Do you wish you were better at persuasion? Ever wonder what it would be like if you could convince people to do what you want?
Surprisingly enough, you likely have more power than you realize. The secret to wielding the power of persuasion is to focus your intention and tap into your influence.
Easier said than done, right? Once you know how to focus your intent, it DOES actually become easier than you may think. Here’s how to get what you want from life, from yourself and those around you.
We work on the power of persuasion during our Year of Transformation courses. Many of our students wish they knew how to get what they want out of life (whether it’s from others, from themselves, or the universe in general), yet they aren’t sure what that really means.
At the end of the day, it’s not so much what you DO to get what you want; it’s your intent. Do you intend to make a difference? Do you want to use your influence? Do you want to be heard and have someone else really understand you?
Now, this doesn’t mean screaming and yelling to get your point across. In fact, demanding, screaming, and yelling often doesn’t work at all; it can actually work against you. It’s your intent that matters.
If I’m in a conversation with Bob, for example, I may want him to do something for me. Maybe I need his help with something; perhaps I would like his input or feedback on an idea. Maybe I want his support, attention, or affection. So, what do I do to persuade him to give me what I want?
Persuasion isn’t about “talking him into something,” like some kind of used-car salesman. I’m not wheeling and dealing to get what I want. When we act with intent, it means expressing ourselves as fully as we can. So, when talking to Bob, I’m going to tell him WHY something really matters to me. I may express the outcome I’m hoping for. I’ll put myself fully into the idea of what I want, why it matters, and my ideal result.
Because Bob listens to me and values me, he can often meet my request with ease. He gives me what I want, need, and ask for in our relationship because I’ve expressed to him how much it matters to my heart.
When you have the intent to change something, you have a lot more power than you may think. If you go about asking for something with the intention of getting it, it’s much more powerful than merely wishing, hinting, or hoping it will come about.
If you approach a request like, “Well, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I was kind of hoping, you wouldn’t really mind doing this favor for me,” it isn’t very persuasive.
On the other hand, if you say to someone, “This is very important to me. I would really appreciate it if you would do this for me. It would mean a lot,” the intent is still the same—to get what you want. In this case, though, because you’re direct, it’s much more likely that someone will respond positively to your request.
When we ask for what we want, it’s not about being tricky or conniving. We’re not trying to dupe someone into doing what we want (most of us have good intentions). We’re trying to get someone to see our side and come to the situation authentically. We’re making an appeal.
It’s not, “How can I make someone do what I want?” It’s about being true to what you want—THIS is what I want, THIS is how I feel.
When you approach a situation with positive intent, sometimes you’ll get an even better solution than the one you were going for. If you’re genuinely involved in the conversation and open to the direction, you might be surprised at the positive outcomes. If you approach it rigidly, getting stuck on only one acceptable answer, it doesn’t always work. Come to the table, ready to be open to whatever direction it takes.
Realness, genuineness, and emotions work when it comes to the power of persuasion. In fact, we may even want to think of authenticity as the real power of persuasion. Our intention and true feelings are always very persuasive.
So, what’s the difference between persuading someone to do what you want and manipulating someone? Again, it’s all about the intention.
The reality is, we’re all “manipulating” others all the time. We go into each interaction and decision with a desired outcome in mind. If we’re deciding on lunch with a friend, we’re going to have feelings about the restaurant, what we want to eat, and when we hope to go. When we express those feelings to our friend, we intend to convince them to choose the little bistro down the street, rather than the deli around the corner. Is this manipulation? In a sense, yes, but we don’t have nefarious intentions. Our real intention is to enjoy our time with our friend (and if we focus on the true intention and are open to different answers, the place we eat isn’t as important as our connection).
The more honest we are about the situation and our desires, the better. Dishonesty in persuasion is what makes it harmful. We may think of manipulation as being dishonest, not forthcoming, tricky, or trying to get someone to do something without telling them what you really want. But manipulation can actually be lovely and positive. It helps us look at a situation in different ways.
For example, I may say something to Bob, such as, “I want you to know that I’m doing this so that you will do this for me later.” We’re all trying to get people to do things in a certain way all the time, but we’re not always honest about it. When we start to become honest about our intentions, we won’t feel like we’re “manipulative” or “conniving.” Be honest about what you want.
Many of us hold back on what we want because of fear. We may feel we don’t deserve to have our needs met, or we may worry that someone will tell us no. So we dwell in a place of ambiguity and apprehension.
It can also help to admit that we’re scared. If you approach a conversation with, “I want to ask you for something, but I’m afraid,” it will often temper the discussion and make the other person more receptive to what we’re going to say. Remember to assume good intent on the part of the other person—they likely want you to feel good. They want to help you.
If you tell someone, “I’m scared because this matters to me,” they will often be even more willing to help you work through to a mutually beneficial solution.
So if you’re hoping to wield the power of persuasion, it’s as simple as going in with honesty and authenticity. Clarify your intent and go for what you want. It all starts by working up the courage to begin the conversation. Once you start, you’re well on the way to getting what your heart desires.
For more on tapping into your personal power, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for our upcoming More Life Training. You’ll connect with others on their transformational journey and learn more about yourself. This is a great way to bring peace, meaning, and happiness to your life and relationships!
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.