Whenever your abilities are challenged by someone your ego kicks in. Especially in the case of doing business, the immediate and very instinctive reaction is to make sure your prove the other person wrong. Be careful to avoid damaging the ego when employing these tactics. WARNING: When damage is caused rather than producing a challenge, you will create an air indifference in your prospect.
In a team environment sports coaches commonly use another challenge to player’s egos. Lets say during practice a player isn’t trying very hard, is continually late for team meetings, or keeps making the same mistake again and again. The coach uses a perfect ego based remedy. He’ll bring the team together and explain what is happening with the individual player and the he makes the whole team except for that player run laps. The punishment is a challenge to the ego of this football player. Such a situation only has to happen once to be persuasive for every member of the team.
We very often have challenging messages geared directly at our egos. As an example in a multilevel meeting, managers may say they only want to work with the “go-getters” and “people that can take action.” Teachers may phrase it to a student like this, “I’d like for you to do the advanced assignments.” I have even seen sales representatives attack their prospect with a subtle suggestion like, “I guess you don’t have the authority to make that decision.” You should see the egos come alive.
Another way is to give people credit for things they don’t know. When you do this they will generally say nothing and allow you to believe them to be smarter and more aware than they really are. Then they will try to live up to the undeserved credit you have just bestowed upon them, just so they can lead you to believe they are really smart. Here are a couple more phrases that are direct challenges to our egos, “You probably already know….” or “You will soon realize…”
When it comes to persuasion we are faced with a very tricky task of building up the egos of our prospects and placing our egos on hold. To be effective at persuasion you have to let go you your ego and focus on the objective at hand. You don’t want to have to deal with a bruised ego. So check your ego at the door and remember your overriding purpose is on persuasion and not you.
Learn more about persuasion and handling egos. Stop by Kurt Mortensen’s Persuasion IQ site where you can find out where your persuasion strengths lie and what you can improve to get what you want out of life.