Contrary to popular belief, persuasive communication isn’t just an art for great salespeople – it’s essential for anyone who plays a key role in business. Why? Because mastering the power of persuasion is exactly how business leaders successfully influence employees to work towards common goals and capture the attention of new clients, customers and stakeholders when it really counts.
Not quite convinced yet? Think about it this way; without a persuasive approach to communication in all aspects of business, you could be throwing great ideas down the drain – one after the other. Scary stuff! That’s right geniuses, extraordinary ideas by themselves aren’t synonymous with winning people over, it’s how they’re packaged and presented that generates the desired impact. In fact, it’s often said many ideas fall flat simply because they lack persuasiveness when seeking that all-important buy-in from those who matter most. Yes, there sure is a persuasive case for persuasiveness in business communications – because in this game, it’s all about how successfully we convert the sceptics, change minds and influence decisions. So, it could pay to get your head around some of these effective tools and tactics for delivering a truly persuasive message.
Show the benefits – don’t just tell
When you’re convinced about the brilliance of an idea, it’s easy to forget to bring others up to speed with your way of thinking. In other words, telling people how they should be thinking before you’ve presented the evidence is unlikely to persuade your audience. Prove how your ideas will be of real benefit to the audience. For example, if you’re communicating with potential customers, show them how their lives might be improved by a product or service by presenting key facts, statistics or even testimonials. Or, perhaps you’re looking to upskill your workforce; seek to motivate and encourage them by explaining the long-term career benefits and consequences of undertaking learning and development initiatives.
This theory goes all the way back to our childhood. Right from day one, we’re taught about the world and how to behave through engaging stories. Well, nothing’s changed! Even as adults, we are far more receptive to new ideas and ways of thinking when they’re explained through compelling (albeit more complicated) stories. So, why not share the raw and authentic story about how your products or services came to be – how that problem or pain point was first identified and successfully resolved. Or even, why you went into business in the first place!
Choose your medium wisely
If you prefer to stick to what you know, it’s time to step outside your comfort zone because different mediums offer different levels of persuasiveness – depending on the message. Perhaps you’re delivering some research findings or statistics to back up an argument; infographics, graphs and tables could be a great way to ensure the audience has everything they need to peruse and digest the data – in their own time. On the contrary, verbally presenting this type of information will only give your audience one swift shot at understanding and absorbing the crucial information they need to make a decision.
Similarly, when it comes to major company announcements, persuasive and visually appealing videos could be far more effective than written communication when seeking to deliver facts and information while playing to the emotions of staff or customers. What’s more, some types of communication may be best served by presentations – for a more personal approach that gives opportunity for the audience to interact.
Get noticed and be more credible with incredible visual language
To communicate most persuasively, your message needs to be delivered quickly and clearly within the short life of your audience’s attention span – which is already pulled in all directions! Indeed, whether it’s internal or external communication, audiences today are generally time poor and extremely prone to information overload. Relevant and well-crafted visual aids within communications are an effective vehicle to make a swift impact. This is because they immediately grab the attention of the human brain which is hard wired to notice and process visual information faster than other forms of communication, such as written and verbal. Have you ever wondered why cave paintings came long before humans developed the written and spoken language? Well, returning to 2018, it’s said content with images can attract 94% more views than content without. The moral of the story is; infographics, videos, diagrams, illustrations and appealing graphic design are highly effective tools for providing immediate context, pushing key facts to the fore and making complex statistics and concepts easy to understand.
For communication to be persuasive, it must be deemed trustworthy too. Did you know almost half of all website visitors (46.1%) say a website’s design is how they determine the credibility of a company? Meanwhile, a study by 3M dating back to 1986 revealed presentations with visual aids were 43% more effective at persuading an audience to take a desired course of action, while they had a positive impact on people’s impression of the presenter. Clearly, visualising your messages could be key to being taken seriously – seriously enough to influence the decisions, actions, values and opinions of others on your path to business success.