Influencing: Persuasive Skills to Get to “Yes”

Spotlight on...

Spotlight on…

We all “sell” all the time – it’s just, we usually only think of it as “selling” if money changes hands.  Come to think of it, anyone who wants to influence someone else is in the business of selling for example, a leader in a corporate environment who wants to motivate others in a meeting to a certain course of action, a manager in the Fire & Rescue Service who needs to make a case to the boss, or an individual in the customer service “front line” who needs to placate or persuade the client.

So what are the core skill sets? Well the good news is that there are basically only two: putting your case together in a clear, organised and reasoned way, then expressing yourself persuasively so as to convince the other person (or people) that it’s a good idea. Of course, there are many techniques that go into each of these two basic skill sets, but these are the main considerations.

So firstly, building a clear reasoned case means doing your homework, clarifying exactly what you are asking the other person to do (or to agree to let you do), ensuring you have evidence to support what you say, and structuring your argument.  An excellent, practically “all purpose” structure is the “3 P’s” – Position, Problem, Proposal.

Next, expressing yourself persuasively goes way beyond simply presenting a structured, well-reasoned case, although this is of course fundamentally important.  “The door to influence opens from the inside” which means that, to be persuasive, we must present the case from their point of view and not just our own.  Before speaking, or before sending off that email or report, consider, are you standing in their shoes – because that is what will convince them.  Having done that, you can go further.  You can read and respond to their individual “emotional dialect” to build a sense of rapport and a mutual goal to negotiate a “win/win” agreement.  “Emotional dialect” consists of three things:

•    Language patterns, such as short/long sentences, fast/slow delivery, saying a lot or preferring to be concise, using complex or simple words.

•    Thinking patterns: does the other person have a preference for detail, or for the big picture?  Do they seek your views and reassurance, or prefer to judge for themselves?  How important is it to them to have a “civilised, pleasant conversation” with you, or do they want you to “quit the waffle and cut to the chase”?

•    Non-verbal, body language: can you read their “micro signals” as well as the “macro signals”? How can you use your own non-verbal language to encourage and enhance rapport?

So whether or not your job title describes you as a “salesperson”, take pause for thought.  In how many situations do you need or want to get someone else to say “yes”?  Who do you need to persuade, as you go about the daily routine?  Who would it be useful to “have onside”?

Influencing Skills are simply the non-salesperson’s Selling Skills – the world will go round in any case, but these skill sets can make it go round your way!

For more information on our Influencing Courses visit 

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