Be careful when you use passion to persuade

Passion can be a real turnoff when it comes to persuasion.

The best persuaders seek to connect before they seek to present. Passionate persuaders are just the opposite. They are soapbox orators, not communicators.

The challenge is toning down someone who is overly passionate is formidable. Such individuals are so enamored of their own ideas and their own abilities they are difficult to reach.

Here are three things you can do to improve:

  1. Videotape them making a pitch. Then as you show them the video ask one question: "Do you want to be that guy?"
  2. Watch how they answer. Very often a sly smile will break out, followed by a vigorous head shaking. Really? "Is that me?" Their beet-red faces will know the video has struck close to home.
  3. Challenge them to go back to the drawing board and examine their argument. Very often the argument is sound; what’s lacking is an opening for someone else -- the person they seek to persuade.

Good persuaders open doors; overly passionate persuaders slam them -- shut!

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. 11 on its list of global leadership experts. Baldoni is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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