Is the Art of Persuasion Effective?
The question is, “Are we successful because of our innovative ideas and great vision, or is it because we are able to persuade others to follow us on our journey to something new, amazing, and original?” The key term here is persuade, and if you have been a parent or a teacher you may already know that children are masters of persuasion when it comes to achieving their immediate goals. Here is my most recent experience and observation of this valuable skill, this time by an eight-year-old.
Sam wanted a new bicycle and asked for one often, but his parents kept telling him that there was nothing wrong with the one he had currently. Their reasoning included the indisputable facts that his bike was the right size for him, in very good condition for being two years old, had all of the safety requirements, and was still a popular brand and color. Mom and Dad even reminded him that he could have a new bicycle on his ninth birthday, just eight months away. They thought they had covered any and all possible objections, but they had underestimated Sam’s power of persuasion.
One day Sam invited a new boy in their neighborhood, Ricky, to his house after school to play. Sam and Ricky were in the same third grade class at school and had become fast friends. They enjoyed a snack prepared by Mom, put together a one thousand piece puzzle with some assistance from Dad, and then they sat on the sofa in the family room thinking about what they could do for the next half hour before Ricky had to go home for dinner and to finish his homework.
Thinking aloud, perhaps so Mom and Dad could easily overhear the conversation, Sam and Ricky suggested some possibilities. Going to the movies would take too long, they preferred to do homework alone, and playing video games was not allowed during the weekdays. Then Sam said something that changed everything that had been discussed before.
“It’s too bad your bike got stolen from where you used to live.”
Ricky replied, “Yeah, and after my parents got divorced during the summer Mom says there just isn’t enough money for a new one anytime soon.”
“And it’s your birthday next week. I would give you mine, but I can’t have another one until my birthday next summer. Sorry, buddy. Let’s go up to my room and look at my coin collection.”
Sam got a new bike on Friday after Dad came home from work, and Ricky got Sam’s old bike on Saturday as a birthday present. Both boys were all smiles and Sam’s parents felt good about being able to be a part of the solution to an eight-year-old’s problem while also being good examples to their son.
Not fully realizing what he had done, Sam’s vision took his parents on a journey to something amazing. They were open to his point of view and perspective regarding this situation, and all previous facts and logic were put aside so they could together achieve their goal of helping a child in need.
How have you used persuasion to get what you wanted and achieve your goal? Can this skill help you to overcome the fear of selling? Is the power of persuasion a positive one, or one that must be carefully managed so that no one is taken advantage of in the process?