Even though you would really like to get your way most of the time, you (as a polite and decent person) realize that life is all about compromise. This means doing things you don't wanna do, and occasionally going through with someone else's plans. But sometimes you have to stick to your guns, be persuasive, and get what you want.
This is a skill that can come in handy in pretty much every aspect of life. "Being persuasive, or a good negotiator, enables you to excel at work, at school, and in relationships," says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle. At work it might mean snagging yourself some prime vacation time, or getting your coworkers to help out with your amazing project at idea. At school, it could mean getting more time to work on a paper. And in your relationship? Well, my mind immediately goes to calling the shots when it comes to movie night. (See what I mean? So handy.)
Keep in mind, though, that being persuasive doesn't mean being rude or manipulative. "There is a difference between persuasion and manipulation, so this is more in the spirit of compromise and having a skill to get people to listen to you," Martinez says. With that in mind, read on for ways to get people on your side, and actually get what you want.
1. Be Respectful Of Other People's Ideas
Getting your way often means going up against a bunch of differing opinions. This can put people on the defensive, which is why showing a little respect can go a long way. "Let them know you understand and respect their thoughts, ideas, and opinions, and then let them know that you would appreciate it if they would hear yours ... and consider them," Martinez says. It's a trick that keeps everyone happy, but will often work in your favor.
2. Don't Use Words Like "Maybe" Or "Possibly"
It's normal to throw in words like "maybe" or "possibly" when you feel nervous. (Think along the lines of "Could you possibly work for me this weekend?") While it may make you feel less pushy in the moment, all you're really doing is giving the other person an excuse to ignore you. So the next time you ask for something, skip the "maybes" and try using more concise language, according to behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards on ScienceOfPeople.com. This clear, unapologetic tone will make your listener more likely to agree.
3. Remember To Listen
It seems so obvious, but remember this: people will be more likely to listen to you if you also listen to them. That's why the most persuasive people in the world are the ones with great listening skills, Martinez tells me. Listen to your boss, listen to your partner, and they'll be all about listening to you.
4. Mirror Their Body Language
People feel more connected when they're at ease, so it's to your benefit to make everyone feel comfortable around you. And one of the best way to do this is with mirroring. "Mirroring someone else's body language is a great way to show that the two of you are in sync," said lifestyle writer Brittani Renaud on Health. If they lean back, you lean back. If they fold their arms, you should, too. Subconsciously they'll feel more connected, and therefore more likely to help you out.
5. Throw In Some Feels
If someone can understand what you're going through, they'll be more likely to be on your side. That's why showing emotions (to a degree) is a great way to get what you want. "If you need more help on a project, share your feelings of being overwhelmed. If you are giving a pitch on a new business idea, share your passion," said Van Edwards. Tug at those heart strings and watch as everyone bends over backwards to help.
6. Own your Space
As women, we're constantly aware of how much space we're taking up. We cross our legs, fold our arms, or poke just our heads into office doorways. But if you want to get stuff done, you gotta command respect by taking up more space. So go all in (literally) the next time you have a request. "Remember to stand up straight and relaxed, with your feet six to seven inches apart," said Renaud. Own that space, and people will be more likely to pay attention.
7. Show How It Benefits Them
Sadly, we live in a world where people are less likely to do things unless it somehow benefits them. But you can use this to your advantage. "Whenever you are communicating with someone, be sure to keep their needs top of mind," Van Edwards suggested. Can you do them a favor, too? Or somehow sweeten the deal? If so, be sure to let them know.
8. Project Confidence, Even If You Aren't Feelin' It
Low levels of confidence wreak of impending rejection. That's because "when you project fear, others see this as a weakness," said business strategist Yvonne Gu on Entrepreneur. So start giving off confident vibes, even if you aren't quite there yet mentally. Take up more space, like I suggested above, and start feeling like you deserve what you're asking for. People will pick up on it, and show more respect as a result.
9. Know When To Stop Talking
Even though it seems like it should work, wearing people down is not an effective strategy in being persuasive, according to marketing expert Kevin Daum on Inc.com. That's why one of the biggest tricks to getting what you want is knowing when to stop talking. Say your piece, then confidently sit back and await a response. Sometimes that's all it takes.
10. Be Charming AF
Charming people have a way of, well, charming others into doing what they want. Need a day off? Charm your boss. Want to see that new movie? Charm your partner. It may sound a bit manipulative, but all it means is taking the time to connect with others. "Charming people make you feel as though you are the most important person in the room, even if you are there with others," said wealth management expert Chris Gaborit on FastCompany.com. It's just another way of making nice with those around you so they'll be more likely to respect your opinion.
11. Do Some Name Dropping
Everyone loves the sound of their own name, so try working it into any conversation where you're trying to be persuasive. "Once you become aware, you’ll likely notice that some of the most persuasive people in the world use this ego-building technique," Gu said.
12. Stay As Humble As Possible
Sure, you have a great idea for a project at work. But if you want everyone to get on board, don't rub it in their faces. And definitely don't put down their ideas. "True humility is 'strength under control,'" Gaborit said. "It’s knowing who you are and being proud of it but recognizing the greatness in others and giving them esteem above yourself." If you can do this, people will be so respectful of your ideas — and maybe even down to see them through.
13. Stick With It 'Til It Happens
Even if you're the most persuasive person in the world, you can't expect others to do what you want 100 percent of the time. But you can keep coming back, and back again, until you see the changes you want. "By being politely persistent, you’ll find that you land deals you might not have otherwise done," Gu said. So stick with it, and keep asking until you can make things happen.
It's this confidence, and persistence, that'll truly get you what you want.
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