The Negotiator Magazine

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Relationship gaps can be closed effectively by:

Meeting with the most important people in the audience you plan to persuade to develop a range of perspectives on the issues at hand and to help them with issues that concern them.

Involving co-workers who share similar views on the issues at hand and have well established relationships with the target audience.

Credibility is the foundation of effective persuasion. Without sufficient credibility, the steps that follow are futile. Fortunately, credibility is something that can be developed and nurtured.

Framing for common ground

Although credibility is a crucial variable, it is unfortunately not sufficient to persuade persons to accept new or contrary positions. Acceptance of such positions requires persuaders to describe these positions in terms that accentuate their shared benefits and advantages. Involving people and securing their commitment for ideas or plans is dependent on them understanding and accepting the benefits/advantages they offer.

An in-depth understanding of target audiences is an essential prerequisite for accurate framing. Various forms of dialogue to collect information, good listening, testing ideas with trusted coworkers and asking questions should precede the framing of a position. This compels persuaders to consider their perceptions, evidence and arguments carefully, often leading to compromise even before the commencement of the persuasion process.

Providing evidence

Once credibility is established and a common frame developed, the focus moves to providing the most vivid evidence to support the persuader's position. The most effective persuaders are adept at backing up numeric data with metaphors, analogies, stories and examples that bring their ideas and views to life. They are word artists capable of painting word pictures that are compelling and add an earthy quality to their views.

Effective persuaders understand and use the immense power of language to their best advantage. Connecting emotionally On the surface, reason seems to be the primary force that drives business activities and persuasion. However, when exploring just below the surface we find the emotion is a very prevalent and powerful determinant. Good persuaders are aware of the importance of emotion. They respond to this insight by showing an emotional commitment to the position they promote, and by being able to accurately sense how audiences interpreted past events, are therefore likely to get proposals accepted.

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December 2004