The power behind being persuasion smart

Influencing skills expert Michelle Bowden believes the way we prefer to be persuaded can often influence how we try to influence others. A Persuasion Smart Profile could be just what you need to sell with more confidence, inspire your team, and improve customer experience.

How persuasive are you? Do people listen when you speak? Do you often get your own way?

Every day we are faced with opportunities to influence those around us in the workplace.  

On some occasions, such as a business pitch, a formal presentation, a business case, or a property auction, there are obvious opportunities to persuade.  

Other chances are less straightforward, including unplanned meetings, impromptu presentations, an informal conversation, a lift ride with a possible referrer, an email, or even a professional development event that you have decided to attend at the last minute.  

Our communication style can limit our level of persuasiveness, and we often don’t take full advantage of the opportunities that present. 

When the stakes are high, or we’re pitching in a competitive environment, it’s important that our client listens and takes the action we require.

In these situations, we must be persuasive.

Our unique persuasion style and personality traits ensure that some people are easier to persuade than others.

If you’ve ever felt unsure of the most effective way to persuade someone, and you want to hear the word “yes” more often in your life, one thing is for sure; you need to develop your ability to persuade in any situation, not just the easy cases.

Based on a survey I conducted of more than 800 people:

  • There are 89 per cent of executives who admit to daydreaming during important meetings and conversations, and 33 per cent admit to sleeping.
  • About 75 per cent of people say they would gain greater respect for their knowledge and expertise if they were better communicators.
  • Only 28 per cent of people say that the most recent meeting they attended moved them to action, and 72 per cent went back to what they were doing and did nothing new. 

These statistics tell us that there’s room for improvement when persuading our colleagues, clients, employers, and friends and family members.

We are all persuaded in different ways, and this affects our approach when persuading others.

The body of research on persuasion tells us that the degree to which someone persuades us depends on our subconscious answering the following virtual questions called ‘persuasion qualifiers’.


  1. How strong is the argument presented? Is there evidence to support the argument? Do the arguments make sense to me?
  2. How credible is the messenger? Do they seem to be an authority? Would I follow this person?
  3. How well does this messenger understand my needs and preferences? Do they care about my position and my needs? What do I think about this messenger? Do I like them?
  4. How convincing overall is the messenger? Are they convinced themselves? Are they passionate and confident about their position? Am I excited about their ideas and/or proposal? 

Whether by rational thought or feeling, we all tend to place a different level of importance on each persuasion qualifier. 

For instance, some people won’t believe you unless your argument is rational, logical and backed by verifiable facts and data.

Other people care about the credibility of the messenger.

They need to know that you have the runs on the board and the vibe that you know what you are talking about.

They need to know you are someone they can trust because you are an authority in their field. 

Then there are people who need to know that you care about them.

They need to feel a strong emotional connection to you before they are open to you persuading them.

And finally, some people need to sense your passion and enthusiasm before you can persuade them.

They need to be swept up in your excitement.  

While all of these needs will be important to some degree for most of us, we generally give priority to one or two of these needs before we can be persuaded. 

And the fact is that most of us try to persuade others in the way that we, ourselves, prefer to be persuaded.


  1. Know yourself. 
  2. Know others. 
  3. Build your strength across all persuasive approaches, so you are persuasive all of the time.
  4. Flex or adapt to meet the needs of your stakeholder.


The way to assess your persuasive strengths and weaknesses at work is to complete the Persuasion Smart Profile.

The Persuasion Smart Profile is a psychological assessment tool that reports on your persuasive strengths and weaknesses.

There are four main persuasive approaches. 

Through a series of short questions that produce a detailed report about how driven you are to change people’s minds as well as your preferred approach to persuading others, the profile helps you ascertain where you are strong and where you are weak when persuading others.

In general, the research shows most people are strong in two of the approaches and weaker in the other two.

The purpose of the assessment tool is to open your mind to the various persuasion types that can be used and encourage you to develop strength in all four approaches where necessary, not just the approaches that feel most comfortable to you. 


There are four main persuasive types. They are the expert, authority, connector and performer. 

The expert has an innate drive to use their intellect and superior subject matter expertise to establish the credibility of their message. 

The expert seeks to persuade others by relying heavily on well-founded, logical arguments, facts and data.

The authority has an innate drive to establish their personal power and credibility. 

They seek to persuade others by establishing themselves as a credible and believable authority and a force for change. 

The connector has an innate drive to establish strong emotional connections. 

They strive to persuade others by using their natural rapport-building qualities to build a sense of affiliation and co-operation with others. 

The performer has an innate drive to engage and captivate others. 

The performer seeks to persuade others by using their charisma and charm to arouse others and gain their support.


Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung famously said: “Unless you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate”.

When it comes to persuading the people around you, it’s important to be conscious of your actions and their consequences, so you both control your approach and manage the outcome.

If you elect to wing it, you’ll tend to adopt the approach that would work on you, not the method you should be using to get the outcomes you desire. 


Many of us want to improve the way we communicate with the people around us, so our relationships become easier.

Greater awareness of your strengths, and a commitment to adapting your persuasion style, will improve the way you sell to prospects, manage customers and their expectations, and engage and lead colleagues and/or team members.

Improved results in these areas can lead to increased sales and customer satisfaction, a safer, more productive workplace culture, stronger relationships with stakeholders, and greater workplace satisfaction. 

The Persuasion Smart Profilewill help you to:

  • Understand yourself. You will gain an awareness of how you prefer to persuade others and how you are most likely to be persuaded yourself. 
  • Sell with greater confidence. You will be able to recognise and respond to your prospects’ preferences. You will understand how to adapt your approach to suit your prospects’ needs to win people over with the right solution for their business challenges.
  • Inspire and lead your team. You will better understand the styles and preferences of your team. You will understand how to adapt your approach to suit your team member’s individual needs, so you inspire productivity and commitment to your cause.
  • Improve customer relationships. You will recognise the persuasive preferences of your customers. You will understand how to adapt your approach to suit your customers’ needs and provide winning customer experiences. 

The Persuasion Smart Profile provides you with a common language that you can use to better understand your strengths and weaknesses when you are influencing someone.

It also highlights your stakeholder’s possible persuasive needs, which may be different to your own preferences and strengths.

The assessment tool also explains why some people seem impossible to convince and others are a push-over.

Once you better understand yourself, you’re in a position to adapt your approach according to the requirements of the communication scenario and your stakeholder’s needs, instead of just behaving in the way that feels most comfortable to you. 

Happy persuading.

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Michelle Bowden

Michelle Bowden is Australia's expert on presenting persuasively in business. She's a best-selling, internationally published author of How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting your ideas and influencing people using techniques that actually work. For more information visit