top of page

5. Motivating People for Their Benefit

Developing the Art of Drawing Out the Best in People


"Effective Persuasion is a result of relating, not ruling. It speaks to the heart as well as to the head. Therefore, persuasion does not make use of force or intimidation." -- John C. Maxwell

I sat at a table with three business owners, prepared to spend the day discussing what steps needed to be taken to increase the company's profitability. It was evident from the profit and loss reports that something needed to change in the way the field technicians tracked their material usage and charged the customer for that material.

After hours of presenting ideas, identifying obstacles, and asking questions to move us forward, we finally came to a solution that everyone agreed was manageable, didn't place too much responsibility on any one person, and could be implemented as early as the next day. At least, that's what we thought when we parted ways.

However, the next day, as I listened to one of the owners present the solution to the field techs, I realized that we had failed to successfully persuade this owner that the solution was best for the company and the workers.

Getting people to do something without convincing them it's the right thing is not the result of effective motivation or persuasion; they are just accommodating us, often because they feel intimidated. This means that we have not convinced them, nor have we met their needs.

While we often think about the negative connotation of persuasion and liken it to manipulation, true persuasion is sweet, like honey. It should be an act of relating to what the other person needs and wants and connecting with them where they are. It speaks to the heart through emotion and to the head through practicality. Persuasion is the act of drawing others to a conclusion that is in some way beneficial to them without force or intimidation.

John Maxwell gives seven key principles to understand persuasion better and how you can develop it to be a people person.

1. Know Precisely What You are Trying to Accomplish

Before you can persuade others on any issue, you need to know your end goal. To help you identify your objective, keep in mind the 5-C's:

  • Consideration - What is the needed response?

  • Credibility - What must I do to get the needed response?

  • Content - What must I say to get the needed response?

  • Conviction - How must I say it?

  • Conclusion - What steps must I take to get the needed response?

2. Place Yourself in the Other Person's Shoes

You don't persuade others from your perspective but by understanding their perspective. To help you put yourself in someone else's shoes, consider these three questions:

  • What does this person know?

Find out what is unique to their life experience and what is important to them.

  • What does this person feel?

People do things for their reasons, not yours; those reasons are emotional and based on what they are feeling due to their experiences.

  • What does this person want?

If they see that what you want can also give them what they want, they will be much more open and receptive to you.

3. Expose the Problems Immediately

Always deal with potential problems or objections upfront. This helps to build trust and credibility. You will have to deal with the problems at some point; better to do so at the start before they have the chance to fester and create barriers and negative feelings.

“You can get everything in life you want if you help enough people get what they want. ” — Zig Ziglar

4. be Prepared to Take a Risk

Most people, when attempting to persuade others of their point of view, become fearful that they will fail, but that fear is then conveyed to their audience. Effective risk-taking leadership occurs when your audience senses your conviction and confidence, so make your best case and be prepared to stand by it, regardless of the consequences.

5. Appeal to the Higher Vision

"Appealing to a higher vision is helping others become not only what they are capable of becoming, but what they want to become." It's your job, as the persuader, to help them understand what you are trying to accomplish and empathize with the values you are promoting so that, emotionally, they want to give you the response you are after.

6. Know When to Stop

The primary reason people lose arguments is not that they are wrong but because they don't know when to quit pushing their point of view. When you belabor your point, you only weaken your position; instead, fall back on the fourth principle!

7. Cover Your Topic with Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is contagious and will often give you the edge you need. "A speech without enthusiasm is like a landscape painted entirely in shades of gray -- there is form but not color."

This week, consider something that you need to be persuasive about; maybe it's a sales pitch, maybe it's team buy-in for a company change, perhaps it's convincing your spouse to take a vacation or your kids to clean their rooms; or perhaps you're not sure what you want to accomplish (though you know there is something that you need people to help you accomplish).

List how you can apply these seven principles to your relationships with the people in your life this week.

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page