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From Inc., Jeff Haden provides 9 recommendations on how to be more persuasive.   These are my favorites.  Jeff writes:

How can you be more persuasive?

1. Start by gaining small “wins.”

Research shows–yep, more research–that gaining agreement has an enduring effect, even if only over the short term.

So instead of jumping right to the end of your argument, start with statements or premises you know your audience will agree with. Build a foundation for further agreement.

Remember, a body in motion tends to remain in motion, and that also applies to a head nodding in agreement.

2. Take strong stands.

You would assume data and reasoning always win the day, right? Nope. Research shows humans prefer cockiness to expertise. We naturally assume confidence equates with skill.

Even the most skeptical people tend to be at least partly persuaded by a confident speaker. In fact, we prefer advice from a confident source, even to the point that we will forgive a poor track record.

So be bold. Stop saying, “I think” or “I believe.” Stop adding qualifiers to your speech. If you think something will work, say it will work. If you believe something will work,say it will work.

Stand behind your opinions–even if they are just opinions–and let your enthusiasm show. People will naturally gravitate to your side.

4. Don’t be afraid to be (appropriately) “unprofessional.”

Take swearing. Cursing for no reason is just cursing.

But say your team needs to pull together right freaking now. Tossing in an occasional–and heartfelt–curse word can actually help instill a sense of urgency because it shows you care. (And of course it never hurts when a leader lets a little frustration or anger show, too.)

In short, be yourself. Authenticity is always more persuasive. If you feel strongly enough to slip in a mild curse word, feel free. Research shows you’re likely to be a little more persuasive.

6. Share the good and the bad.

According to University of Illinois professor Daniel O’Keefe, sharing an opposing viewpoint or two is more persuasive than sticking solely to your argument.

Why? Very few ideas or proposals are perfect. Your audience knows that. They know there are other perspectives and potential outcomes.

So meet them head on. Talk about the things they’re already considering. Discuss potential negatives and show how you will mitigate or overcome those problems.

The people in your audience are more likely to be persuaded when they know you understand they could have misgivings. So talk about the other side of the argument–and then do your best to show why you’re still right.

7. Focus on drawing positive conclusions.

Which of the following statements is more persuasive?

  • “Stop making so many mistakes,” or
  • “Be much more accurate.”

Or these two?

  • “Stop feeling so lethargic,” or
  • “Feel a lot more energetic.”

While it’s tempting to use scare tactics, positive outcome statements tend to be more persuasive. (The researchers hypothesized that most people respond negatively to feeling bullied or guilted into changing a behavior.)

So if you’re trying to produce change, focus on the positives of that change. Take your audience to a better place instead of telling your audience what to avoid.

Read the full story at 9 Things the Most Influential and Persuasive People Do, Backed by Science

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