Posts Tagged ‘persuade’

5 Ways To Persuade Resistant People

Monday, January 16th, 2017

I frequently needed to persuade resistant people that it was in their best interests to work with the FBI. As an FBI counterintelligence agent, my job was to recruit a foreign spy to work for the U.S.

I asked them to betray their country. Needless to say, I took copious notes when this topic was taught at the FBI Academy.

When we persuade resistant people, we appeal to their logic or emotions. We don’t try to prove them wrong. Instead, we try to open their mind up to something new or different.

As a leader, entrepreneur, or business owner, you are looking to persuade others. You recruit employees, customers, or investors to buy into your solution or idea. To be successful, you need more than a title or position to persuade them to accept your agenda.

Much like recruiting foreign spies to work with the U.S. Government, persuasion is more of an art than a science. There is no one equation that will produce predictable results because people are unique.

Nonetheless, here are 5 ways to persuade resistant people: 

1. START WITH OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS

The first step in any recruitment process is to ask open-ended questions of the person you aim to recruit. This enables you to gain a better perspective of their thought process. Otherwise, you have no idea of what truly matters to them or what will push their emotional panic button.

When you ask open-ended questions, it encourages people to give you long form answers instead of simple Yes or No response. This is where the buy-in begins. Rather than being told what to do, they provide at least part of the solution.

You may already know the answer you need—without input from others. But when you ask their opinion, you give people a sense of ownership of where the idea is going.

Tip: The right kind of questions help people to persuade themselves to come around to your way of thinking.

2. FOLLOW UP WITH SMALL STEPS

If I simply walk up to a spy and ask them to work for the FBI, a huge barrier would spring up. Small steps were the secret sauce I used. Each step was so small that it did not alert the spy to changes in their environment. The best way to persuade resistant people is to present a message that is gradual, intentional, consistent, and not intimidating.

Small steps does not mean you move slowly—you can still move very quickly. Take small steps instead of giant leaps when you’re trying to persuade others. It will give you time to gage emotional reactions before you press forward.

Slower moves can also be smarter ones because they give you the opportunity to take the problem by the “soft handle.” This is the approach that is easiest to grasp as you look right at it. It allows you to reduce the element of uncertainty as much as possible.

Tip: Recruitment and persuasion follow the same principles as a seduction. Take the time to interpret what is going on with the other person. Remember, look for ways to appeal to their logic or emotions.

3. MAINTAIN A NIMBLE MINDSET

Arrest plans follow a set protocol that can adapt to almost every situation. However, the plan is always flexible enough to change or tweak as new information becomes available.

Objections to your idea may be unavoidable, but your approach to them can be strategic if you continually re-evaluate your situation so you can change your game plan.

To persuade others, you want them to be able to answer this question: What’s in it for me? The answer to this question is the great unknown.

You ask open-ended questions and follow up with small steps. You may think you know what the answer will be, but prepare to pivot and come at it from another angle if need be.

Tip: Look at the objection like an opponent—bring it down and attack it from a variety of angles, some of which will not make themselves known until you are closer to the person.

4. THROW OUT AN EXTREME SUGGESTION

Igor was a diplomat and his wife had been caught shoplifting. Foreign diplomats (and spouses) have immunity so she was not arrested. I could embarrass him, though, and report the incident to the Consulate’s Security Officer. Most likely, Igor would be sent back home in shame and his career ended.

Department store security detained Igor (and his wife) and notified the FBI. When I met Igor, he shook with fear. He was afraid I would ask him to betray his country. I let him go on thinking this was my objective for quite a while.

Little beads of perspiration burst on his bald head as he waited for my next move. He pulled a grayed handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped his brow. I sat across from him and asked him questions about his grandchildren. He spoke good enough English that we had a nice little conversation.

I made an offer of a sum of money right then and there to answer a few questions. He knew about some individuals of interest to the FBI. Nothing too intrusive, but important information for us.

His relief was palpable. He gave me the answers. I handed over the money, and we never saw each other again.

Igor was jolted out of complacency by my extreme suggestion that he betray his country. In truth, we didn’t want him; he just wasn’t that valuable. But he didn’t know that. His attitude shifted when I offered him a desirable alternative. This is a technique used with great success by retailers, ex-spouses, and terrorists.

5. Stir Anxiety

The truth is that people cannot be persuaded if they are content. The following letter is a perfect example of how to stir anxiety to go about changing people’s minds:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Since I left for college, many things have happened. I apologize for not writing sooner, but you’ve been in my thoughts. Please, do not cry until you’ve read my entire letter but you had better prepare yourself by sitting down.

First, my jail sentence went by faster than I expected. The food wasn’t that bad, really, and I felt lucky that I lost only 50 pounds. Being female, I didn’t know what to expect but my cellmate was a businesswoman named Sugar and she’s offered me a regular job with her escort service. She assures me that I’ll be escorting very nice gentlemen to innocent parties and not to worry about the nasty rumors. I’m not sure what she means, but she says she’s got a great lawyer.

While in jail I met the man of my dreams. He’s out on parole now and we’ve found a wonderful little cubbyhole under the Golden Gate Bridge to live in until he finds a proper job. He’s an enterprising young man and I know you’ll like him. For example, he’s up and going through the trash bins before anyone else in the area! Yes, I’m homeless right now and although my boyfriend thinks I should take up Sugar’s offer on employment, I’m worried that my pregnancy will not make me a desirable escort.

Yes, I’m going to have a baby! And as soon as my boyfriend’s infection clears up, we’ll get our blood tests and have a real wedding. I know you’ll welcome him with open arms and perhaps even help him find a job. You should also know that although he never graduated from high school, he has high ambitions.

Now that you have all the news worth telling, I want to tell you that I didn’t get arrested, I didn’t lose 50 pounds, I’m not thinking of going to work for Sugar, I didn’t meet a boyfriend in jail, I’m not homeless, and I’m not pregnant. I am, however, getting a D in economics, which wouldn’t be so bad but it is, unfortunately, my major. I wanted you to see this in proper perspective.

Your loving daughter, Lori

Tip: Sell yourself when you stir up anxiety and then show how you can make up for the deficiency.

© 2017 LaRae Quy. All rights reserved.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, AND LinkedIn

Get my FREE 45-Question Mental Toughness Assessment

Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

7 Top Secrets Of Persuasion

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

FBI counterintelligence agents, such as myself, recruit foreign spies to work for the U.S. government. It’s not that we are selling anything; instead, we are using persuasion to make our point. Very often, we are successful.

7 Top Secrets Of Persuasion

You may never find yourself in a situation where you’ll be confronted with a Russian spy trying to steal classified information, and chances are even slimmer that you’ll be asked to recruit him to work for our side, but there will be times that you will absolutely need to make your point. 

Persuasion is not just for spies, salespeople, and teenagers.

As entrepreneurs and business owners, you may need to persuade an investor to take a closer look at your proposal, get assistance at work, or persuade employees to perform better. The truth is, we’re all negotiators.

I took FBI hostage negotiation training at Quantico, and the first thing I learned is that persuasion techniques not only work with barricaded criminals wielding assault rifles—they apply to any form of disagreement or any situation where you need someone else to see your point of view.

Persuasion is about far more than argument and counter-argument.

Here are 7 top secrets of persuasion and tips on how to counter them:

1. Be Bold And Assertive

Humans equate confidence with skill. If you come across as confident, even the most cynical person will be at least partly persuaded.

The key is to stop using qualifiers like “I think” or “I believe.” Instead, if you think something will work, just say it.

Let your enthusiasm and confidence show through and people will be more likely to be persuaded.

DEFENSE TIPS for you:

Resistance is easiest when we feel sharp and alert. That is when we’re in a better position to raise a counter-argument, maintain our position, and spot persuasion attempts coming our way.

2. Inoculation Slowly Bleeds You Dry

Medical inoculations work by giving you a little of the disease so that your body can prepare itself for attack in the future.

Psychological inoculation works the same way.

Propose an idea that takes on a new angle that people haven’t thought of before. Then, introduce an alternative approach or solution that is a bit closer to their way of thinking. Chances are very good that people will jump at the alternative, even though it would have been immediately dismissed if introduced before the first one.

This is how ex-spouses, hostage negotiators, and politicians extort us everyday with persuasive arguments. In the end, we grab the alternative and think we’ve struck a good deal.

DEFENSE TIPS for you:

Expose yourself to different types of arguments and positions you will likely come across. When you know what’s coming, it’s easier to psychologically prepare yourself. Be wary of the same old argument presented in a slightly different way.

3. Come Across As An Expert With Authority

Make sure your credentials are solid. Research has shown that we defer to those who appear to have authority. If you don’t have the heft to make a persuasive argument, align yourself with someone who does.

People don’t often second guess or question someone who makes a recommendation if they believe the individual is either an expert or someone with authority.

DEFENSE TIPS for you:

Be extremely wary of anyone who relies entirely on authority to influence you.

4. Validate What The Other Person Says

This may sound counterintuitive, but if you don’t let the other party have their say, you can talk until you’re blue in the face and they will not have heard a word you said. Instead of listening to you, they were forming their own counter-argument in the mind.

The best way to quiet the voice in the other person’s head is to hear the other side out and then make your argument.

DEFENSE TIPS for you:

Don’t ask open-ended questions after they’ve made their argument. Open-ended questions invite more discussion, whereas you want to close it down. Ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.

5. Mirror Both Behavior and Words

A lot of research has been conducted on the effectiveness of mirroring a person’s behavior to create rapport. We smile when others smile, lean in when they do, and give the impression of sharing a secret understanding that is personal and makes us appear more likable.

Effective coaches, therapists, and hostage negotiators simply repeat the last word that was spoken by the other person. It indicates that they are listening and engaged.

DEFENSE TIPS for you:

Think about whether the persuasion attempt is trying to maneuver you to do something that you wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in doing. Try to dissociate the speaker with the message they are conveying.

6. Adapt To The Personality Of The Other Person

An essential element of mental toughness is the ability to accurately read the emotions of others and then adapt your behavior accordingly.

Match your personality to your boss, employee, or client. Assess whether they are introverts or extraverts, analytical or a visionary, purpose-driven or security-driven, goal-oriented or people-oriented.

If you’ve been a good listener, you will be able to make these distinctions.

DEFENSE TIPS for you:

Determine whether the person is sincere or just trying to please you by saying things they assume you want to hear.

7. Add Charm To The Conversation

My years in the FBI were a grueling course in learning good manners because people were not going to talk to me, let alone follow me, unless I could engage them in a way that was meaningful and productive.

Demonstrate warmth first when connecting with others, develop a bond and then be competent in the work you do together.

It’s much easier to change people’s minds if you take the time to develop more than shallow, fleeting relationships with them. It comes down to this: in a world of mass media you must learn how to charm people if you want to persuade them to take your point of view seriously.

DEFENSE TIPS for you:

We are more easily swayed than we realize. Be wary of all attempts to camouflage a persuasive message.

What ways have you found to be the most persuasive?

© 2015 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.

You can follow me on Twitter

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Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

10 FBI Tricks For Effective Persuasion

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Some of my biggest laughs come from watching Hollywood movies and TV shows depicting FBI agents as indestructible bullies walking that fine line between good and evil. They are either taking the law into their own hands in their pursuit of justice or abusing their power to crush the little people that get in their way.

10 FBI Tricks For Effective Persuasion

The silliness of it all is pure entertainment for someone like me, a former FBI agent. The danger that lurks, however, is that impressionable audiences actually start to believe all the crap they see, read, and hear.

Bullying, intimidation, and rudeness pump up hormones and get everyone’s juices flowing. The results are good ratings.

The fact is, FBI agents use persuasion to get the job done in the majority of cases—not brute strength and ignorance.

As sales people, executives, and leaders, you deserve to know the truth—persuasion is a skill that is as instrumental to your success as it is to an FBI agent.

Persuasion, at it’s core, requires emotional intelligence because it is essential that you have enough awareness of emotions to develop rapport with another individual.

Emotional awareness is an essential component of mental toughness, because if you aren’t savvy enough to read other people, you will never be able to adapt your own approach to accommodate different personalities.

There are a few tricks of the trade, and here are 10 that will help you to get people to lean toward your way of thinking when it matters most:

1. Leave A Strong First Impression

There is a reason FBI agents wear suits and workout every day. They portray the image of someone who is both professional and capable of handling themselves in every situation.

Most people make snap decisions within the first few seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation justifying their first impression.

The person who makes a good first impression is the one who controls the image they project to others. If you believe your are inferior, you are—regardless of your qualifications. The way we think affects our behavior, and this is the essence of mental toughness:

To make a great first impression, you need to manage your thoughts, emotions, and behavior in ways that set you up for success.

How you think determines how you act.

How you act determines how others react to you.

TIP: Take advantage by paying attention to your appearance, posture, voice, and mannerisms. The secret weapon is likability and it can make a huge impact on your success.

2. Greet People By Name

Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, believed that using someone’s name was very important. He said that a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language for that person.

Research shows that people feel validated when they are referred to by their name—just don’t over do it!

TIP: Personalize your interactions with others by using their name. Not everyone is good at remembering names, so you may need to collect business cards and make notes on the back of them to help jog your recollection.

3. Tilt Your Head

Common sense tells us that if we nod when we’re listening to someone, it indicates that we are in agreement. A head tilt, however, is a gesture reserved for times when we are truly comfortable. A head tilt is a powerful signal that indicates we’re friendly. It’s difficult to do around people we don’t like.

TIP: When you tilt your head and nod, you are sending a more powerful non-verbal message that indicates you are listening, comfortable, and receptive.

4. Limit Your Speech

To be most effective, talk no longer than 30 seconds at a time in a given conversation.

According to researcher Andrew Newberg, the human brain can really only hold on to four things at a time, so if you go on and on for five or 10 minutes trying to argue a point, the person will only remember a very small part of that.

TIP: Speak briefly, sticking to one or two sentences or around 30 seconds worth, because that’s really what the human brain can take in.

5. Mirror Their Behavior

Mirroring is observing a person’s body posture and then subtly letting your body reflect their position.

Mirror neurons fire when you reflect an emotion you see in others. Researchers have discovered that those who had been mimicked were much more likely to act favorably toward the person who had copied them.

TIP: Mirroring is an effective way to build rapport and increase a person’s comfort level when you need to use persuasion to get your point across.

6. Paraphrase And Repeat Back

One of the most positive ways to persuade others is to show them that you truly understand how they feel—even if you disagree with them.

Studies have shown that when you listen to what someone has to say, and then rephrase it as a question to confirm that you understood it, they are going to be more comfortable talking with you.

FBI agents use this to help them get confessions, but you can use this same trick because people are more likely to listen to what you have to say once you show them that you care about them.

TIP: When you repeat back what you think you heard the other person say, you also give the other person an opportunity to clarify a misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

7. Smile, Always

It should be no surprise that a smile creates the highest positive emotion—but it has to be a real smile! In a genuine smile, the lips are drawn toward the cheekbone, eyebrows rise, and pupils dilate to open up. There is no more more powerful persuasion tool in the world, or more disarming, than a genuine smile.

We are better looking when we smile. When we smile, people treat us differently. We’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. Recent studies indicate that seeing an attractive smiling face activates the region in your brain that process sensory rewards. This suggests that when we view a person smiling, we actually feel rewarded.

TIP: A smile is contagious. It can make us appear more attractive to others. It lifts our mood as well as the moods of those around us.

8. Don’t Correct People When They Are Wrong

Dale Carnegie also pointed out in his famous book that telling someone they are wrong is usually unnecessary and is a catastrophic move if you want to persuade someone to do something for you because it’s an attack on their ego.

This doesn’t mean you let people off the hook, but I’ve used something called the Ransberger Pivot many times and it’s an effective approach (unless you’re dealing with a nut or a radical in which case nothing will work

The Ransberger Pivot has 3 steps:

Step 1: Remain quiet and listen to what the other person is saying.
Step 2: Ask yourself, “What is this person really concerned about? What do they really want?” Make an intelligent and thought-provoking response to their side of the issue.
Step 3: Share your concern for the values you and the other person have in common.

So, instead of arguing, listen to what they have to say, and then seek to understand how they feel and why. Then you explain the common ground that you share with them, and use that as a starting point to explain your position. This makes them much more likely to listen to what you have to say, and allows you to correct them without them losing face.

TIP: The Pivot diffuses hostility and builds harmony by showing that you share the other person’s concerns. They are then more likely to listen to, and hear, your answer. This also means you are more likely to persuade them to your point of view. The Pivot doesn’t come naturally. You’ll need to practice it.

9. Say Please And Thank You

“Please” and “thank you” are one of the most powerful combination of words in our language. They are simple words, and yet it seems that most people don’t use them enough. When we make someone else feel important and appreciated, we’ve brightened up their day. That person is more likely to pass on that feeling to someone else.

Most of us don’t intend to be rude, but we’re so caught up in our cell phones, iPads, or our own lives that we don’t see what is around us.

Researcher Robert Cialdini has shown that people respond to politeness! Treat people with respect. By simply adding the phrases “please” and “thank you” when making a request, compliance is much easier to achieve.

Successful people do what the unsuccessful are unwilling to do.

TIP: You can make yourself stand out in a rude society by remembering your manners, treating people as respected individuals, and doing what others are unwilling to do.

10. Flattery Works

This one may seem obvious at first, but there are some important caveats to it.

For starters, it must be sincere for it to be persuasive.

Second, remember that we look for cognitive balance by keeping our thoughts and feelings organized in a similar way. So, if you flatter someone who has high self-esteem, they will like you more because you validated how they feel about themselves.

TIP: People can sense a suck-up a mile away, so be sincere in all that you say.

What other persuasion tricks would you add?

© 2015 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, AND LinkedIn

Get my FREE 45-Question Mental Toughness Assessment

Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

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