This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
hero image of people sitting with documents near table


| 2 minutes read

The Art Of Influence & The Power Of Persuasion.

Last Thursday I attended the PM forum's first-ever virtual annual conference and it was a resounding success from speakers and content all of the way through to the platform that facilitated seamless networking, feedback and presenting during the day.

One of the most eyecatching and gregariously delivered presentations was around the art of influence and the power of persuasion by Michael Fleming from the subtly named company Kissing With Confidence.

Michael's opening gambit is that everyone is an expert in their own right (the audience were predominantly professional service marketers) and that we shouldn't forget this point.  There are, however, 10 main challenges or common mistakes that often get in the way when trying to influence someone or persuade someone to do something and these can be applied both internally and externally.  He lists them as:

Mistakes Often Made:

  1. The hard sell
  2. An inflexible and one styled approach
  3. Treating the process as a 'one-off' event
  4. Being a pessimist
  5. Not actually listening
  6. Reacting too quickly or with raw emotion
  7. Talking about your stance or position
  8. Talking about your self-interest
  9. Just using logical arguments
  10. Thinking there is no alternative to your desired outcome

Michael then proceeded to walk through each of these 10 mistakes to suggest alternative ways that are far more success but the first port of call is always to assess where you are from a social style perspective:

All of the way through, a common theme of building relationships and treating the whole situation as a process where timing is crucial really resonated.  Advice that many a parent has given 'treat others like you would want to be treated' was ripped to shreds by Michael with the simple argument that not everyone is you!  Therefore the best advice is to 'treat people like they want to be treated'.  

Research also shows that the best salespeople and the most successful influencers and persuaders are always optimists and Michael points to this fact whilst also highlighting that most individuals are trained pessimists.  To combat this, he suggests a book by the father of positive psychology Martin Seligman called Learned Optimism.  It was enough for me to open the Amazon app to order it there and then and it has literally just arrived as I write this! 

Without giving away all of Michaels teachings (and I could never deliver it in such an animated way or do it justice) I have summarised briefly his ways to get over the 10 challenges listed above:

Combatting the mistakes:

  1. Don't hard sell from the off- build relationships and trust first
  2. Be a chameleon and have multiple styles and approaches up your sleeve
  3. Always remember that it can be a long burn and take into account persistence, time, timing, relationships and trust
  4. Think and train yourself to be an optimist
  5. Listen and seek to understand 
  6. Practice emotional self-control so that you can control your response.  Try mindfulness
  7. Interest-based negotiation always works better over personal and positional negotiation
  8. Build trust, credibility, reliability and intimacy before self-interest
  9. Emotional connections really do matter
  10. Always put BATNA'S in place (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement)


content marketing, b2b marketing, e2e, trusted advisers, influencers, persuasion science