Whether you realize it or not, your life is filled with persuasion. Your friend tries to talk you into
going to a party. You see an advertisement on television to buy a new product. Your academic
counselor advises you to sign up for a certain class. In the business world, persuasion occurs in
e-mails, meetings, proposals, phone calls, memos, presentations, and letters.
What is Persuasion?
means trying to convince a person or a group of people to accept your point of view.
You may convince them to do something or take a course of action. When you do this, you must
defend your point of view with information, examples, or resources. You must state what you are
asking, and overcome any possible objections that may arise. If you are a salesperson who wants
customers to buy a new product, you must show them why it is the best. You must tell them to
buy the product for specific reasons and demonstrate why your product is better than another
company’s version. All of this must be done while maintaining a positive image of yourself and
your company, and creating a credible relationship with the audience or customer.
Similar to other forms of communication, understanding your purpose and audience and
determining an appropriate tone helps you create an effective persuasive message.
Strategies for Persuading an Audience
Analyze the Purpose and the Audience
Planning is the first step in preparing a persuasive message. Without planning, you may lose your
audience and forget your purpose. Once you decide on your purpose, writing it down is a great
way to stay focused. Suppose you want to write a persuasive message asking a company to
donate to your charity. You might write your purpose in the following way:
My purpose is to persuade Y company to donate X amount of money to my charity.
Once you have defined the purpose, identify your audience and determine how to make a
connection with them. Listing ideas about your audience is a way to ensure it is identified
. What are the ages, gender, and nationality of the audience? Selling an
item to a young adult is different than selling to an older person. The same is true for
trying to sell something to an American versus a European.
Needs and wants
. What are the needs and wants of your audience? If you try to
persuade your boss to change a policy, how might it affect his or her boss’s goals for the
Any opposing viewpoints
: If you try to sell something, what might be the objections,
and how may you overcome them? You might explain a higher-priced vacuum is well
worth the money because it reduces the need for frequent carpet shampooing.