The Powers of Persuasion in Business Settings

Posted October 16, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

Confession: I was a high school speech nerd. That’s right. I was in speech, student congress, drama — You name it. If there was a speech to give, I was giving it. And one of my favorite categories? Persuasive speaking. You picked a topic, you wrote a speech, and the purpose of that speech was to persuade the audience on your topic. It was, at its worst, an opportunity for argumentative teenagers to feel right and, at its best, practice for a time later in our lives when being persuasive could mean getting a raise or a job.

Every day, you persuade people to do what you want to do. You want to go to the burger place for lunch and your coworker wants to have a salad, so you tell her “You ran this morning, eat a burger.” You want to leave early on Friday to miss the traffic, so you tell your boss everyone’s had a stressful week and “He should call it a day early.” Persuasion is a part of life.

But when it comes to persuasion techniques in the office, which will serve you best? outlines “7 Ways to Be More Persuasive in Business,” and their advice is perfect for anyone hoping to get something they want in their careers all with the power of persuasion. One of their recommendations takes me all the way back to my time on the speech team:

Highlight similarities

It is well known that people respect and listen to those who they believe to be similar to themselves. One way to influence this is by using what psychologists call mirroring. By mirroring the body language, tone of voice and interests of the person you’re speaking to, you’ll make them more likely to accept your suggestions.

Next time you meet a potential employer or client, do a brief background check on their company or personal interests. Find any similarities between them and yourself or your individual companies and bring them up in the beginning of your meeting – they’ll be more likely to say yes if they feel like you’re on common ground.

In speech, we were taught to say “We can all agree” and “90% of people believe” to show the audience that they should believe what the majority believes, that they should go along with the status quo. Use this in your career, and you (like my high school speech team) will successfully persuade your way to success.

Check out the rest of Addicted2Success’ persuasion techniques by clicking here.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."