LinkedIn analyzed thousands of job postings and listed “persuasion” as one of the top five in-demand skills for 2019.
But to the uninitiated, that term “persuasion” has negative connotations.
After all, when someone says, “You’re not going to persuade me!” it’s usually spoken in defiance. Or a well-intentioned person might proclaim, “I would never try to persuade someone.”
But here’s the thing: Persuasion is not coercive, conniving or devious. Drop that inaccurate psychological baggage right now. No one can be persuaded to do something they don’t want to do. Somebody may have second thoughts or experience buyer’s remorse, but that’s another subject entirely.
As regular visitors to this website may recall, I define persuasion as ethically winning the heart and mind of your target.
• “Ethically” means simply doing something honestly and without trickery or deceit.
• “Winning” means gaining agreement with your suggestion, idea or position.
• “Heart” refers to gaining emotional buy-in.
• “Mind” refers to logical buy-in.
• “Target” represents the specific person you are attempting to persuade.
A term often used in conjunction with persuasion is “influence.” Influence is the capacity to become a compelling force that produces effects on the opinions, actions and behavior of others.
Occasionally, I use the term “influence” as an effect that “nudges” a target toward thinking positively about my request. But I’d like for you to primarily think of influence as your professional and personal credibility, your organizational and political capital, your corporate “sway.”
Remember: Persuasion is an action; influence is a state or condition. Use both wisely, and you’re bound to achieve new levels of success.