Persuasion Tips & Tricks
Basics That Work
Warning: The tips outlined on this page are very powerful. Like all powerful tools, they can be used for 'good', or 'evil.' Please persuade responsibly.
Believe it or not...
Persuasion can be easy.
In today’s world fast-paced, social-driven world, it has never been easier to be powerfully persuasive. Your time is now. And this page will give you a massive head-start.
A silver Tongue
You can persuade with basic language and simple ideas. Nothing complex needed.
Shy introverts can persuade people, and many do, because persuasion is simpler than you think.
There are countless C-grade students in the world who managed to persuade their way to riches.
Realize that charismatic leaders and hypnotic seducers have been around since caveman times. If leaders throughout history didn’t need ‘cutting edge’ techniques, why do you?
Persuasion is magic.
Go to a magic shop. Buy a trick that baffles you. Read it’s instructions, and chances are you’ll be disappointed. Because the “secrets” behind most magic tricks, even the ‘miracle’ ones, is that they’re mundane. Child’s play. Almost ridiculous. But if you’re honest with yourself (sadly, few people are), you’ll realize the trick must not be that ridiculous if it fooled ME.
Persuasion is ‘magic’, yes. But that just means once you learn the secrets behind the tricks, it becomes easy. Learn how the persuasion ‘magic trick’ works, and you’ll feel like a persuasion magician.
The most powerful basic rule of persuasion:
Blair's One-Sentence Persuasion Trick
Blair jams these five persuasion tricks into one sentence not because they’re comprehensive. Or they’re scientifically proven. Or they’re the latest tricks. No. He emphasizes them because they’re simple, instantly useful, and are almost frighteningly powerful.
Blair points out that Hitler used them and nearly took over the world. Cult leaders like Jim Jones & David Koresh used them and their followers willingly, even eagerly, died for them. These madmen used them well, but marketers, salespeople, and entertainers use them too.
And notice in particular our sentence doesn’t say people will do anything for those who educate them, do what’s best for them, or even treat them fairly. It doesn’t say people will do anything for those who are eloquent, well-dressed and pleasant. Nor those who make the best case for their proposals, who are reasonable and come across as intelligent.
People care about themselves and their loudest emotional needs first.
There are other persuasion tricks beyond these five, but we’ll start with these because they’re basic, powerful, and everywhere.
Try to find a successful ad campaign that doesn’t use one or more of these. Or try finding a couple who has “remarkable chemistry”, but fails to encourage each other’s dreams. Or who blame, ignore concerns, treat each other as paranoid, or leave each other to fight their own battles. Whenever people form powerful bonds, all 5 of these insights are present.
Most people overlook these basic principles because they’re “too obvious”, “too easy”, or “too simple.” But the true persuaders of the world realize that their power lies in their simplicity. Learn to use them and your fans, customers, friends, will love you and co-operate with you.
Parents often discourage their children’s dreams “for their own good” and attempt to steer them toward more “reasonable” goals.
And children often accept this as normal until others come along who believe in them and encourage their dreams.
When this happens, who do you think has more power?
Parents or strangers?
While millions cheer Dr. Phil as he tells people to accept responsibility for their mistakes, millions more are looking for someone to take the responsibility off their shoulders. To tell them that they are not responsible for their lot in life. And while accepting responsibility is essential for gaining control of one’s own life, assuring others they are not responsible is essential for gaining influence over theirs.
One need look no further than politics to see this powerful game played at its best.
When we are afraid, it is almost impossible to concentrate on anything else. And while everyone knows this, what do we do when someone else is afraid and we need to get their attention? That’s right–
We tell them not to be afraid and expect that to do the trick. Does it work? Hardly. And yet we don’t seem to notice. We go on as if we’d solved the problem and the person before us fades further away. But there are those who do realize this and pay special attention to our fears. They do not tell us not to be afraid. They work with us until our fear subsides. They present evidence. They offer support. They tell us stories.
But they do not tell us how to feel and expect us to feel that way. When you are afraid, which type of person do you prefer to be with?
One of our favorite things to say is “I knew it.” There is just nothing quite like having our suspicions confirmed. When another person confirms something that we suspect, we not only feel a surge of superiority, we feel attracted to the one who helped make that surge come about.
Hitler “confirmed” the suspicions of many German’s about the cause of their troubles and drew them further into his power by doing so. Cults often confirm the suspicions of prospective members by telling them that their families are out to sabotage them. It is a simple thing to confirm the suspicions of those who are desperate to believe them.
Nothing bonds like having a common enemy. I realize how ugly this sounds and yet it is true just the same. Those who understand this can utilize this. Those who don’t understand it, or worse, understand but refuse to address it, are throwing away one of the most effective ways of connecting with others. No matter what you may think of this, rest assured that people have enemies. All people. It has been said that everyone you meet is engaged in a great struggle. The thing they are struggling with is their enemy. Whether it is another individual, a group, an illness, a setback, a rival philosophy or religion, or what have you, when one is engaged in a struggle, one is looking for others to join him. Those who do become more than friends. They become partners.
So what's missing?
So what's missing?
Did you notice what was missing from our persuasion sentence?
People write books about how to frame your ideas, how to present yourself, how to “put your best foot forward.” And yet, all that people really care about is themselves. Can you imagine how much time, energy, and resources you’ll free up if you stop focusing on yourself and put your attention on other people? Can you even imagine how much more charismatic you’ll become… when you’re seen as one who focuses 100% on fulfilling other’s most basic emotional needs?
To persuade, you’ve got to put your wants, goals, & intentions aside. Focus completely on fulfilling people’s needs.
“If you’re the kind of person who wants to break free from limited thinking & finally get whatever you want in life… These 12 long-lost, astonishing books written in the 1920’s will set you free!“
“If you’ve tried to lose that extra weight and have failed, it may not be your fault. It may be your metabolism.”
“We’re about to silence your haters & make things simple. Persuasion in just twenty-seven words. But first, we must clear away some smoke.”
These three examples show how widespread and applicable these insights really are. While most people like to think they’re too wise to fall for tactics like this… it just makes them much more susceptible. Headlines like these persuade people.
I know a lot of people don’t like this stuff. Whether you find this notion distasteful or not, there is one thing you can count on: your family, friends, customers, clients and everyone you have yet to meet will have these 5 needs met by someone. The only question is, will it be by you?
Mr. Rogers' Persuasion
Courtesy of Will Schoder
Ethical, Emotional, & Logical Persuasion
This video by Will Schoder is an amazing look at the power of persuasion. He approaches it by leaning heavily on famous greek persuasion experts like Aristotle, and great orators like Cicero. It’s a very enjoyable watch, and Mister Rogers’ speech is undeniably moving.
Persuade by showing character, expertise, or authority. Popularity or celebrity may even count here.
Persuade through emotional response. For example, an impassioned plea, or a compelling story.
Persuade by appealing to reason, using logic, facts, and figures.
Sadly, logic doesn't persuade very well.
It’s useful, and you need to use it occasionally, but you can never change someone’s mind with logic alone.
Because logic is a slave to the passions. Our minds are here to make sense of our intuition, but it’s our intuition that is running the show.
So when you try to persuade others to your way of thinking is to focus on persuading their feelings, their intuition.
“Everyone’s convinced of their own rationality, open-mindedness, and enlightenment. So it’s vital to understand one another, instead of using reason to fend off opposing views.” – Jonathan Haidt
This brings us to rhetoric.
Rhetoric’s just Aristotle’s fancy word that means “using all persuasion methods available.”
This means persuasion by character, persuasion by emotion, and persuasion by logic.
Character: “If my years as a Marine taught me anything, it’s that caution is the best policy in this sort of situation.”
Emotion: “Don’t be last on the block to have lawn-care – you don’t want to be neighborhood joke!”
Logic: “The data’s clear: this investment’s turned a profit year-after-year, despite market dips.”
Will Schoder’s video above covers all these in fantastic depth, and he digs deep into Fred Rogers’ speech to persuade tough-guy Senator Pastore to give him extra funding, at a meeting where they were scheduled to cut it.
It’s a masterclass in persuasion, and what Mister Rogers does here…
...you can too.
You're getting a handle on the powerful persuasion basics already.
But here's a few more advanced ones real quick, too.
A plague infects 600 people. There’s a cure that works for 200 patients. You can frame the choice two ways:
1. Use this treatment & we save 200 people.
2. Use this treatment & 400 people die.
Both are true, but 72% of people said ‘yes, use the treatment’ when given the positive framing, while only 22% of people did when given the negative framing.
Framing is persuasive.
If you’re not as clear and concise as is appropriate, you are wasting your audiences time. This even applies to your tagline or elevator pitch.
Example 1 – unclear, wordy, non-persuasive:
“I help conscious spiritual adults age 25 and up who struggle with anxiety and self esteem to feel more empowered and increase their self love.”
Example 2 – clear, concise, & very persuasive:
“I help spiritual adults empower esteem.”
Rapport is an emotional connection with your persuasion target.
Mediator Mark Rosenberg says: “In over 95% of disputes… the breakthrough comes only after both parties feel heard, gain deeper understanding of the other and most importantly, a deeper understanding of their own core motivations – what they really want. It’s easier to persuade people who see ‘common ground’ with you.
Other things that amp up rapport: non-judgment, open questions, repetition of their views, etc.
Cognitive dissonance just means “when our thoughts & actions conflict,” and it happens every day, because the human brain doesn’t allow inner-conflict.
For example, Joe The Smoker thinks to himself, “smoking isn’t healthy”, then he lights up a cigarette. Instant cognitive dissonance.
His brain will resolve this in 1 of 3 ways: A. Stop smoking – Change behavior by quitting. B. Ignore it – Change attitude by pretending he can quit anytime. C. Justify it – Change perception by thinking “we all die anyway so who cares.”
Persuade someone toward your ‘main’ goal, by first making a smaller request. Let’s say you want to persuade someone to buy your product.
First, make it clear you’re not selling anything right now, and offer them a free sample. They’re likely to say yes to this small request. Then offer them an even bigger, juicier free sample. They’ll likely say yes again. Finally, say “Since you’re really enjoying the value you’ve been getting, wouldn’t it feel great to get even more by buying our [insert product]?”
Chances are they’ll be persuaded.
Do many small favors for people. Remind them once in a while of the things you’ve done for them. Especially when you’re about to ask them something. Want your boss to promote you? Be sure to do him a huge favor before asking! People feel an incredible need to reciprocate, that’s why whenever someone opens the door for you, right away you’ll open the next door for them.
1) Avoid letting too much time pass between the favor you ask, and the favor you did. 2) Don’t do favors with the agenda of getting something in return. Do them to build up good-will so when you do *eventually* need to ask, it goes smoothly.
Other Things To Note
When trying to persuade
People can’t really be honest with each other.
Blair Warren, in his persuasion course, addresses the “Honesty’s the best policy” cliche. “If you want something, just come right out and say it. Be honest & forthright. Your listener will respect your honesty & evaluate your request on its merits. They’ll arrive at a rational, well-thought-out answer to your proposal. If you don’t get the results you wanted, it just wasn’t meant to be.” Right?
You can’t approach things this honestly. Not because you wanna be deceitful, but because nobody really wants honesty & directness, no matter how much they pretend to. If you’re straight with people… they will resist you.
“Prospects resist salespeople even when it would be in their best interests to listen. Employees resist their employers even when the suggestions would make their job easier. Kids resist their parents even though their parents have their best interests at heart. Students resist their teachers because they already know it all. Teachers resist their students because, after all, what do students know? The list goes on and on.” — Blair Warren.
And he lists 3 tendencies that often make it necessary to hide our intentions from one another.
Almost no one notices these tendencies.
They seem too simple; not worthy of discussion. We seek more involved explanations, and ignore how powerful these tendencies are. Even though people love viewing ourselves as rational animals we’re more like rationalizing animals.
Direct, unimaginative communication in some cultures is an insult because it doesn’t engage the listener’s imagination.
Blair believes the same statement is true for our culture as well, with one major exception – no one can admit it to themselves. Despite our firm belief in the goodness of ‘factual’, direct communication, our behavior reveals our true desires.
We are drawn to, and respond to, indirect communication.
But why? Not because we want to, but because indirect communication fulfills our most basic and urgent psychological need…
People desperately want their attention captured, focused, and intensified.
This need can override hunger, shelter, anything. At least temporarily.
This is why we’re so easily distracted. Unless our current activities are engaging enough, the next ‘shiny thing’ that comes along will distract us. It’s through engagement that we experience. And it’s through experience that we’re changed. Which means those who engage us hold the keys to our hearts, minds, and actions.
And we don’t see people who engage us well as manipulators.
We see them as saviors.
What holds attention determines action.
And that means we're all persuaders.
We live in an attention-economy. We’re all trying to sell people. Even if we’re not trying to sell products or services, we’re still vying for other people’s attention. On our ideas, our views, what we think is best for us, our families, our nations. Or more commonly, we’re vying for their attention on our social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok.
Someone out there is getting your audience’s attention… but will make sure that it’s you?
This page is made to give you a leg-up and a head-start in using persuasion to get the attention you want for your projects, causes, and offerings.
A lot of it was based on the work of Blair Warren, Aristotle, Cialdini and others, but we poured a ton of love into making it understandable and digestible.
Hope you enjoyed.