How to persuade someone and gain their trust? Just ‘shut up & listen,’ suggests Chris Voss, FBI’s former Hostage Negotiation Prodigy. When it comes to methods of persuasion, the strategy goes beyond looks and your skin color. The techniques explained here exceed textbook knowledge and show what it takes to persuade people without forcing them or stressing them out to do something which they are not proud of.
The Sequence Matters a Lot
When we talk about negotiation and persuasion, the sequence in which you lay down the events matters a lot. It is a three-phase process. In the first phase, it is all about gathering information. Once the data is collected, you work on instilling trust in the person. You can use mirroring to build a strong rapport.
The second phase entails taking all the facts and figures and weighing down the perception of wins and losses that the person may have during the conversation. The third phase is all about planting a seed in the mind of the person and watching it grow.
Most of the times, we often forget the sequence, and this is why our words don’t leave any impact on the person. Start from phase one. Know the present condition of the person. As Dale Carenage mentioned in his book, ‘Start from where the other person is. If the other person is sad, be sad. If the other person is happy, begin with a happy story.’ When we lay down the right foundation, everything onwards becomes easier.
It’s nearly impossible to convince the person if the sequence of methods of persuasion is not followed. How can you make the other person acquiescent if you didn’t take the time to read their emotions?
Before you Hit the Nail, Gather the Facts
It is said that people do business with people whom they trust. One important quality of great leadership is gathering all the facts before they reach a final decision. Rather than jumping down to the solutions, you can start by understanding the core of the problem. To do so, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- How to make the person think out aloud in front of you?
- How can you persuade them to come to you again?
The easiest way to get a yes from the person is to repeat their ideas back to them. When you paraphrase their ideas and sell it to them, they will realize that you understand them. You can use labels and summaries to show how much you understand and build trust. Do not rush into the ‘why’ questions. Despite your purest intentions, the use of ‘why’ or ‘what’ can feel like an ambush to the other person.
Break it down to minimize the losses
Every human being takes a decision based on their understanding of opportunity, gains, and damages. Everyone fears losing something which limits the person from thinking the benefits through. Productivity is all about minimizing the losses by breaking down one huge task into smaller chunks.
To get people on your side, you must understand their losses. Use the element of empathy to let them know that you appreciate their perspective and they can trust you to do what is right for them. Once you’re able to do that – get a ‘that’s right’ response – you’ll have time to hit the nail in the head, and your counterpart will not resist and melt away all their anger.
Once you know what the other person will lose, you will be able to deal with the situation justifiably. Having said that, if the counterpart is losing something dear to them, it will be impossible for you to get a ‘yes’.
The best way to handle such a situation is to ask well-thought out questions.
- What will happen if you don’t take precautions and improve?
- How long can you survive by following the status quo?
- Do you disagree with my point, if yes, why?
Once you get to grips with your counterpart’s dilemma, repeat the problem to them, followed by these questions:
- What did I miss?
- Am I correct in understanding your point?
- Do you still disagree with me?
When you ask these questions, it will give the impression that you understood the problem and are willing to come up with a solution for that. In contrast, if you get a ‘yes’ from your counterpart, it will be difficult for them to back off from their agreement.
Finally, you must understand the difference between a loss and a threat. If you try to threaten your counterpart, it will fare badly for you.
Fairness is Necessary
Akin to losses, we feel at home with people when we know that they are dealing with us fairly. Being fair is the core of all the negotiations. To make your counterpart believe your words, it is necessary to stay fair with the opportunity and the losses.
The most authentic way to address fairness is leading to it. For instance:
By telling the other person that, ‘I want to ensure that you are being treated fairly, and if you feel that something is not fair, feel free to speak up,’ you create an environment of fairness.
Tackle the Implementation
If you have done all the steps correctly, you won’t get any resistance from your counterpart. If everything goes as planned, you’ll be able to handle the final implementation phase without any glitches.
To connect your counterpart with the solution, transform them into a problem solver. Conclude the discussion by diverting all the attention to their core problem. Moreover, surround their problem with their identified solutions.
Rather than telling them what you think, help them lead the way by asking, “How will you solve this problem?”, moreover, “What steps will you take to reach a solution?”
Following the five steps above will help you close the deal on your terms if you focus mostly on, “If, then, what, and when”, This will help you turn your counterpart into a problem-solver. It will give them an impression that they are in control and you are merely a vessel to the solution.
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