Being persuasive is a lot easier when you know your audience. But what if you want to influence someone you’ve just met? How can you tell what they need and want? In this case, the best thing you can do is to as likable as possible. The way you speak and walk, what you’re wearing, and how confident you look — everything matters.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a psychologist to influence others. There are a couple of things you can do to persuade easily people you’ve just met. Let’s see a few examples:
Take a Bold Stand
This may come as a surprise, but many people prefer energetic cockiness to quiet expertise – at least when they’ve first met someone and haven’t had the time and opportunity to more carefully measure your expertise. They assume that confident individuals are more knowledgeable and skilled.
Whenever you want to influence someone, take a bold stand. Show that what you’re saying makes perfect sense. Be enthusiastic about what you’re promoting, whether it’s an idea or a product.
However, don’t sacrifice your long-term prospects for the sake of quick gains. It’s still important to be courteous to ensure people agree to work with you because they want to, not because they feel pressured to or are just saying what you want to hear to escape from you. And be sure to make good on whatever you promise, or you’ll earn a bad reputation that will precede you when you’re trying to make a good impression with others down the line.
Use Your Charm
There is a fine line between charm and manipulation. Many times, people who appear to be charismatic are only trying to manipulate others. In fact, charisma is a common trait that defines narcissistic personalities.
To be a good persuader, use your charm to influence, but not deceive people. Put yourself in a positive light by highlighting your strengths. Smile, make eye contact, and compliment the people around you.
The main purpose of charm is not to make the deal for you, but to make your presentation pleasant enough that people want to spend the time learning about what you offer and feel comfortable with the prospect of interacting with you more in the future.
Leverage Power Words
Words have the power to change the world. They can convince people to take action, boost their confidence, and drive their behaviors. However, some words are more powerful than others.
To be persuasive, use power words that evoke emotions or elicit a response. These include You, Now, Need, Only, Don’t Miss, Proven, Secure, Free, and more.
The word Instantly, for example, eliminates the fear of delayed gratification – or perhaps a greater concern in this day and age, inconvenient scheduling that might throw off other things. The word New is associated with novelty and opportunity, which activates the brain’s reward center. Likewise, people tend to make different choices when they hear the word Free, even if competing offers of greater (but not free) value are available.
Always be truthful, of course, but don’t be afraid to use such power words to succinctly communicate the real value you are offering.
As human beings, we’re naturally inclined to desire what we can’t get. In fact, products can be perceived to be more appealing when they’re in short supply or only available for a limited time. This concept is known as scarcity.
Persuasive people use scarcity to urge others into taking action. Whether you’re selling ideas, products, or services, try to promote them as a time-dependent opportunity. Include scarcity power words in your speech, such as Limited Offer, Get Them While They Last, Today Only, You Won’t Get This Chance Ever Again, Now or Never, and so on.
Don’t fear this as being an artificial thing as usually there is genuine value in timeliness. For example, people still continue to buy books from modern authors even though there are more free books available in the public domain, many by classical masters, than anyone could ever read in their lifetime. Not because the value of the ideas themselves are necessarily distinctly different, but because the presentation given for a certain place and time also highly matter.
Always use your persuasion skills genuinely and positively. Strive to help people. If you try to manipulate the audience, they will eventually figure it out and stop trusting you.