4 Key Strategies for Persuasion

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A quick post from the road today, about a pretty hot topic here at The Latimer Group: Persuasion. We write and talk about it all the time, and I think about it a lot, too (especially during down time when I’m traveling, like now).

Consider the strategies you may need and use to persuade someone to think or act a certain way. The most powerful strategies are the simple ones, the ones that leverage simple realities in how people relate to each other. And here are four you can think about and use:

1. Conform to Social Norms: One of the most powerful ways to persuade people to act in a certain way is to highlight that the behavior is widely practiced and respected. Like it or not, human beings are more likely to take an action if it is an already-accepted behavior.

2. Reciprocity: Another powerful way to persuade someone to act is by demonstrating that their action for another will create a return action for them. “If you do this for me, I’ll do this for you.” If the reciprocal actions are of relatively equal value, you are more likely to get the outcome you seek.

3. Risk Protection: This strategy is particularly valuable when trying to persuade business executives. Business leaders are very conscious of risk management, and if the risk is significant and quantifiable, most people are more likely to be persuaded to act in a way that will minimize or prevent the risk.

4. Opportunity for Gain: This one is purposely left last, because it is obvious, and a widely practiced persuasive strategy. However, studies have shown that the Risk Protection strategy is actually more effective when dealing with business executives than the Opportunity for Gain strategy. Human beings tend to react more quickly when protection is the choice.

Four simple strategies to think about for your next presentation, meeting, or interaction. Persuasion is the key to the castle in the business world, and the simplest strategies, the ones that take in mind the realities of human behavior, are going to be the most powerful.

Good luck.

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