Your ideas get adopted in the workplace to the extent that you can convince co-workers and managers that they can trust and benefit from them. For example, showing the experience and personality you’d bring to an organization could get you a job, or explaining the value you’ve added at work beyond what’s expected could win you a raise. From your first job to your last, persuasive thinking is important to career success.
To Win and Influence
The workplace offers countless opportunities to apply persuasive thinking. Basically, persuasion is the skill of getting others to agree with you and adopt your ideas. For example, persuasive thinking can win people over in situations such as pitching a marketing plan to your boss, closing a sale with a client, or just swaying a handful of co-workers to go with the restaurant you choose for lunch.
The Female Persuasion
Women are more persuasive than men in the workplace, according to a joint study by Caliper, a U.S.-based management consulting firm, and Aurora, a U.K.-based women’s organization. While male leaders in the study were also persuasive, women leaders at work were found to possess greater flexibility, assertiveness and interpersonal skills. By more naturally seeing all sides of a situation and considering all points of view, women in the workplace can get more people to agree with them than men can, according to the study.
Hitting The “Yes” Buttons
Being persuasive requires triggering basic social responses in the people who you’re attempting to persuade. Robert Cialdini, a social scientist specializing in persuasion and influence, told the “Harvard Business Review” six reasons why certain types of people are more persuasive than others. You’re more likely to persuade a person who likes you, owes you a favor or debt, sees others agreeing with you, has shown public support for you in the past, thinks authority is on your side, or sees what you offer as a scarce opportunity. Overall, regularly helping people and being of service to others also builds your reputation as an influential figure.
Playing to the Crowd
As a manager, whether you’re speaking to a small project team or your entire staff at a company meeting, persuading your employees may also require winning over key influencers among your employees. According to Cialdini, employees unsure about a manager’s plan can be swayed more by the fact that fellow employees they hold in high regard are on board. Thinking persuasively as a manager includes recognizing who the natural leaders are among your employees and convincing them to align with you in winning over the crowd. Additionally, presenting objective facts and third-party expert input to back up your points can reduce doubt or confusion in the people you need to convince, which makes you more persuasive as well. When people trust that you’re right, they’re more likely to follow you.
A writer since 1995, Christian Fisher is an author specializing in personal empowerment and professional success. From 2000 to 2005, he wrote true stories of human triumph for "Woman's World" magazine. Since 2004, he has also helped launch businesses including a music licensing company and a music school.