The ability to persuade isn’t just a business skill, it’s a life skill too. Do you consider yourself to be persuasive?

Remember when you were persuasive?

Think of a time when you persuaded someone of something. What was it that made you so persuasive in that moment? When I think back on my most persuasive moments, I can see three things.

  • I was passionate
  • I was genuinely interested in the other person
  • I was truly, authentically me

What’s the one thing we all share?

When recounting more than 30,000 guests, Oprah Winfrey has interviewed on her show. She said, people shared one thing in common. And that was validation.

They wanted to know, Do you see me? Do you hear me. Does what I say mean anything to you?

So if you want to persuade someone of something, start with that. Meet them where they’re at, acknowledge them, find a way to explicitly share that you understand where they’re at, their challenges, and their wins.

Forget about the outcome you’re trying to influence. Begin with the gift of validation. Wrap them in that space and really see them, really hear them, and begin to get a sense of where they’re at.

The art of the win-win

A win-win happens when we want the best for somebody else, and a great negotiation is where both parties win. Maybe not everything, but enough. So share explicitly what’s in it for them. And if you’re not sure, spend some time when you’re prepping for this conversation, so that you can clearly articulate what is in it for them.

Plan to persuade

What? I’m meant to plan to persuade? You bet.

Persuasion ia rarely accidental. You’ve got to know your outcome. Get to know them so that you can predict what will stoke their ambition. And make sure you’re covering intrinsic as well as extrinsic rewards when you’re raising their ambition.

Intrinsic rewards could be things like: fueling their purpose or sense of meaning, bringing more joy into a situation or into a relationship. Extrinsic rewards could be: more money, or power, or appreciation.

And then you want to make your persuasive argument pop! Give it the X Factor. Share a story or bring some excitement or emotion into your voice or body language. You want to leave them on that crescendo where the next step that you have suggested feels like the next logical thing to do.

And there you have it, your framework for persuasion.

Start with acknowledgement.

Add in that ambition, and multiply it with affect.

That’s where the magic happens.

Maybe you’re thinking, hmm, being persuasive is not really for me. It feels a little bit grubby; a little bit dirty. Let me ask you a question.

Imagine a world where Mahatma Gandhi hadn’t lead India to self determination through his philosophy of nonviolent non cooperation. Was he persuasive?

Prepare to persuade

When you’re in your next persuasive situation, here are three things that you can do.

Step 1: Acknowledge them

List three things that you could say to acknowledge and validate them. Remember, I see you, I hear you, what you say matters.

Step 2: Raise their ambition

List three intrinsic and three extrinsic rewards that would stoke their ambition.

Step 3: Affect them.

Ask yourself, what can I say to raise their vibration? Or brainstorm the things that you could say or be like to create that sense of urgency.

Here’s the real reason why we need to be more persuasive

The world needs more beacons of light, more hope, more peace, more joy, more fulfilment.

What would the world be like if you could persuade somebody to support your dream?