As a business owner or professional, a lot of your time is spent interacting with others, whether they are your employees, customers, vendors or professional colleagues. In fact, part of your overall success as a business owner comes from being able to influence people to do what you want. But it’s hard to influence others, right? Well, not if you practice and continually work to enhance your persuasion skills. What is persuasion? Simply, Merriam Webster defines it as the “act or process or the instance of persuading.”
We’ll take a look at 10 traits of highly persuasive professionals and explain how you can use these tips to not only feel more confident, but to ultimately enhance your ability to influence others.
This may seem incredibly obvious, but it’s one of the most important traits you can master. When you are actively listening to someone, you are truly digging deep to understand their point of view, motivations and reasons for feeling a certain way. Sure, you want to make a sale or share your next big idea with a group of potential vendors, but they’ll never allow you to gain influence over them if you don’t take the time to hear them. Talk less and listen more. Work to truly build a relationship.
Ask Effective Questions
Just as active listening is important to business professionals, so is the ability to ask effective questions. In order to improve your persuasion skills, you’ll need to master the art of asking effective questions, so you can more clearly mine the information you need to influence others. The key is to ask open-ended questions and listen. An open-ended question forces the person you are talking with to give a more in-depth answer. Let the conversation flow naturally, but allow the person you are speaking with to fully express their problems and needs so you can form a strategy for how you can solve their concerns.
Encourages Others to Talk
In business, communication is vital. From face-to-face interactions to email and telephone calls, you’re constantly communicating with others. A professional who has learned how to persuade others will talk noticeably less, encouraging others to talk more. This is effective because it allows you to gain trust by showing that you care about what they have to say. Letting people talk is one of the best ways you can help build rapport. The more that someone opens up to you and talks to you, ultimately the more they trust you.
Passion is incredibly important to building influence. Think about it this way. When you are talking with someone about a product or service and you can tell they live and breathe it, you are more than likely drawn to them and whatever they may be selling. People buy into emotion. If you can show your passion and conviction for your idea you’re one step closer to gaining that same buy in and conviction in others who will in turn share it with others.
They Are Genuine
Persuasive people are genuine people. These are individuals who strive to be honest in all walks of life and are comfortable in their own skin. They know who they are as a person and don’t deviate too far from that center. Being genuine helps build trust amongst others because individuals know who you are and what you stand for.
Invests in Others
Do you want to be more persuasive? Well, invest in others. Highly persuasive professionals take the time to help others achieve their goals. This can easily be done by offering advice, mentoring younger colleagues, and providing unwavering encouragement. These may seem like small things, but they will truly make a difference and show that you are thinking about the success of others.
In business, it can be easy to rush to the end goal — getting the deal done and moving on to the next step. But professionals who strive at influencing others slow the process down. They take time to build a personal connection with others. Let your colleagues learn something interesting about you, then take the time to learn something about them. You’ll still get the deal done, but you’ll build a lasting relationship at the same time.
Clear and Concise Communication
Being able to share your ideas in a quick, understandable way is important as a business professional. When you speak, you should come across as knowledgeable about whatever it is your discussing. No matter how complex the topic, be prepared to explain it so that someone who knows nothing about the topic can understand it. If you can communicate convincingly when speaking to someone with lesser knowledge, imagine how influential you’ll sound when speaking to someone well versed on the subject.
Leaves a Good First Impression
We all know first impressions are critical in business. People tend to form an opinion about us within the first seven seconds of meeting. So how do you combat that and make a good impression? Smile, practice good posture, be welcoming, and offer a firm handshake. The more you are able to project a positive vibe, the better.
Utilize Good Body Language
People who are highly persuasive tend to also focus on positive body language. You have to consciously think about your approach and how you are positioning yourself, from hand gestures and facial expressions to the tone of voice you use when speaking. All of these offer clues to those you are meeting with. When you maintain eye contact with someone, open yourself to them and speak with a positive, enthusiastic tone, you create a welcoming environment.
As a business owner or professional, having the ability to influence others and persuade them to act as you’d like is achievable. Don’t believe the myths that certain people are born with persuasive traits. If you dedicate the time and energy to perfecting these 10 traits of highly persuasive professionals you’ll be well on your way to improving yourself and your business relationships. CLIMB Professional Development and Training offers a variety of opportunities for its participants to learn useful and practical business skills. Visit our website to learn more about the courses we offer.