Aristotle once said, “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”
Of course, he was right. The subtle art of persuasion isn’t as much about specific manipulation techniques as it is about one’s personality.
If you aim to manipulate people, many of them will be able to tell and they’ll naturally pull away. But if you display persuasive traits, they will gravitate toward you and won’t even think twice.
Thus the art of inner confidence.
Want to hear more? Let’s take a look at the 7 traits of people who are naturally persuasive (without being manipulative).
1) They speak with confidence
If someone tells you, “I guess you should buy this bag because it’s, huh, nice?” you’re probably going to shrug your shoulders and walk away.
Salesmen who are excellent at their job know that confidence is the most important trait you ought to display.
And since confidence in and of itself isn’t manipulative, it works to subtly persuade people without any further intentions hiding behind it.
So, if you want people to believe what you’re saying, you’ve got to believe it first. Speak clearly and with certainty. Explain why what you believe holds true. Approach the topic from many different angles.
The bag isn’t just nice, it’s also extremely efficient because it comprises all the pockets you could ever need. The size is perfect for a fun day out as well as an elegant dinner at a high-end restaurant. The make is environmentally-friendly.
Oftentimes, presenting facts with an air of confidence is all you need to persuade people.
2) They’re eloquent
When you meet someone new, the way they speak is one of the first things that make an impression. This is why eloquence is a must when it comes to persuasion – the more eloquent you are, the smarter you sound.
Before you go ahead and spend the afternoon flipping through your dictionary to find the most high-level words, though, keep in mind that eloquence isn’t just about the size of your vocabulary.
It’s about how you use your words in different contexts.
If you want to convince an academic of the validity of your arguments, you may need to speak very differently than if you’re selling a vacuum to a housekeeper.
Both require a high level of eloquence, yet both exist on different linguistic levels.
A housekeeper will be so well acquainted with all cleaning terms that you ought to present expert knowledge in the area; an academic will have read so many research papers they’ll expect you to use the same lingo to get your point across.
Words have power – if you use them well.
3) They know their facts
I have a friend who’s right so often that I rarely feel the need to Google the facts he presents.
He is well-read, spends a lot of his time digging through research, and doesn’t embellish the truth, so the more I’ve gotten to know him, the more persuasive he becomes.
Now that I trust his knowledge, he could make up a lie and I probably wouldn’t question it unless I wanted to share it with another person or learn more about it.
Persuasion can be as subtle as eloquence, but it can also be as obvious as simply being smart. If you’re well-read and get most of your facts right, it won’t be too hard to win people over.
4) They have integrity
There are very few traits that are as persuasive as integrity.
If you have integrity and abide by moral principles, you automatically stand out as a person of value, which makes people gravitate toward you and put their trust in you.
A prime example of integrity is when one person doesn’t back down even if the whole group is arguing against their opinion.
As long as your argument is valid and reasonable, the fact that you’re not easily swayed gives it more weight and persuasive power.
5) They’re very empathetic
Emotions flow and shift, and naturally persuasive people are keenly aware of that.
They easily place themselves into your shoes, see the world from your perspective, and feel out which emotions are permeating the atmosphere the most.
Then they adjust their behavior based on those findings.
Well, manipulation requires a clear intention to manipulate for it to count, and adjusting your behavior to fit in with a certain emotional atmosphere is an unconscious reflex for a lot of empaths.
In other words, they don’t necessarily mean to deceive you. They just react to your emotional energy by shifting theirs so that you’re on the same wavelength.
6) They are great listeners
Want to hear one of the key elements of persuasion?
Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. The truth is, people love to hear themselves talk, and if you pose the right questions, they might talk themselves into a circle and realize their own faulty logic.
The Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates loved to do exactly that.
His method is now called “Socratic Questioning” – a type of interaction where you lead the other person out of their misconceptions and force them to think more critically just by asking them questions.
What’s more, showing genuine interest in what someone has to say automatically increases trust and connection.
Naturally persuasive people are often curious and seek to learn more about others – not to be manipulative but to form a connection. Persuasive power is just a side-effect.
7) They look classy and charming
According to research, attractive people are seen as more trustworthy.
This, of course, doesn’t mean they are; our brains just like to play tricks on us and make us think that what is beautiful must also be good.
Beauty is often subjective, though, so a better way of describing attractiveness may be elegance and charm – there’s just something about naturally persuasive people that makes you go, “Woah.”
It’s not necessarily their facial structure, the color of their eyes, or their luscious hair. It’s the way they hold themselves, the manner in which they look into your eyes, and the assurance with which they speak.
They’re a walking definition of classiness.
While it’s important to remember that persuasion is primarily about what you say rather than how you look – Socrates was apparently very unattractive, and yet he was a pro at persuasion – your appearance does play a role.
If you carry yourself with confidence and radiate charisma, your chances of becoming naturally persuasive dramatically increase.