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The persuasion triggers

Persuading others can be overwhelming especially when you might consider to remember a long list of techniques which might be helpful. However, I would suggest for you to consider using a select few “triggers,” or mental shortcuts, to streamline the process which I believe is much easier. Here is a list of 8 persuasion triggers which include — contrast, liking, relationship, reciprocity, social proof, commitment and consistency, authority, and scarcity. This persuasion triggers can make all the difference if properly, and ethically leveraged. Activate a mix of these triggers to help ensure the greatest chance of success in your next persuasion attempt.

(1) Contrast

When people make decisions, they often look for a benchmark on which to base their choice. This benchmark is usually used as an anchor for the basis of their decisions.

In order to activate the “contrast” trigger, create a benchmark to “anchor” the judgments of the person you need to persuade, preferable to a well-known or at least commonly known benchmark. Many salespeople do this by first showing the most expensive item in a product line. This makes a mid-priced item seem much more affordable. Maybe we will discuss this in greater details in future posts.

(2) Liking

People tend to accept the ideas of people they like, it is our natural favoritism. Liking arises when people feel esteemed by another person and when they share something in common with him or her. A manager might choose an inferior deal from a supplier’s representative over a better deal, just because he likes the first rep and they share a common interest in football.

To activate the “liking” trigger, create bonds or rapport with others by informally discovering common interests such as music, children, pets, or sports. Demonstrate your liking for others by paying genuine compliments and making positive statements about their ideas, solutions, abilities, and qualities. And your efforts to activate the “liking” trigger must be sincere. While insincerity is likely to undermine your persuasion efforts and drive people away. Nowadays, it seems easy to spot a fake person.

(3) Relationship

People are more likely to adopt a proposed idea if the individual advocating the idea is someone with whom they have a relationship, even if it’s just something in common and the person makes them aware of that relationship. In a study conducted on a college campus, charity solicitors more than doubled their success by preceding a donation request with these five words: “I’m a student here, too.”

To activate the “relationship” trigger, point out the length of your connection with the person you want to persuade. Note things like “We’ve been at this together for three years.” Identify shared interests, experiences, and goals. Sprinkle your messages with words like “we,” “our,” and “us.” Create an illustration of ‘us versus them’ mentality.

(4) Reciprocity

People feel a deep urge to repay favors in kind. To activate the “reciprocity” trigger, give before you ask for something. In considering what to give, look for solutions that meet other individuals’ interests and needs. Hence, it is reciprocity which lead to the expression “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”.

(5) Social proof

People are more likely to follow another person’s lead if what that person is advocating is popular, standard practice, or part of a trend. Just look at the widespread use of celebrity endorsements in advertising.

To activate the “social proof” trigger, make a connection — yourself, your organization, your product to individuals and organizations admired by those you’re seeking to persuade.

(6) Commitment and consistency

People are more likely to embrace a proposal if they’ve committed to it through their own choice and have done so publicly; for example, by announcing it or in writing. Researchers noted that nine out of 10 residents of an apartment complex who signed a petition supporting a new recreation center later donated money to the cause.

To activate the “commitment and consistency” trigger, get others’ voluntary, public, and documented commitment.

(7) Authority

Many people are trained from childhood to automatically obey requests from or support the ideas of authority figures such as parents, doctors, and police. Authority comes from a combination of position and its associated credentials.

To activate the “authority” trigger, make sure the people you want to persuade are aware of the source of your authority.

(8) Scarcity

When something is in scarce supply  such as information, opportunities, resources will inevitably influence people to value it more. In one experiment, wholesale beef buyers were told that they were the only ones who had received information on an expected beef shortage. Their orders jumped 600%.

To activate the “scarcity” trigger, convince your listeners that they’re being offered something rare or something that at surface value appear rare.

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Tips for speaking with confidence

  • Pace Setting. Make sure to be in control of your pace. Remember to speak slowly enough for listeners to follow but quickly enough to sustain their interest.
  • Use a low-pitched voice. Many people interpret a low-pitched voice as authoritative and influential. Likewise, completing a sentence with a downward inflection-a lowering of pitch-communicates confidence and certainty.
  • Control loudness. Speak loudly enough to be heard but not so loudly as to irritate or offend listeners. Increase the volume of your voice a bit when you want to emphasize important words and phrases.
  • Be articulate. Clearly articulate words and phrases to convey confidence and competence. In order to be articulate, you really need to practice your presentation and know the subject matter well enough.
  • Use pauses for impact. Pause just before making a point you want to emphasize-and maintain eye contact with your listeners during the pause. Don’t use ‘hmm’ or ‘err’, it just don’t look nice.

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Neutralize unproductive behaviors during presentation conflict

woman-presenting-pie-chart_4460x4460.jpgAlthough you can work to manage your own reactions, you can’t control those of the other person in the conflict.

Try these techniques for dealing with unproductive behaviors:

If you’re like most, you may frequently run into difficult people at work. They usually complain about other people’s behavior: “My clients are jerks,” or “My boss doesn’t value me,” “My colleagues are cutthroat.” They think there’s nothing they can do about the difficult people in their lives. But you really need to understand that you are 100% responsible in your life, and your life won’t change if you don’t responsibility for your decisions and circumstances.

If you change your reaction to someone’s behavior, you can change the situation. When you are criticized in public, this typically lead to feeling of insecurity. What you need to do is identify the emotions and thought you experience and told the criticizer about that. This will ensure that the criticizer caught off guard and quickly backed off. Hence, neutralize the unproductive behavior.

So, how did this happen? Well first, the attention is shifted from yourself in the spotlight to your feelings and thoughts. This stopped yourself from internalizing the criticism and help you focus on your reaction to the criticism. Another option is to shift your attention to physical response that your body experiencing when hit with the criticism, such as sweaty palms or a pounding heartbeat.

Second, you need to respond with a nonjudgmental observation. When we feel attacked, we often launch into this counterattack. But that only escalates things. When you respond with an observation, you actually disarm the other person. They can only back off, which is exactly what would work in your favor.

In some situations, you can add a third step to this process, and that’s asking a thoughtful question.

You can’t make difficult people disappear, but the process I just described can help you change the situation by changing your own reaction. You can use this process in your professional and personal life. And the more you practice it, the easier it gets.

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7 Deadly Sins of Speaking


At all means necessary, please avoid this 7 deadly sins of speaking, so that others will listen when you speak, and so that your words carry more value with higher integrity and weight.

  • Gossip – Speaking ill of somebody who’s not present. Not a nice habit, and we know perfectly well the person gossiping, five minutes later, will be gossiping about us.
  • Judging – We know people who are like this in conversation, and it’s very hard to listen to somebody if you know that you’re being judged and found wanting at the same time.
  • Negativity
  • Complaining – We complain about  almost everything including the weather, sport, about politics, about everything, but actually, complaining is viral misery. It’s not spreading sunshine and lightness in the world.
  • Excuses – We’ve all met this guy. Maybe we’ve all been this guy. Some people have a blame-thrower. They just pass it on to everybody else and don’t take responsibility for their actions, and again, hard to listen to somebody who is being like that.
  • Lying
  • Dogmatism -The confusion of facts with opinions. When those two things get conflated, you’re listening into the wind. You know, somebody is bombarding you with their opinions as if they were true. It’s difficult to listen to that.


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This engineer created a fool-proof plan to overcome shyness – and it led her to jobs at Apple, Google, and now Microsoft

A couple of months ago, Sophia Velastegui was approached with an exciting job offer: To become the general manager of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence product unit.

She began the job in December. It was another pinnacle career move for the star engineer, named to Business Insider’s list of the most powerful female engineers of 2017.

Before Microsoft, Velastegui worked at a number of tech companies: Most recently, she was at Doppler Labs, the smart headphone company that shut down in November. She’s also worked at Nest, then Alphabet’s smart home company, where she was in charge of the roadmap for the chips in the company’s smart home appliances. She also spent 5 years as a manager at Apple. Plus, she holds several patents and sits on the board of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering.

Velastegui tells us that after she appeared on our annual list, she was approached by a number of companies. She says she was even asked to come back to Apple, which was tempting because she still lives a few miles from the its Silicon Valley headquarters.

But the thought of diving deep into AI, one of the most important up-and-coming technologies, and at the position of general manager – just a few rungs down from the executive leadership team – was too good to pass up, even though it means having to move her family to the Seattle area, she tells Business Insider.

And all of her success to date is because when Velastegui first started out, she realized that her career depended on overcoming her natural shyness.

A phobia of public speaking
Velastegui was working at Applied Materials when her boss gave her an opportunity that could advance her career. She was to give a public presentation on the team’s work, putting her in the spotlight.

“Pubic speaking was kind of a phobia,” she explains, but she agreed to do it anyway. “I presented to the vice president and I was horrible at it.”

But instead of crawling into a corner and giving up, she figured that “deliberate practice makes perfect.”

And she came up with a game plan that she perfected over the years that trained her out of her shyness, helped her network at business events, and led her to job offers from Apple, Google and Microsoft.

  • She joined Toastmasters, a nonprofit organization that helps its members practice their public speaking skills in a friendly environment.
  • She volunteered for speaking gigs internally within Applied Materials, even though they terrified her. After a while, she grew more skilled at it and comfortable. “You have to practice, have to take more risks and then you get better,” she discovered.

As she grew more comfortable speaking to strangers, she engineered a plan that allowed her to grow her business network, too, which led her to job offers at Apple and then Google.

Anyone can do this
This is Velastegui’s process for overcoming her shyness. It’s a plan that can be used by anyone, shy or not, to boost your career.

  1. Pick people you want to meet ahead of time. This step is about overcoming the fear of talking to strangers at parties. Ahead of each event, she scans the attendees list and the speaker list, finding 10 people she would like to meet and “five people I make it a point to meet,” she says.
  2. Plan some conversation starters. She studies their LinkedIn profiles and other background information, which helps her plan some conversation-starters.
  3. Make a meet-up plan ahead of time. She sends a LinkedIn message to the people she wants to speak with, asking to meet her at the event.
  4. Make them remember her. At the event, her goal is to have a good conversation so they remember her and are willing to meet her again.
  5. The most important part: follow-up with people in your network. “I try to have 4-5 more follow-ups per month, one a week,” she says. “[You need to] nurture your network so you have relationships,” not just the empty LinkedIn stats on how many people are in your network.
  6. View this as a work project. As for finding the time, she views her career as just another long-term project she is working on. “Networking for career development should be just as important as the projects I work on,” she says. “If this is a project just like anything else, [one] that can lead ot a promotion, why wouldn’t I spend this kind of effort, 30 minutes to 1 hour a week?” She says that for the benefits you get, the time investment is “basically nothing.”
  7. Cast a wide net. She networks with people outside and insider her company. Knowing more people at your own company is “super helpful when you have to do work internally,” she says.
  8. Equal opportunity and safe networking. She reaches out to both women and men. Pro tip: “Always take a location that is very public and not, like, the hottest date location,” she says with a laugh. A breakfast, lunch or coffee during the day is better than a dinner or a drink in the evening, too.  There should be no question that the invitation is a business meetup, not a social one.
  9. Two a month. Finally, she attends at least two networking events or conferences a month, looking for shindigs that let her meet a wide variety of people, from engineers to business people to lawyers. She’s not focused just on hanging out with like-minded engineers.
  10. View yourself as “a company.” The key is to “view yourself as a company,” she says. “You need a board of directors … you want a broad perspective. When you look for mentors and advocates it should be people of different backgrounds.”

After years of hacking her career, she’s become so skilled and confident in public speaking and networking with strangers, she doesn’t think twice. For instance, after she was named to Business Insider’s list of powerful engineers, she contacted many other women on the list to introduce herself.

And then she took it the next level, organizing a panel at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration – a conference for women in computing – with eight other women on the list. It was a workshop on how women engineers can take their careers to the next level.

She only had a couple of days to pull the panel together. “I bombarded them,” she said, to get enough people to agree to do the panel with her. And it turned out to be one of the big hit sessions of the conference.

And at the event, she met Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Windows and Devices for a networking coffee. A month later, she had a job offer from Microsoft.

And there’s another bonus to hacking her career like this, it has made her a much better manager, she says. “I know how to get people excited about a project using the same skills as I’ve developed for external networking. It’s no longer scary for me,” she says.

Source: Business Insider

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How to speak so that people want to listen


Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? Here’s Julian Treasure to help. In this useful talk, the sound expert demonstrates the how-to’s of powerful speaking — from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy. A talk that might help the world sound more beautiful.

The human voice: It’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world, probably. It’s the only one that can start a war or say “I love you.” And yet many people have the experience that when they speak, people don’t listen to them. And why is that? How can we speak powerfully to make change in the world?

What I’d like to suggest, there are a number of habits that we need to move away from. I’ve assembled for your pleasure here seven deadly sins of speaking. I’m not pretending this is an exhaustive list, but these seven, I think, are pretty large habits that we can all fall into.

First, gossip. Speaking ill of somebody who’s not present. Not a nice habit, and we know perfectly well the person gossiping, five minutes later, will be gossiping about us.

Second, judging. We know people who are like this in conversation, and it’s very hard to listen to somebody if you know that you’re being judged and found wanting at the same time.

Third, negativity. You can fall into this. My mother, in the last years of her life, became very negative, and it’s hard to listen. I remember one day, I said to her, “It’s October 1 today,” and she said, “I know, isn’t it dreadful?”

It’s hard to listen when somebody’s that negative.

And another form of negativity, complaining. Well, this is the national art of the U.K. It’s our national sport. We complain about the weather, sport, about politics, about everything, but actually, complaining is viral misery. It’s not spreading sunshine and lightness in the world.


We’ve all met this guy. Maybe we’ve all been this guy. Some people have a blamethrower. They just pass it on to everybody else and don’t take responsibility for their actions, and again, hard to listen to somebody who is being like that.

Penultimate, the sixth of the seven, embroidery, exaggeration. It demeans our language, actually, sometimes. For example, if I see something that really is awesome, what do I call it?

And then, of course, this exaggeration becomes lying, and we don’t want to listen to people we know are lying to us.

And finally, dogmatism. The confusion of facts with opinions. When those two things get conflated, you’re listening into the wind. You know, somebody is bombarding you with their opinions as if they were true. It’s difficult to listen to that.

So here they are, seven deadly sins of speaking. These are things I think we need to avoid. But is there a positive way to think about this? Yes, there is. I’d like to suggest that there are four really powerful cornerstones, foundations, that we can stand on if we want our speech to be powerful and to make change in the world. Fortunately, these things spell a word. The word is “hail,” and it has a great definition as well. I’m not talking about the stuff that falls from the sky and hits you on the head. I’m talking about this definition, to greet or acclaim enthusiastically, which is how I think our words will be received if we stand on these four things.

So what do they stand for? See if you can guess. The H, honesty, of course, being true in what you say, being straight and clear. The A is authenticity, just being yourself. A friend of mine described it as standing in your own truth, which I think is a lovely way to put it. The I is integrity, being your word, actually doing what you say, and being somebody people can trust. And the L is love. I don’t mean romantic love, but I do mean wishing people well, for two reasons. First of all, I think absolute honesty may not be what we want. I mean, my goodness, you look ugly this morning. Perhaps that’s not necessary. Tempered with love, of course, honesty is a great thing. But also, if you’re really wishing somebody well, it’s very hard to judge them at the same time. I’m not even sure you can do those two things simultaneously. So hail.

Also, now that’s what you say, and it’s like the old song, it is what you say, it’s also the way that you say it. You have an amazing toolbox. This instrument is incredible, and yet this is a toolbox that very few people have ever opened. I’d like to have a little rummage in there with you now and just pull a few tools out that you might like to take away and play with, which will increase the power of your speaking.

Register, for example. Now, falsetto register may not be very useful most of the time, but there’s a register in between. I’m not going to get very technical about this for any of you who are voice coaches. You can locate your voice, however. So if I talk up here in my nose, you can hear the difference. If I go down here in my throat, which is where most of us speak from most of the time. But if you want weight, you need to go down here to the chest. You hear the difference? We vote for politicians with lower voices, it’s true, because we associate depth with power and with authority. That’s register.

Then we have timbre. It’s the way your voice feels. Again, the research shows that we prefer voices which are rich, smooth, warm, like hot chocolate. Well if that’s not you, that’s not the end of the world, because you can train. Go and get a voice coach. And there are amazing things you can do with breathing, with posture, and with exercises to improve the timbre of your voice.

Then prosody. I love prosody. This is the sing-song, the meta-language that we use in order to impart meaning. It’s root one for meaning in conversation. People who speak all on one note are really quite hard to listen to if they don’t have any prosody at all. That’s where the word “monotonic” comes from, or monotonous, monotone. Also, we have repetitive prosody now coming in, where every sentence ends as if it were a question when it’s actually not a question, it’s a statement?

And if you repeat that one, it’s actually restricting your ability to communicate through prosody, which I think is a shame, so let’s try and break that habit.


I can get very excited by saying something really quickly, or I can slow right down to emphasize, and at the end of that, of course, is our old friend silence. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of silence in a talk, is there? We don’t have to fill it with ums and ahs. It can be very powerful.

Of course, pitch often goes along with pace to indicate arousal, but you can do it just with pitch. Where did you leave my keys? (Higher pitch) Where did you leave my keys? So, slightly different meaning in those two deliveries.

And finally, volume. (Loud) I can get really excited by using volume. Sorry about that, if I startled anybody. Or, I can have you really pay attention by getting very quiet. Some people broadcast the whole time. Try not to do that. That’s called sodcasting,

Imposing your sound on people around you carelessly and inconsiderately. Not nice.

Of course, where this all comes into play most of all is when you’ve got something really important to do. It might be standing on a stage like this and giving a talk to people. It might be proposing marriage, asking for a raise, a wedding speech. Whatever it is, if it’s really important, you owe it to yourself to look at this toolbox and the engine that it’s going to work on, and no engine works well without being warmed up. Warm up your voice.

Actually, let me show you how to do that. Would you all like to stand up for a moment? I’m going to show you the six vocal warm-up exercises that I do before every talk I ever do. Any time you’re going to talk to anybody important, do these. First, arms up, deep breath in, and sigh out, ahhhhh, like that. One more time. Ahhhh, very good. Now we’re going to warm up our lips, and we’re going to go Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba. Very good. And now, brrrrrrrrrr, just like when you were a kid. Brrrr. Now your lips should be coming alive. We’re going to do the tongue next with exaggerated la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. Beautiful. You’re getting really good at this. And then, roll an R. Rrrrrrr. That’s like champagne for the tongue. Finally, and if I can only do one, the pros call this the siren. It’s really good. It starts with “we” and goes to “aw.” The “we” is high, the “aw” is low. So you go, weeeaawww, weeeaawww.

Fantastic. Give yourselves a round of applause. Take a seat, thank you.

Next time you speak, do those in advance.

Now let me just put this in context to close. This is a serious point here. This is where we are now, right? We speak not very well to people who simply aren’t listening in an environment that’s all about noise and bad acoustics. I have talked about that on this stage in different phases. What would the world be like if we were speaking powerfully to people who were listening consciously in environments which were actually fit for purpose? Or to make that a bit larger, what would the world be like if we were creating sound consciously and consuming sound consciously and designing all our environments consciously for sound? That would be a world that does sound beautiful, and one where understanding would be the norm, and that is an idea worth spreading.

Thank you.