10 meditations on the gentle art of persuasion



Neil Strauss once said, (and I’m paraphrasing), that you can tell a lot about person in a moment, provided you choose the right moment. Everyone can be persuaded, but you’ve to lay the ground work first. This book should help. Persuade those who are persuadable. Practice by selling things to your friends, or at least try to. Adopt the role of a sales man and sell them different everyday items. Work on your pitch, on your delivery, get their feedback and sell some more.



Know your audience. Whatever your goals might be, you always have to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Why are some politicians more successful than others? Why are some lawyers more successful than others? It’s because they know their audience.

If you’re a newbie click here. If you’ve done your fair share of persuading then click here. There are several basic elements we all have in common. Knowing them is always a good start. What are the basic elements? Click here.



Say the right words. What are the right words? Tell them about themselves and when you can’t think of anything else to say, tell them about themselves again. Everybody’s favorite subject is themselves. Don’t know what to tell them because you’ve just met them? Click here. Try this when playing the role of the salesman. Your friends will love you for it. No one will listen to you unless you have their attention. Your job is not just to converse but to invoke emotions.



With persuasion as with everything else you’ve to keep practicing. They don’t let people in there without an ID? Well keep trying. They don’t give discounts? Well keep trying. They don’t have a job for you at the moment? Well keep trying. Keep trying and keep practicing. Your friends want to see a movie? Chances are you do too but persuade them that another activity is more worthwhile. In the end if they agree with you, you can still go for the movie.



Next to money, compliments make the world go round. And if the compliments are good, the world keeps spinning;their world that is. When it comes to compliments, you can go with the obvious and the cliched. Or you can go as far as complimenting them on their red threads, only to have the following picture as the background for your mobile phone.


A mobile phone that is casually placed on the table or you give it to them because suddenly you’ve lost the ability to send texts. It’s called a smart phone for a reason, so play it smart. Talk is cheap but pixelated pieces of art are priceless.



The truth hurts, but sometimes gets you what you want. I can’t remember how many times it has gotten me out of trouble. Stopped by the police? No problem. Accused of something? Tell them the obvious and they’ll have a good laugh. I rammed into a car that was driving down downtown in the early morning. Not the best time to be in an accident. The force of the impact hurled the car in front a few feet forward. The driver got out, I got out. He examined his trunk. I examined my hood. With rage filled eyes he started at me. I knew there was no way I could get out of this. ‘It’s my fault’, was how I introduced myself. Laughter was his first name.

So how you use the truth really depends upon your creativity. I know there are other similar instances tucked away somewhere in my mind. I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with the law. Look back on your own life. Moments that pleasantly surprised you. Think back to the situation and the person who inspired it. I hope you find your answers.

Final thoughts before we move on. Brian Brushwood has a video where he gets out of a parking ticket. It shouldn’t be hard to find on YouTube. Secondly, this just goes to show that while being in Rome you shouldn’t always do what the Romans do. The guy had expected me to put up resistance.



As a persuader, words are basically all you have, unless you’re a singer and you happen to be carrying an instrument. The purpose of words is to entertain or to inform. If you’re doing neither, you’re wasting each other’s time. Jokes help but we’ve to go deeper than that. Sometimes you don’t even have to say anything, but listen. People will gladly tell you how they want to be persuaded.

Do you know why children are experts at persuasion? Because they’re cute. They’re cute and because they choose the right words. The right words here being simple words. Look at all the famous speeches; I have a dream, Yes we can, We are about to embark on a great crusade. Simple and to the point. Be simple and for God’s sake don’t beat around the bush. Children keep it simple and they tell you exactly what they want. Know what else they do? They’re persistent.




Children know their parents. Do you know your audience? You can never know enough. While it’s true that too much information can cause paralysis; that will only happen if you go unprepared. Get as much information as you can. The more you’ll have, the better you’ll be able to think. Don’t follow this advice if you know someone who didn’t get the job even after researching about the company’s products, services and the interviewer.  Sun Tzu says, ‘those who do not know the lay of the land cannot maneuver their forces.’ You too must know your environment.




Touching back upon the Romans and doing like them, if not doing them, you must always advertise an air of certainty. No one is certain, no one can be. Act like it and it will show. Like love, certainty is a drug and like all drugs, people can’t have enough of it. Times will be tough, you won’t have all the information but that’s okay. Act as someone in command. It is hard to resist someone who is.


An unethical consideration:

This is something a woman is more likely to do. Gender stereotype aside. both sexes should know about it. When the stakes are high and things aren’t going the persuaders way, they will cry. No one expects that, especially from a grown up. You might have seen children doing it, they cry and then they look around to see if anyone’s paying attention. This is the adult version of it. It takes a real heart of stone to not care at that particular moment. Just be aware that something like this could happen.


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