This will be a long read– but by the end of this article series, you will be equipped with 3 valuable and crucial tools for persuasion. Read closely, take everything to heart, and remember to apply what you learn! These persuasive tools are dull and useless if you do not sharpen them.
Communication Skills Training – Techniques of Persuasion
1) Effective Verbal Communication Skills
The first skill you must master is your ability to speak from a place of calmness.
I was originally going to say “speak with confidence,” but that shit’s too generic and it offers us no clear and actionable steps for growth. So speak from a place of calmness.
When you speak from a place of calmness, you naturally come across as confident. Confidence is sexy. Confidence is persuasive.
I’m about to show you a video. All I want you to focus on is the main character, and I want you to focus on the way in which he speaks. Not what he says, but how he says things.
What just happened? The women were lied to! Yet he managed to get phone numbers, kisses, and dates from these women? How did he do this?! The video must be fake!
This video is real, and Willy was able to pull this off because he persuaded the women into thinking he was worth their time. After further analysis, it’s evident that Willy’s ability to speak from a place of calmness is a major component to his success.
So how do you speak from a place of calmness? Easy! Prepare yourself like Willy! No, I don’t mean put on a fat suit. Instead, prepare yourself mentally.
It’s hard to be calm and cool when your mental space is occupied by negativity– self-defeating thoughts, doubts, worries, whatever may come your way. Thankfully for us, there’s a 3-step process that specifically deals with this problem. It will allow us to transform negativity into tranquility. Or as 50 Cent would say, “shit to sugar.”
Every negative situation contains the possibility for something positive, an opportunity. – 50 Cent, The 50th Law
We’re going to use this 3-step process to enter an optimal mental state for persuasion.
3 Steps to a More Persuasive You – Exit Negativity, Enter Tranquility
Step 1: Destigmatize – Circumstance Acceptance
Step 2: Neutralize – Brain Hacks / Program the Mind
Step 3: Re-write reality – Maximize Opportunity
Step 1: Destigmatize
The next time you experience anxiety or worry or any negativity when you speak, remind yourself that these negative feelings/thoughts are normal, that anybody in your situation would feel the same way given the circumstances, and that it’s okay to feel this way.
- Ex/1: Before the shooting of Willy’s video, he gets nervous. He thinks: What if I waste everybody’s time by getting nervous and not getting the responses we want? What if the women don’t like me because I look fat?
- Then, Willy remembers step 1 of speaking from a place of calmness: destigmatize. Willy proceeds by remembering you know what, I’m not really fat. It’s just a fat suit! If the women respond negatively, it’s not my fault. That’s just the nature of this video. Willy proceeds to step 2 of the process…
Step 2: Neutralize
Neutralize your negative feelings/thoughts by programming your subconscious mind. There are many ways to program your subconscious mind to neutralize negativity, but here are my two favorites:
a) Neutralize with the radio technique: After destigmatizing your negative thoughts, begin to imagine them as voices on a radio. In this imagination, slowly reduce the volume of the radio until the negative chatter of your mind is quiet, then barely audible, until you can no longer hear your negative thoughts.
The more vivid the imagination, the more ‘real’ it appears to your subconscious mind (which can’t tell the difference from imagination versus reality), the more effective this technique becomes, the more persuasive you come across.
b) Neutralize with the perspective zoom technique: Your thoughts are just sparks of electricity. Instead of allowing self-defeating thoughts to conquer you, simply imagine yourself as an organism, in a room, experiencing electrical impulses in your brain.
Now take your imagination and zoom out of the room. Then zoom out of the neighborhood, then the state, then the country, then the planet. This act of depersonalization will help put things into perspective and neutralize negativity.
Similar to the first neutralization technique, the more vivid your imagination, the more effective these techniques work because of how your subconscious mind operates.
I personally prefer the second technique, but feel free to mess with them both. Choose the one that works best for you. There are no wrong moves, so long as you keep moving.
- Ex/2: …After destigmatizing, Willy proceeds to find his place of calmness by neutralizing. As the remnants of his negative thoughts proceed to overwhelm his brain, he closes his eyes and imagines his detrimental thoughts as voices on a radio. He begins to imagine himself lower the volume of the radio until he no longer hears these negative thoughts. Willy is starting to find peace. He proceeds to step 3…
Step 3: Re-write reality
Because we cannot read each others’ minds, we cannot make too many assumptions about what is really going on.
Therefore, we must choose the best ‘option’ of reality: The one which allows us to reach a tranquil state of mind that promotes calmness, confidence, and persuasiveness.
- Ex/3: …After destigmatizing and neutralizing, Willy’s negative thoughts are slowly ceasing. In order to enter an optimal mental state for persuasion, he proceeds to re-write reality. Because Willy cannot know for sure what’s going on in the minds of the women he meets, he chooses to believe, you know what, these women are going to love me, despite this fat suit! I’m motha-f***ing Willy! Women love me! Besides, I’ve spoken to women before, I’ve handled situations like this, and it’s all in my job description. Let’s get it!
Viola, the 3 steps for speaking calmly and boosting persuasiveness.
Putting it all together – a final example.
You’re about to go in for an important job interview. Your career is on the line. It’s time to persuade these interviewers that you are the ideal candidate, but negativity kicks in, and you find yourself trapped in a bubble of self-defeating thoughts and emotions. Quick, find your place of calmness!
1- Destigmatize! Okay, self, It’s normal to feel this way. After all, it’s an important interview which has a direct influence on my survival. Anybody would feel like I do if they were me.
2- Neutralize! They’re just electrical impulses, this negativity. I turn down the radio, and I hear these self-defeating thoughts no more. *Deep breaths* Ahhhh, that’s more like it.
3- Re-write reality! My boss wants me to get this job. I know I can learn anything I set my mind to, and I know if i’m hired, i’ll be the most efficient worker they have! They need me!
And now you’re calm. And when you’re calm, taking your time to speak thoughtfully as Willy does, you radiate confidence. Confidence is sexy. Confidence is persuasive.
If you’re interested in learning more about this 3-step process, I highly recommend reading The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane. While being an excellent resource for charisma, it is also an excellent resource for persuasion.
*Quick tip: The goal here isn’t to suppress negative thoughts and feelings. If you try and suppress them, it is only going to be harder to find your place of peace. You must let them wreak their havoc, but not any longer than you need. This is why we neutralize, not suppress. When we neutralize, we allow negativity to run its natural course. Negativity soon leaves on its own in this process, allowing us room to let in tranquility and confidence.
End Part 1 of 2 – Effective Communication Skills Training
Next week, we’ll cover tool #2: effective nonverbal communication skills; and tool #3: persuasion sales techniques you can apply to your day-to-day.
Again, if you’re interested in learning more about the 3-step process detailed above, read The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane. I highly recommend The Charisma Myth because it’s one of my favorite books at the moment, and it is partly responsible for the inspiration that drove me to start this blog. Plus, it just might change your life.
-Pete, after a long day