There are few greater skills in the workplace than persuasiveness. Whether you’re angling for a raise or a new assignment — or even a new desk chair — it pays to have the power to influence people and get what you want.
In a great Business Insider post titled “3 Proven Ways to Persuade Anyone In Your Life,” writer Lily Zhang draws on the advice of communication expert Jean-luc Doumont, a man who knows what it takes to get what you want. His first tip is all about body language. Evidently, humans are moved by sincerity, and we’re far more likely to persuade people if we’re able to come across as genuine. That means smiling, not fidgeting, and maybe striking a few power poses.
“It’s easy to lie with words; it’s a lot harder to lie with nonverbal cues,” Zhang writes. “People intuitively read body language and give it more weight.”
Doumont’s next tip: “Get others to be self-consistent.” This, Zhang explains, means that you “find ways to get people to actually state (or restate) what they will do instead of telling them what to do.” It may sound tricky, but it’s not. Instead of hounding a colleague about that deadline they’re about to miss, ask them, “When is this due again?” When it comes to setting deadlines in the first place, ask others what they think it should be.
“It’s much more likely your colleague will uphold the deadline this way,” Zhang writes.
The final tip is to validate, draw attention to scarcity, and appeal to values — “think like a salesperson,” in other words. Validation is kind of like peer pressure, and Zhang uses the example of convincing a manager to order the department new computers. Arguing that another team just got computers is validation. Highlighting scarcity is a strategy of creating urgency in terms of making the decision. By telling your boss there’s a three-day sale on these proposed new computers, you’ll get the wheels rolling.
As for “aligning to values,” you want to drive home the point that whatever you’re after is “the right thing to do.” In the case of those computers, they’ll help morale and promote employee retention.
At the end of the day, Zhang writes, Doumont’s tips will only get you so far. It helps if the person you’re persuading actually likes you.
“Flattery sometimes works, but more often than not simply being nice is enough to significantly up your chances for success,” she writes.