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Understand

 

Techniques Persuasion 101 > Understand

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Understanding is the first step in any persuasive situation, as well as a constant essential throughout any interaction. If you do not understand yourself, the other person and the situation, then you weaken your ability to persuade.

A problem with understanding is that it takes time, which you do not always have. It also takes humility, because it is so easy to assume you know what you want, how the other person (or people) thinks, and so on. Yet we are often so wrong in these things. With oneself, it helps to reflect and perhaps ask friends. With others, you can research (there may well be plenty online to help you here), ask questions and listen. It is also important to know the broader situation for both of you.

More details on elements of understanding include:

In many situations you have little time to spend on any deep understanding. In such times perhaps the wisest thing is to understand that you do not understand and be ready to pause, listen and reframe as necessary. Yes, in some situations you may be able to simply command people into action, but do take note that directing activity is not changing minds, and if people feel coerced they may take irrational revenge.

See also

Questioning Techniques, Listening Skills, Social Research, Conversation techniques

 

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