Introduction to Persuasive

Convincing Others to Support a Position or Take Action

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Doing business involves making many, many decisions on a daily basis. Business professionals regularly decide things like how to allocate scarce resources, what vendors to select for a project, who to hire, whether to make changes to company strategy, when to schedule events, where to locate a new office, and more.

For every decision that needs to be made, there often are multiple options, with pros and cons for each. Complicating matters further, stakeholders usually have different opinions about what the best course of action should be. That’s where persuasion comes in.

Persuasion is the act of motivating a receiver through communication to change a particular belief or behavior. For example, sales professionals may need to convince their manager to purchase a new software program to better track clients’ preferences. When there are multiple requests and not enough budget to fund them all, they have to show that their idea is the most critical. Entrepreneurs may seek funding for their start-up ventures from prospective investors. When investors want to invest only in ideas that have a strong likelihood of succeeding, entrepreneurs have to demonstrate that they will be successful.

Being persuasive is the most complex of all the business communication competencies. That is because being persuasive requires you to be skilled in all the other competencies, too. You have to be professional to get people to pay attention to your message and view you as a trustworthy communicator. You need to be clear to present your bottom line and organize your argument so that your receiver will know exactly what you are proposing. You need to be concise so that you don’t waste your receiver’s time. And you need to be evidence-driven to ensure that your receiver is confident that you have a solid case.

Persuasion has its own set of special skills as well. People who are competent at persuasion have the ability to make sophisticated choices about how to set overarching persuasive positions, how to build a structure of supporting claims, and how to leverage evidence to advance those claims. They also know how to apply advanced persuasive techniques and avoid fallacies in their persuasion attempts. In this chapter, you will learn strategies for changing people’s beliefs and behaviors.



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Business Communication: Five Core Competencies Copyright © 2023 by Kristen Lucas, Jacob D. Rawlins, and Jenna Haugen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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