Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Art of Persuasion

How many times a day do you think someone tries to persuade you? Twenty? Thirty? Actually it's more like four hundred according psychologist Kevin Dutton of Cambridge University. He outlines the five principles of persuasion in his book Split-Second Persuasion. Remember the acronym   S-P-I-C-E.

SIMPLICITY: A simple message makes it easy for people to get persuaded. Complex arguments make people suspicious.

PERCEIVED SELF-INTEREST: Focus on the benefits to the person you wish to persuade, rather than emphasizing your own needs. Don’t say, “We will be able to do this with 20 people dedicated to your project”. Instead try saying, “Your inventory costs will drop by XXX.”

INCONGRUITY: Changing the unit of measurement changes the usual reference points. For example, we have all heard that you need 10,000 hours of practice to be great at any skill. What does that really mean? If you work at it for eight hours a day, every day, in four years you could be an expert at something.

CONFIDENCE: People are persuaded more when you come across as confident. Sales people need to demonstrate confidence in their speech and body language if they wish to persuade someone to buy. 

EMPATHY: We trust people like ourselves. Try to see what common forms of connection you can find. Maybe you studied in the same college or belong to the same town or enjoy the same hobby. Or sometimes even mimicking their actions like nodding can help people listen to you with an open mind.

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