Persuasive Skills (With Examples)

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Persuasion in the workplace entails convincing others to follow a course of action, to agree to a commitment, or to purchase a product or service.  Employers value persuasive skills because they impact so many aspects of the workplace.

Persuasive skills are used to influence many different stakeholders including customers, co-workers, bosses, business partners, subordinates, donors, funding sources, judges,  juries, consumers, voters, and prospective employees.


The Persuasion Process

The process of persuasion typically involves the following stages: 

1.  Assessing the preferences, needs, and predispositions of a particular target individual or group.  

2.  Establishing a rapport with those stakeholders.  

3.  Clearly articulating the benefits of accepting the proposal. 

4.  Actively listening to the concerns of stakeholders and uncovering objections to the proposal. 

5.  Presenting points to counter any objections. 

6.  Recognizing legitimate limitations to proposals. 

7.  Modifying proposals as needed to find common ground. 

8.  Clarifying the terms of any final agreement. 

9.  Following up to determine if stakeholders have lingering doubts.

Examples of Persuasive Skills 

A - M

  • Analyzing a job and tailoring a cover letter to the key qualifications for the position 
  • Articulating the benefits of working for an employer as part of a recruiting information session on campus
  • Asking a customer how her daughter is faring in college as part of building a relationship 
  • Complimenting an employee on successful completion of a task
  • Composing a letter or email to prospective donors for a college's annual fund
  • Convincing opposing parties in a divorce mediation to accept a fair proposal 
  • Designing an incentive program for a sales team
  • Devising a campaign slogan for a political candidate
  • Encouraging a patient to adopt a healthier lifestyle
  • Meeting with staff to assess their reactions to a proposed restructuring

N - Z

  • Negotiating a salary increase
  • Praising a personal training client after completion of various stages of a rigorous workout
  • Presenting an argument to a judge for a motion during a trial or pre-trial proceeding
  • Presenting a rationale to upper management to expand the departmental budget
  • Proposing to hire an assistant for the leading salesperson who indicated that she might leave due to concerns about her workload
  • Recruiting volunteers for a community service project
  • Securing signatures for a petition
  • Structuring a celebrity testimonial as part of a commercial for a product
  • Tailoring advertising copy to the preferences of target demographic group
  • Writing the script for a telephone fundraising pitch for a charitable organization

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