Four Magic Phrases to Improve your Powers of Persuasion

board-1106649_1280Would you like to be more persuasive with people?  How can you get people to like you, respect you and listen to your suggestions?  Studies have shown these four simple expressions to be highly effective when used in the right circumstances:

 1.  What I really like about you is……………..

Tell someone something that you admire in them and they will like you for it.  This works with your boss, your colleagues, your partner, your parents, your children – indeed just about everyone.  Find something nice you can honestly say about them and say it.  If your boss is a difficult overbearing person to deal with, you can still find something good to say, ‘What I really like about you is that you are always clear and decisive.’  A variant on this is, ‘What you are really good at is………………..’  Everyone likes praise. You can always find something that is good about the other person.  So start your conversation on a positive note by sincerely giving them credit.  It will put them in a better and more receptive mood.

2.  Please ……… because……….

Research in a large study at the University of Wisconsin found the the addition of a ‘because’ at the end of a request doubled the chance of getting a positive response.  So you could say, ‘Please give me your report by Tuesday.’  But you will more likely be successful if you say, ‘Please give me your report by Tuesday because I really need it before the management meeting on Wednesday.’  Similarly you might say to your partner, ‘Please come with me into town.’  Then add, ‘because I need some help choosing a new outfit.’  Give people a reason to comply and it is more likely that they will.

3.  But you are free………….

Make your request.  Push a little.  Then reduce the pressure with a get out phrase.  ‘I really think you should see the doctor about this, but you are free to carry on doing nothing if you want.’  Research shows that taking the pressure off a little increases the chance that the other person will agree.  Variants on the phrase include – ‘It is entirely up to you.’ ‘You are not obliged.’ ‘It is your choice.’  So you might say, ‘I firmly believe it is time to get a new and more reliable car but it is entirely up to you if you want to stick with the old one.’

4.   If you …………..  then I………….

This is a great phrase to use in any negotiation situation.  Put the first obligation on the other party and then offer your exchange.  ‘If you will do your homework then I will buy you an ice cream.’  When the client asks for a better price you can say something like, ‘If you can pay cash now then we can give a 3% discount.’  Don’t start your negotiation by offering up a concession.  Start with a request that you both move forward.  Make your offer conditional on their action.

As we go through life we all have to try to secure agreement.  We cannot just tell people what to do; we have to persuade them.  Try using these tactics with conviction and sincerity.  They will make you more convincing and persuasive.









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3 thoughts on “Four Magic Phrases to Improve your Powers of Persuasion

  1. Persuasion is an art people and would not like to be labelled as ‘persuasive’ and hence avoided. All your tips are perfect but there is an underlying caution. Intention in any communication, if persuasive, most of us do not want to be carried away.
    My humble suggestion is “How can I help you?” is a better approach to initiate a dialogue. Then all other follows. Assistance once offered and accepted, half the process is won.
    Serve to bring smiles on others faces. Next you can expect more cooperation and seek you objective. Efforts to persuade becomes less effort and simpler. Takes time but long term. Thanks and regards

  2. Very nice article. I agree with all the suggestions and I will definitely utilise them in my day to day converstions.

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