Ben Franklin and the Art of Persuasion

Benjamin Franklin understood that the art of persuasion was to induce the person to influence himself. He knew that persuading others to his point of view took patience and endurance, attributes of self-discipline. He assumed that people are often won over slowly, often indirectly. He believed that if you don’t win the bargain today, go after it again tomorrow—and the next day.

Here are some of Franklin’s strategies of persuasion and bargaining:

1. Be clear in your own mind about exactly what you are after.

2. Do your homework so that you are fully prepared to discuss every aspect and respond to every question and comment.

3. Be persistent. Don’t expect to “win” the first time. The first objective should be simply to start the other person thinking.

4. Make friends with the person with whom you are bargaining. Put your bargain in terms of the other person’s desires, advantages, and benefits.

5. Keep your sense of humor.