“Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.” – Confucius

There are a lot of ways to get what you want, some of which are simple and others a little more complex. In this day and age, the principles of persuasion are crucial. We’re often called upon to make arguments and win other people over. And it seems empty charm can only get you so far.

Ultimately, there’s a science to understanding how we think and a way to figure out how to make that work for you. It starts with getting people to like you but goes a lot further. One of the best books on the subject (and arguably the best book I’ve ever read) is Robert Cialdini’s Influence.

1. First give and then take.

Always be the first to give or concede because people will feel obliged to do the same. When it comes to asking for something in return, start with an extreme request (that you know will be turned down) and then retreat into something smaller (what you wanted all along). Make it seem insignificant in contrast.

2. Keep it consistent and make them commit.

People desire to be consistent with their thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. Make people commit to an initial position that is consistent with beliefs and behaviours you want them to have later on. Make sure the commitment is public, effortful, and entirely their idea. Start by stating something they already know (in order to get them saying “yes”) and logically work through to want you want them to do.

“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.” – Isaac Newton

3. Offer expert advice.

When people are unsure, they look around to see what people similar to them are doing. Make them feel as though everyone else is doing it. There’s no denying that being able to refer to experts (and other respected celebrities) can give your argument some clout, especially if these are people society looks up to.

4. Make it here today and gone tomorrow.

People assign more value to what is less available and/or only available for a short time. Think about it. How many times have you been duped by those “limited time only” infomercials and why do you think The Secret was given its title? Make what you’re offering recently scarce and introduce an element of competition for it.

“In order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.” – Mark Twain

5. Be smart.

The only way to get somebody to do something is by making them want to do it. Find out why they do what they do and what it is they truly desire. Then talk in terms of what they want and show them how doing what you want them to do will help them get it. Make them happy to do what you want because ultimately there’s something in it for them too.

“If a man is respectful he will not be treated with insolence. If he is tolerant he will win the multitude. If he is trustworthy in word his fellow men will entrust him with responsibility. If he is quick he will achieve results. If he is generous he will be good enough to be put in a position over his fellow men.” – Confucius

Author's Bio: 

About Me

I have been an active writer for over a decade and published my first book in August 2007. This marked the start of Varsity Blah, a personal development blog that has now received almost 250,000 hits from over 120 countries worldwide. This article is one of almost 100 posts that were compiled into my upcoming book, which was reviewed on Authonomy.com: “This is some very insightful stuff… The way the book is structured, paired with your capabilities of drawing great narrative, leads this on the right path. This cleanses the mind.”

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About My Services

Graduating from college with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano has given me a uniquely creative approach to all I do. As a personal development copywriter, I specialise in creating content on improving health, relationships, finances, and career. This includes writing and editing articles, papers, blog posts, web copy, and much more. My professional background in marketing (as well as my extensive experience as one of the first external bloggers for the World Advertising Research Centre) means I can also provide case studies, company profiles, and whitepapers focused on branding, communications, digital media, and market research.

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