Why Study Persuasion? You Can’t Afford Not To!

There never seems to be enough time in the day to do all that you want to or all that you need to. So why should you spend your precious time learning about persuasion? Because you cant afford not to!

Let’s start with exactly what I mean when I talk about persuasion. Persuasion is not simply about changing a person’s thinking because if the change in thinking doesn’t lead to a change in behavior have you really gained anything? For example, if you ask your child to clean their room, which do you want to have happen?

  1. Have your child acknowledge cleaning their room is a good idea (changed thinking).
  2. Have your child actually clean their room (changed behavior).

I don’t know any parent who would be satisfied with A. When we try to persuade we want to change behaviors and that’s why I believe Aristotle has given us the best definition of persuasion. He said it was, “The art of getting someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.” Someone isn’t doing something so you interact with him or her in hopes of changing their behavior in some way.

What you may not realize is how much of your day is spent persuading people. In To Sell is Human Daniel Pink cites a survey of more than 7,000 business people in non-sales positions. He wrote, “People are now spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling – persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don’t involve anyone making a purchase.” If you happen to be in sales that percentage is probably greater than 60%.

That means if you’re like the typical worker you spend more than three hours a day attempting to persuade others! Over the course your career you’ll spend upwards of 40,000 hours engaged in the act of persuasion at work!!

So let me ask this – if you’re going to do something for at least three hours a day, 40,000 hours over a lifetime (and that doesn’t include time persuading your spouse, kids and others outside of work), wouldn’t it be wise to understand how to do it to the best of your ability? Put another way, can you afford not to become more skilled at persuasion? There’s a lot at stake at work and at home when it comes to perfecting your persuasion skills so I encourage you to tune in next week to find out more.

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Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer at influencePEOPLE
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is a sales trainer, coach and consultant whose specialty is applying persuasion and influence in sales and customer service situations. He is one of 20 individuals in the world who currently hold the CMCT designation. Brian’s blog, Influence PEOPLE, is followed by people in 200 countries and made the Online Psychology Degree Guide Top 30 Psychology Blogs in 2012.
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