#271 from Innovative Leader Volume 6, Number 4          April 1997

Persuade Others to Follow Your Way of Thinking
by Kevin Hogan Ph.D.

Dr. Hogan, a clinical hypnotherapist, is a nationally certified trainer of sales,  persuasion, neurolinguistic programming and hypnosis. He is the author of The Psychology of Persuasion, and, the 10 hour- Persuasion Mastery Video Course. These and other related programs can be obtained from Network 3000, toll free, at 1-888-707-1896. Or, write for more information at 1565 Cliff Rd. #3-137, Eagan, MN, 55122

On occasion, you probably have found the fruit of your efforts slowed or even stifled because of  the inability of others to see the value of your work.  Further, when it comes to promoting your ideas to subordinates, or those higher up the corporate ladder, it’s often difficult to persuade them to your way of thinking.  Assuming your work is valuable, you deserve to have action taken on your ideas.

The purpose of this article is to show you specifically how to persuade others to your way of thinking. You’ll discover how to precisely design influential messages.

Outcome Based Thinking-

The first key to persuading others to your way of thinking is to utilize outcome based thinking, which means that you:

            1) Decide specifically what the desired outcome is at the beginning of any                                   communication.  What do you want out of the process?

            2) Predict what the other person wants, or will want.

            3) Determine what is the least you will accept.

            4) Predict what possible problems may come up.

            5) Determine, in advance, how to deal with each problem, and how you can turn that                 specific problem into a benefit for the other person or people.

            6) Decide how you will bring the process to a conclusion.

By following this model you’ll be able to take control, however subtly, of most situations you encounter.  Having a plan gives you an edge in preparation.  Being prepared for objections allows you to easily and swiftly deal with them as if they were minor challenges and not major stumbling blocks.

Persuasion Techniques-

There are literally hundreds of effective techniques for influencing others. Here we’ll deal with just a few.  Try to learn the values of the other person or people you’re going to influence.

            "What specifically would you have to know for you to want to go ahead with this                          project?"

            "What is most important for you in deciding to move forward?"

            "What concerns do you have that would prevent you from moving forward?"

Once you discover the values of the person or people that will be making a decision on your suggestions, you know precisely what criteria need to be met in order for you to move ahead.

This is not the time to ask a leading question like, "If I can make sure the project is profitable, would you go ahead with it?"  There are likely numerous criteria, in addition to profitability, that you may not have considered that will be key to the decision-making process.  Be patient.  Once discovering the criteria, you can later utilize the data.

Power Words-

Research and experience have proven that certain words, when utilized properly, work like a skeleton key in opening the mind to suggestion. We’ll discuss five such words.

            Name. A person’s name is a key attention-getter.  Never over-use another person’s name, but do refer to people by their name for maximum suggestibility.  When you were a baby you heard your name over and over again.  You linked it with getting attention, and you very much liked hearing your name spoken gently to you. Many salespeople try to use Mr. or Mrs. and the persons last name.  This is rarely effective, as you can attest to from your own experience with salespeople who have failed to sell you their product while dis-ingenuinely using your name.  It’s a fact, that judicious use of the other person’s name, creates a powerful associative link to fondness and positive attention.

            Please and Thank You.  We were taught, since the time we first spoke, that we will get something if we say “please,” and, once we have it, we must say “thank you.”  Therefore, when these terms are used in communication, they carry a great deal of impact.  A few examples of the use of these powerful words:

            "Thank you for seeing me today."

            "Please give this proposal every consideration, John."

            "Thank you for coming to us.  I believe you’ll find our staff remarkably service                          oriented.  Please ask for any help you need."

            "Please, help out in any way you can."

            "Please let me help you isolate the financial challenges in the project so we can                          come to a mutually beneficial proposal."

Because-  When you were young, you were told over and over, "Because I said so." These words carried authoritative weight.  As adults, a more refined "Because" carries just as much authoritative weight.  Ellen Langer, a social psychologist, performed a fascinating experiment. She asked a favor of people waiting in line to use the library’s copy machine. When she asked, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the machine, because I’m in a rush?" 94% let her move ahead in line!

When the request was phrased without those last five words, only 60% let her move ahead in line.  Most fascinating of all, however, was that when she asked, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the machine because I have to make some copies?"  93% let her move ahead in line with no reason other than “because”!

Now- The worlds greatest hypnotists have discovered yet another truly powerful word. When used gently, at the end of a sentence or question, the word now proves to be yet another key to suggestibility.  "Now" was used as a command when we were young.  It was almost used with a threatening tone of voice and was very motivating, albeit from a negative viewpoint.  Like the other words we’ve discussed, it has remained in our unconscious mind as a trigger to take action...now.  To use the word with the intonation that was used by our parents creates a sense of rebellion.  However, to say the word with a soft and gentle voice, even with a question mark after it, triggers an almost identical response that will amaze you with its effectiveness.

Hypnotic Language Patterns

For years it was thought that the "hard sell" was the only way to really increase sales. However, certain language seem to heighten suggestibility.  We’ll touch on a few.

            "Don’t" Language Patterns

We know that people can’t make a picture of the word "don’t" in their minds.  More specifically, a picture cannot be made of "don’t" because it’s not a noun. Therefore we can use this word in language patterns to influence others. Here are a few examples.

            “Don’t feel as though you have to go ahead with this proposal today.”

            “Don’t look at me and smile.”

            “Don’t decide now. You can do it later if you’re uncomfortable.”

            “Don’t make up your mind too quickly.”

Go back to each of these examples, delete the word "don’t," and you will get the message the unconscious mind is getting.  The reason why so many children disobey is that they frequently hear the word "don’t."  The brain skips over the word "don’t" regularly.  Need convincing?  Don’t think of blue. Don’t think of President Clinton’s face. "Don’t" is like a direct order to do something.

            Might and Maybe Language Patterns-

Most individuals use language patterns that are far too explosive or demanding of the other person.  This is a common mistake.  We tend to give orders to our spouses, children, employees, etc.  We don’t like to take orders and resent them when we hear them.  Therefore, we can use "Might and Maybe Language Patterns" to persuade others in a far more gentle and effective manner.

            "You might want to consider adding this program to our 1997 project list, now."

            "You might want to take this project up now."

            "You might notice that your feelings toward this project will change with each                              passing day."

            "Maybe you’ll  go ahead with the program after taking one night to consider                         it."

            "Maybe you haven’t considered how good this project is going to make all of us look       at the end of the year at bonus time."

Now, go back and delete the words "might" and "maybe."  Notice the statements often become commands when the hypnotic bypass word is taken out.

            Assumption of the Obvious Language Patterns.

When we give credit to people for knowing something they really know nothing about they generally hide their ignorance and agree with what you’re stating.  This is supposed to leave us with the belief that they possess more knowledge than they do.  In each pattern below, you’ll notice how this works in the persuasion process.

            “You probably already know the problems we’ll have if we don’t get to work                                 on this now.”

           “You probably know how this is going to increase our profits.  I’m simply going to            elaborate on three ways.”

           “People can, you know, really make a name for themselves by implementing this program.”

            “You’ll soon realize that you are making the right decision when you...”

            “Sooner or later you’ll know that this is the best design for the immediate future.”

            “Eventually you’ll know what’s right for this company.”

Notice the phrases "you probably already know," "People can, you know," "realize," "sooner or later" and "eventually," all imply the person will see the obvious very shortly.

This of course, is only one tip of the iceberg in being successful in the persuasion process. Until then, practice these patterns and test them in your daily work.  The more you practice, the more confidence you’ll gain when the chips are down...and, you know, they are your chips.

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