Winning Hearts

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A simple logical argument just won’t cut it anymore. In order to persuade people, we need to win their hearts. Meaning connecting with them on an emotional level.

Among the strategy to win hearts we need to use a vivid descriptions, powerful metaphors and analogies, and stories. Also, it is wise to actively listen to those you’re looking to persuade.

Now, lets break these elements individually.

Vivid Descriptions

Vivid descriptions are words that paint evocative images in people’s minds. And this description need to deeply tap the emotions of our listeners.

Much like the “end-in mind” kind of things. Make your audience see your vision.


Metaphors and Analogies

My favorite.

Organizing metaphors and analogies can help us further win the hearts of those we want to persuade.

Organizing Metaphors

Metaphors describe something as something else. Hence, drawing emotional connecting to the subject we are presenting.

For example:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.”

William Shakespeare

Now in our modern workday language, it might sound like this…

This report is so difficult; it’s a monster


He’s nice. Such a peach.

Meanwhile, organizing metaphors represent overarching worldviews that shape a person’s everyday perceptions and actions-such as “Business is war”.

Some steps for changing someone’s organizing metaphor.

  1. Identify the organizing metaphor used by the individual you want to persuade. 
    People reveal their organizing metaphors through the language they use when speaking about the issue at hand. A manager who sees business as war often says things like, “We can’t concede ground,” “We’re being outflanked,” and “We have to defend market share.”
  2. Identify a compelling replacement metaphor. 
    “Business as partnership” is a metaphor that focuses a business’s efforts on building win-win relationships with key stakeholders, rather than on defeating competitors.
  3. Highlight the weaknesses of your listener’s worldview using his or her metaphor.

Metaphor used would indicate how strong one feels about the situation and would be a great guide in understanding others.



Analogies are comparisons that include the words “like” or “as”:
“Finishing this project was like climbing a mountain in a blizzard”.

Analogies would make it possible for us to relate a new idea to one that’s already familiar to someone you’re trying to persuade. Hence, make the idea more palatable. On top of that analogies also foster feelings of familiarity, which many people find reassuring!

Tell a stories

Stories are great ways to build credibility and trust. Nobody can be an effective leader unless people trust you, hence, ability to tell compelling stories are important. The best stories are those that relate something that happened to you, whatever you learnt from the experience, and how that story’s lessons applicable to your current business situation.

Effective stories also concise, preferably less than 90 seconds to tell, a personal story which center around a conflict with vivid details that make sense.

Compelling stories will bring live to your ideas because they:

  • Hook audiences’ attention with riveting plots and characters they can relate to
  • Simplify complex ideas
  • Evoke powerful emotions among listeners
  • Stay in their minds

Active Listening

Active listening means reflecting back and summarizing the content and emotions in your listeners’ responses to your ideas.

By reflecting and summarizing, you show that you’ve heard and understood the people you’re trying to persuade. This helps to forge a powerful emotional connection with them, hence, making them more receptive to your ideas.

Rule of thumbs for active listening would include:

  • Reflect content. Paraphrase the factual details you’re hearing from those you want to persuade:
    “It sounds like…”
    “In other words…”
    “So you’re saying…”
    “It seems that…”
  • Reflect emotions. Acknowledge your listener’s feelings.
Sum up

Remember to summarize what you’ve heard so far when:

  • Emotion has begun clouding the issues.
  • You feel your views aren’t being appreciated or understood.
  • The conversation wanders away from the topic at hand.
  • You believe it’s time to conclude an argument.
  • You’ve reached an agreement and want to ensure that everyone involved shares the same understanding about the agreement.

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