Peace African, I greet you!
“A phenomenon always arises from the interaction of complementary. If you want something look for the complement that will elicit it. Set causes Horus. Horus redeems Set.” — African Proverb
In all of your social interactions you are at once charming and not charming as well as charmed and not charmed. This holds true for you and your interactee. In an ideal situation both you and your interactee would be charming and charmed; but in most situations, you will find yourself interacting with someone who isn’t charmed and isn’t charming and it will be upon you to charm and thus make them charming if you desire from them an action. This is what it means to be persuasive. You have desires you wish for another to act on. They will do so if they are charmed. Here are 20 tips, then, for being more charming and therefore more persuasive.
Sell more, date more, be more, win more: The Top 20 best tips to become more persuasive
By Onitaset Kumat
Be perceived as giving more than you are perceived to receive.
Your auditor listens for many reasons, one is her best interests. Men and women do mental arithmetic to decide whether they will profit or be exploited. When people have a choice, they often choose ‘the best deal’ available. Understand your auditor’s perceptions and present your gains as minimal to hers and her mental arithmetic will be in your favor.
“Can you go out with me?” v.s. “There’s a free KRS-One concert going on, you in?”
“You may never see the benefits of struggle.” v.s. “Send out a tweet to put Officer B. in jail.”
“Spend $20 to hear a lecture on an unlikely war with white people.” v.s. “Spend $40 to hear a lecture on how to gain financial independence.”
“The McChicken costs me 36 cents to make, it is tasteless, unfulfilling and incredibly unhealthy but I can sell it to you for a dollar plus tax.” v.s. “[For only a dollar you can get] crispy, juciy chicken with all the amenities in an irresistable classic known fondly as the McChicken.”
Speak as ‘I’ directly to ‘You’.
You (“I”) are the subject and your auditor (“You”) is the object. By speaking thusly you demand of your auditor to consider you and your ambition. If you speak as if you are not the subject or your auditor is not the object then you risk the focus of your conversation and the focus of your auditor.
“What a mean thing to say!” v.s. “I do not like when you say those sort of things.”
“Your hair looks nice” v.s. “I think you have pretty hair.”
“We are building a community center. We have meetings nearby. What time are you available?” v.s. “I am part of a team building community centers, you seem like you know our history. Come to one of our meetings as my guest.”
Impress a desired action then express the desire.
Everything has a rhythm so timing is key. One phrase said in one context can be apropos but in another context malapropos. Your starting point in any conversation is to know what action you desire. Thereafter impress that desire in your auditor. Then when you have set the context and the time is right express that desire. People need to be warmed up to new ideas.
“Hi. My name is Oni. What’s yours? Can I have your phone number?” v.s. “(Same greeting but warm, playful banter afterward) I’m having so much fun. We have to talk again. What’s your number?”
“Hey Black man are you ready to give up your life for the Black woman?” v.s. “You as a Black man must understand that Shaka Zulu is watching you. Shaka Zulu knows how you treat his daughters. He knows whether you will stand up or sit down for his daughters. And Shaka Zulu knows what’s in your heart. With our ancestors watching, you tell me, will you stand up for your Black Sister or will you stay seated and let harm come to her on your watch?”
Be your honest self and be honest about who you are.
You were born as yourself so seek to act like it. If you are polite but you see others succeed with rudeness, be polite. If you are rude but see others succeed with politeness, be rude. You can only succeed as you. Others may help you find out who you are; but the truth is within you and once you find you, be you and never lie about it. A pitfall people have is trying to impress by acting outside of themselves. Better to always be yourself. Have direct and strong eye contact, dress as you want to impress, be clean and correct, be you.
“Hey homegirl, whaddup, I’m not a nerd, I’m hood like you!” v.s. “Look, I’ll be blunt with you. I don’t like crackers and I am doing everything I can to get them out of my life. You don’t seem like you like them. So you and I need to work together.”
“I’ll get rid of my friends and hobbies for you.” v.s. “You keep your friends, I’ll keep mine.”
“Can I buy you a drink?” v.s. “I’m not here to buy drinks for other people, I’m here to have fun. If you’re looking for drinks, check out the chump in the previous quote.”
Be able to laugh by yourself, humor yourself and be happy all by yourself. Your good mood can inspire even the most sour of grapes; and your company will genuinely be enjoyed thus giving your desires more weight. The self-entertained person has social value above and beyond her counterpart. Have fun in your interactions and social life, and you’ll have more fulfilling interactions and a more fulfilling social life.
“white people are liars and crooks.” v.s. “How do you know when a white man is lying? When his mouth is moving.”
“(Does this dress make me look fat?) No.” v.s. “(Does this dress make me look fat?) Very, but you look much better without it–in bed.”
“Hi. My name is Oni. What’s yours?” v.s. “Did you think it was going to be warmer today [to someone dressed warmly in cold weather]?”
“(I have a boyfriend) Oh, ok. Sorry.” v.s. “(I have a boyfriend) Cool, but you need a manfriend.”
Never get stressed.
An Elder used to tell me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” But this goes on to large stuff too. Keep cool, calm and unperturbed. Never freak out, get tilted or become peeved. Remind yourself you are “too blessed to be stressed,” and be as the calm lake. The person who doesn’t have him- or herself together can not be a great leader.
“You never responded, so I was a bit worried.” v.s. “(To self) It wasn’t meant to be.”
“DID YOU HEAR THAT? I’M SO SCARED.” v.s. “I heard something. Stay here. I’ll get my gun and investigate.”
“Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a while. Want to hang out?” v.s. “(They write: ‘I missed you.’) I know.”
If appropriate, take the lead; otherwise strongly suggest it.
Remember, when socializing, at least one person is the de facto follower and therefore at least one person decides whether to go, stay, separate or take a break. To be the decision-maker is the best position, particularly for effecting your desired outcome. However, when not being the decision-maker, you can still attain your desires if you strongly suggest the lead. Failing to take the lead when appropriate can dissolve your social engagement entirely. Be mindful of the necessity of leadership. Further, know all the aspects of leadership. Sometimes taking a break–i.e. scheduling a later meeting or communication is a necessary step for securing an outcome.
“Black folk have no good media.” v.s. “Will you help me make a viral video?”
“What do you want to do next?” v.s. “Let’s go back to my place.”
“We need a Malcolm X” v.s. “I’m a changemaker and I can use your social media talent.”
“I’m getting tired.” v.s. “It’s getting cold. Know anywhere that’s warmer?” [The strong suggestion]
Only be on-topic roughly 60% of the time.
As in, your social engagement should start off with a communication of your desire, but veer off-topic, return again, veer to another topic and close with your desire. Being on-topic 100% of the time can come off as needy, naggy, close-minded, narrow-minded, one-tracked, pushy or myopic. Veering off-topic shows that you’re broadminded, seasoned, learned and farsighted. Grant yourself interims of idle chat or even silence. As deep, desirable, desiring or interesting as your on-topic is; allowing it time to stew will allow your close to be all the more enticing.
“We need you for Organizing . . . Organizing is fundamental . . . Kwame Ture said . . . Chancellor Williams . . . You can Organize.” v.s. “We need you to Organize . . . Where are you from? What do you do? . . . You know in Lagos . . . and Namibia nearby . . . You ever been to that restaurant over there? Food is great. It’s a good spot in general. Definitely check it out. . . . Organizing can make our people have strong communities where self-knowledge and Black businesses thrive.” [Not best example, but you can see how the off-topic can tie into topic later.]
ABC–Always be Charming.
Always be charmed. Always be closing. Always be carrying (a weapon). Always bring condoms. Different contexts demand a different acronym, but mainly always be charming. That requires you to always be charmed. Just remember that you’re speaking to someone who can be charming. Give them the benefit of the doubt and open yourself to their charm. Chances are they’ll be charming, you’ll be charming and whatever you tried to succeed at will basically be yours.
To wit, this advice is the crux of why relationships don’t work in the West. We tend to be situationally charming or responsively charming and eventually rarely charming. When the charm goes, so too does the relationship.
“Hey, wyd?” v.s. “To you, what is the appeal of dancing?”
“I’m tired of hearing from you.” v.s. “You’re cute when you’re bad. Though, don’t be bad too often.”
“I don’t know.” v.s. “Give me time to think about it.”
Not to an overbearing degree, but in a sense that whomever you are engaging with is worth your full attention. This is where deep eye contact, body language, proximity, scheduling future plans and clear tones come into play. Sometimes even the way you dress will communicate how much you invest in your interaction. By seeming invested in your shared experiences, the desires you demand are all the more reachable.
Showing up on a date with unkempt and inappropriate clothing v.s. showing up on a date styled in an attractive manner (even if only to you.)
Dancing with the woman you are speaking with v.s. dancing with her friend.
Promoting Black economics in a white restaurant v.s. promoting Black economics in a Black restaurant.
Preaching Black Power but vaunting voting as Liberatory v.s. voting or not voting but recognizing its not the end-all-be-all of political activity.
Being about Black Power but being caught near a white or even mulatto woman v.s. Being about Black Power and going for all types of Black women.
Make your desires personal to whomever you engage.
Being too generic can turn people away. Yet stressing another’s unique appeal to fulfilling your desires can really move them to so doing. People like to feel special. The little difference between being generic and being specific can be a big difference between getting your desires met or rejected.
“I like women, that is why I am with you.” v.s. “I enjoy how you smile at me. You rank amongst the most pleasant people I’ve spoken with.”
“This book is for Black people.” v.s. “If you’re into self-help than ‘Zuberi; and the Maroons of Maa’ is for you.”
“We need Black folk for the revolution.” v.s. “You have a talent with words. We could use you in our revolutionary organization.”
“All of you need to be collecting signatures.” v.s. “Those of you who read well, follow me; those of you who just want to fight, go with Oni; and those of you who think well, see Sba.”
Keep your conversant comfortable.
When people are comfortable they are more willing to oblige. People who are uncomfortable are often distracted and seeking a more comfortable company or lack thereof. Comfort can be inspired by laughter but also by safety, time shared and familiarity. Making others comfortable isn’t foolproof, yet detecting discomfort early can inform your decision-making to keep or improve comfort-levels.
Assess the persuadee.
Some of the earliest reading skills children develop are ‘main idea,’ ‘context clues,’ ‘inference,’ ’cause and effect,’ kwk. In your interaction with whomever you seek to persuade, be sure to interact in such a manner that you assess their receptivity to your desires. Infer where your desires stand, communicate the main idea, look at context clues which include tone, eye contact and body language, read the person. If your reading suggests that you should move on, move on. If your reading suggests that you should close, close. If your reading suggests you should advance your position, advance. But always read.
“(Persuadee: ‘I’m cold.’) I don’t find it cold in the least.” v.s. “(Persuadee: ‘I’m cold.’) Let us relocate to a warmer area?”
“(Persuadee: ‘I’m not interested in purchasing a book’) Well, it’s a really good book.” v.s. (Persuadee: ‘I’m not interested in purchasing a book’) Alright. Have a nice day.”
“(Persuadee: Looks around while dialoguing) Are you paying attention?” v.s. “(Persuadee: Looks around while dialoguing) I have to go.”
For though persuasion is a general skill, it is easier to get what you desire from whomever can reasonably reciprocate. While ‘prejudice’ is normally discouraged, it’s highly important to prejudge and make your decisions accordingly. Prejudgment is essential for intelligent interactions.
Take your time to analyze to understanding.
A fool once gave an immediate response to a deep question he never considered. Hesitate before you reply, unless you have already considered the matter, then communicate prior consideration. However, in all that you do, give time to thinking. In extended but early relationships, devote some time to analysis of your conversant to make your communication more meaningful to both of you. If a relationship becomes extended but your conversant remains a mystery to you, you’re spending too little time probing and analyzing and too much time in self-interest and idle-chatter.
Have backup plans to your backup plans.
A backup to your backup requires a plan first. “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Have in mind a plan for all of your interactions, but also consider how you can get that same desire differently or possibly at a later date. To have no plan is the worst but to have one plan isn’t much better. If you set out for one thing, have at least three ways for that one thing to be accomplished. Then organize your interactions accordingly.
“You don’t want to go to the park? OK, have a nice day.” v.s. “You don’t want to go to the park? What about a cafe?”
“You don’t have $15? Have a nice day.” v.s. “You don’t have $15? How about squarecash?”
“Can you make a Friday meeting? Too bad.” v.s. “Can you make a Friday meeting? How about Tuesday?”
Build a little anticipation.
Not too much, but sometimes your interactions will demand you value yourself just a little more than you usually do. Having your conversant anticipate your response can take you much further than having your conversant immediately fulfilled with your response. Having a space in your persuadee’s head can be the difference between affecting cooperation or losing it entirely. Anticipation when used appropriately can be a potent force in persuasion but do not overdo it. There’s a thick line between anticipation and depletion, that once crossed is hard to cross back.
For the eloquent are naturally more interesting, intriguing and charming. As colonized African people we are in a horrible position. We are tasked with the mastery of language but a limited selection of languages; the more popular ones being foreign. Many among us choose to be ignorant of the colonizer’s tongue and ignorant of our mother tongues. That is a fool’s errand. If the mother tongue is impractical, master it all the same but master the colonizer’s especially. Being able to communicate well and effeciently does wonders for your communication and thus your relationships. There is a beauty in words even in an ugly language. Mastering those words are a better endeavor than spoiling your thoughts with an inability to express them.
“Me like lips.” v.s. “I find your lips irresistible.”
“Na nigga, I wrote it.” v.s. “I wrote a novel and, at the risk of sounding biased, I believe it to be one of the best written in the English language.”
“I need bread to get food.” v.s. “I’m short on cash yet I am hungry.”
“white people ain’t shit.” v.s. “This white man set up a system of censorship where despite the illnesses he directs upon your people, you feel uneasy about blanketly condemning him as a group.”
“Act in the rhythm of your time . . . such is wisdom.”
The rhythm of your time can be interpreted many ways: year, era, technological age, time of day, relationship stage and so forth. The important point is to be appropriate to your time no matter how you define time. Don’t make phone calls too early or too late, unless it’s appropriate. Don’t follow a deep conversation with a simple one too quickly. Be rhythmic and timely in all of its implications. The wrong time and wrong rhythm can upset even the best efforts.
“Act as if it is impossible to fail.”
Not only an African Proverb, this is possibly the best advice many of us will ever get in our lives. It requires an understanding and outlook of success and, as a mantra, can encourage us to do our best whenever we neglect to commit our best. This proverb further informs us to not doubt ourselves, to go for our goals and take risks, to be confident, and to perform our roles diligently.
“Would you like to kiss?” v.s. “You have the most attractive lips I’ve ever laid eyes on.”
“Want to come to our meeting?” v.s. “Come out Friday.”
“I think we should fight back.” v.s. “Grab a gun. We’re killing someone today.”
“Are you available?” v.s. “I’m at the Plaza. Come through.”