Art of Persuasion – Making people say “Yes”

The art of persuasion- making the people to say “Yes” literally and help them do the way you want them to, depends on your tactics and skill. This is what I learnt from an episode on TV- Nat Geographic – Number Games. It focused on trials and experiments to see what worked and what didn’t.

Three things that make big difference while persuading a person are-

1. What you Say

2. Who says it

3. How you say it.


What you Say?

In an experiment, A man had to make a request to break a queue and go ahead in a line. He requests people with phases like ” Please can I go ahead?”, ” Can I please get in before you?” most of the time the answer is “No”. In contrast , another person gives reasons for why she needs to ” … because I m not so well” “.. because I have an urgent call to attend” “…because I’m getting sun burn” . She got more approvals. The  crowd had both men and women.

So, convincing people need a valid reason, you can request something for no reason. One art is to convince people to persuade them. Try it!

Experiment – “Can I stay on a leave on Monday, please” vs ” I want a leave a Monday because I need a break” . Which would work?

Who Says it?

In the next experiment, a teen age boy ask people to put a coin into the machine, because car got over parked, 90% times no positive response. But when he wears a uniform of a security guard, and ask the same thing, he score 3 times more. It highlights on how people have been conditioned to uniforms.



Beside this, Beard vs Clean save, Suit vs Casual wear, Tall vs Short, Good Cellphone vs simple one.. Tall Bearded man in Suit with a good gadget made a more impact and impression on people, was authoritative and persuaded them more.

Likewise, one person vs group, Group always obtained more attention and was more authoritative  and got more response.


How you say it?

It is the most important art of persuasion. A fluent speaker with speed of 200 words per minute was more likely to overcome the listener and give him less opportunity to disagree than a slower speaker. So clear and fast speech does make a better impression.

Likewise, use of Rhyming phrases made a better catch, ” A stitch in time, saves from nine” when spoken in rhyme made more impression than when spoken without rhyme, among the listeners.

While presenting on a slide, Italicizing and dimming the sentence you want people to see, made a more memory as people have to focus and read it with more attention. This is in reverse to what we have been taught about a good slideshow 😀

A better body language always made a better impact on the listeners.


So, if you think you can be a good Orator, thing is you can and it takes 10,000 hours to expertise in anything. 40 hrs per weeks for 5 years.

The show was interesting and brilliant with live experiments, are lesson we can follow in daily life to expertise in this skill.

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