Persuasion skills refer to the talent of changing the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors of a person or group towards another person, group, event, object, or idea. It is usually done by conveying, in a message, some feelings, information, reasoning, or a combination.

In a nutshell, persuasion skills mean the ability to make intentional and successful efforts at influencing someone’s mental state through written or verbal communication. Whether it is a college presentation or a sales pitch to potential buyer, persuasion skills are essential for success in every stage of life. This makes persuasion one of the most important skills that you can develop.

Why are persuasion skills important

What do you think your kids are doing when they display their emotions about you not buying their favorite toys? What is it that politicians are trying to do by putting forth so much of reasoning during an election campaign? Or think about a salesman narrating all the benefits of the product he has to offer. They are all using their persuasion skills to convince you and achieve something (i.e. happiness, votes, and sales target).

This shows how persuasion can be the source of enormous good in any organization. As a result, in businesses today, persuasion has become an essential managerial tool because they are mainly operated by teams and are populated by baby boomers and Generation Xers who are very unenthusiastic about authority being exercised. Therefore, persuasion has become the ultimate skill for bringing about any changes.

How to improve persuasion skills

A common misconception about the concept of persuasion is that it is the ability to convince your opponents to see things your way. The first step towards improving your persuasion skills is to overcome this fallacy. The best approach is to try and learn from others and negotiate a mutual solution. Therefore, you must be able to work upon the following four fundamental steps for the improvement of your skills:

  • Establish credibility. Your credibility is a function of your expertise as well as your relationships. Expertise come with knowledge and relationships are formed by your ability to listen to others and work in their best interests. The more they develop; the better is your credibility.
  • Find common grounds. You must be able to frame your position in a manner that appeals to the audience. Frame your position such that it highlights its benefits to all the stakeholders.
  • Provide evidence. Whatever you say must be backed up by evidence. However, instead of presenting evidence in the conventional form such as charts and spreadsheets, you must be able to make it more vivid through the use of extraordinary stories, metaphors, and examples.
  • Connect to your audience emotionally. Finally, anyone with decent persuasion skills must be able to sense the emotional state of his audience and then respond accordingly, whether it means suppressing their own emotions or intensifying them.