The secret to persuasion


Katie told her boss she was ready for a promotion. Her boss said, “No, I don’t really think so. I think you need to demonstrate some key leadership skills in several upcoming projects and then we can take a look at it.”

Most people at this point would do one of two things:

  1. They would give up and acquiesce, say, “Okay, but can we talk about it again after I complete these projects?”


  2. They would try to change the boss’s mind. Maybe present data, give some examples, politely argue that they’re ready, get into a discussion.

I have never seen either of these paths be successful.

The problem with #1 is that it makes you wait for something you don’t want to wait for. Waiting strips you of causativeness. I never recommend it.

The problem with #2 is that it puts you into a lengthy discussion or debate that will most probably get you no results.

The mistake most people make in this scenario is they try to CHANGE the other person’s reality. This for sure will get you nowhere. Let me tell you why.

Every person on Earth fully believes their version of “reality”. Katie believes she’s ready for a promotion, that’s her reality. Her boss’ reality is that it will take several more projects and more demonstration of skills. It’s not REAL to the boss that Katie is ready.

Here’s a natural law.

When you try to change the other person’s reality, they resist you. Pure and simple.

This is why people encounter resistance. No one likes to have someone else try to change their mind or their view of reality.

But realities do change. People do change their minds. How?

The only thing you CAN do with another person’s reality is listen to it with great interest, understand and acknowledge it.

This is usually done very poorly, but is important beyond belief.

When we don’t like another person’s reality, we’re usually not that keen on hearing or understanding it, and we give very weak, usually dismissive acknowledgments.

Big mistake.

This point is so important. The only thing you can do with another person’s reality is listen really well, understand and acknowledge it.

Here’s another natural law.

If you do that skillfully, they will be satisfied that you really understand them.

At that point, and ONLY at that point, they will automatically open up to what you have to say about your reality.

Up to that point, they’re not really hearing you.

Creating that moment where they open up and are interested in your point of view is key.

All you have to do at this point when they are open and interested, is communicate your reality until they totally get it. Most people stop short of the finish line on this step.

There’s a world of difference between trying to change the other person’s reality and communicating your own reality.

It’s worth spending a couple minutes working this out for yourself with examples that are real to you, because I have seen this one point be the success “make or break point” in persuasion.

It’s an attitude of: “I fully understand where you’re coming from. I’m not trying to change your mind. I really get it. I just want to let you know what I think, where I’m coming from. I just want you to understand that.”

In other words, full mutual understanding is your goal, not persuasion.

The conversation may continue back-and-forth, but if it’s done skillfully in this manner, the other person starts to incorporate your reality into their reality.

This happens naturally, organically, automatically. They start to be able to think with your reality. As they do that, their reality changes because it now includes yours.

That’s exactly what Katie did. And in only one conversation she not only got the promotion she desired, but a salary increase that made her do a spontaneous joyful dance when no one was looking.

She said it felt like magic. Probably because it is. Causative communication is magic, no doubt about it.

If powerful, authentic, non-manipulative persuasion is a skill you’d like to perfect under the guidance of an expert coach, I invite you to our next Causative Communication Live! workshop. What would you do if you could remove every obstacle in your path?

Be the cause!