Posted in Achieve, Business & Career on 3 May 2016 | by Sam

Influence and Persuasion


There are some key skills, no matter what business you are in, that are essential to learn and advance to get ahead. Think about any successful individual – they know how to influence any stakeholder.


At its best, persuasion is the ability to effectively describe the benefits and logic of an idea to gain agreement – that means we all need to be more convincing: to persuade others a proposal makes sense, to show stakeholders how a project or business will generate a return, to help employees understand the benefits of a new process or start up a new venture which requires funding. There are a number of excellent books on the power of influence and persuasion however, Elysium Magazine spoke to a number of experts to collectively agree the top 5 you need to be successful.


Start Small


Research shows that gaining agreement has an enduring effect, even if only over the short term. Instead of jumping right to the end of your argument, start with statements you know your audience will agree with. Build a foundation for further agreement. This will make it easier for others to agree with the end outcome and bring them along with your logic.


Be Bold



You would assume data and reasoning always win the day, right? Nope. Research shows we prefer confidence over data. We naturally assume confidence equates with skill. Even the most skeptical people tend to be at least partly persuaded by a confident speaker. In fact, we prefer advice from a confident source, even to the point that we will forgive a poor track record.


So be bold. Ban any statements saying, “I think” or “I believe.” Stop adding qualifiers to your speech. If you think something will work, say it will work. If you believe something will work, say it will work. Stand behind your opinions and let your enthusiasm show. People will naturally gravitate to your side.


All Rounded


According to University of Illinois professor O’Keefe, sharing an opposing viewpoint or two is more persuasive than sticking solely to your argument. This is because it accepts that very few ideas or proposals are perfect. Your audience are clever enough to know that.


Embrace the facts head-on. Talk about the things they’re already considering. Discuss potential negatives and show how you will mitigate or overcome those problems. Your audience is more likely to be persuaded when they know you understand they could have questions. So talk about it and then do your best to show why you’re still right.


The Method



Say you’re a man hoping to convince a man you don’t know well, or even at all. What should you do? If you have a choice, don’t speak in person. Write an email first. The stats say men tend to feel competitive in person and turn what should be a conversation into a contest we think we need to win.


The opposite is true if you’re a woman hoping to persuade other women. According to the researchers, women are “more focused on relationships” so in-person communication tends to be more effective.


But if you’re a guy trying to convince another guy you know well, definitely communicate in person. The closer your relationship, the more effective face-to-face communication tends to be.





Persuasive people understand how to frame and deliver their messages, but most importantly, they embrace the fact that the message is what matters most. So be clear, be concise, be to the point, and win the day because your data, reasoning, and conclusions are beyond reproach.


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