8 Ways To Persuade People To Do What You Want

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American Economist and investment analyst Mark Skousen , “The triumph of persuasion over force is a sign of a civilized society.”

Persuasion is a very powerful skill. To be able to persuade people to do what you believe in is a great achievement and that is what distinguishes great personalities. Mahatma Gandhi managed to convince an entire nation to stand up and be physically beaten but not to retort. Hitler convinced a sect of people that he is a greater race and destroyed an entire community. Such is the power of persuasion.

However is this only a virtue of a noted few? No. It is a skill that could be developed gradually and could become a part of your personality.

Here are a few tips that would help you to persuade people to do what you want

Use your words powerfully

Persuasion is a game of words. You have to use your words carefully such that they make an impact on the listener and then half of your job is done.

There is this wonderful example for this tip. A blind man was sitting on the street, begging. He had a placard which “I am blind, please help.” A few people went putting coins near him. But he sensed that someone sat next to him, writing something…And then a miracle happened. All of a sudden the number of coins that fell into his box multiplied. In the evening, he felt the footsteps of the person who had written something on the placard. He asked her, “What did you write?” She just read it out to him, “It‘s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.”

The same thought when presented differently creates a very different result.

 Believe in what you are persuading people to do

When persuading people to do what you want them to do, be sure that you believe in it yourself. Suppose you are trying to convince someone that a health insurance policy is very good for them, make sure that you believe in the same. Or when you are selling a car, ensure that all the good things in the car are as per the requirement of the customer.

Your focus should be more on what you genuinely feel is the best availability for the person.

Be honest

Dishonesty may bear fruits instantly, but long term gains crop only out of honesty. Do not make false promises, but be honest in highlighting the features of what you are trying to say. Point out the most pertinent risk factors. This will build a bond of trust and persuading the opposite person will become very easy.

For e.g., if you are selling an ink pen, do mention that an ink pen can blot if the paper quality is poor. This will create a soft spot for you in the minds of the person you are trying to persuade and the entire process will become smoother.

 Focus on long standing relationships than momentary gains

It is easier to persuade people to do things for you if they already have a relationship with you because nothing works as well as a good healthy relationship.
For instance, I have been visiting the same optician for last 14 years even though there are more inexpensive options around. Now he does not even have to persuade me. We decide on things mutually because I feel he has a good knowledge of my requirements. And above all, I trust him.

This is what a relationship can do. Sometimes you can get away even with things that the other person does not fully agree upon simply because of the relationship you share.

So even if initially you may have to make some adjustments to get the relationship wheel spinning, do not shy away from it.

Be assertive not aggressive

There is a very thin line between being assertive and being aggressive. Everyone looks upto the assertive person with respect, whereas they shun an aggressive person. Therefore it is very important that you do not enforce your views or opinions upon the other person you are trying to convince, but just throw the positives at them.

For instance, If you think that the particular colour of t shirt that the person is trying to purchase with a particular pant is totally off track, you can just opine that another t shirt would compliment their personality much better than the one that they are trying to buy. You may encourage them to try a couple more and then decide, but you definitely cannot say that this is awful and looks really bad in combination.

Do your homework right

If you are trying to convince an atheist to come for a church service, then you should know everything about your religion and your church. Once you are a master of the subject then persuading another person becomes easier. You will be able to tell them everything related to your subject. The chances of you then convincing the person is much higher when you have a solid knowledge about the subject than talking about a thing about which you have no clue at all.

Similarly while persuading someone to buy that particular brand of a car, you should know every feature of that brand, as well as why it is superior to other brands. That way the customer will have enough reasons to listen to you.


What you want to make the other person do may not happen overnight. It will require a lot of consistent hard work and patience. Wait and give them the time they need but at the same time, subtly be on it.

All these procedures will take time. It cannot be done in a day. You will always have to give enough time to the party you are trying to convince to engrain the idea in their mind and let it grow.

Use your non verbal communication skills to your advantage

To make sure that someone listens to you, you need to listen to them. Study their mindset quickly so that you know what to talk. Maintain an active eye contact and wear a convincing smile on your face. Show them that you are genuinely interested in them…Once you gain people’s trust, it becomes easy to take them into your confidence. Use words of compassion and empathy like, “I understand you”, “Yes, please take your time”, etc.

Read more about- 4 body language secrets to win people’s trust

Joseph Wong, Secretary for commerce and Industry in Hongkong has stated that, “Influence is the compass. Persuasion is the map.” You can definitely use this map and drive people into doing what you want them to do.


Sandhya Parameshwaran

Author – SuccessYeti