How to Boost the Effectiveness of Your Persuasive Workplace Communication
Are persuasive communication skills a necessary success tool for managers, salespeople, and entrepreneurs? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” according to billionaire Warren Buffett. He says the ability to articulate ideas, information, and strategies is one of the most valuable skills professionals and business leaders can develop. Buffett believes that learning how to write and speak clearly is a leading method of getting ahead in today’s world.
“The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now — at least — is to hone your communication skills — both written and verbal,” he says. Buffett added that know-how and intelligence are only part of the equation. “You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you have to be able to transmit it.”
Defining Persuasive Communication
What is persuasive communication? It boils down to presenting your ideas in a way that will cause others to support you, appreciate your point of view, and be influenced by your words. Although some people may appear to have a knack for it, communicating persuasively is an acquired skill. Doing it successfully involves understanding and effectively using a variety of techniques ranging from empathy and rapport-building to observing and responding to non-verbal cues, often called “body language”.
A lot can be learned about persuasive communication from watching skilled attorneys or actors portraying them in the courtroom. They present their case in a logical, passionate way, and offer concrete reasons for their stance. The most persuasive speakers – whether they’re lawyers, salespeople, or corporate managers – learn to combine the power of the spoken word with techniques like eye contact, enthusiasm, and active listening.
When managers and project leaders fail to establish some level of rapport with those they’re trying to lead, they often find it more difficult to gain cooperation and motivate team members. Taking the time to understand and appreciate other people’s opinions and feelings is a starting point to finding common ground and creating a mutually agreeable strategy.
Although confidence and a positive attitude are among the cornerstones of persuasive communication, winning over others is a skill that can be learned.
Examples of Persuasion in the Workplace
Although persuasive workplace communication is an indispensable leadership tool for managers, it can also help other employees do their jobs more effectively. Here are a few examples:
- Customer service reps: Frontline employees who handle inquiries and problem resolution are prime candidates for communication training. Knowing best practices for persuasive communication not only gives them more confidence, but it provides them with the tools to produce positive results in interactions with customers and prospects.
- Sales staff: Generating sales, memberships, and/or renewals are key to the survival and growth of any organization. Sales reps who are well-versed in the principles of effective persuasive communication will typically do much better at achieving sales goals and contributing to the company’s growth.
- Project team members: An all-too common scenario involves staff members who have great ideas for process improvement, but lack the communication skills and confidence to effectively present those ideas. Providing training in ways to improve persuasive communication gives them the knowledge and self-assurance to effectively present their ideas to both co-workers and management.
Why is Persuasive Communication Important at Work?
It is especially important for managers and supervisors to possess persuasive communication skills because they need to motivate staff and maximize productivity. Communicating with top executives also requires a high degree of finesse and professionalism, both of which fall under the umbrella of “influential communication”.
If everyone on a team pulls in different directions, quality gets compromised, and deadlines are missed. Conversely, productivity and teamwork are enhanced when everyone understands the benefits of a managerial plan of action.
What to Avoid in Persuasive Communication
As great leaders like Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill have said in one form or another: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. That maxim is one of the most important guiding principles to mastering effective persuasive communication. It helps define persuasive communication and provides a starting point for becoming a more impactful communicator.
One aspect of preparation is knowing what to avoid when persuading an employee, a customer, or a prospective client. Awareness of these potential stumbling blocks can help managers navigate the tricky terrain of persuasive workplace communication.
- Talking too fast: Very few people are able to process and evaluate information if it comes flying at them too fast. When managers learn how to be convincing at work, they often discover that a rapid-fire style of speaking is best left to auctioneers and announcers reading disclaimers at the end of car dealership commercials. Talking too fast or providing too much information (“information overload”) not only makes it hard for people to understand and retain your message, but they may also perceive you as a “fast-talking salesman” – in other words, someone who is trying to rush them into a deal or arrangement they might later regret.
- Getting emotional: While emotions such as enthusiasm, happiness, and pride can help strengthen your impact as an influential communicator, negative emotions, like anger and desperation, are sure to undermine your message and effectiveness.
- Dominating the conversation: Whether you’re presenting your idea or proposal to a group or an individual, people need to have the opportunity to be heard, ask questions, and have their point of view acknowledged. Knowing how to communicate persuasively requires tact, open mindedness, and a willingness to listen and seek a mutually beneficial outcome.
Tips to Improve Persuasive Communication
Influential communication skills in managers, manager trainees, and sales staff benefit organizational growth, as well as individual career paths. In addition to considering online training for your staff, here’s a list of impactful ways to immediately improve persuasive communication abilities.
- Come prepared: When a speaker knows the facts, the benefits they’re proposing, and the answers to probable questions, then they will present a compelling case. Presenting their case in a logical way will help them win the approval of others. These strategies are among the best practices for persuasive communication.
- Establish a connection. In speeches, one-on-one negotiations, or presentations to associates, making a positive impression often hinges on engaging the audience’s attention and interest. Eye contact, strategic pauses, and speaking with sincerity are among the secrets of how to communicate persuasively. Smiling when appropriate, asking open-ended questions that reinforce your position, and using humor selectively are other ways to establish rapport with those you’re seeking to influence.
- Show respect: By respecting people’s intelligence and not talking down to them, you’ll be creating bridges rather than barriers to the communication process. Showing respect for their time is another important tactic for gaining approval and winning them over to your way of thinking.
Communication Training Resources
With persuasive communication being such a pivotal aspect of effective leadership, it makes sense to include this type of training in your leadership development program. KnowledgeCity offers a variety of online training courses that provide your management team with specific strategies and ways to improve their persuasive communication skills. They’re easy to access, user-friendly, and can be integrated with your in-house training material.
Our advanced level video course on persuasive communications for leaders, focuses on techniques managers can use to overcome objections, gain support of stakeholders, and earn the trust of those on your team. Not only will your managers learn effective ways to influence and persuade stakeholders, but they will also gain priceless knowledge about managing conflict, gaining executive-level buy-in, and building trust. KnowledgeCity currently offers more than 25,000 video tutorials that will help bring out the best in your organization’s leaders. Request a free demo to learn more!