5 Language Usage Tips for More Effective Persuasion

by Percival J. Meris on January 10, 2011


Persuasion Photo Courtesy of dreamstime

THERE ARE VARIOUS TECHNIQUES OF PERSUASION, of which the proper use of language is one. This article will deal only with this aspect of persuasion.

Allow me to just borrow the ideas of Paul Hancox from his article about the importance of persuasion skills. He said that if you possess persuasion skills:

  • You’ll get your way more often.
  • You’ll make more money.
  • You’ll be more effective when helping others.

Here are 5 tips on using suitable language for more effective persuasion:

  1. Use a language that matches that of the other person.
  2. A person’s choice of words indicates what is important to him. In a dialogue to persuade him, use his words, instead of yours. If he often uses the word “efficient”, say something like “You can see how efficient this is in the use of space.”

    Match not only his choice of words, but also his manner of speaking. Slow or accelerate your speech to match his.

  3. Use a language consistent to the person’s information processing style.
  4. You can classify a person according to his style of processing information as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. He often manifests his style by the words he uses. For example, a visual person will use the expression “I see” when he understands a point.

    You simply take advantage of this natural tendency, and then, use a language consistent to it. For example, in persuading your family to spend vacation in a beach resort, different dialogues would appropriately apply to different persons with particular styles.

    • For the visual: “We’ll see the sunny beaches…”
    • For the auditory: “We’ll listen to the waves…”
    • For the kinesthetic: “We’ll be feeling the sun on our backs…”

  5. Inject power into your language with motivating words.
  6. Such simple words as “today,” and “now,” and “do this” carry a motivating punch. If you say “Think about that”, the other person will think about that without hesitation, simply because it is a simple request that is not a threatening call to action, particularly in sales situations.

    AND …you will be surprised that even using “by now” repetitively, as in “By now, you can see that this car is luxurious,” you can get your listener to subconsciously take the phrase as “buy now.”

  7. Increase the persuasive power of your language with proper word usage.
  8. Writer Stephanie Stephanie suggests that the usage of words can enhance or destroy the persuasive power of your language. Consider the following examples she gave in her article The Persuasive Words with Great Persuasion Power about the use of “but”, “because”, and “even though”:

    • “I love you, but you always hurt me.” vs. “You always hurt me, but I love you.”
    • “I need you, because I love you.” vs. “I love you, because I need you.”
    • “You hurt me, even though I love you.” vs. “I love you, even though you hurt me.”

  9. Append the other person’s name to the language that you are using.
  10. This is a powerful persuasion technique. People just love to hear the sound of their names. However, you must use it the way they want it used. The best way to know is to ask them. “How would you prefer to be called?” Or, “Is it okay if I call you by your nickname?”

    Also, consider an appropriate occasion to call the person by a particular name. For example, avoid saying “Hi, Pete.” the moment a stranger walks into your office for the first time. Wait until rapport is established.

Wise choice of language has positive effect on people’s emotions, and therefore on their susceptibility to persuasion. According to Michael Lee, author of How to Be an Expert Persuader, using the right words is a very powerful subliminal persuasion technique.

The foregoing tips are more of supplements to the techniques of persuasion than they are techniques themselves. They do enhance one’s persuasive power, but by themselves may or may not be able to effect persuasion. Therefore, for increased effectiveness, use them in conjunction with other persuasion techniques.

If you want to learn more about the art of persuasion, I recommend the above-mentioned book of Michael Lee.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Florence May 14, 2016 at 3:42 am

I do accept as true with all the ideas you have presented for your post.
They are really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless,
the posts are very brief for beginners. May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?
Thank you for the post.
Florence recently posted..Florence

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