by Sherrell Steele, instructor in the Public Relations Diploma Program

Would you like to have more influence in your professional or personal life and impress others with the merits of your ideas?  Are you ready to master the art of persuasion? 

How many times have you presented an idea in a team meeting only to have your idea fall flat? Have you ever pitched an idea to your boss and got a blank stare?

Many of us present arguments based on facts. Shouldn’t logic prevail? Yes, logic is important but the truth is, many decisions are made on feelings. We like to do what “feels right” and perhaps the facts do not always add up.

Convince others of the merits of your ideas by inspiring feelings: generating enthusiasm, creating excitement or (dare I say) creating fear.

The most powerful basis for argument are principles, ideals. Present your next idea as the right thing to do because it is constitutional, consistent with company policy, fair, reasonable and equitable.

What I have just described to you can be captured in three Greek words: logos, ethos and pathos. Translated? Logic, emotion and principles or ideals. Speak like a Greek!

The next time you are in a team meeting, present the facts, appeal to your audiences’ emotions and for the punchline, align your idea with the company’s vision, mission and values. A slam dunk!

When you need to convince your boss of the merits of your ideas, be logical, be emotional and be principled. Your boss will be won over!  

Let’s illustrate this with a scenario:

Sherrell wants her Marketing team to contribute to the United Way campaign. She says, “Next week we launch our United Way campaign. Last year Accounting beat us in raising funds. Do we want Accounting to get ahead of Marketing again this year? That just would not seem fair! Pitch in with your dollars now!”

Notice how Sherrell uses the facts about the comparable amounts of money raised. Then she brings in the emotion of competitiveness and the principle of fairness.  She finished with a clear call to action. That’s persuasive! 

The art of persuasion combines the power of your ideas with rhetorical devices; logic, emotion and values. That’s how you can master the art of persuasion.

So go ahead and practice this technique and be sure to employ it in your organization’s communication planning and messaging. Keep the goal in mind of what you are trying to achieve, and use compelling, persuasive messaging to achieve it.


  • Posted Nov. 16, 2017