Many times not only in our jobs but in our daily lives it is important to be able to persuade people to accomplish a goal. The overall message here, is that there is just as much strategy in how you present your position as in the position itself. Conger (1998), highlighted four steps that can help you become more effective at presenting your ideas and getting people to buy into your idea. This ability to persuade people can be seen as your first steps to becoming a leader.
Four steps for effective persuasion:
1.) Establish credibility: Credibility is the cornerstone to effective persuasion. In a best case scenario, people enter into a persuasion situation with some measure of expertise and relationship credibility.
2.) Frame for common ground: The best persuaders study the issues that matter to their colleagues, which allows them to understand their audience. Also, it is important to highlight the benefits of your goal in relation to the listener.
3.) Provide evidence: Make your position come alive by painting a vivid picture.
4.) Connect emotionally: Show emotional commitment and adjust the tone according to the audiences emotional state. No effort to persuade can succeed without emotion, but showing too much emotion can be as unproductive as showing too little.
Now that you have seen how to become more effective at persuasion. I would like to also highlight four strategies that do no work (Conger, 1998).
Four ineffective persuasion strategies:
1.) John Wayne approach: When someone strongly states their position at the outset and then through a process of persistence, logic, and exuberance they try to push the idea to a close.
2.) Resist compromise: Many times people, especially managers, can see compromise as a surrender, but it is essential. Compromises can often lead to better, more sustainable share solutions.
3.) They think the secret to persuasion lies in presenting great arguments: Great arguments are only part of the equation to persuasion. Credibility, beneficial framing, and emotional connections with the audience are the other part of the equation.
4.) Assume one-shot effort: Persuasion is a process. It involves listening, testing a position, developing alternatives, settling on comprises. I trust that these strategies presented above will help you build a solid foundation in your ability to use effective persuasion in and out of the office.
Conger, J. A. (1988). The necessary art of persuasion. Harvard Business Review, May – June, 86-95.