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Influencing People - Part 2: A Four-Step Model of Persuasion
By:Alexandra Sleator

In my previous article on influencing, I shared with you my recipe for persuading people. It contains only two ingredients. First, find out what they want. And, second, give it to them. They will appreciate it and you and you will be highly likely to succeed.

In this second of two articles, I am going to show you the core elements of my persuasion model, which I call the four-step model called "SWAY". I called it "SWAY" because when you have good persuasion skills, you will be able to sway people's opinion in your direction! You will be able to do that because you will first figure your audience out and then be able to give them what they want.

Here is how "SWAY" works.

'S' is for 'Significance' because you need to find out the person's interest with respect to the matter you plan to try and influence them on. Find out if they have a particular need as meeting this need will be a great way to bring them on board. How do you find out what's going on for someone? By asking them questions of course. There is an art to asking the right questions, the ones which will unlock meaning and this is beyond the scope of this article but let me encourage you to ask both questions that clarify, that dig into someone's meaning as well as questions which elaborate. The main risk is around assumptions: you assume that you know what the person wants and so don't ask enough questions or you assume that they use words in the same way you do. So don't hesitate to probe. People love talking about themselves, their ideas and views so don't be bashful!

'W' is for 'Way' as in the person's way of being, what makes them tick. We do not all function in the same fashion so pay attention to what people say. Most of us unconsciously translate others' words into our own, a mental process we do not notice and which sustains our wrong impression that other people are like us. But don't fall into that trap. Really listen to the other person's vocabulary. Some people are the "glass half empty" kind while others the "glass half full" kind. Some people love details, others just want the big picture. Some like time to reflect while others love to decide quickly. Because of their different styles, it is unlikely that all of these people will respond well to a single style of communication and yet this is what most of us do: we rarely adjust to our audience.

'A' is for 'Adapt' because, having found out how to best approach your audience, it is now time to adapt your memo, your presentation, whatever mode of communication you are using to your target audience. When you use the same kind of language as someone and echo their thoughts, they are likely to notice and appreciate which creates a good rapport and will facilitate your capacity to get the person to respond as you wish. This is a short description but this stage is possibly the most challenging step in that process of changing oneself to improve our influence capabilities.

Finally, 'Y' is for 'get readY' - yes I know it is a stretch but I am displaying my creativity! This last part is about the various activities around getting your message ready. For example, the possible use of stories instead of abstract messages in order to facilitate a connection with the person(s) you are addressing. Or how to construct your communication depending on the outcome you want. Or how to prepare for questions and how to invite the kind of questions you want. Possibly even more importantly, how to anticipate objections: one of my tricks was to mention a few myself. And, a final, nice touch: how to show appreciation for your audience's time and attention. These are a few of the kinds of activities needed in this step.

So there you have it: "SWAY". This article is the second of a two-part series. Look out for Part 1: What Happens When We Get It Wrong.

Author of the "5 Gear Shifts to Accelerate your Career!" report, Alexandra helps ambitious and high-performing professionals tackle their frustration at work so that they resolve a complex problem, find a way out of a difficult situation or achieve a personally-meaningful objective.

As a Career Accelerator, Alexandra works with gifted individuals to obtain the promotion they deserve, orchestrate an in-house move to a different group, succeed fast in a new role as well as get clear about their next job and how to find it.

Alexandra's clients get to do more interesting work which they enjoy, avoid becoming stuck in one job when in fact they want variety, and learn to lead and work through others if they wish to. That way, they make a greater difference to their firm and, of course, grow their income!

Alexandra will share with you stories and insights from her gratifying but eventful 23-year career in global finance, from Paris to the City of London via New York's Wall Street which you can use to accelerate your career faster than on your own!

Get the "5 Gear Shifts to Accelerate your Career!" from Alexandra's website at http://www.coachingforinspiration.com

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