Persuasion is the process of convincing someone to perform certain actions or behaviours solely under the influence of one’s own words and speeches. Motivational speakers use their words and power of speech to persuade their audience into performing actions that the audience may otherwise not be committed to performing. Persuasion is a social and group effect which is commonly observed in workplace and social spaces. At workplace, persuasion skills provide the opportunity to view tasks and process of work from a new perspective and gives insight to people into performing their work in an effective and previously unforeseen way.

Applying persuasion in workplace

Salesmen and marketers often use persuasion as a technique to sell a company’s products to their customers. They provide the product information, how the product could bring value to their lives, and incentives to sell their products. potential customers are carefully chosen by doing preliminary research and the sales focus is then targetted accordingly. Business professionals persuade potential customers and other businesses to collaborate with them for weathering the economic climate and sustaining their businesses. Media campaigns focus on using social causes and using the current trends to keep up with their audience and this helps them to persuade their ideas better. When customers are drawn to their ideas and slogans, the company then uses their attention to further improve their social image to build their credibility in their social environment.

Educators and teachers constantly use persuasion as technique to sustain and maintain their student’s attention in the classroom. They use their influence to help their students make better educational and career decisions for their secure future.

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Skills for persuasion

Persuasion is a dynamic process. Depending on the audience, the persuader needs to continuously reflect and adapt to make themselves more viable and relevant. Some skills to maintain their persuasive skills include

  • 1) Open communication

  • 2) Emotional intelligence

  • 3) Logical thinking

  • 4) Analytical thinking

  • 5) Interpersonal skills

  • 6) Social judgment

How can we improve our persuasion skills?

Persuasion requires both artistic and logical ability to reason and make judgments on the spot. Most persuaders or influencers follow the basic rules of persuasion like

  • 1) Active listening Asking the right questions and carefully evaluating the responses of people can help us understand what are the needs and demands of people. The information shared by them gives us insight into how we can better learn about others. When people share their thoughts with others, they form a bond and are able to trust their ideas. When people trust each other, it becomes easier to persuade them. Active listening requires patience and the ability to listen and engage in conversation without interrupting and asking the right questions.

  • 2) Emotional intelligence and skills When we wish to persuade others, we need to keep an account of their feelings and emotions in mind. A lot of times during the day, we make decisions based on how we feel and think about certain stimuli. Being mindful and careful of expressing ourselves based on the preferences and styles of how others perceive us and respond to others, we can use persuasion tactics accordingly. Some people prefer concise information while some prefer to take time and make their decisions based on intuition and facts presented to them. By mindfully and respectfully conversing with people, we can tailor our conversation accordingly.

  • 3) Use logic and reasoning to support your ideas Persuasion is an art which is applicable to most interactions. Backing our ideas and statements with credible examples and sources allows us to build a pervasive and reliable stance that cannot be easily refuted. People are more likely to believe a dependable set of information compared to unreliable information that cannot be backed by reliable evidence.

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  • 4) Negotiate Persuasion is about convincing others why certain ideas and sources work over anything else. By gauging other people’s expectations and their ideas on certain issues, we can assess their intent, motivation and rationale. Negotiation works best when two people give each other what they want and when we persuade people, showing how a certain idea or event will benefit or make a difference to them works best. People who are not looking to change, and only wish to vent, serve as a challenge for persuasion but help us understand their ideas and chain of thoughts.

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Persuasion is an important skill we need to have in the workplace. When used at right time and in the right environment, it benefits the audience to great extent, however, being overly persuasive and not applying interpersonal skills appropriately may seem like we are tricking people into certain ideas and thoughts, and the pursuer may be misunderstood as a manipulator or worse a controlling person. It is important to remember that we cannot persuade everyone but we can influence those who trust us.