21 Persuasion Techniques To Help You Get What You Want Most
Updated February 16, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to get exactly what they want while others have to satisfy themselves with whatever they can get? Sometimes, luck plays a part. Yet, for many people, success isn't a matter of luck alone. Instead, they get what they want because they know how to use the art of persuasion to convince others to give it to them. Here are 21 proven persuasion techniques that may just help you make your dreams come true.
- Listen First
Most people tend to think of persuasion techniques in presenting your argument forcefully. You won't get far in persuading someone unless you know where they stand at the outset. Listening is a valuable tool that helps you prepare the most effective presentation of your views. As a bonus, it increases your audience's willingness to listen to what you have to say.
- Start With Their Position And Work Towards Yours
Once you find out the other person's views, you can gain traction by reiterating what they've said. Build on their perspective to show you value their opinion. Then, lead them through changing their beliefs in a slow, systematic way until they're ready to agree with you.
- Tell A Story
People love hearing stories, especially if they're detailed and unusual. Tell a story to illustrate the advantages of your position or the disadvantages of their position. You can do this without even mentioning the subject you're trying to convince them of if your story is clever enough.
- Draw A Comparison
Comparisons can help move your audience from the known to the unknown. While they may not be familiar with what you're asking for, you can acquaint them with it by comparing it with something they deal with every day.
- Speak Their Language
Speaking your audience's language is about more than using English with an English-speaking crowd or French with a French-speaking crowd. To speak your audience's language, use words and sentence structures that are similar to theirs. Use similar body language, too. Don't be afraid to mimic them or even repeat what they say directly.
- Minimize The Appearance Of Risk
If what you're proposing involves risk, people are naturally going to put their guard up. You may not be able to eliminate the risk for them, but you can downplay it. You can also present ways to overcome problems that might arise if they give you what you want.
- Use Social Influence
People tend to be influenced by their peers. If you can show your audience that their friends or people similar to them agree with you, they're more likely to agree with you, too.
- Give To Get
Reciprocity is an important part of the social scene. When you get something, you naturally want to give something back. You can use this need for reciprocity by offering your audience something they value. It doesn't have to have monetary value or even be anything tangible, although it could be. What matters is that you've given them something they feel is worth reciprocating.
- Start Small
One technique is to get a small commitment first before you aim for the prize you seek. Since the small request doesn't require much of your audience, they give it easily. Then, when you ask for something more substantial, they're ready to take the next step with you.
- Be Likeable
Trying to convince someone to give you what you want while acting in a rude, belligerent, or insulting manner is nearly always a waste of time for both of you. People don't listen to unlikeable people, but they do listen to people who are friendly, courteous, and interesting conversationalists.
- Use Figurative Language
When you learned about metaphor and simile in English class as a kid, you might have thought you'd never need those words again. Perhaps surprisingly, you may get what you want more easily if you use figurative language while presenting your position. A metaphor, by the way, is a word used in place of another, more literal expression of the same thing, such "a whirlwind of excitement." A simile is a comparison using the word "like," such as This opportunity is like a beautifully-wrapped present.
- Refer To Expert Opinions
Expert opinions can often sway people to believe you and do what you suggest. It's important, though, to choose experts they admire and respect. You can simply quote the expert, or if you're giving a formal presentation, you can show video of the expert explaining his conclusions and views.
- Get Them Involved
The more involved with something you are, the more committed to it you'll be. Use this fact to your advantage by getting your audience involved as soon as possible. You can start by asking questions to get them involved in the conversation. You can use them as a character in a story you tell. You can present two facts and ask them to draw a conclusion based on them. If you're giving a presentation to a group, you can call some people centerstage to involve them through roleplay.
- Emphasize Scarcity
If there's very little of something, people want it more. Marketers play on people's interest in scarce commodities by emphasizing any small element of scarcity in what they're offering. You can do this too. Simply let your audience know they need to get on board with you quickly or the opportunity will be gone forever.
- Excite Their Senses
All people experience the world through their senses. You can appeal to the visual sense with words that present an image. You can excite their auditory sense by using words that remind them of sounds. Bring up the smell of fresh-baked apple pie, and their olfactory sense comes alive. For each sense, there are words you can use to make the conversation a more appealing sense experience. When you do, you involve them and bring them closer to being persuaded.
- Build Their Commitment
A little commitment can easily lead to a bigger commitment. Ask your audience to do something small for you. It doesn't even have to matter to you at all whether they do this one thing. Yet, it does matter in the sense that it prepares them to commit to something that will be more difficult and require more of them.
- Appeal To Their Emotions
Emotional appeals are among the most effective methods of persuasion. Pictures of starving children appeal to emotions like guilt, sadness, and emotional discomfort. To avoid those feelings, people may donate large amounts of money without even researching the organization requesting the funds.
Guilt and sadness aren't the only emotions you can appeal to, though. Long ago, a communications company ran an ad campaign showing people calling home for the holidays. The appeal to emotions was obvious in the dramatic music, the soft lighting, and the happy looks on the faces of the people who received the call. These ads were very effective at getting more people to make long-distance calls, which were very expensive at the time.
- Appeal To Their Logic
Despite all the fancy persuasion techniques you might learn, you can improve your chances of getting what you want by presenting a request based on sound logic. By appealing to your audience's logic, you recognize them as intelligent enough to think logically, which will probably appeal to them. You also pave the way to reducing cognitive dissonance that can happen if the person's sense of logic conflicts with what they agree to do.
- Appeal To Their Character
For most people, being thought of as a moral person with a strong character seems essential. You want to be admired and respected as a truly good and noble person. One of the most effective persuasion techniques is to show them how doing what you want will prove what a good person they are.
- Use Anchoring
Anchoring is a kind of technical method of persuasion used most often in pricing. What it means is that you make someone feel they've gotten a good deal by showing them a worse deal first. For example, if you start by giving the highest possible price for a service and then list the lower price of a very slightly different service, the person often chooses the lower-priced option. Why? In some cases, it's because the higher price they just saw convinced them that the lower price was a bargain.
- Ask For More Than You Want
Similar to anchoring is the persuasion technique that involves asking for something larger, more expensive, or more difficult to give than what you truly want. You almost know they're going to turn you down. It doesn't matter. The point is that once they've considered the maximum, a more moderate request is easier to accept.
What To Do If You Still Can't Get What You Want
Getting what you want isn't always essential in life. In fact, there's an old Chinese proverb that says, "Be careful what you wish for, lest it comes true." So, it may not be the end of your world if you don't get the thing you hope for most.
On the other hand, getting what you want may improve your life dramatically. If what you want is a good job and you get it, your finances, living situation, and job satisfaction may all improve. If what you want is to be married to someone you love, and you get that, it could lead to a lifetime of companionship and a happy family. So, getting what you want isn't necessarily petty and selfish.
You may have trouble sorting out what's important and what isn't. Or, you may already know that and simply need help building your self-confidence enough to go out and get it. You may have the knowledge and the self-confidence, but without good communications skills, you may never be able to make it happen.
If you find yourself always losing out on what you want, you can build these qualities and skills with the help of a mental health counselor. You can talk to a licensed therapist at BetterHelp.com for help in learning the cognitive, emotional, and social skills to move toward a happier life. At the same time, you can learn to deal with any depression or anxiety that has happened due to your frustration over not being able to get what you most desire. In the end, you can learn how to persuade others more easily and put yourself on a better path to personal, professional, and social success!