Persuasion in Business Leadership

Persuasion is an art-probably one of the most important skills as a leader. It helps in building relationships, managing people, landing clients, and much more. But, what exactly is persuasion?

‘Persuasion is a conscious attempt by an individual to change someone’s attitude, behavior, or belief in something by effective communication.’

From shaking hands to standing straight and projecting voice, everything comes under Persuasion. However, this article isn’t about that. In this article, few tactics and underlying theories of being an influential & persuasive leader will be discussed.

Read on to understand the eight underlying theories of persuasion in business leadership:

Persuasion in business leadership:

Businesses with persuasive and communicative leaders tend to do well in the market. Here are some practices of highly persuasive leaders:

  1. They practice brevity:

The thing about any successful leader is they understand the value of time, theirs as well as others’. Therefore, they keep every communication short, precise and crisp.

  • They know what they are talking about. Therefore,
  • Their speeches are short.
  • They make sure others understand,
  • They use metaphors instead of charts and figures.
  • If they don’t know, they consult other’s to continue and listen instead of fluffing up their talks.

All in all, every persuasive leader practice brevity.

  1. They are honest:

A survey on over 100,000 people concluded honesty as the most important leadership quality.

Every follower expects their leader to be honest and have strong morals. If the leader fails to be so, they might still be the CEO of their company but the value of their words is zero to none.

And every persuasive leader understands this. Therefore, honesty is their first policy too.

Maybe sometimes a leader can come out as blunt but that only makes a case for their integrity instead of the opposite. Moreover, most persuasive leaders are empathetic, a quality which makes sure about the ‘How’ to talk with a certain individual rather than the ‘What’.

Honesty builds the credibility of any successful leader, and people will rather follow a credible person.

  1. They Listen:

Listening is the first step to persuading. Any persuasive person listens before speaking. They gather all the context there is to be known. They give their full attention to the other person. JCU Online describes it as Vanguard leadership in their blog, it’s about ‘listen and facilitate’ and involving team members into decision making.

Leaders tend to look at their people in the eye and listen attentively. This sends two types of message to the people:

  • They don’t fear whatever is coming their way
  • They are leader enough to attentively listen instead of bossing around

Speaking last with a context-depending tone is a quality you will see in most persuasive leaders and won’t ever see in a “Boss”.

  1. They are master storytellers:

Storytelling is the magic to persuasiveness. Persuasive leaders tell stories well. They know there’s nothing more fascinating & captivating than a story told well.

Leaders use captivating stories to influence people and gain their attention.

Using stories in business leadership, people demonstrate their ideas and strategies more effectively. They create a connection of the listener’s belief with their story, which makes the listener believe in what he/she is doing.

This makes the employees feel like they are working with their leader rather than for them. The inspire & motivate with stories.

All in all, being a master storyteller is a natural trait of most persuasive leaders.

  1. They have a vision:

Business leaders tend to have a clear vision– both for their business as well as their people.

They always know where they are headed, and hence have set milestones & goals. They have done their side of internal & external SWOT analysis beforehand to make their vision possible.

Having a clear vision helps them find people they need to make the vision possible. These leaders communicate with those people and make them believe that their goal is the same and not different.

By all means, communicating the “vision” is where actual persuasion starts for business leaders.

  1. They establish rapport:

Establishing rapport with every individual as well as groups is necessary for a business leader.

Rapport is essentially the only thing which will make everyone valued. And, a big part of persuasion includes making others feel important.

Rapport can be something as small as sending an email instead of a phone call because the other person doesn’t feel comfortable the other way. Rapport can be knowing every individual’s name when the leader is handling hundreds of people.

In a nutshell, building rapport shows the employees that one cares.

  1. They speak like a leader:

At last, after knowing all the context & after understanding every individual, they speak.

Persuasiveness is all about speaking at the end of the day. Effective leaders speak with confidence.

  • They never stumble over their words.
  • They emphasize the significant points.
  • They speak slowly and let the listener take it all in.
  • They vary their pitch & tone depending on the situation.
  • They take brief pauses.

Overall, they speak like a leader– with a mix of authority & empathy.

  1. They are always fair:

Persuasive leaders know that their influence is effective only if they stand correct.

Of course, every leader has their favorites, but when the time comes, they are never unfair to their regulars. This is what makes them stand apart from some “salesman using words”.

Persuasive leaders are equally committed to everyone running their business. Fairness is what makes others glued to their leader.

Final Words:

Persuasion is eminent in business leadership. It’s about making the employees believe in the employer’s vision for businesses. Being persuasive in business leadership keeps everyone’s beliefs & opinions in line.

Persuasive leaders are essentially master communicators. They practice a pattern of communication skills to keep their employees intact.

James Lang

James is the Editor of Small Business Sense. His background includes freelance ghostwriting about things that impact SMEs, startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. He hasn't had a boss in more than six years, and hopes his content will help you fire yours.