My kids are big fans of chocolate milk. One morning when we were running errands, they were adamant about getting chocolate milk at Starbucks. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to two young kids all hopped up on sugar. Plus, we were short on time.
“Sorry guys, we gotta get going if we are to make it on time to your cousin’s birthday party,” I told them. It fell on deaf ears. After about five minutes and several rounds of negotiations they won me over.
Kids are phenomenal at getting what they want, and they master it at an early age. It may seem crazy, but there are four things us adults can learn from them about persuasion.
1. Have a clear goal in mind. Don’t make the mistake of having too many goals all at once, have one clear goal like getting chocolate milk – focus is key.
2. Learn from failures & vary your tactics. When you get a “no” (and you’ll get lots of them) learn and adapt from them. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over; otherwise you’re just annoying. My kids tried at least three different tactics like being cute, reminding me how good they had been, and explaining how they were sooo thirsty.
3. Be passionate in your goal. Show passion and energy when trying to win the other person over. If you’re not passionate about your goal, no one else will be either. Kids are all about passion – they’re excited and it shows. Passion is extremely persuasive and wins people over. How could I say “no” to two kids so passionate about chocolate milk?
4. Be likable. The more likable you are when trying to get what you want, the more likely people will listen to you. In fact, if you do it right, people will admire you.
My kids were tenacious, and yet I was so impressed by their doggedness that they eventually won me over. I never had a chance.