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A Prescription for Persuasion

June 4, 2019

How many times has a Twitter argument changed someone’s opinion?

Do you know anyone who changed their mind after debating in the comments section of a Facebook post?

Does anyone win a screaming match in the end? Have your curt text messages ever persuaded a friend to take your side?

It’s very seldom that an argument will actually persuade someone to take the other side. Even if one person concedes, it’s unlikely they’ll change their mind.

Let’s talk about persuasion. Regardless of our profession and our position, we all need to be able to persuade others.

We need to close more sales. We’d like to win more people to our political view. We want more people to experience the peace that comes with our faith. We want to get our kids to listen to us. We really want our spouse to agree with our location choice for the family vacation. We all want people on our side. We want to shift opinions. We want our our families, our customers, and our co-workers in our corner. So, how do we become better at persuasion?

We can appeal to emotion, use logic, cast a vision of a better way, or articulate how our ideas will be beneficial long-term. But if you want a simple, strategic way to improve your persuasion ability immediately, here’s an idea: be more likable.

That’s it.

To be persuasive, you should be delightful.

Be somebody that other people want to be around. Be compassionate. Be generous. Be kind. You’re far more likely to persuade people who like you.

Andy Andrews, one of my favorite communicators, gives this funny and practical example of how his marriage radically changed based on a lesson he learned from his dog, Lucy.

Bottom line, being delightful can help improve all areas of your life, especially your ability to persuade.

How about one more example?

The Apostle Paul wrote that “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Think about that. With all of the attributes of God, the Bible says that it’s his kindness that brings us to repentance—that causes us to turn around and change our lives. If God uses kindness to draw us to himself, don’t you think we should show kindness to change hearts and minds?

Take time this week to delight the people around you, care for their needs, make them smile. And when you think they might need some persuading to take the next step, you just might find they’re already in your corner.

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