How to Be More Persuasive at Work

To achieve complex goals, we often must rely upon the hard work and cooperation from those around us.

learn more about Ken Sundheim

By Ken Sundheim


This story originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog

Little is accomplished alone. To achieve complex goals, we often must rely upon the hard work and cooperation from those around us.

Therefore, our ability to be persuasive will either further our capacity to lead a successful, lucrative career or it will greatly hinder our odds of achieving our full potential.

By learning how to get others to say "yes", we can flourish in nearly any capacity of our professional lives.

Below, you'll find three crucial tips that will aid any professional in their quest to win others to their way of thinking.

Related: The Mentality of a Successful Career

1. Stop Expecting People to Care About Your Needs.

The most important lesson in persuasion is that you can't expect others to care about what you want. If you desire to become more persuasive, get in the habit of addressing the concerns of others.

When possible, our recruiters suggest that you avoid using the word "I" and begin substituting the word "you" in its place. Doing so will naturally guide you to talk in terms of the other party's ambitions.

By focusing on their needs, we are more apt to gain compliance and avoid resentment. For instance, a sales professional who wants to sell a new product to a customer is less likely to persuade by bragging about how technically innovative the product is.

Rather, it's in their best interest to clearly define how the benefits of the product can assist the organization in cutting production costs and complexities. Ironically, the most effective way to get what you want is to be less concerned with your own needs and more in-tune to the desires of others.

Then, have faith that once you address the other party's concerns, your concerns are going to be met.

2. Appreciate Conflicting Opinions Rather Than Judge Them

People are more likely to cooperate with you when they feel you respect their beliefs. Therefore, to gain agreement, it's most effective to address that you recognize and appreciate the individual's concerns. Once you show respect for their point of view, you can then begin to disarm and persuade that person to your way of thinking.

Upon running into a disagreement, most people rush to judge the other party's point of view and attempt to persuade through contradiction.

As many have seen from experience, this has the opposite of the desired effect. Cooperation in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person's ideas and feelings as important as your own.

Related: 15 Behaviors and Traits of Great Leaders

Instead of condemning the other party thinking, it's much more effective to try to understand the reasoning behind their actions.

Once you decipher a person's motives, you can adequately show respect for their beliefs and, upon doing so have them listen to your point-of-view in a more open minded manner.

Most disputes are never settled because each party fails to show sympathy for the others' opinions.

3. Avoid Criticism and Embrace Appreciation.

One of the most effective ways to influence someone is simply to appreciate them. People do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than they do under criticism.

By criticizing others, we dilute our ability to persuade. Disapproval puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself.

Regardless of how mistaken someone may be, using condemnation as a motivator will often result in the other party detaching from your cause or, on occasion doing the opposite of what is requested.

Countless studies have shown that animals rewarded for positive behavior are much more apt to comply than those punished for bad behavior.

People are no different. If you want to influence, show a sincere appreciation for the other individual and remember to avoid insincere flattery at all costs.

In the End

Remember that there is a difference between influencing someone and manipulating them. If you find yourself persuading an individual to behave in a manner that is less than mutually beneficial, you are in breach of ethics and leaving yourself open to a surprisingly negative outcome.

Related: The Fundamentals of Successful Thinking

Ken Sundheim
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement Sales and Marketing Recruiters, a sales and marketing recruiting firm specializing in staffing business development and marketing professionals around the U.S. Ken has been published in Forbes, Chicago Tribune, AOL, Business Insider,,, Huffington Post and many others. He has also appeared on MTV, Fox Business News and spoken at some of the country's leading business schools on HR, job search and recruitment.

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