Thoughts + Articles

Mastering the Power of Persuasion Is Easier than you Think!

My favorite quote is from Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, “Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.”

The greatest leaders and persuaders of all time understand that respect is the key that opens a closed mind. When you treat everyone with respect, whether their job is working a toll gate, waiting tables, janitor, cashier, entrepreneur, politician, President, or CEO. Treat them with respect and courtesy. 

Think of someone you met who was truly interested in your opinion, or asked you about yourself…and truly listened (instead of thinking about what they were going to say). It made you feel pretty good. 

Here are a few tactics that may help you sharpen your communication and become a master of persuasion:

Concise and clear thinking: 

Bob Berg talks about the “3 P’s of Positive Persuasion”. Take a deep breath- and be polite, patient and persistent.” I would also add tact, which is the successful execution of politeness.

Politeness disarms most people’s biases and begins the relationship building process on a good note. No one was ever upset about doing business with someone who they liked too much due to their politeness. 

What would happen if you approached every situation with politeness? Entering a meeting with a sincere smile, wrapped in positive expectation will separate you from 95% of the others this person deals with all day long.

Play the game of unexpected kindness

A student of mine’s mother was driving her van filled with her children on a busy road when a driver suddenly pulled in front of her, missing her car by inches. Instead of cursing at the driver for nearly causing an accident, she smiled and blew a kiss at the driver. The driver looked back at her with a confused look on her face! (her children smiled as she was telling what happened.”

Her children learned a valuable lesson that day from their Mom.

Bob Burg, “Show patience when he or she is resistant to helping. It may be the way they’re used to doing things, living in the problems (“Can’t be done” or “Not our policy”) instead of the solutions. Or it may just be easier to try and discourage you so they don’t have to work too hard in order to earn their daily bread.”

“You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”- The Gambler, Kenny Rogers.

In other words, pick your battles! 

Patience means that not everything requires a response. You may be at complete odds with the person you are talking with, and may feel the need to lash out and have your opinion heard…but so do they. 

Maturity and patience will melt most communication barriers. It may mean that the other person needs to be heard and validated. They don’t necessarily want a solution; they just want to know that they matter. 

Listening to Others:

Dale Carnegie tells the story in his book Lincoln the Unknown about President Lincoln inviting an old friend to the White House to discuss the conflict between north and south. President Lincoln’s friend just listened to both sides of the conflict and then the President decided and thanked his friend for coming to listen. He then made his decision. Both sides knew that their ideas had been heard. 

Mike Robbins, speaker and author says, “By listening to others, you show them respect. You let them know that you care about what they’re saying and that you value their perspective.” 

Dale Carnegie’s second principle is “Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”

 Drs. Ken Blanchart and Spencer Johnson, authors of The One Minute Manager Knows, “Catch them in the act of doing something right.”

Bob Burg, “Verbally acknowledge it and them. Make sure everyone knows about the recognition.” (The Art of Persuasion, p118, by Bob Burg)

By acknowledging positive behavior, it gets repeated.

It’s about the beginning of building relationships. 

Bob Burg’s father, Mike Burg defined “Tact as the language of Strength.” 

Burg continues, “This may be the one concept that makes the biggest difference in your ability to persuade others to your way of thinking and attain the results you desire. It is known by several different words: diplomacy, delicacy, sensitivity, savoir-faire, and tact.”

Lincoln said, “Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves”.

“This doesn’t usually come naturally. Someone tactful can soothe the feelings of the most difficult people; a tactless person will generally make a bad situation worse.” (Merriam-Webster)

It’s all about building relationships.

The other day, I was picking vegetables and an older man with tattoos all over came to stand beside me and started talking. 

I listened!

He shared that he was a retired Military officer with an ill wife. He just needed to talk and share what was on his mind. I just quietly listened for a few minutes. As we concluded the conversation, I could tell that he was more relaxed. We smiled and wished each other a good day. 

Forget the Favor. Instead, Ask for Advice”.

Les Giblin “suggests asking someone for “advice” instead of a “favor.” 

Imagine that your neighbor works for a company that offers the ideal summer job for high school/college students. Your son would love to secure one of those coveted spots. You correctly feel it would be too presumptuous to simply walk up and ask him to get your kid a job so, instead, you ask him for advice. 

Instead, you and your son, Billy, meet with the neighbor and your son asks, “Mr. Smith, if you don’t mind my asking, if you were me and wanted to be considered for a summer job at the McJones Company, how would I go about it?” 

Don, “who is now being asked for counsel, not a favor, might just recommend that Billy call his office on Monday and he’ll see what he can do—or maybe he will introduce Billy to the personnel manager via email and open the door by using him as a referral. 

The worst thing that could happen is that your son goes through the hiring process and realizes that he is not qualified this year, but he has some action steps to take to be at the top of the line next year. 

Phrasing your request something similar to: “Phyllis, if you were me and were attempting to . . . how would you go about it?” Or “Joe, I’d like to get your opinion on something. What would you do if . . . ?”  will acknowledge the other person’s value and perceived expertise.” It also taps into most people’s desire to help others. 

Berg, “Request Instead of Order”

“If you really want to distinguish yourself from the masses, try making requests instead of issuing orders. A person who is used to being ordered to perform, such as a waitperson, staff member, hotel employee, etc., will go absolutely out of his way to serve you if you request his actions. Instead of saying to the waiter, “Bring us some more water,” or “We need water,” say, “When you get a chance, would you please bring us some more water?”

Burg continues, “Some people might think this would only delay getting the water. Actually, the opposite is true. Because you’ve made that person feel respected, you’ll be the first person he’ll want to make happy. Instead of an order, make it a request. Instead of, “Joe, make seven copies of these,” how about, “Joe, would you run seven copies of these for me, please?” Phrase your “order” in the form of a request and you’ll be Winning Without Intimidation both in the short and long-term.” 

Bob Burg: “Giblin’s Truth Serum”:

 Les Giblin in his book, How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People, “shows that the best way to help someone to act in a particular way is to let them “live up” to your opinion of them. He provides several wonderful examples of people who were trusted and lived up to the trust placed in them. “

“One story tells of a police officer who was consistently able to get “tough guys” to give him information by saying, “People tell me you have quite a reputation as a tough guy and that you’ve been in lots of trouble but there’s one thing you won’t do… You won’t lie. They say, if you tell me anything at all, it will be the truth—and that’s the reason I’m here.” Wow, talk about giving a person something to live up to!” 

Bob Burg, “As with the other methods we’ve been discussing, gear this one to your own unique circumstances, and use it often. Not just to see if it works—it works! —but to practice getting really good at making it work for you in a variety of situations. I couldn’t wait to try this one. My first opportunity was with a person attempting to locate some information for me.” 

Burg continues, “I had used her services before and she always did a good job. Not great, but good. She was having some trouble this particular time and I said to the person next to me, “I don’t know if this information can be found or not, but I’ll tell you this—if anyone can find it, she can.” 

Give them a compliment they can look up to!

Burg,” You can bet your boots she found it and now she goes out of her way for me whenever I need to stop by.” 

By being persistent you are letting “them know in a very kind, polite manner, that you’re not going away, and that it’s in their own best interest to help you.” Sometimes your persistence will be wrapped in charm, but when they know you will not cease until…they will likely be happy to help. (or not, but either way, they will assist you). 

What 5 ingredients will help you connect and persuade others?

  1. Burg’s 3 P’s of Positive Persuasion: Be Polite, Patient, and Persistent. Tact is a successful execution of politeness!

 2)   No matter what, “treat everyone with respect” and kindness!. When others need a smile, share yours.     (Also say good morning …..)

  3) “Ask for advice”, “ask for help,” or “ask for their opinion.”

  4)  Listen to others.

  5) Request instead of order.” “When you get a chance would you ……….?” 

 By following these 5 ingredients for connecting and persuading others you will build happier relationships.

Madeline Frank, Ph.D., is an Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, John Maxwell Team Member, concert artist, and parent. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Business”. Her observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. Her latest book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available everywhere books are sold. If you need a speaker contact Madeline at:

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2023 at 5:41 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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