My Journey In Persuasion

At my job,  I have the responsibility to oversee a few people’s performance, which they sometimes call ‘supervision’.  In this capacity I often have to convince people to perform tasks that they may not always find to their liking or even make them accept the decisions that don’t sit well with them and various factors play a role in the latter – their age vs mine,  their gender vs mine, their experience or seniority vs mine etc.  


On top of all these factors already in place, I am a pretty quiet person by nature so it is not always easy to persuade them to agree with me.   And as we are all sometimes victims of stereotyping phenomenon,  I have at times linked this trait, the ability to persuade people,  to those types that have the skill to sell just about anything to anyone.    But,


Does this mean my quiet disposition prevents me from being effective in making people follow my ideas?  

Does this mean I am less persuasive than some of my exuberant colleagues? 


I believe that the fact that I am not that ‘outgoing’ or ‘loud’ does not mean I am less convincing.   Being persuasive with people has nothing to do with being able to tell jokes or toss funny one-liners,  it has nothing to do with winning popularity contests either.  


I feel that exercising some of the following can help anyone achieve some level of persuasion:

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Clarity   – very obvious but often ignored.   Every one in the group is going to interpret your message in their own way, based on their understanding and experience on the subject.  So for your message to be understood in a way that you want them to,  use simple words and terms, not technical jargon that others may not have heard of or know.


Consistency  – How you deal with people on a daily basis will determine to a large extent if they want to listen to what you are saying.   Keeping promises, being honest and helpful and in general projecting a reliable image – will enhance your ability to persuade people.   Don’t promise what you cannot deliver.


Positive Attitude  – Emphasize positive aspects of everything without putting false light on things to deceive people.  Don’t disagree for the sake of disagreeing and just because you are the boss.  


Paying Attention – Always be ready to look at things from the other person’s perspective.  When employees are confident that you’ll listen to their point of view, even if is some negative aspect of the job, they’ll be more receptive to the fact that some of the tasks may not be to their liking but nevertheless would have to be done. 


Confidence – Confidence is an extremely important trait to have in almost every aspect of our lives, yet so many of us struggle to find it on a daily basis.  Self confident people inspire others and If you do not have the confidence in yourself, others will be hesitant in doing what you ask them to do.  


The points described above can easily be extended into blogging.   Delivering good quality content consistently, while keeping your readers’ expectations in mind, will eventually bring in more and more people wanting to read what you have to say.   


Do you find any aspect of your personality having a direct positive or negative affect on your job performance? 



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11 Responses to “ My Journey In Persuasion ”

  1. I wish I had more colleagues like you, when I used to have a job. I would add there one more point (which come more or less from all you’ve mentioned): diplomacy. Don’t choose to give negative feedback to somebody who’s angry already. Try to calm down the spirits first, or leave it for later, and always balance negatives with something positive that person did. Dealing with angry and upset people was my worst work experience.

    Now I only have to persuade myself to do things better, and this is even harder at times ;)

  2. how fortunate you are Simonne :) I have so wished sometimes not to have to go to my job ….. talk about self persuasion, its been really hard lately…

    you are right, I forgot about that one – keeping balance in feedback is hugely important, as a matter of fact you’ve just written the gist of my next post here :)

  3. If we think that over the past 15 months I spent more than I earned on a regular basis, the perspective is that I’ll go to get myself a job again in one year from now (this is when I estimate I’ll finish the cash). If you don’t like your job, change it – you’ll feel better.

  4. wow… thats is daring Simonne :) I couldn’t quit my job, spend all of the savings and then find one again :) too risky for me…. but then I actually like my job and as strange as it may sound, I work with some of the nicest bunch, but getting up early is what I really don’t like! telecommuting isn’t encouraged! so theres not much choice there….. i’ll just have to learn to persuade myself somehow :)

  5. Doesn’t answer your question, but here’s a book recommendation: Aristotle’s Rhetoric. It’s old and mostly unread because, well, because, it’s old really. No other reasons come to mind for not reading it. Aristotle is timeless. Much more practical than Plato (but you should read him too) It’s online, it’s free. Everything anyone knows about persuasion comes from here.

    Um, personality, work. Sometimes I crack wise too much. I have trouble when I become the boy who cried joke, if you know what I mean.

  6. My job involves a lot of customer service, and I think my personality works well with that because I’m a pretty easy-going, non-confrontational person. I don’t take it personally when a customer isn’t as polite as they could be, though some of my co-workers sure do. I think one thing that negatively impacts the job is my absent-mindedness, though it’s showing up less and less.

  7. I agree with you Ian… Aristotle’s solutions are much more workable, I never read this book but at your recommendation, I definitely will :) I am an idealist and a dreamer so I connect more with Plato :)

    hmmm you getting in trouble at work Ian? I can hardly believe it!! ;)

  8. you and absent mindedness almost unbelievable Skellie :) being non-confrontational and not taking things personally are assets and these qualities can make or break people’s careers, there are a couple of people at my work who are ready to put it all on stake at the first opportunity they get :)

    thanks for stopping to comment Skellie… appreciate it…. tc and kit

  9. Hmmm… I think sales-instinct will help much in persuasion. I happen to be a supplement sales for 1 year and have train myself to feel/predict my customer opinions and rejection. Sales-instinct could let me know how to act and persuade my customer according to their response. Sometimes, we even need to make some “mindset exchanging” to persuade customer to think like what we are thinking about the product.
    Well, totally a personal opinions here! :P

  10. @Ken… such a good point you make … getting to know a bit about the other person’s mindset is a must….

    @Susan.. yes, not everyone has that ‘selling’ skill and u know its even harder to do that with introverted or shy nature, all we can do is try to be sincere…

    thanks for stopping by and deciding to comment :) tc and kit

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a bit of a quite/shy person…all depends on who I’m with (my husband would say I talk too much). :D I used to hate being labeled that as a kid though…

    I definitely feel that it takes someone with special insight and awareness to sell successfully to others.

    Great post :)