Let's face it. Virtually everything you have in your life was a result of your being able to persuade somebody. But, frequently people only equate the ability to persuade someone with "selling" them in a transaction where money changes hands. However, even if your occupation has nothing to do with getting customers to exchange their money for goods and services from your company, your career can be made or broken based on your ability to persuade people.

For example, let's look at the role of a manager or supervisor. Many people in management positions do try and apply "management techniques" so that their subordinates follow their orders. However, it's still very common for managers to feel as though employees need to follow directives without questioning them. I'm not going to address how correct this belief may be. But, I am going to state that ultimately the goal of every supervisor should be to manage subordinates in the most effective manner.

Here's where an understanding of the art of persuasion can be highly valuable. The fact is that human beings have a strong resistance toward doing anything they are told to do unless they understand why they should be doing it. And the opposite is also true: If a person is asked to do something and they are given a reason why, they will be much more receptive toward doing it…even if the reason they are given isn't logical! This kind of behavioral pattern has been repeatedly demonstrated by scientists who study human behavior.

In one particular study, a Harvard social psychologist proved this theory by doing an experiment at a university library. The experiment was that when a subject was about to use the photocopier the sociologist would approach them and say, "excuse me, may I go ahead of you? I need to make five copies because I'm in a rush." When this approach was taken ninety four percent of the people allowed her to go ahead of them. On the other hand, when she did her approaches and simply said, "excuse me, may I go ahead of you?", only sixty percent allowed her to do so.

Now, I know that you might be thinking that this really isn't that surprising, but here is the surprise. The trigger was not the whole statement, "because I'm in a rush". The sociologist proved this by redoing the experiment once more where she approached the subject and said, "excuse me, may I go ahead of you? Because I have to make some copies." This time she was allowed to go ahead ninety three percent of the time. The perplexing thing is that this second explanation made no sense as to why she had to go ahead. Yet, with an explanation that began with the word "because", she was able to persuade virtually the same number of subjects to move ahead of them as when she used the logical reason that she was in a hurry. This same experiment has been repeated with slightly different variations always with a similar outcome.

So, the next time you're thinking of just barking at a subordinate to do something because you don't have the time to tell them why, you might want to add one more sentence that begins with the word "because". You should do this…because the research has shown that people are far more inclined to listen to your requests if you do. And as a supervisor your success depends on how well you can get people to listen to you.

People are complicated and they are filled with genetic survival instincts, deeply embedded sociological behavior rules they've been taught and learned perceptions. If you're able to understand the most effective ways to capitalize on this, you can dramatically change your success and happiness. For more information on "mastering the art of persuasion" follow this link:


Author's Bio: 

Larry Fredericks is the author of the "Master of Persuasion" course as well as a business author and entrepreneur with a string of successful business enterprises.