Have you ever been in a situation where you were won over to another person’s opinion…allowing them to convince you to their way of thinking? Maybe your original opinion was wrong in the first place; but if not, how were they able to change your mind; have you ever wondered?
Of course, most of us have an opinion about the things that go on around us. Have you ever found yourself in the position of having catapulted over to another person’s way of doing things; when you really wanted to do them differently in the first place? Why did you allow their will to trump your own? Was their way of doing things better…or were they just more persuasive?
It is an interesting thing to think about. Did you give more value to their opinion than your own? What convinced you that they were right, and your thoughts or opinions were less right? Often it is persistent persuasion, combined with perceived superior credibility. You know your own faults and mistakes…but, you do not know those of the other person quite as readily; giving them the advantage of a certain level of confidence, that you do not automatically give your own opinion.
If you are a person that often feels resentment because others seem to get their way; and, your way is often not the chosen path; you need to think about why that happens. Do you express yourself well? Do you listen to all of the facts respectfully and then verbalize your opinion in a fair way, with a pleasant tone of voice? Are you easily led by the firm voice of others, into doubting your own opinion? These are issues that are important to the daily bump and grind in life, business, families and organizations.
If you tend to err on the side of giving more weight to the opinions of others, you need to evaluate where that comes from. Knowing what you think and believe; and understanding why you hold those opinions, is key. If you firmly believe that you are in the right, your opinion can be backed up with facts or figures; and, you learn how to present your voice in a confident and respectful way…others will listen. Present the large and small picture, put things in perspective, use examples that re-inforce your beliefs, validate your opinion with evidence or a precedence that will apply to the situation.
Sometimes it is important to find common ground where both sides of a discussion or issue can be met. From that point on, listening is very important. Listen to the other side of the issue or discussion before stating your opinion. When you do express yourself, do it in a manner that is open to some give and take; or, compromise. People who become entrenched in getting their own way, simply for the sake of getting their own way…often don’t.
If common ground can be achieved and there are degrees to which an issue can be decided…you have a better chance of convincing others to agree to your way of thinking. If you can convince one or two other people to agree with you…often, you will start to see a shift in the direction of a group. Persuading another person or two, begins to show validity to your way of thinking. Some people may still personally hold a different opinion privately; but, what starts to happen is, that they are persuaded to hold an opinion that is influenced by the majority opinion. This is effective impact.
Often, you will see an organization or business use a celebrity or a powerful person who already has credibility in a certain area to give a testimony. This is also called social proof…that is, harnessing that person’s value as a spokesperson because their opinion has valuable impact that can influence others. If a group, business, or organization gets a famous person who shares their passionate message to endorse them…they are more likely to persade others or inspire them to their believe their message.
That is powerful, and that is why you see advertisers using the most famous powerful person that they can get on their public relations team; you even see it in politics. Think about recent developments with Sen. Barack Obama…whether you believe in his ability to lead or not…you certainly have seen the star power that has been attached to his campaign. There have been many celebrities who have given their “testimony” about their belief that he should be President…in fact, media analysts have given mention in the news to the Oprah factor regarding his campaign. Oprah’s opinions carry alot of weight with some voters…she brings alot of persuasion to the table.
Influencing a group in this way, needs to be done in a way that is ethical and honest. Forcing others to your way of thinking can backfire and cause great harm if you are malicious minded. Think of those who use gossip or rumor to negatively affect persons, or groups of people. No one wins in that situation and bad feelings are created; leaving everyone involved with a negative impression.
If you use the process of persuasion…and you are doing it in an ethical way…you will start to find that people will gravitate towards supporting your business, issue, or organization. Being persistent in stating your opinion or issue is important to getting others to support that issue. The more people who are pursuaded or convinced, the more that word of mouth spreads the opinion, it becomes viral; and, it becomes more credible to those who have not heard it, or been previously convinced.
If your goal of persuasion is to get people to take action…then effective persuasion is a must. Ken McArthur’s Impact Boot Camp Action Team has spent the weekend learning how to use their impact to get people to take action and to be effective in their collective powers of persuasion. These team members include people like Jeff Wellman who made a splash in the internet marketing world in the last year or so. They were exposed to experts in many areas of impact such as publishing, media, social networking and so on. Author Brendon Burchard, who also gives inspiring advice to businesses and non-profit organizations, was present.