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Persuade Anyone: What Gets People To Say Yes

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

In the quest to understand what makes people say "yes," researchers have delved into the intricate science of language. Whether we're salespeople, bosses, or simply navigating our personal lives, effective communication plays a pivotal role in influencing others. In this blog post, we'll explore the insights shared by Jonah Berger, a professor at The Wharton School and bestselling author of "Magic Words," as he unveils the fascinating impact of subtle shifts in language.


3 Ways To Be More Persuasive:


1) The Power of Identity


Berger shares a compelling study conducted in a local preschool, where a simple linguistic shift yielded remarkable results. They asked the kids 2 questions and compared them with each other:

  • #1 Hey, can you help clean up?

  • #2 Would you mind being a helper, and cleaning up the classroom?


Which do you think worked better?


By adding two letters to the word "help" and transforming it into "helper," researchers witnessed a 50% increase in children's willingness to clean up.


The lesson here is clear: turning actions into identities can significantly enhance the likelihood of desired behaviors. This principle extends beyond preschool classrooms to our everyday interactions, showing the importance of framing requests in a way that aligns with people's identities.



2) Overcoming Fillers - Avoid using filler words


Berger addresses a common communication hurdle—fillers such as "um" and "uh."


Most of us use these unconsciously.


While these linguistic crutches are natural, they can undermine the speaker's credibility.


Do this instead, PAUSE…


pausing instead of using fillers and record yourself to identify and overcome these habits.


By embracing these strategies, you can improve the effectiveness of your communication and sound more confident.



3) The Certainty of Language


Confidence is a trait often associated with effective communicators, and Berger draws attention to linguistic certainty as a powerful tool.


By employing a certain language and speaking with confidence, individuals can enhance their persuasiveness. Berger highlights linguistic certainty, regardless of the actual truth, can captivate audiences and drive them to action. Here are some examples you can use in sales conversations:


Uncertain Statement: "Our product might improve your efficiency."

Linguistic Certainty: "Our product will significantly enhance your efficiency."


Uncertain Statement: "This service could potentially save you money."

Linguistic Certainty: "This service will undoubtedly save you a considerable amount of money."


Uncertain Statement: "Our solution may address your concerns."

Linguistic Certainty: "Our solution will effectively address all your concerns."


Uncertain Statement: "You might see positive results with our approach."

Linguistic Certainty: "You will undoubtedly see positive and measurable results with our approach."


Contrary to the belief that effective communication is an inherent trait, Berger reassures us that it is a skill grounded in science.


Understanding how language works and incorporating subtle shifts can make communication more persuasive and memorable.


Effective communication is not a stroke of luck but a deliberate and learnable skill.


How You Can Become A Great Persuader


Most of the things we communicate are done unconsciously. The way we communicate is part of us... but to become a great persuader we sometimes have to change.

This is best done if you record yourself, be aware of your weaknesses and keep improving them. You will see a big change in a short amount of time. You can use this platform to get a detailed report of your performance, your filler words, how often you pause and so on.



Conclusion

In a world where influence is a valuable currency, mastering the art of language can open doors and foster positive connections. Jonah Berger's insights provide a roadmap for anyone looking to enhance their communication skills, whether in the workplace, personal relationships, or public speaking engagements. As we navigate the intricacies of language, let's be mindful of the subtle shifts that can lead to a resounding "yes" from those around us.


Here are some more resources that will help you to improve your sales skills:


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