Two things to consider before you make a request

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Yesterday, I was on a coaching call with a student of our online course, Communicate with Confidence. She asked for some advice on how to persuade people to do something that they didn’t really want to do. Now, I like to call this persuasion skills. It isn’t easy, but it’s a skill that can be learned.

Have you ever needed to persuade someone to do something? Try to think of a situation either at home or at work.

Here are some real-life situations you may be going through and will need persuasion skills:

Maybe you need to persuade your child to do her homework.
Or you need to convince your boss that you think a project isn’t worth doing.
Maybe you’d like your husband to take care of your kids while you go for a much-needed vacation with your girl friends.
Maybe you want your team members to follow through with a plan or an idea that you have.

Now there are two things you need to think about before you begin to persuade a person or a group of people.

1. WHAT will they get if they do the thing you want them to do?

Take a moment to think and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What would the benefits be for them if they did what you wanted them to do?

If the person was your boss or your colleague, maybe they would reach their annual target or KPI. This would result in better bonuses or perhaps a promotion.

Or maybe it was your child. If she did her homework, you could reward her with ice-cream or let her watch her favourite TV show. It should be something that she could look forward to, like a reward, that awaits her.

2. WHY should they do it?

You also need to think about WHY they should do something you want them to do. For example, you want your husband to look after the kids while you go on a trip with your girl friends.

Why should he do it? Well, if you go on this trip, you’d come home refreshed and happy so that you’re not a stressed mother to the kids. It’s important for the children’s well-being to grow in a positive and stress-free home environment.

A tip to thinking about WHY someone should do something is to consider what you want them to feel, think, know and do.

So I hope these two tips on persuasion skills will help you in your next situation where you need to persuade people.

Remember, when trying to persuade someone to do something that they may not be agreeable to, make sure you first think about WHAT they will get out of it and WHY they should do it.

I’ll talk to you again soon!

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We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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