Here are the last four of seven ways to be more persuasive based on neuroscience

A shape of the brain with key words describing emotions

The first three ways to be more persuasive base on neuroscience were presented in this blog on November 19, 2018. Given the length of the blog here are the last four for closure. Enjoy!

What are the influences that persuade us to change are minds? Tali Sharot is the author of a new book entitled The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others that offers some great ideas. She suggests seven key thoughts on this topic that I found very insightful that I thought you may find interesting too. Here are the last four:


4. The need for control


5. Curiosity


6. State of mind


7. The impact of other people


The need for control


People need to feel that they are in control. The sense of control reduces stress, fear and anxiety. Hostage negotiators know this and give the person empathy and choices.


Note that control is not given up, rather the perception of control.


In the 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption Tim Robbins as a former CP A and now a prisoner in jail helps fill out tax returns for the guards and asks guards questions like whether they want the savings on their taxes to be saved to send their children to Harvard or Yale? Think of how the guards were impacted by this question. This helped the guards visualize money, savings, their children, being proud and happy. Why? In part they were visualizing choices of what to do with their money. On the other hand know how to work with difficult people when they feel they need to be in control.




Encourage curiosity so the other party will listen after having been listened to.


We seek positive information. We avoid negative information. Look at the divisiveness in our society. Think of where you get your news. Think of where others get their news. Is it Fox or MSNBC for example. The answer to where someone gets their news says a lot. We like to listen to what reinforces our view.


However, if we frame something in a positive light and offer only some of the information we may make the other party curious and want to know more.


When we are told what we don’t know we want to know more. Consider how the airlines have made the preflight safety check humorous so that we wonder what the step in the message is going to offer. That keeps our attention. Learn how to listen better with difficult people.


State of mind


Do not provide threatening information. When we are threatened in some way we feel danger. When we feel danger we lean towards flight, fight or freeze. We want to play it safe and take the safe way out, which may mean doing nothing.


When we feel good we are more inclined to take risks.


It has been found that lottery ticket sales go up on bright sunny days and we may be more likely to over estimate success.


If the other person is down appeal to safety.


If the other person is up appeal to additional risk. Consider what you say based on the mindset of the other person. The impact of a sunny day or a favorite team winning can have a positive impact and vice versa. Keep in mind that you don’t know what other outside impacts may also be influencing a decision. Know how to work with others that may be threatening during a negotiation.


The impact of other people


We tend to follow the crowd and especially the in crowd. If others are doing it, we tend to go along. If others are avoiding something, we tend to want to avoid it too. If the cool kids are doing it we tend to think it must be cool too.


The question is whether what you are offering is what is perceived as what the cool kids are doing.


These seven ideas allow us to persuade ourselves and others. Knowing this information, consider how you may interact with others you want to persuade in the future.               


To read a more detailed synopsis of the book read this commentary from Eric Barker, the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

Contact me to speak to your group or consult with you.

Check out my website, books and content. I am an international speaker. I speak on how to overcome conflict with collaboration by taking advantage of the collaboration effect TM enhancing relationships, resources and revenues. My service areas are related to helping clients resolve conflict: within businesses, business to business and with the IRS. I have written 11 books including The Servant Manager and Peaceful Resolutions. I may be contacted through my web site, directly at and at (651) 633-5311. [Michael Gregory, NSA, ASA, CVA; MBA]

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]