The art of persuasion in meetingsHow to use persuasion in meetings

Negotiating in meetings and being persuasive yet honest and straightforward is not easy. It takes a lot of experience and let’s face it – not everyone is good at it. There is more to being persuasive than making a good point. It involves your demeanor, psychology, and ultimately the target audience.

Scientific research suggests that one of the best ways of persuading people involves storytelling. Basically, it allows you to engage other people in a more personal, natural way. Simply outlining the facts is not enough; you need to incorporate the facts into an interesting story that will captivate the audience.

Stories with an emotional element are also good, as are unexpected changes in the plot, as they keep the audience interested. In essence, the art of persuasion in meetings relates to stories. Those stories that engage the audience on a personal or emotional level are more likely to be persuasive.

So how do I come up with a good story?

Not everyone is a great storyteller, and different audiences have different tastes, but there are a few basic tips that tend to apply to all situations.

  • Imagery – make sure there is plenty of it and that it can bring your story to life, be thorough and
    detailed, but do not push it too hard.
  • Modeling behavior – you can try to model someone’s behavior by describing a similar situation and incorporating some sort of transformation that the audience can relate to.
  • Suspense – keeping the audience on the edge of their seats is always a good idea.
  • Irony and sarcasm – a bit of humor is also helpful, but make sure it is tactful and not insulting.
  • Do your research – to pull it off you will need to know a lot about the audience, so try to learn as much about them as possible beforehand.
  • Know your limits – do not overdo it, keep the story short, simple and interesting.

However, simply developing a nice story is not enough. You also need to work on your delivery! Try it out on a few people beforehand, and see what they think – use their response and insights as valuable sources of information. Do not be too “salesy,” try to be yourself, and deliver the story with a personal touch.

The story does not just need to be tailored to suit the audience, it also needs to be a good match for your own oratory abilities and your personality, as that makes it more believable and natural.

Coffee also helps

As negotiating in meetings can be stressful and the meetings themselves can be very long, some freshly brewed coffee could make a big difference. It has been scientifically proven that coffee improves performance. This means it will help you deliver your message, and it will help attendees understand it, or at least follow it.

Psychologists have found that even a moderate amount of caffeine intake can improve performance. But be careful not to over do it, as too much can have the opposite effect. Secondly, it turns out that people are more open to suggestions when they are drinking coffee, making negotiating in meetings much less of a daunting task. Researchers found that 35 percent of people were more likely to adopt a new idea while they are consuming coffee, compared to attendees that do not.

This phenomenon is not just the result of caffeine intake; it is also societal, or psychological. People associate the aroma of coffee with pleasant, informal occasions. Coffee can basically help people feel at home, or at their favorite café while they are attending a meeting.

Source: Why Stories Sell: Transportation Leads to Persuasion