09 Feb Persuasion Tips from Michelle Bowden (from Michelle Bowden’s keynote for AbbVie 2014)

  1. We persuade and influence our family members, friends, clients, colleagues and managers every day of our life. Our days and filled with negotiating, finding compromise, updating, advising, selling, influencing and persuading.
  2. Most people forget that we are actually influencing people all the time. So they treat their communication scenarios like informal conversations and don’t analyse their audience, prepare their message, and they definitely don’t take the time to rehearse. They are likely to ‘wing it’!
  3. Remember you cannot not influence.
  4. When asked about persuasion, 93.7% of respondents said they would like to be more persuasive. Sadly 92.8% of respondents said you are either persuasive or not and it’s simply too difficult to change what comes naturally. This is because people seem to have little real or concrete sense about what you need to do differently to actually be more persuasive. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to be more persuasive and you can start right now!
  5. Expert communicators analyse their stakeholder, prepare their messages and even rehearse the delivery so they increase their chances of success. Expert communicators get into their stakeholder’s shoes and build strong rapport so they can present meaningful, needs based solutions. Expert communicators know how to design, persuasive, powerful, memorable messages and as a result expert communicators hear the word ‘yes’ more often in their life.
  6. 4Mat is for structuring a message and is best used with Storyboarding for fast results.
  7. The 4 x 4Mat questions are: why? What? How? What if?/What else?
  8. Storyboard using post-it notes and remember you should rehearse and rehearse and rehearse to be sure you will ‘nail’ your key messages.
  9. Storyboarding helps you present without notes – that’s great because it means you can actually look your audience in the eye!
  10. You can communicate with stakeholders from three potential ‘positions’. 1st position is where you are in your own shoes – completely self indulgent and all you care about is yourself. 2nd position is where you are completely and utterly in your stakeholder’s shoes. 3rd Position is the helicopter view. From up in 3rd Position you can see your needs (1st Position) and you can see their needs (2nd Position) so from 3rd Position you can make some very good decisions about what is best for you and what is best for your stakeholder. Spend more time in 2nd and 3rd position than you currently do!
  11. Influence feels better for everyone concerned if you elicit your needs from 1st position and then ensure you are able to step into 2nd position to really understand your stakeholder.
  12. Rapport is all about a sameness with your stakeholders. It’s easier to build rapport with people who are like you.
  13. You can’t ask for anything unless you are in rapport – well you can ask but they’ll probably say “no”!
  14. Pacing is being as ‘like’ the other party as possible without mimicking them. You build rapport though matching, mirroring (pacing) people’s body language, eye contact, voice, language, interests, dress and attitudes (to name just a few areas).
  15. The way that you pace someone’s attitude is with universals and truisms. Universals and truisms are statements that reflect back to the other party what they already know to be true. We call them ‘pacing statements’ because universals and truisms ‘pace’ your stakeholder’s attitudes.
  16. Your leading statement is your key message, it’s often contentious and it must be reasonable. Your leading statement is the thing you are asking your stakeholder for. You don’t have permission to lead an audience without first pacing them.
  17. The number of pacing statements that you need to use to be a master of influence is directly related to your existing level of rapport. Note that you can be in (or out) rapport using two separate criteria: 1. Personally; 2. Contextually. If rapport is non-existent using either criteria you need at least 3 pacing statements before you lead.
  18. The filter that determines our propensity to accept information on face value or not is called the Matcher/Mismatcher filter. People with a matching preference are those who look for what is true and correct, for what matches what they know to be true. People with a mismatching preference look for what is different to what they know to be true – where their reality is different to the presenter’s reality.
  19. To meet the needs of your stakeholder, avoid absolutes in your pacing statements such as “never”, “all”, “everyone”, “must”, “should” and use CABS instead: “or not”, “many”, “most”, “some”, “few”.
  20. Remember when it comes to persuasion, “No” is just feedback that you didn’t pace enough or properly. “Yes” is feedback that you did.
  21. It’s not about me, it’s all about the other party. It’s not about what you want to say or the way you want to say it, it’s not about how you want to stand, sit or move your body, and it’s definitely not about the PowerPoint slides you want to show. It’s all about your stakeholder and what they need to hear from you in order to understand your message and change their behaviour accordingly. Understand this and you’ll never be ‘nervous’ or lacking confidence as a communicator again.
  22. There are three main types of objections: content, personal and logistics. It’s best to manage most objections BEFORE they are raised. We manage objections with the POO technique. POO stands for: Pacing Out Objections.
  23. There are 5 steps to the POO technique: state the objection; say ‘and’, ‘so’ or pause and say nothing, then say ‘actually’ or ‘in fact’, lead to a solution, and finally use the clever word ‘because’ with a meaningful reason.
  24. Be careful of saying ‘But’, ‘However’, ‘Alternatively’, ‘Although’ because they all negate what you have just said and activate the fight/flight response in the stakeholder and incite them to fight you! Choose to say “and”, “so”, or just pause and say nothing.
  25. Remember ‘Because’ is a magic word – use it often.
  26. As you can’t always foresee every single objection that could be raised, you can also use the POO technique for managing objections when they are raised.

I know you know this, it’s not rocket science, so take the time to plan your meetings in advance, analyse your performance at the conclusion of every meeting and continuously strive to be an expert communicator who masters the craft of influential communication.

p.s. Do you know about the world-first, brand NEW, persuasion reality check? Michelle Bowden Enterprises has launched an exciting new psychometric tool for identifying the strengths and weaknesses in your persuasive communication style. Complete the tool and you will see persuasion is made up of a set of competencies that can be acquired by modelling specific behaviours that are achievable for everyone. How persuasive are you? Do people listen when you speak? Do you often get your own way? We all know self awareness is the first step to behavioural excellence!  To complete the Persuasiveness Scale Indicator for FREE so you learn about your personal persuasion style please click on the following link: https://www.forepsyte.com/studies/pers
Good luck!