The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines persuasion as “the act of causing people to do or believe”. Through this change oriented event people assume a different thought process and / or take a alternative course of action. So what are some of the skills or elements involved with this capability of “persuasion” and is it something you are born with or can learn? A variety of research conducted, including work from Harvard Business Review contributor Robert Cialdini, has led to some of the following key contributing factors.
If people like you there is a far greater probability that they will change their mind, act on your behalf or even buy from you. This quality is built on trust, reputation and familiarity.
If you share common values and interests people are much more likely to listen to what you have to say and ultimately act on or believe in (be persuaded). This is consistent with the old adage that “birds of a feather flock together” which can lead to group thinking and action.
If you feel that you are being acknowledged in an authentic way, barriers comes down and receptivity to change goes up. As Cialdini puts it, praise both charms and disarms thus creating the basis for something new.
All of the above can be acquired skills though they do involve a high level of self awareness. In addition the ability to be able to communicate effectively is also paramount. Coaching, though not normally associated with persuasion, embodies a set of skills all designed to persuade an individual to decide upon their own chosen direction. In simple terms, coaching could be considered a somewhat subtle process of persuading clients to look within for answers and actions.