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How To Persuade People Not To Turn You Down

People feel a massive desire to be in control of their lives and their decisions. When you allow people to maintain autonomy by giving them the permission to say "no", they relax

Photo Credit :

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So what’s the right thing? Here’s a fascinating insight from Chris Voss, past instructor of international business negotiation at Harvard and author of "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It."

As an Invisible Selling and Invisible Negotiation Trainer, this was super interesting to me.

The right thing to say is, “Is now a bad time to talk?"

Why?

We are trying to get the person to reposnd by saying "No".

Why?

The are many reasons. Here are three big ones:

1) No fulfils the profound human need for freedom


People feel a massive desire to be in control of their lives and their decisions. When you allow people to maintain autonomy by giving them the permission to say "no", they relax, the efficiency of their decision making skyrockets and they can look at your proposal with an open mind. They can then toss it around mentally or verbally. The bonus: this gives you time to think to course correct - suggest something attractive about it, dwell more on the details et al.

2) A "no" doesn’t always mean no

Language has severe limitations. It is very difficult for us to express exactly what we feel and we have to make do with the crude symbols of language.

So what could the no mean?

- I need time to think
- You’re too fast
- I don’t follow your proposal
- I don’t have the budget

Now imagine you heard these sentences instead of a no (mentally). You wouldn’t back off. You may say:

- Could we talk about this again?
- What exactly are you looking for?
- What would have to happen for you to go for this?

3) People resist yes seekers

Get people to say yes to little things and they will say yes to bigger things. While this is a tried and tested strategy, it is best applied subtly (Bob Cialdini, Regents' Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, endorses it). If a person has agreed (said yes figuratively) to watching the trailer of a movie that’s smartly done, there is a higher chance of him seeing the entire movie (saying a bigger yes figuratively) than someone who does not see the trailer. But if you are verbally trying to get a person to say yes by asking him "leading" questions then you are likely to irritate him. Here is a transcript from an episode of the TV Series “Yes Minister."

[Sir Humphrey demonstrates how public surveys can reach opposite conclusions]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Mr Woolley, are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think there is lack of discipline and vigorous training in our Comprehensive Schools?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do you think young people welcome some structure and leadership in their lives?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Do they respond to a challenge?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Might you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?
Bernard Woolley: Er, I might be.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes or no?
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Of course, after all you've said you can't say no to that

That works well on a TV series - all the more as it is an old one and the world wasn’t awash with yes seekers then. In real life people are more likely to say “get to the point" or worse "go away" if they agree to a survey in the first place. I can't remember the last time I did one.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Dharmendra Rai

The author is a renowned Mind Map Trainer.

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