The Art of Persuasion: Transitional Openers (Part 4)
This continues previous posts on the topics on a key skill in Phase Two of The Art of Persuasion.
Phase One is trust building here. Phase Two is the Transition—where you complete listening and begin the shift to talking. I posted on Transitions here; asking for permission here; and two other approaches (Claim the bridge and One Step at a time), here. Here is another kind of transition for your Art of Persuasion tool chest.
A thought provoking statement
What do people find thought provoking? A paradox or a challenge to the existing paradigm will quickly do the trick.
“If you don’t care about your results, they don’t give your attention to what I’m about to say.”
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
“If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you can’t take anything for granted.”
Thought provoking statements are difficult to understand, at least when you first hear them. And that’s why they make you think. This is a great thing to do was someone who you suspect is or might be just interested in your persuasion proposal. The intent is to engage their mind before their mind disengages from you.
Throw down the gauntlet with a thought-provoking statement, and then follow that up with something substantial that they can get their mind around, and you will have created an opening for the art of persuasion.
You can also provoke thought with humor. There are literally hundreds of clever and thought-provoking ideas circulating on the Internet these days. Chances are you’ve gotten a few in your e-mail. Here are just a few examples that could be used to open:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. No wonder people sometimes act a little crazy around here!”
“If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who came up with ‘Quit while you’re ahead?’ ”
“If work is so great, why do we pay people to do it?”
“If you try to fail and succeed, what have you done?”
Thought-provoking questions aren’t easy to answer. But they grease the wheels of thought.
Please note: if you use this opener, the next thing you say should make a lot of sense!
Your persuadee will be grateful for it, because it allows them a way out of the paradox and gives them a way to save face and look like they know exactly what you mean.
Let me know how your practice at transitional openers goes. We will cover more transitional openers in a future post.
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