In my experience, the most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs are incredibly good at persuasion.
In addition, they know how to present the advantages they have and generate greater results. This is a different skill from problem-solving, but it can be learned and improved over time. Having both a great solution and great persuasive abilities is a winning combination. I have always focused on developing solutions, but I have learned different ways of persuasion, well summarized in the new book, Strengthen Your Influence, by Rene Rodriguez. He has been presenting behavioral neuroscience for almost 30 years.
Here is his summary and mine of the top five ways you can increase your influence as a leader, business professional, entrepreneur, or CEO to improve your influence over others and better share your vision, gain voter support and present difficult information in a way that supports all engaged and stimulates action.
1. Credibility: emphasize your real world
In business, your brand is key. You need to build it every day by networking, adding links, using social media to build followers, participating in industry events, and gathering customer feedback to show your presence and understanding of the domain. Confidence adds leverage.
Another key to credibility is to let your actions speak louder than your words. These actions must include a record of results and accountability. Do not use your position to insult, manipulate or humiliate others.
2. Emotion: Create empathy with personal history
Perceived vulnerability is the key to receiving emotional support from others. Your ability to share compelling facts about your struggles in the business world or even part of your humor is what matters, not your success. Emotions drive both personal and business behavior. Effective storytelling requires practice and time, so get started today.
In business persuasion, emotional intelligence is more important than IQ (intelligence). This ability to feel and respond to other people’s emotions is key to gaining the trust and support of your team. Focus more on being heard than on being right.
3. Logic: have more convincing facts and figures
In business, logic is crucial and is what remains after the emotion disappears. Without logic, you can leave behind the buyer’s remorse and no plan or details to achieve the goal. Unfortunately, often the logic itself will not end the negotiations, but in business, it is always a key element.
In my experience as an angel investor for startups, I have often heard entrepreneurs try to cover the lack of real data with a passion for ideas and potential. I certainly like to hear passion and commitment, but financial commitments require reliable facts.
4. Timeliness: Take advantage of the perfect moment
Always tailor your message to your audience based on their current needs and knowledge of who they are. This helps you take advantage of current events to show that you are in a good relationship and that your arguments are not outdated. Keep in mind that demographics or location always change the impact of your arguments.
Being on time for business also means never being late for an important meeting with your team or potential customers. The constant delay will be perceived as rude, a waste of other people’s time and so you can not win in negotiations. Make it a habit to go to an appointment on time or even earlier.
5. Objective: Connect the arguments to a shared-ended game
Every negotiation or communication must have a purpose for all parties involved. Don’t be distracted by side issues or other topics that interest you. Keep the focus on the main goal, including the value at the end of the game for you as well as for them. Winning discussions are especially valuable.
Maintaining a higher-level goal, such as protecting the environment or helping disadvantaged people, can also increase your impact on others, inside and outside the company. People who share and respect this goal will be more supportive and flexible.
I am convinced that if you focus on these five ways to improve your influence and success in the negotiations, you will improve your overall communication, critical thinking, and cultural awareness skills. The result will be more business success and personal satisfaction with your lifestyle.