3 persuasion techniques to win over a Sceptic

3 persuasion techniques to win over a Sceptic


Often, a good head for business is synonymous with accepting no nonsense. The corollary is that many executives become impervious to anything that may have a whiff of idealistic. Persuading this cynical type represents a tough challenge whether they are a colleague, partner company, client, supplier, employee or supervisor. Standard methods of persuasion can meet a brick wall. Not all of us can live up to Aristotle’s observation: Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion”. Other strategies are often called for. Method 1: An appeal to the ego Probably the oldest known device for getting round the sceptic is to adopt flattery. You can suggest that the very inspiration for the thing you are trying to get them to do came from them. Show that it is their qualities or previous success that have provided a role-model example. Naturally, this kind of rhetoric is fraught with pitfalls. Visible cracks in your sincerity could ruin the relationship. At best, you lose credibility. Handled skilfully, flattery-based persuasion can move mountains.

Method 2: Two is better than one A less risky strategy is to enlist as co-persuader one of the co-workers whom your immovable colleague trusts and respects. Ask them along to the meeting and get them to take the role of calmly outlining the rationale for the initiative. Working in tandem, using a supporter who is on your side is one of the most effective approaches. It is commonplace in party politics. And similarly, when countries form alliances, they have more chance of budging a stubborn dissenter.

Method 3: If Method 2 is not available to you and you dohave to go it alone in trying to convince your sceptical associate, use the next best thing. Harness the

Art of Persuasion

Art of Persuasion

support of advocates who will speak up for your proposal. At worst, make use of people who owe you a favour. Have them contact the sceptical executive on their own account and follow up to check that they have done so. Results may not be instant. Dealing with related topics are the following:

The Economist: Audio podcast The Skeptical Chymist


The Harvard Business Review Necessary Art of Persuasion by Jay Conger


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