Although we go through the days on tiptoe and most of our decisions are taken by inertia, human beings need a reason to do what we do. Find reasons makes sense to choose a floor, a profession or a workplace. When we try to convince someone to adopt a specific position or accept a proposal we are giving him new reasons that answer why he does what he does. We are using persuasion, a social skill that is not as linked to manipulation as popularly sensed and that can be very useful to get a job, reach consensus regarding work dynamics or improve working conditions.
Persuasion is one of the skills that inspires the most myths. It has a negative meaning and has spread the idea that persuading someone brings deception or manipulate information. But being persuasive implies mental and emotional variables that go beyond managing others for their own benefit.
It also means having some social skills that are basic to other tasks: a persuasive person has an adequate structure of the arguments and makes the effort to connect emotionally with whoever is in front of. For that you need to develop your emotional intelligence. Business decisions are not made strictly according to the reason. Research in psychology, cognitive science and behavioral economics have shown that emotion influences everything we do, including thinking and decision-making. When a worker is able to identify and manage their emotions, it is easier for them to do so with the person in front of them. And if you know how you are feeling, you can influence what you think and say or do something that changes your emotion.
The psychologist Stéphane Côté, professor at the Rotman business school, has studied in different investigations how employees use their emotional intelligence to convince others. "Getting your partner to be in an emotional state similar to yours makes him also more open to listening to your arguments," he explains. Côté warns that it can be turned against him. In fact, when people read very well to other people they can discover things they would have preferred not to know. But the truth is that there is a consensus that emotionally connecting with the person to be persuaded increases the probability of achieving it.
Another myth that surrounds the ability to convince has to do with its uses, traditionally linked to commercial work. "Persuasion is widely perceived as a reserved ability to sell products and close deals," explains Jay A. Conger, researcher and author of The Necessary Art of Persuasion. "But the truth is that, exercised in a constructive way, it becomes a negotiation and learning process that helps to advance ideas." Therefore, developing this skill can also be useful for ask for your salary to be raised or to be convincing when you are doing a job interview. The goal is not for another person to do something they do not want, but something that had not been raised before.
Several expert psychologists working to reinforce this ability agree that "it is necessary to establish a certain credibility, to be able to find a common place to negotiate and have empathy." And it is not easy: it is useless to insist with rational arguments or offer something in return. One of the first steps to take is to establish and demonstrate credibility. In the workplace, it is the contacts you have in the company and your experience who endorse you. If your colleagues see you as an honest, constant employee and who can be trusted you will have more chances to convince them, this is reflected in Professor Conger's study.
There is something that may seem obvious: use clear language and reinforce your request with evidence. Presenting weak arguments makes it difficult to make a real change. The other person can counteract them by further reinforcing their initial point of view. Here comes into play a phenomenon that social psychologists call reactance. When someone believes that they want to manipulate him, he reaffirms his position, which makes the process of being persuaded more difficult. This concept is related to another that is constantly perceived in social networks, the backfire effect. It is about the tendency of some people to resist accepting the conflicting evidence of their beliefs, which makes them reaffirm. With the current tendency to adopt increasingly extreme positions, this effect is triggered.
Someone who is persuasive uses common sense, persistence and personal enthusiasm for others to buy a good idea. The manipulation is out of this equation. "Persuasion can unite coworkers, advance ideas and forge constructive solutions," says the report of Professor Jay A. Conger, an expert in the development of persuasion. Conger is a strong advocate of describing this skill as a positive tool. "We should understand it not as a way to convince and sell, but to learn and negotiate."
- Video. How to have better political conversations.
Political ideas are increasingly polarized. In each discussion, we try to convince the other of what we think. How can we approach positions? Social psychologists Matt Feinberg and Robb Willer investigate this issue. If you are looking to persuade someone to adopt a concrete political stance, it is useful to connect that policy with its basic moral values. For example, if you want someone progressive to be more in agreement with military spending, you will be more convincing if you relate these conservative issues to progressive values such as equality.
One of the keys to managing the art of persuasion is emotional intelligence. The Learning Pills training center uses this skill as a basis to teach users to improve their communication skills, making clear their intention to dismantle myths: persuade is not to manipulate or make the ball.
Leher is a app to stimulate dialogue and discussion on relevant issues. There are thematic channels that users can access to argue their positions. It is the evolution of discussion forums or Twitter to be designed specifically for listening and operate under the condition of the arguments on video. The opinions are signed with the face of the users. Only for Android.