Sklover’s Monday Thought: “Persuade Best by Listening First.“

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“One of the best ways to persuade others is by listening to them.”

– Dean Rusk

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This week, like most other weeks, I will undoubtedly devote most of my working time and effort to “persuading” persons to consider a course of action they had not contemplated before. In one way or the other, that is what most people do at work, or at least try to do: persuade.

And chances are, regardless of your trade or profession you will be called upon to do so, as well.

Persuasion and negotiation are not the same thing. Negotiation is getting two or more people to achieve a “meeting of the minds,” the legal definition of “agreement.”

Persuasion is the guiding of one person at a time to “come to a meeting” by listening intently to what that person seeks, and what she or he is open to imagine, visualize and consider as a best end result. Persuasion is guiding a person to an opening of their mind to a new valuable opportunity.

Persuasion is not accomplished by trickery, or by fancy words, and surely not by threats. Rather, persuasion is achieved by creating, offering or inserting within the mind of another person imagery that is positive, alluring, helpful, and conducive to their success. Simply put, persuasion is presentation of potential positive imagery.

Far and away the most important first step in persuading another person to consider anything new is to listen intently, sincerely, with wide open mind, and to let them know you are doing so. Sincere, astute listening establishes your credibility, your imagination, your creativity, mind to mind, heart to heart, person to person, leading to deep connection and essential trust.

And it is not just listening to what is said; the most fun, fixating and fascinating part of persuasion is not just listening to what is said, but also “hearing” what is not said. There is complete agreement among those known as “master persuaders” that deep devotion to listening is the most important step.

Persuasion is the essence of every job interview, every sales pitch, every jury trial, every step forward with others, every new business relation, some might even say every marriage proposal.

This week, whatever may be your business, trade or profession, chances are that you will have both need and opportunity to persuade, and thus get “minds ready to meet” to their mutual benefit and greater good. And in the persuasion process, intent listening is the most important part.

This insightful quote was shared with us last week by Sharisse W. of Aurora, Illinois, a Senior Procurement Executive in Electronic Product Manufacturing. She also shared her mutual interest not only in our “Working Wisdom,” but also in any “Wisdom that Works.” Our thanks to you, Sharisse.

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