In the jungle, many species have mastered the art of persuasion. The Bluebird of Paradise, for example, goes through elaborate displays of beauty and charm to persuade females that he is their best candidate for fatherhood. His objective clearly in mind, atop the highest tree, hung upside down and with his spectacular iridescent tail-feathers spread to form a huge two-toned blue halo behind his black face, he goes through a spectacular "sales pitch".

If the Bluebird of Paradise spots a female, he’ll swing back and forth slowly while making a hypnotic, raspy chant. He’ll move his wondrous plumage so it shimmers and shines. Slowly he lures the female to him, persuading her by varying his song until, swept away by all his "Bells and Whistles", she'll finally agree he's the one for her.

A close relative, the Bowerbird of Borneo, persuades females that he is suitable by constructing a very large and elaborate "bower", a home that is much bigger and more complex than a mere nest. When early explorers encountered the Bowerbird’s elaborate structures, they thought them to be playhouses built by local children.

Not content to design and build a home of great architectural wonder, Bowerbirds then persuade females to visit their real estate offering to admire its advantages. They do this by adding an elaborate decor to the prospective home, and they use every kind of colorful object to enhance the appeal of their offer. Anything goes - butterfly wings, rare feathers and tuffs of fur, bottle caps, tinfoil, shells, flowers, plastic - all can show off the Bowerbird’s good taste. The veritable mansions that result are indeed very persuasive.

Australia's Golden Bowerbird also goes to even greater lengths to sell his charms to the opposite sex - he builds and decorates two bowers in neighboring trees, then finds a perch between them and offers prospective females a choice. More than just selling his skills, he's ready to persuade any hot prospect that her worries are over, that he's the greatest provider.

Persuasion is the art of convincing others to do things your way - because they want to - and that skill is very often a business need.

In his book
Secrets Of Power Persuasion, Roger Dawson explains eight (8) conditions under which people can more easily be persuaded:
  1. If they think you can reward them;
  2. If they believe you can punish them;
  3. If you know how to apply those dual pressures, and
  4. If you do indeed apply them;
  5. If you have bonded with them;
  6. If a given situation limits their options;
  7. If they think you have more expertise than they do;
  8. If they find you always behave in a fair and consistent manner.
Dawson warns us against the first idea - rewarding people - by explaining that it's subject to the law of diminishing returns. People being creatures of habit, it is also the most expensive way of getting things done. Neither is the second idea - the power to punish people - a very good tool because fear is not a positive motivator (even if it is undeniably a persuasive force) and people do inure themselves to punishment.

Real power comes from knowing when and how to apply those first two forces - often called "the carrot and the stick". Experts agree they must be used very subtly and sparingly ...if at all.

Take the time to bond is a powerful technique. Getting to get to know a prospect, learning his expectations and desires and then demonstrating a capacity to help works best. Once you are perceived as a friend - even when negotiating a commercial exchange - it makes the job of changing the other person's mind a lot easier.

Also, if people are convinced you have more expertise than they do, they are more likely to want to do things your way. Keep a step ahead of the competition by understanding the conditions that affect your clients, your market and your community. Read, network with experts and keep abreast of the latest. This will allow you to persuade others that you can bring them valuable information and give them an advantage.

Showing that you have consistent standards and values lets people approach you and when they discover they can rely on you this trust can be translated into a very powerful persuader.

Recognizing that the next big thing still has to be sold, winners have no resistance to creating the appropriate Bells and Whistle presentation that will persuade potential customers, or get "buy-in" for a great idea.