How to Become a More Effective Persuader

Whether you’re interested in selling more products in your business or changing the minds of your political opponents, it pays to become a more effective persuader. But the art of persuasion is neither simple nor easy to master.

These are some of the best strategies to start within your journey.

Invest in Your Image

In a perfect world, people would only be persuaded by the quality of a person’s arguments; they would be moved by reason, facts, logic, and nothing else. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and most people are more likely to be persuaded by someone with a polished, professional image than an unprofessional-looking person armed with logic alone.

The image comes in many forms and can be improved in many ways. For example, you could work with a printer to create a dynamic, professional saddle stitch booklet housing your best photos and logical arguments. 

You could also partner up with an organization or institution that already has a sound reputation. Of course, you can also just focus on your physical image, grooming yourself, dressing well, and improving your posture to look more presentable.

Adopt Firm Positions

Ambivalence is not persuasive. If you want to win someone over to your side, you have to demonstrate passion, enthusiasm, and firmness in your positions. That may mean exaggerating your stance to prove a point. 

For example, if you’re anti-war, it’s much more persuasive to adopt a stance like “military aggression is never acceptable” than a stance like “military aggression is permissible only in certain circumstances.”

Know Your Audience

Market research can help you better understand your audience – something indispensable if you want to effectively persuade. Not everyone is persuaded the same way, so you need to know who you’re dealing with.

For example, if you’re trying to persuade an audience of experts in a subject, who all have PhDs, you’ll need to be sure you have all the facts on your side. If you’re trying to persuade an audience of laypeople, your job will be to communicate your subject matter simply and in a way that your audience members can understand. Similarly, some people are naturally more persuaded by emotional appeals than logical appeals or vice versa; you need to know where your target audience falls.

Try to Get Small Wins, One at a Time

Don’t try to win people over all at once. Instead, win them over one point at a time. If you’re arguing that pepperoni is the best pizza topic, don’t start there; instead, try to convince them that pepperoni is better than black olives. Then convince them that pepperoni is better than onions, and so on.

Be Authentic

Authenticity is also vital. People will find you much more likable, more professional, and more persuasive if you’re being genuine. If you’re adopting a fake persona to try and seem more superficially charming, or if it’s obvious you don’t truly believe what you’re saying, people will naturally tune out. Be yourself, as much as possible, and speak from the heart.

Remain Calm, Polite, and Confident

Politicians, business leaders, and other influential individuals have occasionally succeeded in persuading audiences through temper tantrums, insults, and emotional outbursts. But it’s almost always more persuasive to remain calm, polite, and confident at all times – especially if you’re debating someone or standing in stark contrast with someone who is not calm, polite, or confident.

If you’re engaged in a public argument with someone who is becoming increasingly frustrated and erratic, maintain a calm demeanor and a polite smile, without resorting to personal attacks or aggressive rebuttals. You’ll be seen with much more poise and polish – which will strengthen your position.

Acknowledge and Address Counterpoints Proactively

Some people think the best way to persuade an audience on a given topic is to avoid all mention of the opposition’s position. But it’s usually more persuasive to acknowledge and address the counterpoints to your position. This is yet another strategy that makes you appear more confident; if you’re willing to list the counterpoints and refute them, you must truly believe in your position.

Additionally, this gives you a chance to get ahead of the arguments surely waiting for you. You retain control of the narrative flow and prevent your opponents from blindsiding you.

Learn and Adapt

Finally, be willing to learn and adapt. It’s going to take some time to develop your personal persuasive style, and even longer to perfect the tactics necessary to persuade your audience.

The most skilled persuaders throughout history have observed and followed these principles (along with others) to perfect their craft. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to change everyone’s mind; some people will never be persuaded on a point they’re passionate about. But you should be much more effective in exerting your influence. 


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.