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O V S O N Communiqué
August 2014

A Note from Alan:
Why Persuasion is Essential

I work with people to improve their presentation skills, sales outcomes, negotiation strategies, and leadership abilities.

For every one of these skills, my clients need to persuade other people to agree with an idea. It could be an idea that will become part of a team project, the idea that your product or service is worth purchasing, or an idea that will shape the future of an organization.

No matter what your idea is, you’ll need to persuade others to accept your idea if you want to be successful.

In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about using storytelling as a persuasion tool. This month, I want to give you some specific strategies you can use to get your point across and convince other people that your ideas are worth paying attention to.

  Alan Ovson

Topic of the Month:
How to Change Someone’s Mind

Imagine you are having a conversation with someone whose political beliefs are diametrically opposed to yours. Okay, that wouldn’t be a conversation would it? It would be two sides haranguing each other, spouting ideas, beliefs, facts, and even non-facts, just trying to get the other side to listen.

In any conversation where you want to persuade others and get them to change the way they think, you must first get them to trust you enough to listen to your position. Building this trust is essential.

5 Ways to Get Other People to Listen and Be Open to Being Persuaded

1. Get Their Attention: Ask Questions
When I am trying to persuade others, the first thing I do is ask them questions. Asking questions accomplishes a number of very positive things besides getting their attention:

  • Asking open-ended questions about their thoughts and feelings lets the other side know you are interested in what they have to say and how they feel. It makes them feel more comfortable defining their ideas and allows you to understand what’s important to them. If you let them answers your questions without interruption, and you can listen to them, you can learn a lot about what objections or hesitations they have about changing their minds.

  • Asking questions also allows you to direct or control the conversation. By directing the conversation, you can zero in on what you specifically want to know. Asking questions that help discover their interest and needs can help you develop something that is mutually agreeable.

  • 2. Organize Short, Coherent Talking Points
    Make sure you organize your talking points into short, coherent statements with supportable facts and information. The more concise and clear the information is, the more it is heard. In today’s world, we are bombarded with more information than we can absorb. So to grab other people’s attention, you need to understand and appeal to their specific needs and interests.

    For example, before you ask a person to vote on highly charged issue like climate change, you’ll want to understand what’s at stake for them, whether they have children, or what type of industry they work in.

    To persuade others successfully, you have to understand their needs and what their situation is. Once that trust is built, using clear talking points with supportable data helps the listener understand your position and makes it possible to relate to the facts you present.

    3. Recognize and Address Weaknesses
    No one wants to listen to someone who is right about everything all of the time. If your presentation has some weaknesses, address them. By addressing weaknesses or mistakes in your presentation, you are letting the listener know that you are open to a discussion. That openness can be the key to getting the other side to really listen, understand, and hopefully be persuaded by your ideas.

    4. Frame Conversations in Positive Language
    I have heard people using statements like, “That’s a ridiculous idea,” “That will never work,” or “If you expect me to go along with that, you’re crazy.” Listen to your own language. If it’s negative, reframe it to say the same thing in a positive way so you’re not turning off the other person. Remember, you are trying to open up the other side, and negative language doesn’t do that.

    5. Give Credit to the Other Side
    The best way to get a discussion moving is to have some common ideas to talk about. Identifying that common ground helps you move the discussion to a place where you want to go.

    If you can convince the other side that the ideas you are talking about are really their ideas, you are much closer to finding agreement. You can say something like, “And from your idea on that, it follows that this and that and the next thing work also.”

    Giving others credit for common ideas helps move them to think you are trustworthy and intelligent and opens them up to listening and being persuaded to your point of view.

    Persuading others is not easy. But, with the five ideas above, you can create situations where trust starts to open up the conversation instead of closing it down. Once you understand what is really important to others and how they view their situation, they will begin to listen.


    News from Ovson Communications

  • Coaching
    Alan Ovson is making time available in his schedule for new coaching clients. Space is limited!

  • 2014 Seminars
    Ovson has a limited number of dates available for booking trainings and seminars for the rest of 2014. Contact Ovson today for details.



    Communications Quote for August:

    “Don’t raise your voice; improve your argument”

    –Desmond Tutu



    Contact Ovson

    Ask us how Ovson can help you and your organization:

    1. Reply to this email.
    2. Call us: 415-974-6322
    3. Use our Online Form by clicking below:


    Featured Trainings of the Month:

    Ovson has three specialized trainings that give you the opportunity to use the persuasion strategies included in this newsletter. Click any training title for detailed information:

    Persuasion Course: The Art of Persuasion

    Public Speaking Course 2:
    Building Content, Getting Commitment

    Sales Course: Sell Without Selling

    Contact Ovson today for more information.

    Contact Ovson


    Ovson Communications Group provides presentation and public speaking training programs – including specialized courses on leadership, sales & negotiation, conflict, and persuasion – to individuals and teams from corporations and other professional organizations. Ovson gives clients breakthrough experiences that allow them to prepare and present information which receives enthusiastic responses from audiences, clients, and colleagues to achieve the presenter’s desired outcome.