The Soulful Art of Persuasion: The 11 Habits That Will Make Anyone a Master Influencer


Harris walks us through some key persuasion traits and habits 

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Key Takeaways

  1. The 11 Habits
    1. Being your own weird self makes it difficult for others to see you as phony or manipulative, and allows them to recognize you as a unique individual.
    2. The power of storytelling will help you to reframe contentious issues and offer your point of view in a way that resonates on a human level.
    3. Never be closing and avoiding the “hard sell” will help demonstrate that you care about things other than your own immediate gain.
    4. Give yourself away by seeking to give something away in every interaction. You’ll be laying the groundwork for cooperation.
    5. The pull of positivity counteracts the negative emotions that separate us.
    6. Just a little respect can neutralize toxic “us versus them” thinking on the part of your audience.
    7. It’s not me, it’s us is the ability to see things from the perspective of others. Truly empathizing with someone else’s point of view will enable you to meet your audience on their own terms and guide them to a new point of view.
    8. Collaboration will lead others to see you as a member of their team, making them far more likely to take your side now and in the future.
    9. Finding common ground involves learning to see people as basically similar. This will combat tribal tendencies in your own thinking and will help move others to do the same.
    10. Skill-hunting brings a high level of proficiency to everything that you do, lending you an innate authority that carries real influence.
    11. Being a source of inspiration will help others to move past their normal limitations and join you in your positive pursuits.
  2. The 11 Habits fit into 4 core patterns
    1. First, persuasive people are original. When they speak, you sense they are coming from a place of authenticity and honesty and that you’re getting a glimpse of the real, unique them—not some prepackaged version designed to please you.
    2. Second, persuasive people are generous. They give habitually and without expecting things in return. I’m not just talking about money or physical gifts. Persuasive people also are generous with advice, opportunities, introductions, respect, and emotional positivity. You never get the impression that they are just looking out for themselves.
    3. Third, persuasive people are empathetic. They are naturally curious about other people and seek out engaging conversations that delve past small talk into topics that genuinely matter to others.
    4. Finally, persuasive people are soulful. They hold themselves to their own self-imposed ethical and personal standards, always strive to be better, and motivate others to push beyond their normal limits. They are sources of inspiration for those around them. As a result, they possess a personal authority that makes them naturally influential.
  3. Other
    1. Specifically, you should always be on the lookout for people you admire for their sincere, no-bullshit demeanor.
    2. The methods I’ve found to avoid this kind of insincerity are: Put your true self out there. Speak and act with confidence. Collect role models. Boldly follow your core values.
    3. If you can’t state your message in a single uncomplicated sentence, you haven’t got one. And if you’re trying to communicate more than one message with a single story, then you’re likely to lose your audience.
    4. Persuasion isn’t about coercing your audience to do what you want. Rather, it’s about attracting them to a particular conclusion, and letting them get there on their own. Being pulled is always preferable to being pushed.
    5. Transactions are about getting what you want; the long game is about forging relationships. “Always be closing” is about pushing people to do something; the long game is about pulling people toward your way of seeing things by engaging them on a human level.
      1. Rule 1: Never Sell Anything You Wouldn’t Buy Yourself
      2. Rule 2: The Simple Power of No
      3. Rule 3: Never Let Relationships Drop to Zero
        1. Pick four people a week to touch base with. It doesn’t need to be a long email or phone conversation—it could just be a quick “I was thinking about X and that reminded me of you” text message. It could also be a face-to-face meeting or scheduled phone call.
        2. Don’t force the interaction; just make the introduction and let them do the rest. Your goal is to value relationships for their own sake—and that includes other people’s relationships.
      4. Rule 4: Put Some Skin in the Game
    6. It’s long been thought that one of the best ways to wield influence is by engaging in reciprocal, give-and-take exchanges. But this is a paradigm example of the kind of transactional thinking that undermines one’s persuasiveness in the long run. Focus solely on the “give.” Simple as it may seem, habitually generous people are more persuasive. So get in the habit of giving things away in as many interactions as possible. Some of the latest science backs me up. Human beings evolved to be generous, it turns out, because it was a reliable way to get people to cooperate. And in a real-world environment where people aren’t always in a position to reciprocate, a default generosity is a proven way to earn people’s trust and appreciation. The more you look at your interactions with others as opportunities to give, the more you will recognize what’s being asked of you or what you have to contribute. Giving breaks down into four categories: Time and attention Advice and recommendations Compliments and recognition Stuff What’s crucial is that no matter what you’re giving away, it must be something you find valuable. Just as important, you can’t expect anything in return. Being generous will make you a happier person and will create stronger relationships and bonds with those in your life. If you become the kind of person who exhibits a generous character, persuasiveness will be a natural by-product. The returns that come from putting good things into the world will accrue with compound interest.
    7. That’s why a respectful disposition is an essential ingredient for a persuasive character. How to be respectful comes down to three elements: RESPECT OTHERS: Be reliable by doing what you say you will, no matter how small the commitment. RESPECT TIME: Remain present in conversation (and if you can’t, tell the audience why). RESPECT MISTAKES: Admit it when you do screw up or do the wrong thing, and use these moments to demonstrate your thorough respect, generosity, and honesty by handling the situation gracefully and taking responsibility. If you want to remain influential, you need to use these situations as opportunities to show people the real you.
    8. We can decide to be more empathetic. And we can do it by adopting two goals: Becoming naturally curious. Listening more, judging less
    9. There are four collaborative skills for you to consider that are particularly powerful: Ask for small favors. Ask for advice. Give honest encouragement. Think outside the silo.
    10. People who are skilled at seeing commonalities instead of differences also find it easier to relate to people of different backgrounds, experiences, ages, and seniority. Adopting a commonality-based point of view is easy, so long as you’re willing to make the effort. That process begins with these techniques: Make the choice to emphasize similarities. Practice seeing shared traits. Call out points of agreement. If your default position is to see other people as more or less the same as you, that will help bring people to your side.
    11. It follows, then, that from the standpoint of persuasion, the best way to approach any project, large or small, is to see it in terms of the skills required to perform it well—and to commit to developing and improving those skills. This is skill-hunting in a nutshell. And it strikes an important balance between life-hacking and the masochistic “more is more is more” work philosophy that many blindly subscribe to. You can make the shift to this skill-based approach by: Deliberate practice The two-year skill hunt Passions, not hobbies Quality over quantity Straight facts Over time, the high standards and commitment to quality you display will come to define you in the eyes of others.
    12. Of all the ways of persuading another person to action, inspiration is without a doubt the most profound, and in a lot of cases the most powerful. If you can be a source of inspiration for others, you’ll rarely struggle to have your opinions taken seriously. Your views will carry the weight of authority. And people will go out of their way to grant your requests. You will have achieved a kind of influence that goes far beyond salesmanship or rhetoric or bargaining. It is a persuasive power that comes directly from your soul. Becoming a source of inspiration is a challenging, lifelong project. It involves constantly striving to act in accordance with your principles. Perhaps most important, inspirational figures have a highly developed capacity to resist the bystander effect and break away from the pack when their values demand action. The most inspirational people: Preach less and practice more Use their powers for good Seek out causes that advance their values Reach out to their heroes

What I got out of it

  1. Win/Win, respect people, listen, others-focus, be deserving and trustworthy, 

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