Do you ever feel frustrated trying to convince others to take action, even when that action is beneficial to them? I know I do!
The hardest seems to be convincing people to invest their time in activities that will strengthen the core of their character and personality, helping them become more effective in all areas of their life.
What can be done to move from connection – a worthy and sometimes challenging pursuit in itself – to connected influence? It may be worthwhile to learn a bit from the science of persuasion.
Secrets from the Science of Persuasion
The video describes six “secrets” from the science of persuasion:
I think it important to note the video talks about the ethical application of these “secrets.” I know we can all think of someone who has used one or more of these tools to manipulate and guilt us into taking action we didn’t want to take. However, it’s equally important to see these as tools, not inherently good or bad on their own.
Two sides of the coin
On one side, we have become a society of savvy consumers. Simply being aware of these persuasion techniques puts people on their guard, ourselves included. It is important to watch your reactions and question decisions that come too quickly or easily.
For example, I haven’t bought address labels since I moved into my current home almost 5 years ago. Shortly after I moved in, three or four different charities sent me address labels, hoping that I would send them a contribution. They were depending on the principle of reciprocation. I know it might not sound good, but I broke the reciprocation principle; I choose carefully where I donate funds and which causes I support, and none of these organizations represented a cause I support. And, no, I don’t feel guilty for using the labels that were freely and unsolicitedly sent.
However, it is equally possible to miss a genuinely good opportunity simply because you are reacting the way we are hardwired to react! It is possible to be overly suspicious. For example, on occasion I might have a student in my class make a suggestion. I have to be cautious that I don’t accept or reject the suggestion based on how diligent (or not) the student is. I can not base my decision on how likable the person is, but rather on the merits of the suggestion itself. (Yes, this happened again today.)
If you are in the position of feeling frustrated by a lack of cooperation from others, an insufficient amount of influence with people who matter most, it would be good to examine your requests and behavior in light of these “secrets.” One thing that really struck me from the video is the idea that small tweaks of language or behavior made big differences in the outcome.
I know I will be examining my own attempts at persuasion.
The type of self-examination I suggest doesn’t come easily to most. If you are looking for a thinking partner in evaluating your current attempts to persuade and influence those around you, I would love to help! Contact me to schedule a conversation at firstname.lastname@example.org; please put “Bridging the Divide” in the subject line.
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