Why Persuasion Is Important


If you work in sales and business, in general, you understand the constant and seemingly unending pressure to make others see your point. If you know what I mean here, you see why persuasion is important, and you know the need to be more influential very well. But there is more to it. Despite the conventional wisdom telling you that some businesses are about people, I’m here to remind you that all business is about people – think of any market that isn’t about something that people will buy for its purpose or convenience. You can’t.

Persuasion as a word is polysemic, meaning that, like many other words, it has different meanings. However, for the sake of this article, we will focus on its more popular definition, which is a form of speech or writing that uses argument or emotion to make the reader or listener believe what the author or speaker is saying. I will let you work this definition for a minute or two, hoping that you can grasp it properly.

And go through that definition again, read it with me and focus on the powerful parts of it: a form of speech or writing that uses argument or emotion to make the reader or listener believe what the author or speaker is saying. To make the reader or listener BELIVE what the author or speaker is saying. To me and those who deal with the public regularly, this is the definition of a superpower. You can see why this skill (or set of skills persuasion requires the use of different tools to work optimally) is essential in business, the goal of sales is, after all, about making the buyer believe that they want or need what you are selling.

Let’s step out of the business context for an instant and see why persuasion, as a set of skills, is vital to life in general.

I’ll ask you once again to look at conventional wisdom in the eye and put it in its rightful place; you have likely heard the obscenely wrong claim made by some people that they don’t like to sell, that it is not necessary for their lives. Simply put, and with all offence intended, the people making that statement are oblivious to the amount of selling we all do throughout our lives. Indeed, you and others may not want to exchange money for your persuasive efforts, and that is subjectively noble. Still, when you convince someone of anything, there is always a transaction taking place, even when it isn’t a monetary one.

Winning an argument has its rewards; it could be as evident as feeling proud of your win, or as critical as averting the entertainment of a dangerous idea. When you persuade a friend, for example, to stop using harmful drugs, you have sold that friend a better chance at a healthy life. Through your use of argument and emotion, you have moved them to improve their behaviour – they bought what you were selling and your payment, if you will, is the pleasure of having helped some for whom you care. Imagine the outcome of a failure to persuade your friend or the devastating effects of that failure… I have lived them, and can attest to the pain it brought to my circle.

Seduction is the ultimate form of selling when done correctly. I don’t know too many people avoiding meeting and convincing the love of their lives that they are the right ones.

I can put forth many more examples to illustrate the importance of persuasion to much more than sales and business. However, I will let you think of instances in which the superpower I describe here can help you become better for yourself and the people around you.

As I stated in my third paragraph, persuasion is a suite of skills that require different tools to work and acquiring these skills isn’t a simple endeavour, but I am here to tell you that it starts with thinking about the importance of these skills to who you are as a person.

Once again, I will ask you to read the definition of persuasion I gave you, pay attention to the parts that jump at you and embrace the power that it offers you.

See you soon.

Spotting Lies and Barriers to Persuasion


A Challenging Proposition

Note: As you read on I want you to think about how this pertains to influence and persuasion and how understanding the principles I cover here can make you better at selling. Sales, is after all, about proper communication.

 

In a police interrogation room, somewhere in North America, a detective is interviewing a suspect in several house invasions. As the detective asks a series of questions designed to dismantle the suspect’s defence, he also observes his [the suspect] eyes, which are moving straight to the left as he provides the answers. This case of “shifty eyes” immediately alerts the interviewer to a lie, and he proceeds to conclude that the suspect is guilty – and of course, in this case, the detective is more than likely wrong.

It is a popularly held belief, and in fact, a myth that gaze aversion is a sure sign of deception. I’m certain many of us have heard some variation of the request to look at someone in the eyes and tell them something; invariably, the individual making the request is looking for an honest answer to a particular question or an explanation to a scenario. The misconception that eye contact ensures truthfulness is likely born out of cultural expectations, at least in the west. In the east, however, and mostly in some Asian cultures, gaze aversion is the socially demanded (and therefore expected) manner of addressing high-ranking individuals, or at times a simple sign of respect.

This conclusion may be a misinterpretation of how guilt represents in the face and body of the person feeling it. A guilty person, and in particular children, tend to look away and even bow their heads in response to the emotional load caused by the feelings of guilt and shame. Consider, however, that under specific religious frameworks, direct eye contact is explicitly forbidden, especially when addressing the opposite sex. If the detective in the introductory paragraph had been female, and the suspect a male Islamic cleric, little to no eye contact would occur. In this case (as in many others) cultural expectations have overridden our natural psychological predispositions.

There has been much responsible research into deception. Dr Paul Ekman, one of the most prominent contributors to this field, has worked tirelessly to understand emotion and the role it plays in communication. His work led to the substantiation of Darwin’s hypothesis on the universality and biological determination of expressions. From their extensive research, Dr Ekman and his team have developed and refined several tools for the study of human expressions and how they can be indications of deception. He is responsible for the systematic collection of Facial Action Units – a sort of atlas of expressions and their corresponding emotions known as F.A.C.S or Facial Action Coding System.

From all the work undertaken by other scientists in these matters, one can conclude that there is no “magic formula” to determine when someone is deceitful. A twitch of the eye, a shoulder shrug, or some asymmetry in movement can indicate lying insofar as the context of the interaction is considered carefully, and never on their own. Take for example, once again the first paragraph: if the interviewer asks a question about a particular detail of the crime under investigation, and the suspect’s reply displays a subtle, one-side shoulder shrug (asymmetry), does this mean that the suspect is lying, and thus guilty? Not necessarily. It is, however, an indication that more investigation is required into the particular area of inquiry. Let’s remember that expressions are signs of emotions, and they tell us that the person displaying them is feeling something, but not the reason for why they feel it. This understanding has rendered the polygraph machine almost inadmissible in courts of law. It is true, at least statistically, that those individuals with adequate training in F.A.C.S or similar tools can accurately detect deception about 80% of the time.

Though some expressions are very revealing of deception, it is essential to remember the role that context plays in human experience. An investigation is a complex process, and more so, when the stakes of finding the truth are high. Professional investigators recommend that critical attention is paid to the actual story to be able to detect possible inconsistencies in it. It is also important to remain emotionally detached from the events themselves to prevent misapprehensions from contaminating conclusions. Gut feelings, beliefs, and conjectures have no place in the investigative process. A dedicated sleuth should always remain open-minded and only willing to rely on the observation of evidence – this attitude and trustworthy training in recognising human emotions and their respective expressions can help us all get closer to the truth. Furthermore, it can enrich our general life experiences substantially by enhancing our ability to send, receive, and decode communication. This exercise can help us become more persuasive and influential; it can allow us to provide proper feedback to those with whom we communicate.

Thank you for reading.

— Peyton Dracco

Finding True Self Confidence


Finding True Self-confidence – Personal development Notes #1

If you have to go around trying to prove to the world that you are confident in yourself, then you lack confidence in yourself.

Let’s agree that confidence is a state of control and awareness; a state of calm and collectedness in which an individual can assess their circumstances properly, and thus can react correctly to said circumstances.

A word of advice here: if you have heard that you should pretend to be self-assured until you become it, stop, and realise what a silly suggestion that is. Deceiving yourself about having a particular skill (and yes, confidence is a skill) will not enable you to perform that skill. The best way to become self-confident is to work on the parts of you that need improvement. This conception, however, brings about a more critical question: do you know what parts of you need to change? The truth is most of us cannot see our shortcomings.

It follows that my advice for today is to take a fair and honest look at yourself and find the aspects of your personality that may be interfering with your growth. Again, be honest. An excellent way to see the things in you that you cannot is to ask for the criticism of others. A trusted friend or a respected mentor can be good sources of feedback. Remembering and reflecting on what others have told you in the past are useful tools for personal development. Getting past hurt feelings is excellent for learning to take criticisms well. There is much to be said about what those who dislike you think of you, but I will get to that another time.

I’ll leave you with this: we all have insecurities; parts of ourselves that we need to improve, and the first step to earning our self-confidence is to figure out what those parts are, and how we can change them.

Take Care.

— Peyton Dracco

5 Techniques For a Good First Impression


Rapport is one of those obscure words you would likely have to look up in a dictionary, and if you don’t, then you are one step ahead of the game, at least regarding the understanding of this basic idea. And I say that you are ahead of the game if you know the meaning of the word rapport because the spoken language we use is vital to the context and the outcome of our daily conversations.

Now, I want to state before I proceed, that it is true that language is more than our vernacular or the words we use; it is a suite of behaviours through which we communicate our minds to the world around us. Our language is a group of tools that include the tonality and physical movements through which we attempt to transfer our thoughts and emotions to those with whom we have our daily conversations. However, I also want to assert that our language being an amalgamation of behavioural devices does not diminish the value of the words we use. The truth is that the more flexible our vocabulary is, the better we can use it to represent ourselves to others.

With that said, let us look at five nonverbal techniques you can use to establish a good connection with other people. The dictionary defines rapport as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well. In essence, this concept is an excellent example of good influence and leadership.

It is important to note that these techniques require subtlety of execution; overdoing any of them may have adverse effects, opposite to what they intend to accomplish. Also, these gestures are more useful in clusters; any of them alone will show incongruent behaviour and confuse your interlocutors.

1: Position, position, position.

How you stand, or your posture can indicate good self-confidence and physical health, and precisely the opposite if it’s wrong.

Remember to assume an open stance when facing a potential new friend – straight shoulders and relaxed arms with the palms of the hands (slightly) towards the person you intend to meet will signal trust, acceptance and a subtle desire to interact with them. Ensure that your feet are pointing in the direction of your conversation partner, lest they perceive you as wanting to walk away from them.

Proper posture is likely the best way to signal confidence and willingness to be wherever you are.

2: It’s in the eyes.

Study someone’s eyes when you meet them for the first time, it will ensure adequate eye contact, making you seem interested in the person you are meeting. People enjoy the attention given to them by most people, and a quick scan of their eyes will indicate your investment in the experience of getting to know them – it will make them feel special – even if for a few seconds.

3: Proper handshake.

It sometimes feels, whenever I speak about the topic of handshakes and first impressions, that most people should understand why this is important to rapport; unfortunately, it is too often a point of failure in establishing good connections.

I can write a four-hundred-page book on the social consequences of the handshake, and I will mention here that you can communicate a plethora of emotions and conditions when shaking hands with another person. You can show your new friend power and control, but worse, insecurity, and weakness or even sadness by holding their hand for only a few seconds. Know that a confident handshake is an indication of authority, but one that is too strong may show low self-esteem.

Ensure that your hand exerts enough pressure for enough time to make theirs feel comfortable and not want to pull away. Most successful business people admit that one or two sharp shakes are optimal to a good first impression, and any more than that my come across as creepy. And, as I said before, this is a topic for much longer work.

4: Say yes, because it is good.

Offer an approving head nod when you meet someone for the first time, especially as you shake their hand, this will project enjoyment of the interaction – it will signal to the other person that you are happy to meet them.

5: Smiles sell.

I also wish that this went without saying, but the power of a good smile is lost on many, most especially on young men, who tend to believe that a serious, angry face is attractive all the time, it isn’t.

A real enjoyment smile can change minds; this is why advertisers use it often to sell us products we don’t need. Notice how you feel when you look at a photo of a smiling face – pay attention to the eyes and how the muscles around them are engaged in the gesture. More importantly, realise how your face feels when you are fully involved in enjoying an experience that makes you want to smile and if you can project that the person you are meeting, you will have started to establish rapport with them.

As I said in my second paragraph, language is a suite of tools, and nonverbal communication is important; likely the largest part of all language, but it is made more accessible by the words with which we match it or mark it. The correct phrase delivered in the right tone will enhance the effect of the techniques I have shared here.

Originally posted on https://www.ellisdracco.com/post/5-techniques-for-a-good-first-impression With Permission of Ellis Curry & Dracco: www.ellisdracco.com

— Peyton Dracco

Lesson 1: Establishing Trust


You did it; you decided to learn from one of the best teachers possible, and that journey of learning and discovery starts now.

Welcome to your first lesson.

NOTE: Every lesson contains, amongst other parts, exercises and the reasons for the activities in those exercises. Whenever possible, additional reading will be suggested.

What is selling?

The Oxford dictionary offers three main definitions for selling, the first of which is to give or hand over something in exchange for money. And this first description is likely the most popularly accepted given the context of our everyday discourse – when people talk about selling something they are usually referring to exchanging a product or service for money.

For this project, however, we will focus on the second definition offered by the dictionary, which is to persuade someone of the merits of something. That definition includes similar ideas like, and this is a significant one for our purposes, to persuade someone to accept or to bring someone around to take something.

To get the best out this training, we suggest that you also stick to the second definition of selling. Remember as I said in my previous article – Who Is Kolt Curry And Why You Should Let Him Teach You To Sell – the idea is to teach you how to sell yourself so that selling your products and services becomes a natural part of life.

With that in mind, let us look at one of the basic principles of selling: rapport building or establishing trust.

Remember, as we go forward that you are building trust with a person you might not have met before, and in a short amount of time. We will talk about maintaining and regaining trust in a different lesson.

Exercise 1 (Level: Basic)

I want you to do two things now: first, think about what makes you trust other people. And be honest about this. What tells you that you can trust someone? It can be how they look or sound; the way they look at you, etcetera. Take your time with this part of the lesson and remember that different people will have different answers; also, the number of responses you provide is particular to you. Make sure to write these answers down; I have saved worksheets for you here, but you can use any method to keep track of these lessons. Some people claim that writing information by hand helps them remember it; again, this part is up to you.

Second, do your best to remember the last time you convinced someone of something – a time when you persuaded another person to do or believe what you needed to do or feel. I need to reiterate the need for honesty in these exercises, failure to observe this need will yield adverse results. This experience of persuasion does not need to be too impressive, it can be something as simple as having someone do a small favour for you, and as involved as possible.

Reasons

The best persuasion artists have a keen understanding of how our emotions control our behaviour; they know how to trigger those emotions and use them to control us, in short, they know what buttons to push.

The idea behind Exercise 1 is to acquaint you with the basic emotional reactions associated with the attitude of trust. This exercise aims to help you begin to understand the positive feelings of confidence in, and of connection with someone else, and to associate these feelings with their corresponding brain states. Yes, I understand that last sentence reads complex, and its intention, in turn, is to elicit in you respect for the complex process of persuasion.

Make sure to complete the exercises suggested here before moving onto the next lesson. Let us know how this works out for you.

Suggested Reading

What is trust: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hot-thought/201810/what-is-trust

On the emotional character of trust: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27504185?seq=1

See you soon.