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How to Use Persuasion to Improve Your Leadership Potential

Leaders must be able to mobilize consumers, colleagues and vendors to adopt and support a shared vision.

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BY Firas Kittaneh - 01 Jan 2019

use persuasion to improve leadership

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Behind every successful company is a leader that has mobilized consumers, colleagues and vendors to adopt and support a shared vision. Often, the most persuasive brands know how to position their offerings against competitors to capture more market share. They also have ways of recruiting and retaining strong talent. And they manage to negotiate deals with suppliers to get higher-quality products at better prices and faster turnaround times.

At my company Amerisleep, our team has used the powers of persuasion to create a community of hundreds of thousands of satisfied sleepers across the globe. Over the course of a decade, we were among the first brands to convince customers to shop online for a mattress, we secured supply chain agreements to produce the world's most eco-friendly foam, and we successfully expanded our business to Australia and Asia. By encouraging customers, employees and partners to buy into our vision of delivering better sleep, we've been able to multiply our sales year-over-year.

To unlock your business's full potential, it's important that you're able to encourage more of the people around you to help fulfill your long-term goals. And to do that, you'll need to follow the three steps below.

1. Consider whether to apply logic, emotion or compromise.

Skilled persuaders know how to craft their argument to appeal to others.

By approaching their audience using evidence and rational reasoning, they manage to convince people to overlook other reservations. Of course, it's important to note that these facts should still be presented as part of a cohesive narrative since storytelling is a more effective form of persuasion than merely presenting statistics. When you appeal to the heart, your goal is to elicit an emotional response, which may inspire desired action. Alternatively, business leaders can try to reach a compromise with the other party to create mutually-beneficial outcomes.

The exact technique (or combination) you employ will depend on both your argument and your audience, so analyze each carefully and determine which approach will have the greatest impact on your situation.

2. Study the motivations of your colleagues, customers and partners.

When a person's motivator is triggered, they have a higher likelihood of becoming engaged in the conversation.

Once you understand what motivates the people you are appealing to, you can craft your message to address their concerns and speak directly to their wants and needs. For instance, among employees, some feel more engaged on-the-job when they are offered additional responsibilities. Others respond better to positive feedback from management. When you know what drives them, you can create win-win opportunities by aligning your company needs with their personal expectations.

3. Evaluate whether your arguments complement or conflict with brand values.

Persuasion is as much about the audience and the environment as it is about the speaker, and the core values that make up the culture of your company will have a significant impact on your ability to influence individuals in that environment.

Everything you say and do needs to align with brand beliefs. Otherwise, you may create confusion among team members and third-parties. By staying true to your corporate values, you establish consistency and garner confidence and loyalty. This makes it easier to rally the people around you to support your ideas and follow through with their commitments.

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