Developing Your Persuasive Skills: The Key to Making Your Voice Heard

getting to yes_persuasive skillsWho is the most persuasive person you know? Perhaps it is a family member, friend, or one of your children. This is the person who can get you to do what they want you to do almost immediately, and often they get you to believe that what they want you to do is really what you wanted to do all along.

Good persuasive skills can certainly be an asset in your relationships with others. The person you identified above definitely gets to do what he or she wants to do more than others.

However, learning the art of persuasion is not only self-seeking. When you have good persuasive skills you can work to make your voice and the voices of others heard. In addition, mastering the power of persuasion is an important part of being able to succeed in the workplace: to argue for or against the ideas, decisions, and outcomes that are a part of your job.


What Are Persuasive Skills?

Persuasive skills are the skills that allow you to present your case or ideas to others in a way that convinces them of your opinion or at least convinces them to give your ideas or your case thought. Being persuasive consists of having the following characteristics:

– You are able to analyze your audience and present your case in such a way that shows them how your position is correct for that particular audience.

– You are able and willing to listen to your audience and respond appropriately with responses regarding how your idea helps satisfy their needs or concerns.

– You can make a logical, well-researched argument that uses facts and data to back up your ideas or position.

– You can keep your cool and enter into an exchange of ideas without feeling compelled to argue in a negative manner or resort to personal attacks.

– You are able to articulate your case or idea clearly in speech and/or writing.

What are Some Everyday Examples of Persuasive Skills?

Persuasive skills are most clearly on display during events like presidential debates or campaign speeches. In these events, it is clear that the participants are trying to convince their audiences using persuasive skills. However, having good persuasive skills is an important part of many other everyday activities. Persuasive skills play a role in:

  • Sales and Marketing: The most successful salespeople and marketing representatives are those who can persuade their customers to buy.
  • Management: Managers and executives must persuade employees to trust and respect them. They must also often use persuasive skills in board meetings, meetings with clients, and meetings with partners as they advocate for their ideas for the company.
  • Job Interviews: Persuasive skills are important for job candidates or those seeking job promotion. These individuals must be able to use persuasive skills to explain to their superiors why they are perfect for the job or promotion.
  • Personal Relationships: You can use your persuasive skills in personal relationships to help your spouse, children, or loved ones take leaps of faith that they might not otherwise be willing to take. For example, you can persuade your children to try out for sports teams or dramas.

How Can I Develop My Persuasive Skills?

According to the University of Kent, there are a few techniques that you can use to make your persuasive case stronger. You can:

  • Ensure you are following the principals or logical or reasoned argument. In other words, make sure you have a reason or evidence for everything you say.
  • Use strong language, not hesitant language, like “at least I think so.”
  • Mimic what the other person is saying and doing to make him or her feel more at ease. If the other person is sitting, sit. If the other person is standing, stand.
  • Complement the other person, and don’t attack. For example, don’t say, “Your position is misinformed,” but say, “While I can understand why you came to that conclusion, I still think XYZ is a better choice because…”

Check out this video on how to make persuasive presentation:

Developing strong persuasive skills can be challenging, but by consciously thinking about how you persuade, you can become a stronger persuasive speaker and writer.

Useful Resources:

Persuasion – Wikipedia

Crowd Psychology – Wikipedia

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2 Responses to “Developing Your Persuasive Skills: The Key to Making Your Voice Heard”

  1. John Clark says:

    Great information here, really useful!
    I will use these tips for my next college presentation…which I should be preparing right now!!

  2. Georgia P says:

    The most persuasive person I know is my 11 year old! He can get anything he wants!! I imagine one day he’ll be in charge of a multi-national company and I’ll still be taking orders from him! Or maybe kids only have that skill with their own parents.

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