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How to persuade people

Published on November 3, 2020

Persuasion. I’d be lying or joking if I don’t say persuasion is one of the most important or a very handy skill to have in your bag. People often think that persuasion is a skill that only sales or marketing people must possess. Well, be that as it may, understand that it’s a handy skill to have for absolutely everybody. A must-have skill for any leader or for anyone who desires to be influential. People also sometimes believe a myth that persuading someone to buy something is a bit demeaning or you know, looked down upon. I must tell you, it’s not. It’s not even close to being as easy as you think. And persuasion isn’t just making someone buy something, there’s more to it. Stick around to find out how to persuade people in life.

Before we go any further, it’s only fair to start with a classy quote.

“Not brute force, but only persuasion and faith are the kings of the world. “

- Thomas Carlyle.

As I read somewhere in the past, it’s something that fits in here perfectly. It says ‘Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.’ Bang on point. The weight that your words can carry far outweigh any other tool you think you have at your disposal. Because people inevitably arrive at beliefs based not on what they find proof for, but what they find attractive. And what they find attractive can be influenced by you. By how good you can pitch your idea/opinion/product/service to create attractivity in their minds. That’s that. No ostentation. 

As I often say, if you’re good enough, you can talk your way in or out of any situation you want. Your words, your voice are a priceless asset. Persuasion is an art. You want to influence people with what you say, don’t you? Also, you want your words to carry an enormous amount of weight, don’t you? So much so that you influence people’s behaviour? As leaders, we all need to inspire, motivate and kindle a spark in our team during adversarial times to make them push harder and not give up. Your personality, voice, way of delivering all come into account while making an impact powerful enough to persuade people.

So it’s not just sales, it’s persuading your team and bringing out the best in them. It’s vital for negotiations, it’s critical as a senior authority in any organisation. It’s crucial as a junior to have this skill to persuade seniors to listen to them, give them a chance. It’s absolutely necessary to have this skill to pitch in. 

How to persuade people

So now then, let’s get to the business, shall we? Here are 5 tips on how to persuade people in life.

1) Talk less, listen much much more : 

Yeah, yeah, I know. You are laughing over how counterintuitive this sounds, but hey, hear me out and you’d find it very intuitive. Well, a rather unknown secret to talking better is well, listening better. For starters, it inculcates a sense of importance in others’ minds that this person is hearing me out, and giving me importance. “(S)He must be a good (Wo)man”. Also, listening more enables you to pick out points to later use to pitch in and persuade better. Priceless. Not only does it make others feel prioritised, you persuading them for a possible solution of their problem makes the deal even sweeter. 

All in all, going out to negotiate or persuade, remember this tip is a very important answer to how to persuade people.

2) Know whom to persuade - your target audience :

A no-brainer answer on how to persuade people in life. You cannot persuade 7 billion mortals on earth unless aliens attack us and then we need to go like the Avengers, “assemble”. But otherwise, you always need to pick your best bets and leads. Rather than wasting your efforts on something useless, channel it towards something that would reap you rewards. It’s a common mistake to go out to pitch everybody and try to persuade a whole lot of people to do what you want them to do. Choose your battles wisely. Focus on what you reckon would be the most beneficial and work your charm.

3) Play it subtle and be willing to hear a “no” :

A key to how to persuade people in your life. Subtlety is gold, or priceless rather. It’s how you slip in DMs, don’t you? Hehe, gotcha! Well, persuasion is best when done subtly. Otherwise, it would come off as a very desperate and hardcore attempt of yours. It’s all about playing it cool. You should never make it look like your last resort as if your life’s depended on it. No, you should play it cool and casual and should be ready to walk away. Nothing comes off as worse as desperation, ask your Crush ( Ohhhhhh! ). However bad you want, you shouldn’t make it visible and make yourself too vulnerable. A great example, if you ask me, would be the James Bond series. My personal favourite is Sean Connery and just observe how nonchalant, cool, subtle and casual he is around everyone including his enemies. Ah, class of its own. That is a very desirable quality when negotiating and persuading.

Well, I’ve personally used this, as a publicity member for a festival. And many times people come back to listen or get things going, because they want to feel prioritised and important and that FOMO. Everybody likes importance and you walking away makes them give you a chance and talk with you. Works its charm, my friend.

4) Get them to talk, make them comfortable :

Again, a sort of a no-brainer. And again, I’ve experienced this first hand. If you approach someone coldly and start blabbering about what you have to say directly, more often than not, you won’t seal the deal. You have to create a sort of comfort zone for them to open up and at least, be in the conversation. The better the vibe you create, the more positive it is. Not only will they feel comfortable talking, but they also will likely be equally interested in what you have to say, you see what I mean? Everyone likes appreciation and that’s a good way to get things started. So, open up, work your charm and ease into the conversation. Don’t rush. And you’ll more often than not, seal the deal. A simple yet effective answer to how to persuade people in life. Do you affirm?

5) Always believe in yourself - persuade yourself first :

Not just while persuading, but in general, while doing anything in life, believe in yourself. Because if you won’t, who will? Before your pitch or negotiations, take a moment, close your eyes and think positive about the job. Imagine that you did great and nailed the pitch/negotiation and achieved the desired result. Imagine how jubilant you’d be and how happy everyone around you will be. Open your eyes, take a deep breath and go in with the confidence of literally nailing in your performance. If this sounds stupid to you, well, this has not just helped me, but countless others. No harm in trying it out. You’ve got nothing to lose, no risks. But, believe me, belief is a very powerful emotion. It can sometimes, single-handedly turn the game upside down. 


So, that’s it, folks. 5 proven, golden tips on how to persuade people in life. It’s only a matter of going out there and executing. One more thing, don’t hesitate or be afraid to approach. Yes, easier said than done, but you only give yourself a chance if you try. 


Happy Persuasion People!

Thank you!

- Images by Kaleidico on Unsplash


P.S - Psst.... During this stressful times, it's critical to manage stress in your life for pea performance and of course, longer life.

Want some tips on how to manage stress? Say no more. Click here to learn more about managing stress.

Post Author: Abhishek Mehta

Abhishek Mehta is a Co-founder of Skillephant, a skill development and management firm that helps organisations build and manage teams. Prior to this, while working with globally leading e-commerce clients at a real estate firm, Abhishek was able to build an expertise in project and human resource management. It was early in his career when he learnt about the valuable role that a strong human capital plays in an organization's success. Abhishek is ardent about making a difference and providing people with vital learning and development resources that can pave the path to success.