Friday, June 3, 2011

The art of persuasion

As an attorney, it's my job to be an advocate.  They say a good attorney can successfully argue both sides of a story and can persuade you to take each side.  And we can talk and argue.  A lot.
So that's my personality.  T on the other hand is more of an introvert.  He's not much of an arguer.  But he has to give presentations at work in front of large groups of engineers, many of them executives, and so I've offered my advocacy skills to help coach him.  The other night he did a practice run of his power point presentation, and even though all of the concepts were WAY over my head, I tried my best to quiz him as if I were in the audience.  I also helped him in the "giving things a positive spin" department.  For example... "we weren't given much time, so I was only able to collect this much data."  To this I told him to say "I was able to successfully utilize the time allotted and produce this accurate data."  Sounds better, right?  It's all about how you say it.  It can be total bullshit, but that doesn't matter.  So long as you have confidence in what you say, they will believe you actually mean it.
I had to do this all the time in court.  So many times I had nothing for a case or the worst client ever, have to try to win your case.  So you spin the facts (not lie, but make them sound better than they are) to make your case seem better.  Most Judges could see right through it, but, you had to do it anyway.  SO my words of wisdom to T were this:
"You have to own it.  Say it with confidence, even though it's crap.  Talk that person into believing that this is the only thing they want to believe in."
I was pretty good until I made this analogy.... "Hell, I could sell poop Popsicles to a group of vegetarians if I made it sound good enough." 
No, I don't know where that came from.  And T just busted out laughing, immediately posting that on Facebook as one of my many "Nain-isms" 
But did it work?  Yes, it did.  I got a text from T after his presentation "Well, it's done.  I sold poop Popsicles to a group of vegetarians!"    And he'll never forget that phrase ever when he has to do a presentation again.  Mission accomplished.


  1. That is a fabulous analogy!! I hope I can remember that one! I used to put together a church bulletin every week and frequently had to turn, "the [fill-in-the-blank] will not be meeting" to a positive statement. It got old but I did it regularly. Even turning "canceled" to a positive statement. People prefer positivity to negativity. It was positivity that made me top sales person for an eyeglass company for three months in a row, nationwide. (It would have continued had I had I continued employment with that company).

    Good job Nain, and T!

  2. I absolutely love that. You should probably use Nain-isms in court. It could win over a jury or judge. :)

  3. Hehe I love it! Those moments you day something and it will be a joke between you two forever!

  4. Holy nonsense friend! Ha! I love it! But please don't ever try to sell me poop popsicles!

    I love it!!
    I'm not good at this, but MJ is reeeeally good!


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