Effective persuasion requires relationships. Successful relationships are built on conversations. So in order to be better at persuasion, you need to get great at speaking with others.
Take a page from best-selling author Jim Collins and start with this question for someone you don’t know: “May I ask, where are you from?”
You’ll receive a host of varying responses, upon which you can build the rest of the conversation. Individuals may respond by mentioning a locale (“I’m from Pennsylvania.”), a company (“I work at Microsoft.”), an industry (“I work in the tech sector.”) or even a discipline (“I’m in finance.”).
Then ask an intriguing follow-up question:
• “How did someone from Pennsylvania end up all the way out here in California?”
• “What’s the best part of life at Microsoft?”
• “What’s the most common misperception about working in the finance world?”
You’ll more than likely receive an engaged response, which is fantastic. Because although you’re asking someone to talk about himself or herself, your line of questioning will make you seem more interesting, too.
Congratulations. You’ve taken one of the first — and most crucial steps — in persuasion success.