Persuasive communication may be defined as communication that convinces others to think or act as the person doing the communicating wishes. Persuasive communication is the conveying of a message to reinforce, change or modify the responses of others. It may be used in varied settings, both formal and informal, with internal and external customers like suppliers, superiors and subordinates, at operational and strategic levels. For example, a politician may use persuasive communication to get people to vote for him, persuading indecisive voters that she is the best candidate for the job.
In face-to-face communication, the person uses verbal skills to persuade people to his way of thinking. The first step is to establish credibility in relationships to prove sound judgment. Credibility also helps to prove the person knowledgeable and well informed about proposals they are communicating to others. For face-to-face communication to be effective, the person needs to establish a history of demonstrating repeatedly that he can be trusted to work in the company's and other people's best interests.
Nonverbal communication goes beyond body language to include the way people dress, the car they drive and the way they do their hair. Nonverbal communication can take place in an office, conference room, hallway, golf course and during business travel. For example, in a meeting, the person with the highest ranking generally sits at the head of the table, on the end that faces the door. The person who assumes the position at the head of the table is asserting her authority. A manager who keeps looking at her watch is non-verbally communicating a desire to keep the meeting brief.
Formal Persuasive Communication
Formal persuasive communication flows upward and downward in an organized structure, such as a project team, a task force or a committee. Formal communication generally takes place within a framework of rules. For business purposes, persuasive communication should not be manipulative or unethical. The person in charge leads the group, presenting ideas that are feasible. A certain level of authority is exercised in putting across ideas in a formal manner to persuade people that it is the right direction forward.
Informal Persuasive Communication
In informal persuasive communication, asking the right questions, discussing options and communicating specific ideas in a professional manner is an effective way to persuade others to a particular point of view. For example, the questions asked are used for the purpose of identifying the needs of the people being persuaded, and then demonstrating how agreement with the original idea can help a particular product or service meet those needs. To be persuasive in informal communication, avoiding ambiguity helps to deliver a clear message that people can understand and relate to.
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