Art of Persuasion/Influencing


Explore Persuasion and Influencing Skills

Art of Persuasion/Influencing

Without even realising, we are constantly being persuaded and influenced by everything and everyone around us on a daily basis – media, family, colleagues, friends, strangers, government etc.

What is Persuasion? Persuasion is coming to a shared understanding and agreement with someone. It is not about selling or convincing someone to agree with you.

Here is a good place to start - An individual is more likely to be influenced by the people they spend the most time with, someone they share common ground with and someone they trust.

As visibly stated by Jay Conger in 1998, there are 4 core elements necessary for the Art of Persuasion;

  1.     Credibility
  2.     Common Ground
  3.     Vivid Evidence
  4.     Emotional connection

Once you’re in that mind-set, decide what approach you are going to use. There are various motivators and approaches; Social, emotional, personal, pain-avoiding. The key is to trigger all motivators. The more factors you can engage with, the more persuasive your argument will be.

Effective persuaders listen first, talk second. They actively listen for signs from their audience; objections or reactions, how receptive they are and any signs of agreement they might make. Use a ‘give and take’ approach – Everyone knows you don’t have to win every battle, Just the war. By this we mean compromise when you know it won’t have a big impact overall. This is beneficial as it shows willingness and acknowledges their credibility.

Managers and Leaders need to be able to master the art of persuasion as it can massively simplify their job. You are more likely to get more out of an employee if you have come to a mutual agreement of how to accomplish an objective. This then rules out the need to dictate if you can effectively persuade your colleagues.  

Nonetheless, you can’t persuade unless you know the other side of the argument. Do your research. Prepare for the predictable.

There is always going to be a time where no matter how good your persuasive skills are, human obstacles will hinder your outcome. It’s inevitable.

To conclude, to put effective persuasive skills into practice you need to embrace fundamentals such as trust, honour, presence and confidence. Aim to naturally stimulate imaginings of fulfilment and needs and get the balance right. Develop and improve your persuasive skills by working on other areas such as Emotional Intelligence, Effective Communication Skills and Mindfulness and Well-being.


 Conger, J. (2016). The necessary Art of Persuasion. Harvard Business Review, 1998. Web. 13 July 2016.