6 Ways to Master the Art of Woo (Winning Others Over)

Regardless of who you are or what you do, you have influence.

It’s what you do with the influence you yield that matters.

Your influence can be positive or negative. It can be a haphazard byproduct of your life or it can be an intentional reflection that serves to lead and move others towards something greater.

When you start to step into that “intentional” aspect of influence, you also begin to develop the need for The Art of Woo: Winning Others Over. Woo is about the ability to persuade… to guide others towards adopting an idea, attitude or desired action.

Former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca once said, “You can have brilliant ideas; but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

The Art of Woo bridges that gap through the effective and strategic use of persuasion.

While persuasion may be about getting across your idea or desired action to result, here’s the point where a lot of people miss the boat because proper persuasion isn’t really about you or your ideas (at least, not in the way you might initially think). It’s about them and understanding what triggers (wants, needs, desires, etc) they have that will enable you to craft your message (want or ask) in a way that they will be most likely to identify with and that will move them towards the result / action you seek.

You have to start with The WIIFM Factor (What’s in it for me?) … the “me” here isn’t you… it’s them.

See, it is about your idea (or product or service or whatever) but it’s really about them and how they will use or benefit from it. You always lead with the Value Proposition when trying to persuade someone else.

Don’t get confused though. Persuasion is not manipulation. There is a big difference.

Effective persuasion guides by looking through a two way lens of benefit for both parties, using that to achieve a desired outcome. Manipulation controls and tries to dominate one over the other by coercing them into something that might not be of value or benefit to them.

Any one of us can try to manipulate for short term gain but if you want influence that lasts…. the Art of Woo is best utilized as a long term approach. It’s really a way of life that enables you to identify with others in a way that makes you connect and add value, but it comes at a price. A price of putting others first and being intentional about your interactions.

The Art of Woo happens naturally for some and needs a bit more focus from others. Regardless of where you fall on that scale, here are 6 ways you can practice The Art of Woo and Win Others Over:

1. Be Strategic: Have a plan. You need to first know what action you want before you can ever expect someone else to take it. When you know what you want you can be better equipped at determining the best way to guide others towards the desired outcome.

2. Put Their Interests First: As I noted above, consider The WIIFM Factor in everything you do that requires the response of someone else. You have to step out of your shoes and into theirs. Try to empathize and see it from their perspective before you even start the conversation. When you do, you’ll be better equipped to speak from a point of value to them instead of just want’s in it for you.

3. Give: Don’t make things lopsided. Give value. Lift others up, serve them in some way. Never ask for something without being willing to give them something in return.

4. Be Honest: No matter what, be honest. State your WHY (the reason behind what you’re doing). The more people see the WHY, the more likely they will join in.

5. Think Long-Term: Never sacrifice long-term success for a short-term gain. Sometimes the temptation is there but resist it. Your future ability to persuade and influence is built heavily on the level of trust that you build and maintain. Trust takes time to create but can be eroded in a second.

6. Be Nice: This may sound like a no-brainer but it’s amazing to me how many people step into a scenario where they are trying to get someone else to do something for them and they do so without being nice. Kindness goes a long way. Every day you have the opportunity to share it, be an ambassador for it and utilize it as a tool for Woo. Take the time to be nice, to encourage, to randomly send a note saying you care (but make sure you REALLY do), and to just treat others like you’d want to be treated.

The Art of Woo is a powerful tool that can make a significant difference in your work, life and in the lives of those around you. Use it wisely and use it well.

Suggested Books / Resources: The Art of Woo | Start with WHY

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Daniel,
    I love the art of Woo. Putting the interests of others first seems like the way we should be leading in the first place. Remembering "It’s about them and understanding what triggers (wants, needs, desires, etc) they have …" is a win win situation. Such a much better approach than trying to persuade someone to adopt your way of thinking without considering whether it would serve them.


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  • artiedavis

    Great list Daniel. Your blog title made think you were going to teach me some new Kung Fu death grip.
    Love the post bro. Good stuff!

    • Haha. The Art of Woo is sort of like a Kung Fu death grip… if you use it well, you're like a Ninja of Positive Persuasion. : )

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  • #5 is huge and too often not followed.

    I do have to say though the idea of being someone's target to be "won over" troubles me a bit. I don't think your language goes to that degree, but I can see some interpreting it that way and losing sight of the importance of genuine human connection.

    • Thanks for the comment Jeffrey. Agreed but as I noted, it’s about intention. Woo is not about trying to manipulate someone. It’s about persuasion. There is a big difference. It’s not downgrading the importance of genuine human connection, it’s about embracing it.

      • Right there with you Daniel. It's the intention some bring to the work that gives me pause. I often think of this whenever I hear someone say they just need to get others buy-in. That language kicks them them into one-way sales mode, not the best way to get genuine commitment from others as opposed to consensus or compliance.

        So I'm not questioning your intention. Just hoping those who are attracted to the idea of winning others embrace the connection and not just pursue the outcome.

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