Table of Contents Hide
- PERSUADERS HAVE THESE QUALITIES
- PERSUASION STARTS WITH SELF-CONFIDENCE
- PERSUADER’S MENTAL PICTURE
- FOUR QUALITIES OF A SELF-CONFIDENT PERSUADER
- EXPECTATIONS INCREASE OR DECREASE YOUR PERFORMANCE
- PERSUADERS LEARN TO CONQUER FEAR
- SELF-CONSCIOUS OR SELF-CONFIDENT?
- AUTHENTICITY – THE KEY TO PERSUASION
- 5 ACTION STEPS TO INCREASE YOUR ABILITY TO BE A SELF-CONFIDENT SUPER PERSUADER
- To know yourself is to know everyone!
One of the most powerful tools for success is the ability to persuade others to believe you, follow you, and help you. Your ability to persuade is the basis of your ability to get what you want. We are finding that as modern life becomes more complicated, with more decisions to be made daily, those who can persuade others have a powerful advantage in achieving success.
The ability to win others to your point of view is invaluable. We can be far more successful in everyday situations – asking for a raise, settling a difference with a neighbor, helping our children make wise choices – if we use the communications techniques of great persuaders. But until recently even the best of them couldn’t tell you what makes them persuasive. Now, after hundreds of studies, researchers have found that persuasiveness is greatly enhanced by specific, definable techniques that we can all use. Keep in mind that persuasion is not manipulation. It is, instead, creating the right environment for your ideas and then communicating those ideas effectively.
The ability to present yourself and your ideas well will determine your success in any given situation. In fact, without this ability, your skills and personality may go unnoticed. The Mellon Foundation did a study on those who are successful in life. They concluded that technical skills accounted for only 15% of the equation. Interpersonal skills – the ability to communicate with others and get their cooperation
– accounted for 85% of success. Imagine that, 85% of your success depends on your ability to communicate.
PERSUADERS HAVE THESE QUALITIES
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”Franklin D. Roosevelt
Redesigning your communication patterns begins with sharpening your perception of others and yourself. Think for a moment of the public figures and personal acquaintances who have held your attention as they spoke.
- What qualities do you notice about them?
- How many of the following statements came to your mind?
“They have confidence and ease, which in turn makes me feel at ease with them. They carry authority and conviction in their voice. They established trust and credibility, verbally and non-verbally. There are warm, animated, and enthusiastic. They show empathy and concern.
They look at me and pay attention to me when I’m talking.” All of these qualities add up to charisma. Those who have it command our attention. They know how to project the best of themselves. They exert a profound influence on others. A room lights up because they’re in it.
All of these qualities are discussed in the following chapter, along with specific techniques that you can use immediately. Your communication skills will improve as you apply these suggestions to your everyday life. People in your life will recognize that you have become more understanding and charismatic. And the best part is that they’ll be willing to give you a level of commitment that will enable you to get what you want.
PERSUASION STARTS WITH SELF-CONFIDENCE
Let’s begin with the quality of confidence. The word has several definitions. A very apt definition is “to converse intimately with.” In other words, if you have confidence in someone, you converse intimately with them. Taking this thought a step further, let’s apply our definition to self-
confidence, in the sense of intimately talking to yourself. It is that internal, private dialogue that goes on in your mind. Follow me new, because this is important.
You are, in a very real sense; self-confident in everything you do, every minute you are awake. Maybe you have heard a statement about someone who said, “They have a lot of self-confidence.” But the truth is that everyone has a lot of self-confidence. There isn’t even a single word in the dictionary that defines “lack of self-confidence.”
The key point to be aware of is whether you are self-confident about your ability to succeed or you are self-confident about your ability to fail. Whichever route you are pursuing, you are talking intimately to yourself about it. And this self-talk creates your self-confidence – positive or negative.
If you are talking intimately to yourself about depression, then you are self-confident about being depressed. If you are talking intimately to yourself about illness, you are self-confident about being ill. Whatever we are self-confident about is what we will experience. We might say that self-confidence creates results.
PERSUADER’S MENTAL PICTURE
“If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”Henry Ford
Be careful what you imagine yourself becoming. There is an abundance of scientific evidence to support the assertion that your mental picture of yourself, more than anything else, determines your achievements. The brain is like an automatic guidance system. It will steer your life toward the mental self-image you enter into it.
Your subconscious mind will work for you or against you. You decide, by putting in self-fulfilling goals or self-defeating limitations. In computer terms, they call it GIGO – garbage ink, garbage out. Or perhaps a better way of saying it is Good thoughts in, good results out. When this law is understood and applied,
dynamic changes can take place. The good news is that unwanted, unworkable habits and behavior patterns can be altered. This can be achieved by creating positive self-confidence through a positive self-image.
FOUR QUALITIES OF A SELF-CONFIDENT PERSUADER
There are four outstanding qualities of a self-confident persuaded.
The first is imagination.
You must imagine yourself as the person you want to become, taking your mind off the way you are now.
The second quality is commitment.
This can be summarized by the statement: “I will until…” How long does a baby commit himself to learning how to walk? Until he does! How long shall we commit ourselves to our goals? Until we reach them. There is a tremendous amount of energy that is available for you to use. Simply give up asking yourself, “Will I or won’t I?” “Can I or can’t I?” Know that YOU CAN and that YOU WILL – until. This is an unconditional, non-negotiable commitment. Nothing can stop the power of a committed person. So, first, you imagine. Then you commit.
The third step is an affirmation:
affirm that you will succeed. It helps to verbalize your positive self-talk. This will raise your self-confidence and thus cause others to believe in your eventual success. Now an amazing thing happens. As other people start believing in you, they’ll want to help you. This adds even more to your self-confidence in succeeding. How often have you heard,“ Nothing succeeds like success?” Now you know why that is so.
The fourth quality is persistence.
Never give up. This is one of my favorites! Patience and persistence are key to achieving anything. Decide that defeat and failure are not even worth your attention.
EXPECTATIONS INCREASE OR DECREASE YOUR PERFORMANCE
Negative thoughts are picked up from a variety of sources. Perhaps you have an inferiority complex because you did poorly in school. Harvard psychologist Robert Rosenthal wondered if some children performed poorly in school because their teachers expected them to. If that’s so, Rosenthal surmised, then raising the teacher’s expectations should raise the children’s performance.
He put together a plan to try his theory in real classrooms. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade at a cooperating school were given a new test of learning ability. The following September, after the tests were graded, the teachers were given the names of five or six children who were identified as “gifted,” those who possessed exceptional learning ability.
What the teachers didn’t know was that the names had been chosen on a random basis even before the tests were given. The difference between those chosen and the rest of the students existed only in the minds of the teachers.
The same test was given at the end of the school year. It showed that the gifted children had soared far ahead of the other children. They gained as many as fifteen to twenty-seven IQ points.
The teachers described these children as being happier, more curious, and affectionate, and as having a better chance to be successful in later life. The only change had been one of the attitudes. Because the teachers expected more of those children, they came to expect more of themselves.
Rosenthal said that the explanation probably lies in the subtle interactions between the teacher and pupils. Even though a teacher may be unaware of the unconscious signals they are sending, tone of
voice, facial expression, touch, and posture all communicate expectations. Such communication may very well help a child by changing his perceptions of himself.
Remember, Goethe said, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them to become what they are capable of being.” This is also true of what you say and thinks about yourself.
PERSUADERS LEARN TO CONQUER FEAR
Whenever the attention is centered on us, we are apt to become uneasy or self-conscious. Being the focus of attention tends to be unnerving. When you’re conscious of the self, you tend to focus your self-confidence on your negative aspects. The mere fact that someone is looking on, perhaps critically, often causes you to lose your poise and become aware of your limitations.
An example of this is a talented artist who avoids pursuing his talent for fear that he’ll be a failure in the eyes of others. Fear causes you to say and do things that you’d rather not express.
It makes you feel awkward and uncomfortable when you’d rather be relaxed and poised. Everyone wants to get rid of fear. Wouldn’t you rather walk into any situation with your head held high, with a feeling of assurance?
Now, we aren’t talking about cockiness. Confidence is the feeling of assurance about life. It is an inward knowledge that you can handle any circumstance. Cockiness or conceit is trying to convince others when you have doubts about your abilities. It’s being insecure and whistling in the dark. Cockiness reveals greater insecurity than just feeling self-conscious.
One of the fears that cause you to doubt yourself is the fear of failure. Each person wants to succeed. Think about an athlete. Maybe he wants
to succeed so much that he develops a fear that something will happen to cause him to fail. This fear of failure can affect him in two ways. It may spur him on to greater achievement. But if he gives in to the fear and becomes self-confident that he will fail, his ability will surely begin to slip away.
We have another fear. It is in the fear of appearing ridiculous or foolish. Giving in to this fear causes many people to doubt themselves. We all want to appear poised. We want to appear self-assured. But so many little things happen in the lives that make us look ridiculous. Holding fast to confidence in your abilities – and developing a good sense of humor – can help you get through the most embarrassing moments.
Another fear is the fear of exposing the ego to hurt. The ego is the little outer self, the personality that we have developed over the years. The word personality comes from the Latin word “persona.” It means, “mask.”
Personality is the mask or façade that we present to the world, hoping that the world will think it’s real. We don’t want anyone looking behind the mask, only to find what we fear is a quivering, insecure person. So we often live in fear that the ego will be hurt or exposed. And we will go to almost any extent to protect it.
Another fear is the fear of being rejected. Think of a shy young man about to ask a girl for a date. We see him – red in the face, stammering, and thoroughly embarrassed. We might laugh it off, but it’s no joke to him. He has the fear of being rejected and pushed away.
The fear of being rejected is very prevalent. Because of it, some people are afraid to make friends and take risks. To protect themselves from possible rejection, they lead very lonely lives.
Psychologists have found that this fear of rejection is one of the common key trouble spots in marital relationships. Because of this fear,
one partner may not give the whole self to the marriage. There is a holding back. A good marriage must be based on complete giving from each partner. It can’t be the attitude of “I want your love and devotion, as much as I can get; but I won’t give you mine for fear I will get hurt.” We hear a lot about fifty-fifty giving in marriage. But it’s not enough. Fifty-fifty giving is still a contest based on self-protection.
A part of the fear of rejection is the fear that loss of approval is in every phase of human existence. This fear explains why people tend to shrink away from expressing original thoughts and conform blindly to the average thinking of the majority. In our society, we have a compulsive need to be “normal.” A person trying to be “normal” will lose confidence in his ability to think for himself and lose his true identity. How much more rewarding it is to be natural rather than normal!
SELF-CONSCIOUS OR SELF-CONFIDENT?
We’ve covered the things that may be holding you back, and the reasons why you may feel self-conscious. What is the key to developing the self-confidence necessary to achieve your goal in communication? It is authenticity, the discovery of the awesome power derived simply from your ability to be yourself. Many critics think that being yourself will lead to selfishness. But authenticity doesn’t do this. It starts from the center of your life, but it is not self-centered. It sets a glowing example for others and sets them into action. This is a dynamic natural power that’s available to all of us.
AUTHENTICITY – THE KEY TO PERSUASION
Authenticity makes your life count because it restores power to the individual. To be yourself is a natural, human, and universal power. And it brings tremendous blessings.
A client recently said to me in pure frustration, “If only I could ‘find myself!” I smiled and said, “George, if you ‘found yourself,’ who would you be?”
He thoughts for a moment and then said, “I’d be like John Smith. He has a good position in his company. He’s well respected in the community. He’s a good golfer and he has lots of friends. His wife and kids love him, and he gets a new car every year.”
“Hold it!” I responded. “You wouldn’t be finding yourself. You would be finding John Smith. And since you’d be the same, you would cancel each other out!” There’s a definite difference between finding yourself and knowing yourself.
There is nothing wrong with observing other people, noticing what you like about them, and then adapting those qualities as a part of your behavior. Shakespeare wrote, “Assume a virtue and it’s yours.” However, do not try to mold yourself to be exactly like someone else. Celebrate your uniqueness and talents.
Today there are many books written about assertiveness and manipulation. But in our society, the assertive manipulators do not win as often as you might think. Authentic people head many successful companies.
They’ve risen to the top because others are drawn to them, admire them, and imitate their example. Think about a businessman you know, one who has risen to the top, yet passed over others who seemed to be more qualified.
Why has he succeeded? His associates may say that he’s “fairer to deal with” or that he has a “greater vision.” But it is more than that. He has inner strength. He radiates confidence in who he is and where he is going. He is instinctively honest. And he never weakens his moral authority with dishonest compromise.
Take note: Authentic people know what they want and where they want to go. Often, in pursuit of their goals, they will stand up to ridicule to accomplish something they believe in. Albert Schweitzer, the great missionary doctor, had that experience at a very early age.
When he was a boy, his friends proposed that they go up in the hills and kill birds. Albert was reluctant; afraid of being laughed at, he went along. They arrived at a tree in which a whole flock of birds was singing.
The boys put stones in their slingshots. Albert could not stand the thought of killing any living thing. He shooed the birds away and left for home. From that day on, reverence for life was more important to him that the fear of being laughed at. His priorities were clear.
Fatigue is a common symptom of people who have suppressed who they are. They are not tired but tired of. It takes a lot of effort not to be ourselves. We become actors playing a role, trying to impress other people, and that’s very hard work! By contrast, the authentic person does not give energy to contradictions.
His actions are consistent with his inner self. His self-honesty reduces internal conflicts. He feels alive and exhilarated. Doing what matters to his turns on his energy. He doesn’t dissipate energy on conflicts or deceits.
The authentic person also mobilizes the energy of others. He inspires them. Just by being himself, he makes a statement about what one needs to do to succeed. Someone who respects and likes himself can respect and like others. When we are not sure who we are, we are uneasy.
We try to find out what the other person would like us to say before we speak. We try to find out what they want us to do before we act. When we are insecure, our relationships with others are governed by what we need rather than what they need. On the other hand, authentic people are not out only for themselves, but for others too. No energy is wasted in protecting a shaky ego.
Growing in authenticity means becoming more of what we’re truly meant to be. It’s a process we learn day by day. Perhaps you deny yourself the pleasure of your good moments. If you let it, the power of your acknowledgment and appreciation can drive home the experience and satisfaction – of success. This is the foundation for more positive experiences.
Here is a very simple thing you can do. Take time at the end of your day to appreciate the good moments in it. If you did something well, allow yourself to feel pleased about it. It might have been a small thing that would not have meant much to anyone else, but it was not easy for you. Perhaps you settled a misunderstanding.
Whatever it was, close your eyes and concentrate on the pleasure of that small achievement. You are nourishing yourself most practically. You are feeding your positive expectations. And next time it will be easier. After a while, the good moments will become more and more a part of your day.
5 ACTION STEPS TO INCREASE YOUR ABILITY TO BE A SELF-CONFIDENT SUPER PERSUADER
- Project self-confidence even when it is not there. The phrase to remember is to act as if. Act as if you are already self-confident. The world supports people who believe in themselves.
- Accept the idea that nothing is wrong with being different from other people. The truth is, all of us are different, and we are meant to be different. Often, under the guise of “finding” ourselves,” we vainly attempt to imitate others. Emerson said that imitation is suicide. Instead of imitating, celebrate your uniqueness.
- “Props” can be self-confidence boosters. In The Devil’s Advocate, Morris West tells of one character who simply put a fresh carnation in the lapel of his coat and faced the world with confidence! A different hairstyle, a new set of clothes, or trimming off a few pounds can transform you from a self-degrading to a self-confident person.
- People who inspire you can do wonders in bolstering your self-confidence. Seek out friendship and surround yourself with people who have a high, positive self-regard, rather than associating with those who always put themselves down.
Spend some time with yourself. Solitude is at the heart of self-knowledge. It is when we are alone that we learn to distinguish between the false and the true. Shakespeare wrote, “to thine own self be true….thou canst not then be false to any man.” To know yourself is the basis of powerful communication. Everything free from falsehood is strength.
To know yourself is to know everyone!
To know yourself is to know everyone!
And so you are to be congratulated. You have taken that important first step in becoming more authentic in your communications. You will understand people better and communicate your ideas more clearly and firmly as you progress through this book. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And you are now on your way to learning how to communicate with greater self-confidence!