When you communicate in the workplace, nearly every message you’ll send will have at least a little bit of persuasion. For example, when you give your opinion at a meeting, you are trying to convince others to agree with you or at least take you seriously. When you ask your coworker to update a document at the last minute to meet a deadline, you’re persuading them to give your work priority over their other tasks.
Often, people equate persuasion with marketing. But persuasion in workplaces can be both much more subtle and much more complicated. For example, if you disagree with a company policy, do you try to fight it alone or do you slowly try to get coworkers on your side? Do you use forceful language or a subtler approach? Do you do research to show how other organizations have tackled the issue or do you focus on making an emotional connection with your audience to help them understand how the policy impacts you? Do you identify one person who has the power to change the policy and convince them, or do you try to get broad support? All of these answers will change depending on your company culture, the people in your company, and your own position within the company.
Luckily, many of the principles we’ve already discussed apply. Understanding your audience’s needs and the context of your message will help you craft your persuasive strategy. In this chapter, we’ll add a few more tools to your persuasive toolkit:
- The Hierarchy of Needs
- Ethos, Pathos and Logos
- The Spectrum of Allies