The Power of Persuasion
Those who are able to persuade have an innate power that can assist them throughout their career. According to Cogner (1998):
The concept of persuasion, like that of power, often confuses and even mystifies businesspeople. It is so complexâ€”and so dangerous when mishandledâ€”that many would rather just avoid it altogether. But like power, persuasion can be a force for enormous good in an organization. It can pull people together, move ideas forward, galvanize change, and forge constructive solutions. To do all that, however, people must understand persuasion for what it isâ€”not convincing and selling but learning and negotiating. Furthermore, it must be seen as an art form that requires commitment and practice, especially as todayâ€™s business contingencies make persuasion more necessary than ever (p. 95).
At times, HR managers and professionals will need to use their persuasion skills when dealing with employees and organizational issues. As a practical example, when dealing with an organizational change, there will be many employees who will resist and oppose the change. As such, HR managers and professionals could use their persuasion skills to help employees understand the benefits of the organizational change. Therefore, there are four main steps to persuade:
The first hurdle persuaders must overcome is their own credibility. In the workplace, credibility grows out of two sources: expertise and relationships. People are considered to have high levels of expertise if they have a history of sound judgment or have proven themselves knowledgeable and well informed about their proposals.
Frame the Common Ground
Even if your credibility is high, your position must still appeal strongly to the people you are trying to persuade. After all, few people will jump on board a train that will bring them to ruin or even mild discomfort. Effective persuaders must be adept at describing their positions in terms that illuminate their advantages.
With credibility established and a common frame identified, persuasion becomes a matter of presenting evidence. Ordinary evidence, however, wonâ€™t do. We have found that the most effective persuaders use language in a particular way. They supplement numerical data with examples, stories, metaphors, and analogies to make their positions come alive. That use of language paints a vivid word picture and, in doing so, lends a compelling and tangible quality to the persuaderâ€™s point of view.
Good persuaders are aware of the primacy of emotions and are responsive to them. Perhaps more important, however, is that effective persuaders have a strong and accurate sense of their audienceâ€™s emotional state, and they adjust the tone of their arguments accordingly.
*** Cogner, J.A. (1998). The Necessary Art of Persuasion. Harvard Business Review, May-June Issue.
Drawing on the material in the background readings and doing additional research, please prepare a 2- to 4-page paper (not including the cover and reference pages) in which you:
- Write a speech for persuading employees to embrace a technological change at your organization. You will use the four steps mentioned above.