Richard Maun – How To Influence People

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Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


How To Influence People

29 October 2017

One myth that needs busting is that you can manipulate people. Well, if that was really the case then we’d make sure all possible customers purchased from us and life would be easy.

In reality you can’t manipulate someone who doesn’t want to be conned. Not even a hypnotist can work with everyone and they work hard to select people from the audience who they feel will respond to their tactics. 

We can influence people though and the best way to do this is to invite them to think.

Sounds obvious, but too many times people tell rather than sell. Selling an idea is about making an attractive pitch and then giving the other person time to reflect.

By highlighting facts and including numbers we can add depth and gravitas to our words.

Even though numbers can be massaged we do tend to accept them, in the way that 8 out of 10 cats tend to prefer one brand of food over another.

When we are writing a CV, a business case, or a presentation, numbers have high face validity (they look impressive) and so are easily remembered and accepted as fact.

By asking people relevant questions about the numbers we then invite them to think. We can let them come to the same conclusion that we have already arrived at.

A simple example of this is buying a car. Dealers quote statistics at us that we may not exactly understand, but the numbers reassure us that we are making a sensible purchase. 

Likewise the deals in a supermarket may superficially look good, but a closer inspection of pack weights can reveal the truth …that we are being invited to buy more than we need.

Number make an impact and it’s interesting how often they are missed out.

Another tip to influence people is to say ‘you don’t have to like it, you don’t have to agree with it and you can understand it’. This makes it ok for people to disagree, whilst inviting them to accept the truth in our case. 

Instead of arguing our point, we can give people permission to feel their feelings whilst reminding them of the facts. If we hold our position it is likely that they will calm down and eventually think about what we are saying. 

So, this week we can take a fresh look at our CV and any report we are due to deliver and check them to make sure there is a relevant and attention grabbing number in the first line. There are always numbers available to help us influence people …just ask the 8 cats who know which food they prefer!

Next week: Presentation Tips


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© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact