Persuasion is crucial in business on a day-to-day basis. Clients are not the only ones that need persuading. Employees often need to be persuaded to keep the company’s mission-vision and objectives in mind. Mastering the art of persuasion is also sometimes necessary in convincing colleagues of lending their cooperation and support. There is also the more interesting task of persuading others to go with your plans and intentions. The art of persuasion can be developed in anyone. The science of persuasion can also be learned.
Both art and science
Before someone responds to persuasion in the way that the persuader desires, he needs to be convinced of an idea. People have different ways of looking at it, but persuasion is neither art nor science, rather it is both. There are useful strategies to engaging successfully in persuasive communication. That’s science. And there are ways of implementing these strategies that spell the difference between success and failure. That’s art.
Elements of effective persuasive communication
The recipient of persuasive communication strategies, whether a single person, a small group, or a huge audience in an auditorium feels compelled to respond positively when relevant values, needs, and desires are addressed. Audiences in general respond better to a message when they feel a semblance to the person speaking to them, and when they see common elements that somehow allow them to relate to the other person on a personal level even if the topic is purely business. A good persuader knows this, and therefore goes out of the way to grab the attention of the message recipients at the outset. There are many elements of effective persuasive communication, but the heart of the matter is getting someone else’s attention. If the audience decides that somebody is worth listening to, whether it’s for five minutes or five hours, then the first and most difficult hurdle is overcome.
Credibility and authority
No matter how great one’s opening is and how successful a strategy is in getting the attention of the other person, the recipient must find good reason to keep attending and engaging in conversation. “All flare and no substance” does not work anymore. People look for credibility and expect authority and these two qualities are in direct proportion to their attention span. Even the most patient and accommodating person will realize after a while whether or not a person knows what he is talking about and is sincere in his intentions.
These days, people have gone to expect benefits and it is ultimately easier to persuade someone if there is something in it for him. Crafting a persuasive presentation or argument takes a lot of time and experience. But even for those who are new in the trade, throwing in a benefit here and there could spell a higher probability of success.
Call to action
Persuasion is, at its core a straightforward process of changing another’s attitude or perspective toward an idea, object, event, or another person. Persuasion can be executed in written or verbal form. There are many strategies that work for different types of personalities and group characteristics, but a call to action is a necessary element. After getting an audience to consider and alternative perspective, don’t leave them hanging. Make sure it’s clear to them what you want them to do with the idea presented to them.