Here’s the Formula for Persuasion Success

I’m sure you’re familiar with the mathematical formula for Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, E=MC2. (Well, we all know that part, but I’ll be smacked if I can find someone who can explain it to me.)

There also exists a formula for persuasion success: Yes = E2F3.

You get to “yes” by engaging your target, exploring the situation, framing the possible options, finessing the rough spots and finalizing the decision.

Yes = E2F3
1. Engage your target.
2. Explore the situation.
3. Frame the options.
4. Finesse the rough spots.
5. Finalize the decision.

The best way to embrace this formula is via the “principle of nudge.” This is a series of small agreements you can elicit from your target.

In most cases, you wouldn’t walk into the office of your company’s vice president and demand more money and power — unless, of course, you have an absolutely monster credibility and track record, and even then I wouldn’t recommend it. That’s like asking a person to marry you on the first date. You can, but it doesn’t make for good policy.

Compare and contrast this:

Q: “May I have $1.5 million dollars and complete unilateral responsibility for a project you’ve never heard of?”
A: “Are you out of your mind!? Get out of here before I call security!”

… with this:

Q: “Will you have a few minutes next week? I’d like to get your input on something.”
A: “Sure.”

(See, you’ve already got your first “yes” by engaging your target!)

The idea is to plan for and then guide your target toward the next yes by following the next step in the persuasion success formula:

Yes = E2F3

Like stepping-stones across a stream, this practice can lead you effortlessly from one agreement to the next. Just ask yourself: What is the appropriate next step?

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