From the "Real Persuasion" chapter of Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom by my former professor Steve Martin.
Persuasion is not solely the recital of logical arguments or factual information to a listener. Instead, it is the process of projecting your entire set of beliefs and convictions onto another human being. It's not about getting others to acknowledge your arguments or agree with your business case; it's about making them internalize your message because they believe that's the only way to make real change happen.
[ . . . ]
Anyone can recite facts, and two people can say the exact same words with entirely different results. Mastering the soft skills--understanding how to build rapport with skeptics, how people process and interpret information, and how to dovetail your ideas into a person's personal desires--is what ultimately makes someone influential.
To demonstrate these soft skills, we will use three linguistic role models: Ronald Reagan, Jesus Christ, and Buddha. We'll examine how they used language and communicated their ideas . . .
- They spoke to each person individually.
- They spoke with compassion.
- They spoke with congruence.
- They connected with the senses when they spoke.
- They told stories to illustrate their ideas.
Who did you persuade today?