People think about different things when it comes to the power of persuasion depending on your life stage. For teens and young adults, it may be focused on social media influencers, while adults may think of salespeople, politicians, or the pushy person in the office.
No matter your opinion or perspective, persuasion will be an important soft skill in your leadership toolbox. You’ll need to be able to think on your feet and deliver your message that connects with others in order to get your points and ideas across.
Connect to the person’s values
Think about the person or audience that you are talking to to take stock of what is important to them. What do they value, enjoy, and appreciate? What do they not like, trust, or are indifferent towards? Lean into that perspective to start from where the other person is instead of trying to pull them over to your side.
We’ve discussed a similar idea in Leading Tenured Employees. I had no problem creating buy-in from leaders that were younger in an organization that I was leading, but struggled to pull tenured leaders along. Once I understood that the different values and motivations for people later in their career, I was able to craft my message in a way that saw many of them willing to step in to change.
People are more polarized in opinions than ever. Connect the message to the person’s values to help them see how the idea or proposal aligns with what they hold in high regard.
Create impact with your stories
Storytelling is a powerful tool in helping get your point across to others. Stories are so strong, that they can cause a person to discount facts to the contrary of the idea or topic. Look at the rise of conspiracy theories, flat earthers, and how smart people get pulled into a world of deceit. Many of the entry points are rooted in stories; a personal story that someone relates to, a story that makes just enough sense, or a personal account about an experience. (Be sure to use your stories for good!)
There is a reason why I tell so many stories on the podcast and when I coach others. It’s what people remember. Connect a great story to your point so that a person can visualize the concept, or even better, visualize themselves in the situation that you are talking about.
Science and facts are your allies
I know I just said that storytelling can discount facts, but facts and science wins people over, especially in business, on a daily basis. Leverage research, studies, and facts to present your case. This will certainly help if the person is not totally bought into the idea and shows that are coming in with more than just a personal opinion.
Anything that you can frame up in a scientific or facts based way will make your idea more convincing to others.
Be confident in your approach. Work to lower the amounts of “I think” and “I believe” and just state the idea. If you think the idea is going to work say “This gets us to where we need to be,” instead of, “I believe that this solution will help us reach our goal.” It’s subtle, but it will help get your point across in a more impactful way.
Just as in most things in life, have a balance here. Be confident, but not cocky. You don’t want to turn off your audience by your level of overconfidence, otherwise, they will never listen to your message in the first place.
Be persuasive with others by starting from where they are. Be confident and bring both facts and great stories to connect with your audience.
Make a better tomorrow.