People with strong persuasion skills get the world to follow them. Individuals who master the art of influencing others stand out from the crowd, making a mark of their own.

If you want others to take you seriously and acknowledge your hard work, you need to figure out how to be more influential and persuasive. You might have the most brilliant ideas, but if you are not able to express them in a convincing way, you risk not getting very far with your idea.

Whether you are delivering a sales pitch, negotiating a deal or conducting a presentation, having robust persuasion skills will take you to the next level. So, let us go through some key skills that contribute towards building your persuasion capability.

1. The most fundamental skill for persuasion is self-confidence. You need to believe in yourself for others to believe you. Whilst there is no magic wand for confidence, there are ways of lifting your self-confidence. Take a look at this article if you wish to know more about bringing your self-confidence to life.

2. You have probably heard before that knowledge equates power. Keep yourself well-informed with the latest developments in your respective field so that you can answer those challenging questions. Having comprehensive knowledge of the argument you intend to present is crucial. Missing out on certain information updates might risk getting you caught in an off-guard position, so gather all the information you need before you deliver that high stakes talk.

3. Back up what you say with evidence. It’s easy to think that, once your audience has the information they need, they will make the right choice. However, you need to consider that they’re not inside your head and they’re not necessarily looking at things from your perspective either. So, your audience needs more than your word in order for them to buy into what you are proposing. Let’s face it, a prospect for your idea or service needs more than just your word to go on. That means you need evidence. No matter how strongly you believe in what you’re saying, you need to back up your important assertions with proof from personal anecdotes, client testimonials, industry trends, case studies, polls, expert opinions, news reports, and more. Get into the habit of accepting that your opinion or advocacy are not good enough. Provide the evidence.

4. If you anticipate resistance, it is beneficial to start from an agreement position.  Your influence depends on whether you can establish common ground with your audience, and the earlier you do so, the better. Once your audience recognises that you and they are working towards a common goal, they will be much more likely to trust you. This is especially important if your views differ greatly from theirs.   

5. Bring in something new. People who resist your point of view often think they’ve already heard all the arguments on your side, so surprise them. Give them something they haven’t heard before. It doesn’t need to be a radical departure from past approaches. It can be a fresh perspective, a different approach or a new story to share.

6. To truly speak with influence and impact, use emotional language. If you want to change people’s convictions or behaviour, you won’t do it with statistics and pie charts alone. You need to talk about your issue in ways that touch people’s hearts. Unlock your audience’s emotional response by first including your own emotions, as long as you find a balance and don’t overdo it. Second, use words that are custom-made to elicit emotional responses, rather than the dry ‘business-like’ ones you may use out of habit. Think about the company’s culture and your audience when choosing such words, but even choices like ‘love’ over ‘like’; ‘exciting’ over ‘interesting’; or ‘cutting-edge’ over ‘new’ will prove the point. Share stories and metaphors to make your case. Use comparisons that people can relate to. Don’t be afraid to reveal how you yourself have wrestled with the issue you’re discussing. By doing so, you’ll be giving them permission to do the same.

7. Never force anyone to agree with what you say. Give them time to think, reflect and come back to you later. Persuasion certainly does not mean sitting on someone’s head and chasing them daily.

So, if you’re aiming to be bold and achieve influence, consider embracing these characteristics. One final tip – maintain a positive approach and demeanour. People do not particularly like interacting with those who speak as though all hope is lost. Keep a smile on your face. Create an aura of yourself. Let others draw inspiration from you. Trust me – it works!

Persuasion is one of the most important skills you can develop. Without it, your ideas might not get traction. Without influence, you won’t get the resources or support you need. Without influence, you won’t be able to communicate your unique value to the world. On the other hand, when you build strong influential and persuasion skills, you can achieve amazing results. It is persuasive people who are most often involved in important discussions and business meetings. You can either be the persuader or the one who gets persuaded. I know which seat I will take, how about you?

You can reach Michelle Fenech Seguna on [email protected]  or access www.speaktomove.com.mt for more information.

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