The last damn thing you’ll ever need to read about influence, persuasion and negotiation

The last damn thing you’ll ever need to read about influence, persuasion and negotiation:

Negotiating is an essential skill. Being underpaid can kill you. Understand the seven pillars of effective influence. A good portion of being a good negotiator is just being a good person. Believe that you can improve your negotiating skillsand you can.


Early on

First impressions are an even bigger deal than you thought. In fact, we can be a slave to them. A little spinning of the facts here can be a good thing.

There is a home field advantage in negotiation. Even if you’re not on home turf, making yourself at feel at home can give you some of that advantage. Be socially optimistic.Expect that people will like you and they probably will. Predicting how good a negotiator the other guy is might be as easy as looking at his hands. Yes, small talk is important.



Happiness makes you a better negotiatorThink positive about the negotiation and give others a reason to do so as well. Expecting others to be selfish can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless the other guy has few options and you’ll never see him again, being nice is always the way to go.


The Big Guns

Similaritymimicry and being in sync are all very powerful.Always always always always always be thinking about things you have in common. The first thing you should say in a negotiation is something very similar to what the guy on the other side of the table just said. Mimicry is more powerfulthan you think.

There are solid persuasion lessons to be learned from toptelemarketersgreat salesmen and FBI hostage negotiators. Make them say “yes yes yes” and they will probably say yes.

Win-win is not always a winning strategy. The key to resisting a convincing sales pitch is to think about money.

Know how to deal with angry people. Know what is proven to work when buying a new car. Know the common pitfalls in negotiations.

Attractive people should negotiate differently than ugly people. Guilting people can work. Subtle reminders of morality are good for keeping people fair. Want to make sure they follow through? Have them write it down.

There is a time – and a proper way – to threaten someone.



There are many ways to speak more influentially. Understand the best ways to kiss ass. Ass-kissing is good for your health. Sometimes fast talkers are more persuasive, sometimes they aren’t. Using the word “we” can promote an instant feeling of familiarity with someone. There are good techniques for dodging uncomfortable questions in a negotiation.

Learn how to be a better listener. It’s vital. More on thathere. If what you’re saying sounds final people will be more likely to accept it. When you’re a novice, speak confidently. When you’re an expert on a subject, act unsure. Men areeasier to persuade via email. With women stick to face-to-face.

Learn about effective posture and body language. Also know what body language means the other guy is trying to cheat you. If you’re speaking confidently, move confidently. Your body language needs to match what you’re saying. If you want to increase the attractiveness of an offer, your body language should be upbeat and sales-y. If you want to reduce resistance, think calm and authoritative.

Trying to seem smart makes you seem stupid. We oftenprefer eloquence to honesty, sadly. Use rhetorical questions to be more persuasive. And you do want to be more persuasive, don’t you? Sometimes you should command. Other times your should ask.



We can be weird about numbers. Sellers who listed their homes more precisely—say $494,500 as opposed to $500,000—consistently got closer to their asking price. Sodon’t use round numbers. We are irrationally positive toward hearing “100%“. Yes, we like $1.99 more than $2.00 even if we say we know it’s a trick. Know how to anchor because it isridiculously effective.  We like some numbers more than others.


Little things

Just remembering the other person’s name makes you more persuasive. Asking someone how they feel, having them verbally respond, and then acknowledging that response, facilitates compliance. Listen to what they have to say andask them to tell you more.

Touch people. Be funny. Always ask if this is a good time. Let them sleep on it. People will be more likely to agree with you if you make your choice sound like the status quoTelling stories is powerful in negotiating. “Obscenity at the beginning or end of the speech significantly increased the persuasiveness of the speech.” Emotion is the key to being more credible when complaining.

Name dropping doesn’t work. (Nobody famous told me that.)Obvious and insincere flattery does. Bragging is all about context. Having a third party praise you can influence others – even if that third party is obviously biased.

Sit in the middle to be more influential during a meeting. And repeat yourself. No evidence can sometimes be more persuasive than weak evidence.

What are Jedi level tools of negotiation? Coffee and acheeseburger.


Practice is key

Not sure if you’re quite ready to put all this into action? Well, “fake it ’til you make it” does work.



What quality can make you more convincing in a presentation or negotiation?

consistency in tone is extremely persuasive.

People who don’t get shaken up and maintain a smooth approach have a natural advantage.

Consistent emphasis, however, is not always a good thing. It indicates focus and determination, but that is the opposite of what you want to signal when you are in the role of the listener and helper. In these situations, you want to be open to the concerns and ideas of others. In handling sales inquiries from customers where the potential customers are already interested enough to call an agent, for example, a soft sell attitude of helpful listening is better than a hard sell pitch. In fact, when we studied sales inquiries to a major retail chain, we found that variability in emphasis together with the amount of listening time predicted a successful sales call with extremely high accuracy.

And so variability in emphasis and pace appears to be an honest signal that you are open to the contributions of others, perhaps because it is the opposite of the consistent emphasis that signals that you have made up your mind. Even at a fine level of interaction, variability seems to signal an openness to input from other people. Indeed, when we looked at thousands of hours of recorded conversations, we found that the simple signal of variable emphasis, together with the length of time you had already spoken, accurately predicted places where other people would jump into the conversation.

Consistency is therefore an honest signal of mental focus and determination, while variability indicates competing mental processes and is a signal that others may be able to influence your thinking.

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