Tag Archive for: Daniel Pink

Why Study Persuasion? You Can’t Afford Not To!

There never seems to be enough time in the day to do all that you want to or all that you need to. So why should you spend your precious time learning about persuasion? Because you cant afford not to!

Let’s start with exactly what I mean when I talk about persuasion. Persuasion is not simply about changing a person’s thinking because if the change in thinking doesn’t lead to a change in behavior have you really gained anything? For example, if you ask your child to clean their room, which do you want to have happen?

  1. Have your child acknowledge cleaning their room is a good idea (changed thinking).
  2. Have your child actually clean their room (changed behavior).

I don’t know any parent who would be satisfied with A. When we try to persuade we want to change behaviors and that’s why I believe Aristotle has given us the best definition of persuasion. He said it was, “The art of getting someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.” Someone isn’t doing something so you interact with him or her in hopes of changing their behavior in some way.

What you may not realize is how much of your day is spent persuading people. In To Sell is Human Daniel Pink cites a survey of more than 7,000 business people in non-sales positions. He wrote, “People are now spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling – persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don’t involve anyone making a purchase.” If you happen to be in sales that percentage is probably greater than 60%.

That means if you’re like the typical worker you spend more than three hours a day attempting to persuade others! Over the course your career you’ll spend upwards of 40,000 hours engaged in the act of persuasion at work!!

So let me ask this – if you’re going to do something for at least three hours a day, 40,000 hours over a lifetime (and that doesn’t include time persuading your spouse, kids and others outside of work), wouldn’t it be wise to understand how to do it to the best of your ability? Put another way, can you afford not to become more skilled at persuasion? There’s a lot at stake at work and at home when it comes to perfecting your persuasion skills so I encourage you to tune in next week to find out more.

Drive for Show, Putt for Dough

My wife is a heck of a golfer. She’s the
poster child for the power of golf lessons and practice. About 10 years ago she
was a very average golfer, shooting between 100 and 110. After years of
lessons, practice and consistent play she’s transformed her game to the point
where she consistently shoots in the low 80s and occasionally the upper 70s.
Last year she had a pressure match and had the best round of the year. Her
pressure was playing 18 holes with rock legend Alice Cooper who happens to be a
scratch golfer. That day Cooper shot a 75 and Jane had a season best 78.
Needless to say, he was impressed!
There’s an old saying in golf – “Drive for
show, putt for dough.” Crushing a drive off of the tee is impressive but to be
a great golfer it comes down to play around the green, particularly putting.
That’s so because putting accounts for approximately 40%-50% of a golfer’s
score. For example, a par four hole may be anywhere from 400-475 yards. A good
golfer will reach the green in two shots then most likely take two more strokes
to putt the ball 20-30 feet into the hole.
Persuasion is a lot like putting. It doesn’t
seem like something that should take too much time or practice because it
usually comes at the end of a long process. However, when viewed as critical as
putting, it deserves a tremendous amount of time and attention.
Daniel Pink, author of To Sell is Human, cited a study where more than 7,000
businesspeople were asked how much of their time was spent in non-sales selling
(i.e., persuading). The answer was 40%! That’s right, apart from selling,
businesspeople estimate they spend 40% of their time, or 3.2 hours a day,
trying to persuade other people to do things.
If you spent 40% of your day (or more for
salespeople and leaders) engaged in a particular activity wouldn’t it make
sense to devote time and effort to improving in that area? Of course it would!
Great golfers spend an inordinate amount of
time on the putting green because tournaments are usually won and lost on
crucial putts. If your job requires you to sell, work with
others or work through others, then you’re like the pro golfer. You should be
working on your putting (persuading). 
  • Leaders – Whether you’re a supervisor, manager
    or senior level executive, your success depends on the performance of your
    team. Your ability to get them to buy into your vision and execute it
    enthusiastically is vital to your success.
  • Salespeople – Success for you culminates in a
    “Yes” from prospects and current clients. Understanding how to communicate in a
    way that makes “Yes” come easier and faster will impact your income via
    commissions earned.
  • Not in sales or management – Undoubtedly you
    still need assistance and cooperation. You may need coworkers, suppliers,
    vendors or even your boss to do certain things. Knowing how to ethically
    influence these groups can make your days much, much easier.
  • At home – Life is much nicer and pleasant at
    home when your spouse, roommates, children and neighbors more willingly go
    along with what you propose. 

Whether you’re looking for professional
success or personal happiness, I believe understanding how to ethically
persuade others will go a long way – longer than any drive off the tee – to
help you achieve that success and happiness.
Drive for show but persuade for dough!
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.