First, be a good listener
“Being persuasive ironically requires that you be a good listener,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, a clinical psychologist and best-selling author from Lake Forest, Illinois. “You want them to realize why your idea is a good one, and to do that, you need to know what is important to them.” Reinforce that you hear what the person is saying and then repeat what they said, says Dr. Lombardo. “This helps them feel heard, which is important. If someone does not feel heard, they will focus on making sure you hear their side and not focus on listening to you,” she explains. Here’s what all good listeners do during daily conversations.
Recognize what matters…to them
Sure, you’re focused on what matters to you, but the key to persuasion is understanding what matters to the other person—and, conversely, what doesn’t, says Erica McCurdy, a certified life coach from Norcross, Georgia. This is achieved through what she calls “active listening.” “When we focus more on what we want to say next than on what the other person is saying to us, we are likely to miss opportunities to align with the other person, shorten the path to agreement, and lessen the discomfort of the conversation,” she says. Sharpening your empathy skills can help you see other people’s perspectives.