We must master the tools of persuasion if we are to be effective in our personal or professional lives. I am going to talk about some of these tools but I want to provide the caveat that without honesty, inspiration, and competence, these tools amount to, at best, manipulation.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming has some of the best techniques for playing the persuasion game. The tools in NLP are elegant – simple and effective. The techniques operate below the level of conscious awareness and they have an almost hypnotic effect. Kevin Hogan, Dave Lakhani, and Robert Cialdini are “must reads” if you are interested in the topic.
One of the most powerful techniques is the ability to tell a story. If you have the chance to train in improvisational theater, do it (or look up Carl Kissin and ask for some lessons). This training will help you to tell your story in a more natural and comfortable way. Too many of us have had our stories silenced and we die “with our song still inside of us.” One of the best personal development books I have ever read talks about our stories and asks “are you living a story worth telling?” The book is A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. We may dream of changing the world in college but that is beaten out of us as we take jobs that promise security in exchange for following orders. According to Miller, it becomes easier to live/tell a simpler story.
Sometimes, you get a taste of what it means to live a good story and you find it hard to go back to the other one. If you’re a good parent, you can’t stand the thought of your children living anything but a magical, important story.
So I know I started talking about persuasion and kind of morphed into the importance of stories but I noticed the Miller book by my bed. With my Attention Deficit Disorder, this is where I decided to go. Therefore, IF YOU READ ONLY ONE BOOK THIS YEAR….(please click on my link at the top right for the book if I’ve persuaded you!). The use of stories IS powerful in persuasion and is one of the tactics I teach to detectives to lessen the resistance of suspects during an interrogation. More importantly, I believe that if we learn to live, value, and tell the stories of our lives then the persuasion stuff naturally takes care of itself.
P.S. Check out the post by my associate Yaromil Fong-Olivares on Boomer Ronin.