3 guaranteed ways to fail at persuasion

At the heart of all effective organisations are employees at every level who are convinced about what they are doing and why. The challenge you face as a managers is enthusing those who work for while still letting them think for themselves. The biggest problem with persuasion as a concept is the imposition of ideas on others.



Rule One : Subtlety rather than a Sledgehammer

Never in history has the need for subtlety been greater where persuasion is concerned. Today’s individual is sophisticated enough to know when he or she is being cajoled, sold a pup or generally being taken for a mug. Particularly when dealing with peers and colleagues of equivalent rank, it is important not to initiate things by gushing over-exuberantly or using brash slogans and gaudy visuals when presenting a concept. This can put people’s backs up and can feed them material for opposing you.


Rule Two : Flexibility, not a Fixed View

Not always justly, those in leadership roles find themselves accused of a lack of sensitivity. It can be hard to spot when putting forward a proposal that you are presenting it as already writ in stone. But ownership is the very thing that you have to let go of. Just because you conceived of the plan in a certain way does not that it has the stamp of authenticity for those who are listening to you. Take the route of floating ideas, accepting other’s opinions and their alternative approaches, and you are far more likely to have cracked the persuasion nut.

Rule Three : Role suggestions out Slowly, rather than Rushing them not a Fixed View

Persuasion in Speech

Persuasion in Speech

While there are times when getting the message across instantly is important (war being an example, and Winston Churchill a great exponent of persuasion), rarely is our objective as time-critical as all that. To succeed, you need to give proposals time to gestate so that others find they are embracing and, ultimately, championing the ideas themselves.



Some Useful Additional Articles on the Topic of Persuasion

Here are some interesting articles you may enjoy and find useful:

Harvard Business Review: The Language of Persuasion


The Economist Intelligent Life: Speech, Speech by Tim de Lisle


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