Persuasion isn’t Magic but it Can Help Influence Outcomes

In recent months I’ve spent a good bit of time listening to podcasts from Focus3, an organization that dives into leadership, culture and behavior as the pathway to elite performance for individuals and organizations. Focus3 is known for the following formula: E + R = O (Event plus Response equals Outcome). It’s not magic but it’s highly effective.

In a nutshell; events in life happen and they’re out of your control. The past is past and you cannot change it. You also cannot control future outcomes but you can influence outcomes based on how you respond to events of life. Here’s the key; do you react in a default, habitual way or do you thoughtfully respond with intention, with a goal of influencing the outcome you want?

The Focus3 view aligns closely with something Steven Covey shared in his classic book and one of the most influential books I’ve ever read, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey wrote, “We faced the reality of current circumstances (Events) and of future projections (Outcomes). But we also faced the reality that we had the power to choose a positive response (Response) to those circumstances and projections.”

While you cannot guarantee an outcome, you can influence the outcome in a favorable direction depending on what you choose to do. This is where understanding the psychology of persuasion (a.k.a. science of influence) comes in handy.

In life, the outcome you hope for quite often entails dealing with people where you have to move them to act in some way. If you know how people think and behave and you’re willing to trust the scientific research on persuasion you can get to a much better response than you’re probably getting today.

You see, while each of us adds our individual touch, flair or artistry to communication, underlying communication are proven principles which, if followed ethically and correctly, can help anyone be more persuasive. This will lead positive impacts on the outcomes they desire.

Make no mistake, understanding the psychology of persuasion is not a magic wand. Despite the claims of books and articles you cannot get anyone to do what you want all the time in eight minutes or less. In fact, you can never say for sure that you can persuade any particular individual to do what you want. However, relying on scientifically proven principles can guarantee that more people will do what you want. There’s more than seven decades of study to back up that claim.

Here’s a personal example. Last year I emailed about 100 people asking for their help with a fundraising endeavor. Ultimately 15 people took me up on the offer. You might think that’s not a huge response but what’s important to know is that it was triple nearly every other request made by other people. How much would it help you personally or professionally if three times more people took you up on an offer versus those you compete with?

I didn’t use a magic to get the higher response rate. No, I simply tapped into what I understood about the psychology of persuasion. That same psychology is available to you as well but like any skill in life getting better takes time, effort and practice. I hope you’ll keep following along to learn more about how you can make this a reality in your personal and professional life.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at InfluencePEOPLE. His Lynda.com course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed more than 120,000 times! Have you seen it yet? Watch it to learn how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.

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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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