Pyrotechniques of Persuasion  

By Pauline Shirley, Leaders On Fire

Persuasion is powerful. Whether you are interacting with a client, a potential client, or a co-worker, you frequently communicate to persuade someone to agree with you, to buy something, or to perform an action. Being aware of the communication elements that persuade or dissuade fires up your power of persuasion.

Words and actions either persuade or dissuade. Listening persuades and seldom dissuades.

Listening skills are your first focus in order to be at your persuasive best. Following are four steps in listening:

• Take notes as you listen to better track and follow the information.
• Be aware of jumping to conclusions too quickly.
• Wear the other person’s shoes” so you are listening to what is being said, not what you want to hear.
• Listen to subtleties that give you insight to the speaker.

Listening requires limiting your own talking to asking questions to clarify or to saying a few words that encourage additional information from the speaker.

Words that encourage further information are simple words or phrases. For example:
Yes; and then; I see; oh; tell me more about that; what do you think; and what happened then? They keep the flow of information coming and reveal details that help your persuasiveness later in the conversation.

After you listen and discover information that will help you accomplish your goal, work on the words you use to persuade.

According to a Yale University study, there are twelve words that people “listen to” more than others. They are: discovery, easy, guarantee, health, love, money, new, proven, results, safety, save and you. Add one more word for proven results. The name of the person you are talking with. From the notes you have taken during the listening phase, include any words that appear to be important to the other person.

The next competency to be aware of is vocal. Your tone of voice, rate of speech and volume are important elements in your ability to sway someone’s opinion. A monotone voice can turn the listener off. Speaking too fast is often perceived as rude, while speaking too slow can be perceived as unprofessional. Talking too loud is often construed as domineering and talking softly may be taken as a sign of lack of confidence.

Whether you are looking for new clients or building relationships with current clients, ignite persuasive power. Focus on your listening skills, carefully select your words and craft your most effective voice tone. All are valuable and effective communication skills in any situation.

Pyrotechniques of Persuasion ? by Pauline Shirley, 2002. Pauline Shirley presents, speaks and trains from rich leadership experiences. She is president of Leaders On Fire of Richardson, Texas, whose mission is to prepare emerging leaders for today, tomorrow and the future. She may be reached at 972/644-6430, or

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Copyright © MMV Pauline Shirley


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