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Persuasion: How to win people over

Career Tips By Tania Ngima
Be authentic, and honest

There are people who just seem to naturally get others to see their point of view, to follow their suggestions or to buy in to their ideas. It seems effortless and uncomplicated. Others though, make you feel like every time they are speaking to you they are making a sale. The experience feels contrived, sleazy and like you’re being sold to.

ALSO READ: How to take control of your career

Despite the bad rap that sales people get, the key to convincing other people of our point of view is less to do with being a good salesperson and more to do with being a great connector. Whether it is at work while on a project or asking your boss for a pay rise, how do you hone your persuasion skills without constantly feeling like you are trying to make a sale?


Listen to the party sitting across from you. Active listening allows for you to find some common ground and shared beliefs, increases your likeability factor and creates empathy. People naturally want to fall in line with those they feel ‘get them’ and the challenges they face.

Listen in the way that shows the other person you’re not just waiting for your turn so you can get a word in edgewise or so that you can counter their objections, but truly hear what they are expressing.


Body language

This is one of the oldest traits in the book. Being conscious of your body language and adopting positive mannerisms such as uncrossing arms, enthusiasm, leaning forward, maintaining eye contact say a lot without saying a word. It shows authenticity and backs up the words you are speaking.

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Avoid pressure

Read the other person’s body language and be aware of when you are pushing too hard, or creating an urgent situation, forcing the other person to agree without giving them time to reflect. Be patient and allow your target to come to the same conclusion in a less overt way. When you need to, be prepared to step back or give in in order to win the other person over. Remember, relationships are more important than winning.

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