Avoid this Stupid Mistake #6: Break a Law of Persuasion

Here’s the situation:  On Saturday mornings my family often demonstrates a business lesson.  Saturday is the day my husband, Rick, and I enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee in bed.  We relax in each other’s company and catch up on what has happened throughout the week.  Often, after we’ve been up for a long time, our adolescent daughter, Meagan, will stumble sleepily into our room and plop down on the bed.

Here’s the stupid mistake:  Rick, who is a morning person, greets Meagan in an energetic and enthusiastic way.  “Why good morning, cute stuff—how are you doing today?”  Rick’s goal is to include Meagan in our time together—to make a happy family moment.  The problem is that the tone of Rick’s wide-awake, cheery mood contrasts sharply with Meagan’s just-woke-up, let’s-take-it-easy-and-slow mood. Invariably, she makes an adolescent groan and leaves the room. 

The fact that Meagan had wanted to join us and then leaves demonstrates that Rick has broken a law of persuasion.

Here’s the solution:  This law of persuasion is simple:  To create a connection and influence someone, you must first “match” their level of emotion and energy.  To engage Meagan on Saturday mornings, Rick needs to “match” his emotional messages to Meagan’s sleepy state.  He simply needs to tone down his volume and his energy. 

This law of persuasion holds true in any communication situation.  You’ll be most effective if you assess and “match” the energy level and emotional stance of your listeners.  When you introduce an energy mismatch into a situation, as Rick does with Meagan, you create a dissonance that makes the other person uncomfortable.  That persom might not vote with his or her feet the way Meagan does, but the internal reaction will be the same.  You can’t influence or persuade a person unless you can make the connection that begins with the emotional match.

This tip is especially important in sales situations because a mismatch in energy can lead the other person to perceive you as untrustworthy.  Nobody buys from an untrustworthy salesperson.


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