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Abraham Lincoln despite a shaky win in the US elections in 1861, became famous for his persuasive speeches, like the Gettysburg address, which used 4 elements:

  1. Telling a story,
  2. Begin with agreement,
  3. Uniting listeners,
  4. Reasoning that motivates.

Recently when chatting with a HR professional, I was reminded that we can do a great job, as a business owner, leader or manager. Unless influence is used, we might not get buy-in from others, others may not agree with our ideas, way of working, or decisions being made.

Persuasion is a catalyst for getting work done, for achieving an outcome you can’t realise on your own. William Ellet

An element of leadership is getting things done through others, influence is one of the leader’s essential tools. Leadership often involves us persuading others to follow our lead, our ideas and actions.

Robert Cialdini’s book ‘Influence’ details Six Principles of Persuasion –

  1. Liking – it is challenging to persuade someone without being likable. A classic situation is with high involvement decisions, like buying a home, or in B2B, there is a long-term nature to the interaction. We tend not to want to work with people that we don’t get along with. Examples of likeability can include being humorous, agreeable, balanced between detached and enthusiastic, and not afraid of sharing idiosyncrasies.
  2. Reciprocity – this refers to the idea that you get what you give. If we are respectful and generous in our dealings with others, we will be treated the same. Often through mutual agreement to work and indeed influence others.
  3. Social proof – so often, we rely on social proof, restaurant reviews, fencing installers, accommodation and baby sitters. It is a key form of influence and anyone that attempts to influence others.
  4. Consistency – we can’t help but measure people’s consistency, at work do they do what they say they will do? Will they follow up on their requests, or will it be quickly forgotten? Get commitments or an agreement in writing or simply be responding to situations and deciding in the same way.
  5. Authority – in the age of information, we look to an authority or a trusted advisor to assist understand complex and or unfamiliar situations. Authority needs be easily understood and not conflicting, like being a doctor and a lawyer would not work.
  6. Scarcity – while stocks last, causing tension and creating triggers. Creating action in others, is often done so through limited offers. It can be a tricky play if not seen as genuine as people in 2020 are pretty savvy. Although, the panic buying of paper products this year could have proven me wrong. This can extend to information, if relevant and time critical and is especially relevant to sales and selling.

Many people assume that persuasion is available only to the charismatic and the eloquent, like politicians.

Influence is used all the time around us, indeed encouraging someone to get married could be an ultimate form of influence. Persuading our partner that we can build a great life together. How can you better influence your worklife?

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Recently, I have been booking calls to reconnect with people that I have worked with previously, it is has been fantastic, learning how much their work has changed and how they are moving forward. If you would like to speak, please feel welcome to book a call, or in those rare instances, grab a coffee.  https://calendly.com/adamcallender

Photo credit: Elijah Macleod on Unsplash

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