Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Persuading with love or bullying with force?

A toddler throwing a tantrum to get his mother to buy him a toy...a teenager trying to borrow her father’s car for a night out...a father trying to persuade his son to make good of manipulation or persuasion? Consider carefully!

What is your motive when you are trying to persuade someone? Do you use manipulation and guilt to get what you want, or do you use reason and compassion as well as discretion to persuade someone? Do you ever tweak the  truth a little bit to convince your audience? Do you appeal to the conscience by using the truth as it is?  Many people do business by twisting the truth just a little bit, and we are all tempted to do it to get our way sometimes. But in the end, it does not get us anywhere.

Are your words gracious and persuasive in conversations with  others? Learn to speak the truth in love, without attacking the other person.There are five basic behaviors/skills present in any effective persuasion. These are known as the CLEAR communication skills.

Clarifying—providing overall direction and developing a clear understanding of the topic or issue being discussed.Listening and responding—showing that you are actively listening to and understand the concerns and feelings of individuals or the group. The ability to listen and understand is one of the most important skills in effective  persuasion. Listening is probably the most neglected of all the persuasion skills.

We assume that listening is a “natural” skill and therefore learned automatically.Exploring—generating ideas and suggestions on what to do and how to go about it. The best solutions to a problem are seldom the first ones thought about. Exploring helps us generate a number of alternatives and look at all  the possible solutions before deciding on the best solution. In addition, exploring ensures that we focus on the issue and not the individual.Actioning—reaching agreement on the best solution and tying down the details.Reviewing—reviewing the interaction, establishing follow-up, and ensuring implementation of agreed actions.

When trying to persuade someone, take care that you understand where they are coming from. Check your personal motives, and do not manipulate. Tell the truth in love, and let others weigh your suggestions or opinions and  decide for themselves.

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