Being an effective communicator is one of the core keys to success in life and often starts with how persuasive you can be. You might have the most outstanding ideas imaginable, but they’ll go unnoticed if you can’t get others interested.
Becoming more persuasive will open many doors in your career. Whether you’re trying to land a new job, make a big sale, inspire your team, or start a new project, being able to convince others that you and your ideas have merit will lead to success. If you want to become more convincing at work, start incorporating these ideas into your efforts.
Find a framing device
Your storytelling efforts will always be better with preparation and care. Even if you have a wonderful idea, if it’s crammed into a meandering story with lots of pointless fluff, it’ll go unnoticed. Knowing how to frame your argument is crucial to persuade others.
Great Learning’s Tanuja Bahirat writes that a good framing has three core components: placement (the right time, place, and audience), approach (how you present your argument), and words (the right words for your audience). This will help you build the outline for your argument.
For an example of an effective framing device, consider the STAR method. This method is commonly used to answer interview questions by taking a situation, task, action, and results focus to quickly share a story and express your value.
In any persuasive effort, the more credible and trustworthy you appear, the more naturally persuasive you’ll appear. It makes sense that an expert in a field would have more clout than someone who doesn’t know the material well.
“To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful.” –Edward R. Murrow, journalist
Building up your knowledge on the topic and developing a reputation in your niche go a long way toward convincing others. Maria Thimothy of OneIMS says that if you’re viewed as an expert, your efforts will be less viewed as an attempt to persuade and more of an attempt to educate.
Journalist Edward R. Murrow suggests backing up any arguments you make with concrete facts and avoiding pushing a personal narrative.
Focus on goals
Whatever argument you’re trying to make is likely based on some personal narrative, of course. You wouldn’t be trying to persuade someone if the topic wasn’t important to you. But phrasing something in terms of your needs won’t win you any supporters. You want to bring value to your audience, so focus on their needs.
“The values that emerge consistently from discussions with your colleagues give you insights into the criteria they use for deciding how to channel their effort.” –Art Markman, Fast Company
Enhance’s Jess Coles says to start by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes before answering what they can gain from whatever you’re offering. Have a good idea of what your audience needs rather than basing your argument on baseless assumptions. Your job is to help them achieve their goals and fulfill their needs. By thinking in terms of those needs, you can offer a solution, which will make your eventual call to action much more impactful.
Consider the opposing viewpoint
There will always be opposition to your persuasive efforts. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need to persuade someone! Even if you have a solid argument, people have opposing values, other appealing options, or won’t be convinced something is a big problem. Sometimes, they might agree with you but think an answer might not be worth the resources or effort.
Think of what these opposing arguments might be and come up with counterpoints before those opposing points can be raised by the audience. Not only will you be able to throw in a few more persuasive arguments but it’ll show that you understand the topic and the audience’s concerns, increasing credibility.
Above all else, there isn’t anything quite as persuasive as expressing your case with a sense of calm confidence. If you truly believe in your argument and have prepared accordingly, it can smooth over any other bumps in your attempt. People aren’t likely going to resonate with someone who doesn’t appear confident—just make sure that confidence doesn’t bleed into arrogance.
“Confidence is like the sriracha sauce of conversation, making everything it touches infinitely more appealing. But how do we convey it?” –Eric Barker
Eric Barker says to cut out hedging words and filler words as a starting point. Hedging words like “maybe” and “kind of” make your argument less persuasive while “ums” and “likes” can make you appear nervous or unprepared.
Dwell With Dignity’s Ashley Sharp says confidence comes from passion, which is built on a foundation of credibility and knowledge. Your audience may not remember every concrete fact you present, but they’ll remember how you presented them.
Hopefully, this article persuaded you on the importance of having good persuasive skills. There will be countless times in your career when you need to convince someone to do something. Adding persuasive skills to your storytelling repertoire will have amazing benefits in the long run!