The art of persuasion
By Annajie Jonker (AKA: Annie Maddox), nFold Consultant and co-author of Art of Visual Personality Profiling
Proposal people know about the need for persuasion. Proposals and tenders are part of the sales process where you want to persuade people to buy from you. How do you do it? How do you persuade people?
The wonderful quote from Roman philosopher Marcus, Tullius Cicero comes to mind.
‘If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words’
This quote becomes even more impressive when we consider that Cicero was born 106 BC. Decades later, we still struggle with persuasion. We often say, ‘but I told him/her’. You probably told him/her things that did not mean anything to him/her. You failed to show him/her what is important to them.
It is good to know that there are some ‘built’-in’ tools in humans. Our main tool is our ability to observe people and to make sense of what we see. It is about making sense of what people say when they say nothing. Some research puts the non-verbal side of communication as high as 93%. Meaning your actual words may only count for 7%! Makes us cringe about some wordy proposals with zero persuasion and no visuals.
We show people who we, how we make choices, what our priorities and our expectations are through our visual presentation. Your choices in clothing, colours, textures, your environment, your body language, and how you use your voice are all part of what defines you. There is something like an ‘Art of Visual Personality Profiling’ – Maddox, Müller and Walt. We can train and hone our senses to see what people show us non-verbally. Maddox et al. refer to what the different personality types expect as defined by David Rock. Do they want status, autonomy, certainty, fairness or relatedness? Are you talking their language, addressing their fears and hopes?
The ‘Art of Visual Personality Profiling’ is about improving your Scenario Intelligence (SQ). Master your skill to use your senses of sight and sound to read scenarios better for successful interactions.
Re-looking the Cicero quote on persuasion above, you ask yourself how much you have been missing communicating with others. We know that feeling when you leave a meeting, and you know there was no real meeting of the minds. John Gottman refers to the ability of our unconscious mind to find patterns in situations and behaviour based on our experience as ‘thin-slicing’. With a trained unconscious mind, you differentiate yourself through what seems like an automated response. It becomes intuitive.
The ‘Art of Visual Personality Profiling’ becomes even more intriguing when you map the layers and filters diversity places on our personalities. Diversity is in a primary form is the no-choice diversity of how you were born, your age, colour, gender, race. Diversity in a secondary form included your associations, affiliations and assimilations.
As proposal specialists, we need to understand what will appeal to our readers and decision-makers. We must invest time to read and understand our internal and external clients. Only then can we “Think their thoughts, feel their feelings and speak their words”. Once we do this, we form the basis of persuasive and successful outcome.