If you mention the word “persuasion,” you might typically think of a pushy salesperson trying to sell you something you don’t need. Although these experiences still happen, there’s a revolution happening when it comes to persuading others to act— and empathy is in the middle of it. Even infamous salespeople like Jordan Belfort (of The Wolf of Wall Street fame) are talking about empathy as a powerful tool for generating sales. However, you don’t need to be a salesperson to benefit from the use of empathy. After all, everything is an argument, and persuasion is an important part of professional and personal life.
In 2021, pushy and aggressive persuasion tactics simply don’t work in a time when people are bombarded with ads and offers pretty much from the moment they wake up. People are tired of being shouted at; people want a genuine connection, they want to be appreciated, and they want to be heard. Empathy is the simplest road to satisfying these three desires— and it really works.
Why Empathy Works
Knowing your audience is the key to effective persuasion. Think about an advertisement you saw that didn’t connect with you. Chances are, the reason you didn’t respond to it is because it totally misjudged what you want or need. People who are effective at the art of persuasion are first and foremost great researchers. They take the time to understand what it is their audience actually needs and feels before they even say a word. The best way to research what a person wants is the simplest: ask them! Asking questions is a big part of effective selling and effective persuasion. It also encourages a conversation, rather than a monologue that is easier to walk away from.
How to Show Empathy When Persuading
If you know your audience, you know their pain points. Knowing a person’s pain points can help you present the perfect solution to their unique problem, but that’s where the process ends for most salespeople. However, if you know a person’s pain points, you can not only present them a solution that they actually need— you can empathize with them, which forms a stronger connection and proves more effective when it comes to persuasion.
Even if you’ve never experienced the issue they’re facing, surely you can imagine what it is like. The key to empathy is as simple as imagining yourself in their situation and finding the source of their pain. That’s it!
Here’s a practical example: do you have a colleague who disagrees with your idea? Instead of getting defensive, imagine yourself in their position and try to understand where their resistance comes from. Then, open up a dialogue. Ask them questions in an attempt to understand their position and offer a solution that will overcome their objections and help you get what you want.
Speaking English is one thing: persuading people in English is another. Verbalize Now offers a fun and fascinating four-week business English persuasion course that will completely change the way you communicate with and see the world. Send us a message if you’re interested in learning about how our online business English classes can transform your career and make you more powerfully persuasive!