Soft Skills Blog: Persuasion

So, you want to be more persuasive? You don’t need to use Jedi mind tricks to get what you want. All it takes is a better understanding of how to better convey your ideas while demonstrating confidence.

What Makes People Persuasive

Persuasion is the act of convincing someone to align their beliefs with yours. Often, persuasion has a stigma of being manipulative. In reality, manipulation is the result of coercion, not persuasion. Persuasion isn’t about manipulation, but about emotional intelligence and effective communication. A persuasive individual is able to intelligently and convincingly get their point across. This can manifest itself in a meeting where you need to convince your boss that your idea is great. Persuasive communication is the most effective method to do this convincing. . Persuasion requires an active and a passive role. The persuader is the person attempting to convince the other and fills the active role. The person being convinced fills the passive role. The other person will only compromise with the persuader if they can see a benefit to themselves.  Persuasion will be helpful for job interviews, bank loans, buying a car, pitching an idea to the boss, or getting your client a more lenient sentence.

Persuasion: Why Is It Important?

There will also be times in your life when people will try to convince you of something. These situations place you in the passive role. These people are typically trying to sell you something, get you to vote for a politician, or donate to an organization. When a person understands persuasive tactics, it allows them to make informed decisions and not be susceptible to persuasion themselves.

For those who are trying to convince someone that their million dollar idea is the one they should take on requires the use of persuasive techniques. You need to be able to rally people to your side and get people to be interested in your idea. It doesn’t matter how good your idea is if people think you’re incompetent, unprofessional, or simply boring.

How To Be More Persuasive

What makes a person persuasive is their ability to display competence. Displaying competence can best be achieved through perceived power. Perceived power can be achieved through strong nonverbal communication, i.e. posture, tone, and eye contact. Another aspect of communicating authority is through word power. Word power is the type of word choice used to establish competence and authority. This involves active voice grammar, direct pronouns, minimal “umm”s and “like”s, and avoidance of any phrases that indicate uncertainty.

A persuasive person uses their body language to convey competence by standing up straight with the chest out and their head held high. Persuasive people smile to display friendliness and confidence. They dress professionally; what professional dress is depends on your field of work and is something you should research beforehand. It is essential to use strong eye contact during any and all interactions to display confidence, which translates to competence. Word power is best used when you avoid any statement or phrasing that indicates a lack of self-esteem or uncertainty. It’s okay to not know the answer to every question so long as you convey confidence while stating that you can’t answer that person’s question. Avoid words and phrases like: “um”, “like”, “I’m sorry” (only when its excessive and unnecessary), “Don’t be mad, but…”, “I’m sorry for taking up your time”, “I’m not sure, but…(guessing the answer to the question)”, etc. By avoiding words and phrases that show insecurity and uncertainty you will notice that people will be more interested in what you have to say and trust your knowledge of the subject more. Words and phrases to use include: “I am certain of…”, “This works because…”, “You will benefit by doing…”, “I do not know the answer, but allow me to conduct further research”, etc. These simple changes to your mannerisms will result in a marked improvement in getting your ideas across and having people agree with you.


Persuasion is an important part of our lives. Your ability to intelligently get your points across will determine how well your ideas will be received. Persuasion is a soft skill that makes life easier. Everyone needs to be able to effectively communicate their ideas. When you master your own persuasive abilities you will be surprised by what you can do.