The Power of Persuasion

By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine

Maximum Influence: The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion, By Kurt W. Mortensen (AMACOM, 2004)

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Persuasion is part of everyday life, whether or not you work in sales. It’s as simple as offering a compliment to your client to build rapport, or dressing professionally so co-workers see you’re serious about your job and treat you with respect. Most of the time, these techniques are subtle and subconscious—you may not even know you’re doing them. But by bringing them out of the subconscious and actively engaging in the 12 laws of persuasion, you can gain instant influence over others and inspire people to take action, author Kurt W. Mortensen says. He backs up each of his principles with real-life examples and scientific studies of human nature. The goal is to become what the author calls a “master persuader” by using techniques that will help you “win people to your way of thinking and will empower yourself with an unshakeable confidence.”

Tips from the Book:

  • Share secrets. Everybody loves secrets. We all want to be in the know. When you share something personal or private with another person, you create an instant bond and sense of obligation and trust with them. By offering inside knowledge, you make your listener feel important and feel the need to reciprocate. Then he will begin to open up and share useful information with you.
  • Be funny. Humor can be a powerful tool of persuasion. It makes the persuader seem more friendly, can help create rapport, relieves tension, and makes the message more memorable. Humor must be used cautiously, however. So be sure you have funny material. Non-funny humor is not only ineffective, but irritating. It’s also smart to modify your humor to fit your audience.
  • Give praise. Praise and compliments can have a powerful effect on people. People are more likely to be persuaded to say “yes” when you make them feel good about themselves, their work, and their accomplishments. However, you must be sincere. Even the most cunning flattery is ultimately detected and discovered. Complimenting someone sincerely for something small is better than complimenting someone insincerely for something big and grand.