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  • Are your conversations achieving what you want?
    Are your conversations achieving what you want?
  • Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
    Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
  • Do you frequently get into arguments?
    Do you frequently get into arguments?
  • Does your feedback help people change?
    Does your feedback help people change?
  • Are you getting the best out of your people?
    Are you getting the best out of your people?
  • How are you coming across to your boss?
    How are you coming across to your boss?

Might your need to be more successful at influencing and persuasion
be met by this London UK based management training course
called Skills with People?

Yes if any of the following apply to you 

  • It’s hard not to argue when you disagree with someone.
  • But you know from experience that argument leads to yet more argument – it rarely succeeds in changing people’s minds.
  • When someone resists your point of view you do your best to keep calm and reason with them. The trouble is that often they won’t listen to reason.
  • You sometimes fail to achieve your goals at work because your influencing or persuasion skills are not as good as you need them to be.
  • You've always assumed that the best way to persuade people is to reason with them.
  • You find that reasoning with people only works so long as they're open minded. 
  • You've been told you've a reputation for being argumentative, but this isn't fair. You don't think you're doing anything wrong - all you're trying to do is reason with people. If only they'd be more open-minded and rational you wouldn't need to argue.
  • It's when people raise objections or resist your point that you find yourself arguing.

What you'll take away from this course

You'll have the understanding, skills and confidence to be a better influencer and persuader. The main difficulty in influencing and persuasion is when people resist. We'll give you a very effective way of overcoming resistance without argument. 

Steps you can take right now
to see if this influencing and persuasion skills training
is right for you

  • First watch our short introductory video, "Who needs these communication skills?"
  • Then contact us for a chat and we’ll be glad to discuss what challenges you may be experiencing, and if and how we can help you develop the skills you need for influencing and persuading more successfully.
  • Every participant begins this course with a free exploratory one-to-one coaching session by phone or Skype. You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this course can help you upgrading your influencing and persuasion skills.

You'll find under FAQs (in the main menu above) answers to many of your questions about the content and method of this course.

How the skills you'll practise on this course
will make you much more successful
at influencing and persuasion

Why is influencing and persuasion so difficult?

When influencing and persuading we're trying to change people’s thinking and win their agreement. The trouble is they resist, and so influencing and persuasion is mainly about overcoming resistance. And the trouble again is - the more you argue the more they resist. And even though it gets you nowhere you probably go on arguing. Most people do. But we'll help you kick the habit. This will make you much more successful at handling objections - without argument. 

Resistance is driven by emotion. Sales people don't call it resistance - they call it raising objections. But whatever you call it, when people feel bad they’re unreceptive to reason. It’s not their fault - it’s how their brains are wired - a biological fact of life. But it's the reason why reasoned argument is a poor method of influencing and persuasion. Giving people facts and logic and reasoned arguments is not a very successful way of handling their objections.

If reasoned argument doesn’t work as a method of influencing and persuading, what does?

What works much better is encouraging people to express their doubts and fears. But surely that only makes them more resistant!? No it doesn’t. In fact it’s the fastest way to open their minds. As they express their feelings they rapidly calm down and become more open-minded. The trouble is that the impulse to argue is usually very strong, and the idea of allowing – even encouraging – people to express negative feelings probably goes deeply against the grain.

But the fact is - people are much more influenced and persuaded by how you listen to them than by what you tell them. So the main skill you need is listening with empathy. Your empathy will enable them to discharge their resistance harmlessly and open their minds. A good rule of thumb is: as soon as you become aware of even the slightest resistance, focus your attention on helping them express it as strongly as they can and so that they can let off steam.

Here's how to do it:-

Pay very close attention to the person you're trying to influence. Try to identify and reflect back as accurately as you can the following three things:-

  • How they feel (Try to name their feeling, e.g., “You don’t look too happy,” “I imagine you must be frustrated”, “You seem upset/angry”.)
  • What the feeling is about (What specific event or experience are they reacting to? What has happened?)
  • Why they are reacting this way (What specific need, belief or difficulty of theirs is making them react this way? In other words, what really matters to them?)

Then pause and keep paying attention, giving them time to let off steam, time to think, and time to say more. When they do say more, repeat the process. Often when you succeed in making someone feel understood they respond with a spontaneous, “Exactly!”

Example of listening with empathy when influencing and persuading

Objections do not have to be seen as negative things, regrettable obstacles in the path of making a sale, to be made little of, or got round, or even if possible avoided altogether. They can be seen as valuable markers on the royal road to a sale, to be encouraged, valued and brought out into the open.

How can an objection be a valuable marker on the road to a sale? Here's how. This example shows the salesman using the skill of listening with empathy as his first response when meeting an objection:-

CUSTOMER (raises a serious objection): You let us down badly with late deliveries last month.

SALESMAN (instead of arguing or trying to make excuses, takes it on the chin, and listens with empathy): Yes we did let you down. I imagine it's made you lose confidence in us and want to look for another supplier.

CUSTOMER: That’s true.

SALESMAN (more empathy): So to win back your business I will obviously have to make you confident it won’t happen again. You’ll need to be convinced we’ve taken the problem seriously, have found the cause, and have a reliable solution.

CUSTOMER (his mind beginning to open): That would certainly help.

SALESMAN (speaks frankly, but takes nothing for granted): I believe I can convince you.

CUSTOMER: Okay, go ahead. We would rather stick with who we know, provided we can trust them. But you’ll have to be very convincing.

SALESMAN (continues being frank and open): I believe you. I’ll do my best.

The salesman now swiches from listening to telling. But even as he does so he still pays very close attention to the customer to see how he is reacting. At the slightest sign of a frown or a raised eyebrow, or even a blank expression, he swiches back to listening and reflects:-

  • e.g., “I can see I haven’t fully convinced you”, “Something’s still worrying you”, “You’re still concerned about …”, “You’re not happy with what I’m telling you”.

He does his best to address each concern to the customer’s satisfaction. He ends up with, “Are you convinced enough to place another order with us?” If so, job done. If not, he goes round the cycle again, asking:-

  • “What further obstacle needs to be overcome before you are sufficiently convinced to place an order with us?”

Once more he does his best to satisfy the customer’s concern, and then tries again to close the sale. 

Yet more reasons why you might benefit
from this training in influencing and persuasion

  • When trying to persuade people you often find yourself entrenched in adversarial debate. It rarely succeeds in winning people over to your point of view, but you have no other way.
  • You'd like to be able to influence people honestly and without manipulation.
  • To make the full contribution that you're capable of to the business, you need to increase your powers of influence.
  • The part of influencing you find most difficult is handling people's objections and resistance. That's when you often find yourself deep in argument with people. You realise that argument is not a very successful way of opening people's minds. You need to know how to stop arguing, how to persuade without arguing.
  • You need to be more successful at winning cooperation, winning people over, changing their minds.
  • You'd like to be able to handle disagreements in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understading, instead of seeing them degenerate into conflict.
  • You need to find a way to persist in getting what you want from people without nagging.
  • You need to be more successful and quicker at reaching agreement and getting people's commitment, getting them to say yes.
  • You need to know how to negotiate win-win agreements.
  • If you knew how to open closed minds you could be much more successful at work.
  • You need to be able to deal more successfully with irrational people.
  • You need to be more successful and quicker at getting a meeting of minds at work.
  • You need to be able to oppose people strongly sometimes, but without arguing and without being disrespectful.
  • You need to be more effective and quicker at resolving disputes, 
  • You need to be able to disagree without conflict. 

Is there more information on this website
relevant to influencing and persuasion?

Yes. You might also find our page on winning friends relevant and helpful.

We love helping you communicate successfully

By giving you communication skills that'll transform even your most challenging relationships and interactions.

That's the purpose of Skills with People, our training course for managers and professional people at all levels. Thousands have benefited from this course.

Video Introduction

 

What People Have Said About The Course

Feedback from participant's boss - head of projects in Heinz

He now gains support through his willingness to involve people more and take them with him.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson marketing director

She has become increasingly aware and focussed on ensuring she is gaining cooperation from colleagues by the way she approaches situations. E.g., Meet ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson Matthey Catalysts (Germany) senior manager

There has been a noticeable improvement in the performance of this customer service engineer. He is much more succinct now than he was before. He was ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Shell International senior manager

He is showing far more self-awareness and more restraint in potentially confrontational situations. He is far more aware of the impact his actions and ...

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Workshop Manager, Professional Plant Services

I now find it easier to have awkward conversations. (As a result of how he has changed several more people from his company are asking to attend the c ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Kimberley-Clark marketing director

He is now aware of his need to control his direct approach. He was sometimes too assertive. I think he is now well balanced in this respect.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Billiton director

He's obviously making a positive effort and it does show. People used to be scared of him. No longer.

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a WS Atkins director

Now he actively listens, probes, asks for clarifications and does not assume anymore he knows the answer.

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Senior Engineer, Qualcomm

An unbelievable experience, highly motivating training and one of the few which stays forever in your mind. A tangible impact to your life and workin ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - Chairman of White Clarke Group

He has greatly improved his ability to manage a situation. He listens more and uses that information to convince. A good example is the .... group, wh ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Glaxo SmithKline research director

He has made good progress in two areas: 1. team leadership - he listens with empathy to others well and considers their standpoint as well as his own. ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson finance director

He has made excellent progress in the management of his team. He has ensured key stakeholders are involved in decision-making and has gone to great le ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Merck Sharp & Dohme medical director

She feels more confident in tackling people and has been impressed with her new found techniques, e.g., in dealing with members of the marketing depar ...

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Learning & Development Coordinator - The Entertainer

I can't recommend this course enough. It has genuinely been the most impactful course I have ever completed. Understanding that I can be assertive w ...

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Fundraising Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

A very intimate training which will make anyone reflect on how best to engage with colleagues when confronted with difficult situations.

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National Training Index* report on the course

"From delegates reports we have identified Skills with People is a 'highspot' among UK business courses. Delegates mentioned as most helpful the enha ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - an HSBC investment director

I have had three unprompted comments from different team members and colleagues who have been surprised at the consideration he has shown in helping s ...

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Leisure Centre Manager

The most useful part of the course was learning how to convey my disappointment with a member of staff without demotivating them, without making them ...

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Sports Centre Manager

I feel that my relationship with other attendees has improved massively following the session. I'd say 9/10 for what I've got from the course as I sa ...

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Theatre Manager

Managing to confront them but still maintain their cooperation and support. Previously I was either not confronting or confronting and ending up with ...

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Golf Club Manager

Ten out of ten for the course for me personally. I think I would have resigned if it hadn't been for the course.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Prudential director

He is a lot more confident. At the last meeting of our business unit leaders he fully led the meeting and dealt with people very well.

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Feedback from participant's boss - A Philips Semiconductors director

To what extend do I think his training need has been satisfied? Completely. I have been approached by 4 peers to tell me that they could see a very po ...

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Examples of Training Needs Met

Had a positive attitude but gave a negative impression Read More...
Technically very sound but lacking persuasive skills Read More...
Well intentioned but demoralising his team Read More...
Enormous enthusiasm but little sensitivity Read More...
Flying high but creating a tense atmosphere Read More...
Being more assertive would help career go better Read More...
Not delegating or developing others Read More...
Allowed his meetings to get out of hand Read More...
Very diligent but hated dealing with difficult people Read More...
Preparing for a more challenging role Read More...
Forceful communicator who created friction Read More...
Lots of energy and ideas but little attention for his clients Read More...
Difficulty communicating with non-technical people Read More...
Respected specialist who was too quiet at meetings Read More...
Very logical but not creating enough rapport Read More...

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