Don’t Coerce, People Persuade Themselves


The use of directives to influence people’s actions is nothing new. However, they often fall short since they resist being ordered

People may be convinced to act against their will, one of the biggest misunderstandings in the fields of sales and communication. It’s as if they think they can convince people to buy by presenting them with so many compelling opinions that the buyers will eventually give in. Basically, it never occurs.


Coercion is not persuasion. It’s never clear if someone’s actions are caused by our efforts to persuade them or by what drives the people we’re trying to convince. Coercion is the act of compelling another person to act against their will. It is a byproduct of authority. You pay your taxes since the government mandates it.

To influence another person’s beliefs or actions in a context where they have the freedom to make their own decisions is the goal of persuasive communication.

Humans want to imagine that they are in charge of their own destinies. That they are motivated by who they are as individuals, by their own values and principles, rather than by external forces.

People get their defenses up, and our radar goes off whenever someone tries to persuade us. This is an example of the phenomenon known as reactance.

Abating reactance

Think about a commercial that attempts to get you to purchase a product. Whether the customer subsequently makes a purchase based on our recommendation, they won’t know if they’re doing so out of genuine interest in the goods or service or just because they’ve been persuaded to. Also, that makes them less prone to act in that way.

If a commercial comes on, we just flip to another station. When a salesman sends us an email, we immediately delete it. We try to avoid or ignore these persuading messages. Worse still, even if someone gives the impression that they are listening, they may really be sitting there counter-arguing, coming up with all the reasons why our suggestion is incorrect.

Therefore, rather than convincing others, we should encourage them to come to their own conclusions.

Try to get them to convince themselves

We must give them the impression that they’re in command and can direct their actions. One effective strategy is to provide individuals with more independence and decision-making power. You may create a menu to give users a choice of multiple things, not just one.

Take, as an example, a presentation you may give in the workplace. Give folks one choice, and they’ll spend the rest of the meeting coming up with reasons why it’s a horrible idea, why they don’t want to do it, why it could cost too much, and why it won’t work.

Smart individuals know that it’s better to offer folks a few different paths to go than just one.

Having people choose from a list of possible answers changes the relationship between the speaker and the audience. They’re far more likely to choose one of the alternatives you offered them after considering all the pros and cons of each than to sit there and list all the things they don’t like about what you’re offering.

It’s an option that’s limited by specific parameters, so to speak.

It’s not like there are fifteen or twenty choices; rather, a few serve as the roadmap for the voyage. Instead of telling people what to do, it empowers them by providing them with variety. If they had a say in how the final decision was made, they will be more likely to follow through with it.

Your internal monologue

When it comes to convincing others, the thoughts in your brain may be rather persuasive. Consider your response when someone is actively attempting to convince you. It might be anybody from a salesman to a politician. Your internal monologue becomes a screaming match whenever you’re among these people. It offers justifications, defences, and criticisms to refute their claims. You may not say what you are thinking, but you definitely are thinking it.

You may recall the disagreements that ensued when you think back on that meeting. You are far more likely to remember the depth of your emotions in response to the other person’s viewpoint. Your internal monologue will stick with you.

The notion of internal monologue (or mental chatter) is also crucial in convincing others. It is said that using the person’s mental responses is an important part of the method of persuasion. It stresses the importance of the audience’s own thinking in the decision-making process, rather than the audience’s recall of the arguments presented by the persuader.

Influencing the thoughts of another person’s internal monologue

The job of a persuader is to get their target thinking positively. If you can’t persuade someone against their will, then you must provide them with reasons to prefer one option over another, such as via enjoyable experiences.

Constantly, advertisers strive to plant optimistic ideas in consumers’ heads. That’s why many commercials aim to make you laugh or grin. Their goal is to associate certain companies with favourable emotions and memories. Cadbury’s tries to create warm feelings and emotions through their advertising, thereby creating a very favourable disposition to their chocolates

What should you do?

Think about how people will talk about your brand as you examine the numerous points of contact.

  • Just how do individuals respond at each stage?
  • When you hear this, what emotions come to mind?
  • How do people talk to themselves?

Your mission is to silence any self-critical thoughts at every interaction. You want your clients to have faith in your business, use your goods and services often, and find your team a pleasure to interact with.

Give your consumers the freedom to choose your business and its offerings. You allow them to convince themselves.


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