body language. Although you get the signals unconsciously from the people you talk to, knowing how to consciously recognize these signals is a plus in the art of persuasion.
6. The Halo Effect – We usually categorize people as generally good or generally bad. Any trait that you show to a person in the future can be influenced by what you show today. Make sure that anyone you meet today will get the impression that you are generally good.
7. Similarity – Birds of the same feather, flock together, don’t they? If you can always find a way to immediately learn what’s similar between you and the other person, you can easily create a bond. This bond will eventually develop into trust which is always what you need to get people to do something for you.
8. Goodwill – Always be genuine when showing interest in other people. Being sincere about your concern for other people will make them like you quicker.
9. Bonding – People’s names sound like jingle bells to their ears. Call people by their names and they will give you more attention.
The Mirroring and Matching Techniques
10. Mirror their language – Mirroring is a technique used in neuro-linguistic programming to unconsciously establish rapport with a person. Using the same kind of language that the other person is using can help you build that rapport in no time at all.
11. Match their breathing – Breathing alone can help you establish rapport that you will use in persuasion. The effectiveness of this technique relies on its concealment. Who will ever notice that someone is trying to copy their breathing pattern anyway?
12. Match their voice – Matching a person’s voice works on the unconscious level as all of the mirroring techniques you see here.
13. Mirror their moods – When a friend of yours is in a bad mood, do you approach them with a joke? Of course not. Always determine people’s mood before you try and make them do what you want.
14. Match their energy level – A person’s energy level will give you an indication of how prone they are to suggestions. If you can be as happy or lively as they are, it may be much easier for you to lead them toward your plan.
Applying Cognitive Dissonance
15. Create commitments – If you can get people to commit, it is more likely for that person to do what you’ve asked them to do. They will be left with an uncomfortable feeling that will last for a certain time if they do so otherwise.
16. Use written commitments – Written commitments are stronger than verbal agreements. Aside from that, it can serve as some kind of contract between you and the other person.
17. Create public commitments – Even stronger than written commitments are public commitments. Not only will there be a concern about the relationship, the person’s reputation is also at stake.
18. Use external incentives – Business people always use incentives for their employees. Although the motivation it provides only lasts for a short period, it still gets the job done.
19. Always make them say “Yes” – This is a kind of conditioning wherein the person’s response is matched with the stimulus you provide which, in this case, is your request.
20. Make them give an effort – If you can get people to invest an effort, it’s more likely that they will stick to your plans or execute your requests.
21. Create dissonance and offer a solution – If you’re planning to make someone feel uncomfortable to get them to do what you want, just make sure to offer a way out.
Creating A Sense Of Obligation
22. Gift giving – How do you feel when someone gives you a gift and you don’t have anything to give back? Pretty awful, isn’t it? You’ll likely say, “Geez, don’t have anything for you. Just let me know if you need anything…” Ain’t that powerful?
23. Mutual concession – There will be times when someone will try to influence your mind wherein you might feel helpless after realizing you don’t agree to what just happened. Don’t worry! What the other person does not know is that he/she is just as vulnerable when it’s your turn to make them agree to your demand.
24. Give a favor, get one back – Sometimes, people will do things for you whether you like it or not. The problem with this is that it generates a need to reciprocate within the recipient’s mind. If you’re a generous person who finds happiness in giving favors for other people without expecting anything in return, just make sure you let them know.
25. Sharing secrets – Share a secret to create a bond, a sense of obligation, and a feeling of trust. Just remember, the kinds of secrets you share should depend on the kind of person you’re sharing it with.
The Power Of Groupthink
26. Create a group – The larger the group, the better. Humans have a strong need to socialize. People attach themselves to groups to have a sense of belonging. If you want people to conform with your ideals, strengthen the group and make it grow.
27. Make everyone familiar – If you can get people to strongly identify with your group, the easier it will be to influence their behavior. Also make sure that everyone is similar in the way they think.
28. Establish your principles – Companies usually have principles which they package in the form of mission and vision statements. It’s important that people within your organization or your group learn to adhere to these principles.
The Law Of Scarcity
29. Illustrate the potential loss – The possibility of losing someone or something may sometimes make us feel that our freedom is being restricted. Sometimes, people act irrational when this happens. When you’re offering a product or a service, add a sense of potential loss and see how much difference it makes.
30. Tell them they can’t have it – At times it makes you wonder why you’ll try everything to get something you can’t have. Freedom of choice may have something to do with it.
31. Increase demand; limit the supply – When there’s a strong demand for a product or a service, people tend to flock toward it. People are always inclined to purchase that which is in-demand.
32. Create an appeal – To generate interest in you or what you have, create an appeal by making yourself appear special. Surround yourself with good company and fancy objects to attract more people.
33. Show exclusivity – When you try the previous suggestion, you’re already making yourself exclusive. People just can’t get to you and they have to work their way through obstacles (if you want to call it that). The mere effort of trying to get close to you will give you an assurance that they will do anything to please you.
34. Announce a deadline – Procrastination is your biggest enemy. To make sure that your requests or instructions are executed at the time you expect it to be done, always put up a deadline.
35. Restrict their freedom – A person’s desire always influences his/her behavior. Once you tell people that they can’t have something, the more they will clamor for it. Believe me, this trick is a favorite amongst presidents.
The Language of Persuasion
36. Use double speak – Avoid using offensive words and substitute them with less offensive ones. For example: use “mentally challenged” instead of “idiot,” “communication” instead of “propaganda,” “enhanced interrogation” instead of “torture,” and so on.
37. Play with numbers – When you are demonstrating something, play around with numbers in your attempt to persuade. Try something like, “close to nine out of ten” or “fewer than five out of every…”
38. Use positive words – What you want is for people to feel confident and comfortable in doing what you want. Hence, use positive words whenever you’re trying to communicate.
39. Pack words with emotion – Emotion packed words are extremely useful in making people act. Just look at how George W. Bush used the word “terrorist” in his campaign against enemies of the U.S.
40. Be silent – After closing a deal, the best thing to do is to be silent. The person has already made his choice and you don’t want to ruin the whole thing by accidentally giving the other guy contradicting ideas.
41. Paint pictures with words – Isn’t it nice to spend some time walking at the park with those lovely trees all over the place, swaying back and forth to the flow of fresh air? You can just feel the rays of the morning sun gently touching your soft skin until, suddenly; you step on a pile of dog poo… (hehe! Just giving you a break. We’re not even half-way through the list)
42. Choose the right words – Using the right words can sometimes make a big difference. Instead of saying, “Sir, I’m sure we’ll have trouble convincing the staff about your plans.” try, “Sir, I’m sure the staff will greatly appreciate it and give you more approval if we try other means.”
43. Replace “you” with “let’s” – You can get more cooperation from people by replacing “you” with “let’s.” The phrase “let us” gives a hint of involvement on your part. So let’s try using “let’s” from now on.
44. Use simple statements – Give your instructions in simple, direct, and brief statements. Not only is it easier to remember, but it is also easier to understand and absorb.
45. Use everyday language – Complicated language will only confuse your listeners and/or your readers. Sure you got an enormous vocabulary, but if you talk like an intellectually dexterous individual (geek) all the time, it’s more likely that you’ll just be misinterpreted.
46. Avoid vulgar and curse words – As much as possible, try to avoid using profanity in your statements (especially with new acquaintances). Most of the time, your credibility depends on the kinds of words you use.
47. Avoid jargon and technical language – If the person you’re talking to is working in the same field as you are, then there’s no problem with this. In most cases, however, you interact with different people. Like I said earlier, just use everyday language.
48. Keep sentences short – In the early centuries, a single sentence can stand as a whole paragraph. Today, we’re clearly living in a world where a single word such as “party” is enough to say it all. With that said, “let’s” “party.”
49. Don’t beat around the bush – If you have something to say, say it directly.
50. Use verbs – Action words are more likely to make people move. Keep in mind that the words you say are being imagined by the person you’re talking to. Thought precedes movement.
51. Use words that grab attention – Words like FREE, EARN NOW, EASY, SEXY, and GUARANTEED are just few of the numerous attention grabbing words that you can use. Try to EXPERIMENT with these words by adding them in your statements.
52. Emphasize what you want – Take a look at the last sentence above.
53. Pace – Studies have found that speaking faster is more persuasive than speaking in a slow and monotonous way.
54. Avoid vocal fillers – What this means is that… uhm… well… to make… uhm… your ideas accepted… er… don’t use these kinds of words when speaking.
55. Determine your pitch – Adjusting the pitch of your voice by making it lower is proven to be more effective in persuasive speech.
56. Adjust your volume – Always speak loud enough so that people can hear you. If you’re speaking in front of a crowd, test the sound system first to ensure that your audience will not end up being deaf after your presentation.
57. Be more articulate – Ideas that are communicated in a smooth flow and a coherent way adds more credibility. People are more likely to act on your requests or instructions when they are able to fully understand what you’re trying to say.
58. Take some time to pause – Emphasis does not necessarily mean you should only speak louder, more fluently, in a low voice, and so on. There are times when you need to pause so that people will have time to absorb what you just said.
Distinction and Contrast
59. Triple the value – If you are selling a product, people are more likely to buy it when they see an extra value. Whatever you are selling, try adding a discount, bonus products, a warranty, or anything else that will give the impression of a good deal.
60. Change their perspective – When you talk to a salesperson, try to observe how they breakdown the price of what they are selling into ridiculously small easy monthly payments. This is called reframing.
61. Shift their focus – This is a technique used by advertisers to put your attention on the “lighter” side of the picture. Is the glass half full or is it half empty? Is it bad for your purse or is it good for your health?
62. The Door-In-The Face – Make an initially huge request that has a possibility of being turned down. After getting the response, make another request that is reasonable for the other person.
63. Use Comparison – Another technique used in advertising. I’m sure you see a lot of this on television. You compare your product or request to something similar but undesirable in order to get the person to agree with you.
64. Start high with your request – When asking for a request, try to make your way through in getting a “yes” by starting off high. Large request usually get a “no” so make sure before you get down to the real request, ask for something bigger first.
65. Use the right timing – In order for the previous technique to be effective, always state your real request immediately after the earlier ones.
66. Take note of the situation – Are you in the office, in class, in a party, inside a church, or inside a bar? Different places have different moods. Be aware of the situation to be able to match the person’s mood.
The Power of Suggestion
67. Expect to affect – Expectation is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Did you know that you can affect people’s behavior just by showing them your expectations?
68. Consider it done! – You’ve probably heard this before. However, you’re not supposed to be the one to say this. Whenever you send out instructions, just imagine the other person uttering these words to give strength to your unconscious signals.
69. Use persuasive suggestions – Doctors are not the only ones who can use the placebo effect. You can actually use the same principle to make people do what you want them to do.
70. Emphasize the time – What time is it? Well, it’s time for you to make people do what you want instead of the other way around. Did you get the point?
71. Use their reputation – Most people strongly identify themselves with their reputation. “Boss, I know you’re a generous guy. How about giving me a raise?”
72. Use embedded commands – Here’s an example of an embedded command: “You can try this one right away after you finish this article. (Embedded command: “try this one right away”)
73. Pacing and leading – Make the person feel comfortable and in agreement with you then try to move them in the direction that you want.
Getting People Involved
74. Increase their participation – The more a person is involved in what you are doing, the more likely it is for that person to feel connected with you.
75. Use role-playing – Celebrities often experience difficulty getting out of their roles. Pretending is an easy way to change your beliefs. Make people pretend and you’ll be able to tap into their unconscious mind.
76. Ask for people’s advice – Another way to get people involved is by asking for their advice. Some will even teach you how to do it the right way.
77. The Visualization technique – People who sell cars will offer a test-ride to a potential buyer. Surely, if you can visualize yourself riding a car more vividly, you’re more inclined to buy.
78. Keep human contact – If you own a store, approaching your customers and making a conversation with a friendly touch is more likely to make a sale than just hanging around near your cash deposit box.
79. Create an atmosphere – Visual appeal, aroma, and music are used by many types of business establishments to create an atmosphere and to attract more customers.
80. Create tension – If there’s tension, there has to be a release. Just like the plot in a movie or a novel, create tension then offer a resolution at the end.
81. Allow hands-on experience – Computer software companies release Beta versions of their products not only to test it, but to make consumers actually purchase the final version.
82. Learn how to handle objections – Let’s face it. You won’t be able to get people to agree with you all the time, but if you know how to handle objections, then they won’t be able to escape your charm.
83. Tell mesmerizing stories – If you have the ability to tell interesting stories to your listeners or your readers, the more likely people will give you attention and the chance to persuade.
84. Use repetition – Advertisers know that a single exposure of their brand on television is not enough. That’s why they continuously show the product to push it deeper inside your mind. You should do the same thing with your ideas. Push it deeper inside other people’s minds.
85. Repackage your message – You can use repetition, but you don’t want people to take you or your ideas for granted. Learn how to repackage your message just like how companies repackage their products.
86. Build suspense – Isn’t it annoying to leave something unfinished? How about seeing that “to be continued…” message on the television series you’re watching? Indeed, it keeps people coming back for more.
87. Build a competition – In order to make people loyal to your brand or to your group, there must be a competition. Create an atmosphere of “them” versus “us.”
88. Engage the five senses – What enters our mind passes through our five senses. When persuading other people, try to stimulate the five senses as much as you can through the methods mentioned earlier.
Getting People’s Attention
89. Present new and innovative ideas – If you know how to repeat and repackage, you should also offer something new from time to time. There are more choices today than there were before. They can leave you easily when they find something better. Don’t give them the chance to do so.
90. Use quotes – “The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders.” – Eric Hoffer (July 25, 1902 – May 21, 1983)
91. Make shocking statements – Just watch the primetime news and you’ll learn how to do this in no time.
92. Give relevant examples – I think I’ll leave this one alone.
93. Give shortcuts and tips – People want and need things that will make their life easier. We’ve all had it with this game we call life. Why not share something that is beneficial for all.
94. Learn the art of questioning – Indeed, questioning is an art. If you know how to use it well, you can enter other people’s minds easily. Try these questioning techniques.
95. Make them ask – You’re not the only one who should ask questions. When people don’t ask, that means they are not interested. Do you have any questions?
How To Use Flattery
96. Favoritism at its finest – Favoritism in the workplace is definitely undesirable. So make everyone, in any place, your favorite and you are sure to get them to do things for you.
97. Challenge the person’s ego – Do you have the guts to try out everything you’ve read here? Let’s see!
98. Don’t react; just respond – Persuasion is not about you. It’s all about your purpose, and your purpose is to influence other people. Failure is sometimes inevitable, but once you’ve learned your lesson, brush it off and move on.
99. Make them feel important – Hitting on people’s self-esteem by making them feel important is a very effective technique in persuasion. Give them a supply of importance; they’ll give you a supply of favors.
100. Learn how to praise – Aside from making them “feel” important, it is also necessary that you tell people directly what you find nice about them.
101. Show appreciation – Every effort made from the other person’s part should be responded to with gratitude and appreciation.
How To Use Association
102. Use endorsements – You don’t always need to work alone. Persuasion also involves the help of other people. Companies rely on famous celebrities to endorse their products. If you know people with good reputations, find out how you can capitalize on your relationship with them.
103. Use the Anchor technique – Study how to tap emotions and experiences of events, places, and things inside other people’s mind by using the anchor technique. The right kind of stimulus at the right setting is proven to be an effective persuasion tool.
104. Use signs and symbols – You see these everywhere. Just look around your room and see how many signs and symbols you can identify. If you want to take this seriously, you can try studying semiotics.
105. Associate positive experience – Salespeople take their clients out to lunch or dinner. Other businessmen do the same. Why? So that they can be remembered. It’s just like taking your girlfriend out on a first date.
106. Use sponsorship – Many companies sponsor various events to make positive associations. If you watch sports, take a look at the banners all over the venue and try to distinguish which companies they represent.
107. Produce lasting images – Well-known personalities use different kinds of images to project the kind of qualities they want people to perceive. Have you ever tried wearing a bling-bling?
108. Make use of colors – There are many different meanings of colors. If you know what each color represents, you can use this knowledge to elicit a certain mood or feeling. Speaking of feelings, let’s try to find out how to use them.
Using Emotions To Take Them Over
109. Envy – Envy is what a person feels when he perceives in himself a lack of other people’s qualities, accomplishments, or material possession. Making others feel envy, however, is undesirable, but is still an effective persuasion technique.
110. Worry – Persuasion may be ineffective if the person you’re trying to persuade is worried about something. Help the person get back to reality first by using positive and affirming words before applying any of the techniques here.
111. Fear – Fear is commonly used as a marketing strategy, but you can also persuade people by invoking fear with the use of your words.
112. Anger – Someone who is angry may be someone who wants attention. You just need to know how to diffuse the person’s anger when it’s time for you to persuade.
113. Sympathy – You see this being used a lot of times on television. Starving children, tortured animals, war victims, and so on. When people feel sympathy towards something, they are more willing to help.
114. Jealousy – Jealousy is what you feel when you see other’s possessing something that you don’t want them to have. There’s a good chance that you can persuade a person who is jealous.
115. Shame – When people do something they regret, they may or may not be motivated to make up for their mistakes. If they still see a little bit of hope, help them get up.
116. Pity – Pity is what you feel for people who have been treated unjustly or have experienced some unfortunate events in their lives.
Using Facts and Figures
117. Cite empirical studies – People are more inclined to believe your claim if you back it up with scientific evidence. Sometimes, just adding the words “scientific findings have proven…” in your words can already make a big difference.
118. Gather testimony – There’s a reason why we look at product reviews, movie reviews, book reviews, and so on. The more testimonies you can get, the more you add to the appeal of your product or claim.
119. Use statistics – Graphs, charts, statistical data, etc. All of these have numbers that will help you provide stronger evidence to your listeners or readers.
120. Create an analogy – You can sometimes go on explaining something for a long time, but people may still not be able to understand. Using analogies is just like making people watch a theatrical version of a novel.
121. Show published reports – If it’s documented or published on a newspaper, then you can use it to support your claim.
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