I believe that the ability to persuade, influence and build consensus is the most important skill that you can have in the workplace. If you attempt to add one skill to your toolbox in the coming year, verbal persuasion should be at the top of your list.
This begs the obvious follow-up question … How do you make yourself more persuasive?
It’s not easy, and it requires constant attention and preparation. But at the most fundamental level, persuasive communication has a few consistent characteristics: Clarity. Brevity. Context. Impact. Value. These are the five characteristics that we see most consistently.
- If it is not clear, the audience will not be persuaded.
- If your audience is waiting for you to get to the point, the audience will not be persuaded.
- If the relevance to the audience is not obvious, the audience will not be persuaded.
- If there is no impact, and the audience cannot remember what you said, they will not be persuaded.
- And if there is no value, and the speaker only communicates from his/her own perspective, the audience will not be persuaded.
If you are starting to think about professional self-improvement for 2018, add these five words to the list: clarity, brevity, context, impact and value. If you can achieve these things, you’ll be more effective and more persuasive. You’ll have a better year.
Dean M. Brenner is president and founder of The Latimer Group (www.TheLatimerGroup.com), an executive coaching and training firm focused exclusively on teaching persuasive communication. You can read Dean’s weekly blog at Thelatimergroup.com/blog/.