How to persuade my son (and your contacts) to do anything

15th February 2022

I have four children.

Child #4 is 9 years old.

He hates going to bed.

But he loves me reading Harry Potter to him.

So which of these will persuade him to go to bed?

  1. Go to bed
  2. Go to bed and I’ll read Harry Potter
  3. It’s time for us to read Harry Potter! Let’s get in bed, so we can see what happens next!

Clearly it’s #3:

  • The first thing he hears is what he loves (Harry Potter), not hates (bed)
  • It’s phrased in a ‘joint’ way, rather than ‘you vs me’

It’s the same when you’re persuading someone to do something:

  • Start with what they’re most interested in
  • Phrase it ‘jointly’


  • In an Update Meeting, say "Let’s try something different this week. We’ll be finished in 20 minutes" (better than "Same stuff; different week. It’ll last an hour. If you’re lucky")
  • In a proposal, include their #1 priority in the title: "How we’ll help you generate £50million revenue in three months" (better than "Our proposal")
  • When selling, mention price late, not early. That way, you’ve jointly agreed the value you’ll deliver. That puts your price in context (better than leading with price, and hearing "your competitors are cheaper, so I don’t want you")

This works! After all, if I can persuade Child #4 to go to bed, you can persuade anyone to do anything…

Action Point

Next time you want to influence someone, prep your opening sentence – make it benefits-rich and ‘joint’! And then watch this.

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