Disclaimer: When I teach persuasion, the inevitable manipulation question is brought up: Isn’t it manipulative to influence the behavior or emotions of others? Well, if it’s for one’s own selfish purposes, then yes. If the intention is to create a benefit or greater good, then no. If your intention is to influence others in order to achieve positive goals, then the following neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) tool will increase your persuasive power:
Connect to People’s Sensory Systems. How do they perceive the world?
If you listen closely and attentively, you can understand the reality of how someone thinks and use language very precisely to establish rapport. We know that individuals tend to be either visual, auditory or kinesthetic with regards to how they absorb information.
Start discerning the kind of sensory-based words and phrases that people use. This will give you an indication of their preferred representational system, or how they re-present and experience the world using their senses.Then, in your communication–whether via phone, email, face-to-face–construct your persuasive message to include these sensory-specific words. Matching others’ thinking in this manner will build instantaneous connection, trust and likability. It’s that “we’re on the same page” or “that person gets me” and “we think alike” immediate chemistry.
Visual words and phrases include examples such as:
– I see what you mean
– It appears to me
– We see eye to eye
– I’m looking closely at the idea
– clarify, picture, outlook, watch, foresee, notice
Auditory words and phrases include examples such as:
– Rings a bell
– Unheard of
– Loud and clear
– Music to my ears
– wavelength, resonate, speechless, harmonious, dissonant
Kinesthetic words and phrases include examples such as:
– Get in touch with me
– Hold on a second
– I can’t put my finger on it
– I feel it in my bones
– break, grasp, handle, heavy, tangible, tight, gentle
Just as we would study the language and custom preferences of people from other lands in order to make ourselves understood, it’s effective to pay attention to the language choices of people in our professional sphere who hold different perspectives. When we communicate with others using sensory systems that they relate to, we’re meeting the responsibility of catering our message to our audience’s needs, and they in turn are more likely to hear us and be receptive to our ideas.
Lee Broekman is an author, professor, trainer and coach. Her company Organic Communication, brings interactive, never boring, always edifying presentations and programs — focused on communication, collaboration and innovation — to your firm or organization.