Photo Credit: Rifka Schonfeld
  • Do you talk politely to everyone?

Yes, for me, every person is important and has to be addressed in a polite manner.
No, I talk politely only to some people.


  • Can you make people do what you want them to?

Yes, I can easily make them do things I want them to do.
No, I find it hard to do so.


  • Do you find it easy to convince people?

Yes, I can easily convince people to accept what I say.
No, it’s very difficult for me to convince people.


  • Do you find it hard to make people understand your point?

No, I usually frame my words in such a way that people easily understand me.
Yes, it’s really hard to make people understand my point.


  • Do you feel nervous while talking to an unknown person?

No, it doesn’t make a difference to me.
Yes, I feel nervous while interacting with a stranger.


  • What do people say about your nature?

Many people say that I have a friendly nature.
Many people say that I am hard nut to crack.


  • Do people enjoy your company?

Yes, they love to spend time with me.
I don’t think so. .


  • Do you participate in social functions?

Yes, from gatherings to parties, you will find me everywhere.
No, I don’t like to interact with too many people at a time.


  • If you had to sell something to a friend, would you be successful?

Yes, I am sure about that.
No, I don’t know.


I adapted the above quiz from several I have seen before. If you answered more A’s than B’s, you likely have a persuasive personality. You are able to engage other people, and maintain friendly relationships with others. Your social skills work in your favor when it comes to persuading other people.

If you answered more B’s than A’s, you might not have a persuasive personality. That might be because you generally avoid interacting with people who are new or unknown. This can prevent you from persuading others to your point of view or to help you with other issues.

So, you want to be more persuasive?

Robert Cialdini, the author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, lays out the six principles we can all use to become more persuasive. He also explains how you can combat those persuasive tactics.

  1. Reciprocation: This one is quite logical. If you want to persuade someone to do something (or buy something), give something first. You can give information, samples, or a positive experience. Once you do something for somebody else, he or she will be more likely to want to help you out. The reciprocation principle explains why people get so excited about free samples or giveaways. When you get something, you are more likely to give something.
  2. Social Proof. You’ve all heard this one before, “9 out of 10 dentists recommend Colgate as the leading toothpaste.” If everyone is doing it, then it must be worthwhile doing! When looking to persuade someone to do something, explain how others have already signed on.
  3. Commitment and Consistency. No one wants to default on a deal; we all want to keep our word. Another way to be more persuasive is to point out how this idea matches their previously stated attitude, values or actions. If you point out that they should help you with a charitable cause because they always talk about how important it is to be involved, you will be playing into their desire for consistency.
  4. Liking. The liking principle is a no-brainer. If someone likes you, he or she will be more willing to say yes to you. And, how do you get people to like you? Well, by honing your listening skills and following through. If you are a good friend, employee or employer who comes through for others, they will be more likely to come through for you.
  5. Authority. People naturally respect authority and experts. They want to follow the lead of people who command authority and are good at what they do. Presenting the appearance of someone who is successful will help you be more persuasive to others.
  6. Scarcity. We all know the theory of supply and demand. When there is less supply, the demand goes up (and so do the prices!). If there is more supply, the demand goes down (and so do the prices!). If you want to convince others to be involved, donate, or buy something, showing them how limited the spots (or items) they are filling (or buying) will help your cause!

Are you already a persuasive person? Don’t need help with that? Cialdini might have something for you too – maybe you’re too easily persuaded and want to work on toughening up your resolve.

Either way, learning to get along with others and strengthen your social skills is something we can all be persuaded of!


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An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at [email protected].