How to win over others? or how to influence a person’s beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations or behaviours? – These are questions every one of us faces every day in our profession. We influence others for various reasons because people depend on others for many things. Winning over others – not defeating them – is an art, otherwise known as persuasion. Persuading others for various purposes depend on our need. When we need a help – may be money, votes, food, shelter, security etc. we have to persuade in such a way that we are successful in getting them. For that, we have to use the tactic/strategy of persuasion carefully without hurting the feelings of others.
Leaders should master the technique of persuasion. Religious leaders try to persuade people to join in their religion by telling the goodness of their religion over the other religions. Business leaders have to change the attitude of their subordinates towards the consumers/customers. Political leaders win over their cadres by providing them opportunities for them. Mostly changing behaviour of people is done through logic and reason. Sometimes even bribing helps in influencing people. We call it as corruption. If friendly persuasion fails, people try to use force or blackmailing strategy. Thus there are many ways to win over others.
In order to achieve over ambitions, persuasion is generally used. People who are physically attractive seem to be more persuasive. Likewise people who are similar in behaviour and attitude with others are good in persuasion. Knowledgeable and trustworthy person has an edge over others in influencing people. In fact, we are always influenced by others around us; we want to do what everyone else is doing.
The secret of persuasion to change the minds of people like defeating the erroneous views of others was given by Blaise Pascal (1623 -1662) as “People are generally persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered then by those which have come into the minds of others.” Changing the minds of people is challenging but persuasion is the solution for it.
Eloquence is an essential part of persuasion. It is said that eloquence is painting of thought. Therefore, eloquence is an art of saying things in such a way – that those to whom we speak may listen to them without pain and with pleasure; that they feel themselves interested, so that self-love leads them more willingly to reflection upon it!
Hence, Blaise Pascal said – “Kind words do not cost much; yet they accomplish much.”