31 Jul 25 things you need to know when persuading at work

(from Michelle Bowden’s keynote for Ronald McDonald House Charities July 2017)

  1. We persuade and influence our family members, friends, clients, colleagues and managers every day of our life. Our days and filled with negotiating, finding compromise, updating, advising, selling, influencing and persuading.
  2. Most people forget that we are actually influencing people all the time. So they treat their communication scenarios like informal conversations and don’t analyse their audience, prepare their message, and they definitely don’t take the time to rehearse. They are likely to ‘wing it’!
  3. Remember you cannot not influence.
  4. Expert communicators analyse their stakeholder, prepare their messages and even rehearse the delivery so they increase their chances of success.
  5. Expert communicators get into their stakeholder’s shoes and build strong rapport so they can present meaningful, needs based solutions. Expert communicators know how to design, persuasive, powerful, memorable messages and as a result expert communicators hear the word ‘yes’ more often in their life.
  6. There are 3 phases to a persuasive presenting in business: Analysis; Design; Delivery.
  7. The 5 Step Analysis is as follows: Topic; Goal; Purpose; Leading Statement; Think/Feel/Do.
  8. Without some thorough analysis it’s possible you won’t be clear about what you really want to achieve.
  9. You can communicate with stakeholders from three potential ‘positions’. 1st position is where you are in your own shoes – completely self indulgent and all you care about is yourself. 2nd position is where you are completely and utterly in your stakeholder’s shoes. 3rd Position is the helicopter view. From up in 3rd Position you can see your needs (1st Position) and you can see their needs (2nd Position) so from 3rd Position you can make some very good decisions about what is best for you and what is best for your stakeholder.
  10. Spend more time in 2nd and 3rd position than you currently do!
  11. Without some thorough analysis it’s possible that you won’t get into the shoes of your stakeholder and really understand where you are shifting them from and to.
  12. It’s not about me, it’s all about the other party. It’s not about what you want to say or the way you want to say it, it’s not about how you want to stand, sit or move your body, and it’s definitely not about the PowerPoint slides you want to show. It’s all about your stakeholder and what they need to hear from you in order to understand your message and change their behaviour accordingly. Understand this and you’ll never be ‘nervous’ or lacking confidence as a communicator again.
  13. 4Mat is the model for crafting a message so it sticks in your audience’s mind and they are compelled to take the action you require.
  14. 4Mat addresses the 4 x virtual questions in your audiences’ mind: Why? What? How? What if?/What else?
  15. Storyboarding is for designing your message.
  16. Storyboarding uses 3 x hats: dreamer (where you brainstorm); realist (where you place the post-it notes into the 4Mat boxes; Critic (where you take away points you don’t like, add in points you needs and put your points in a pattern).
  17. There are three main types of objections: content, personal and logistics. It’s best to manage most objections BEFORE they are raised. We manage objections with the POO technique. POO stands for: Pacing Out Objections.
  18. There are 5 steps to the POO technique: state the objection; say ‘and’, ‘so’ or pause and say nothing, then say ‘actually’ or ‘in fact’, lead to a solution, and finally use the clever word ‘because’ with a meaningful reason.
  19. Be careful of saying ‘But’, ‘However’, ‘Alternatively’, ‘Although’ because they all negate what you have just said and activate the fight/flight response in the stakeholder and incite them to fight you! Choose to say “and”, “so”, or just pause and say nothing.
  20. As you can’t always foresee every single objection that could be raised, you can also use the POO technique for managing objections when they are raised.
  21. Framing is the technique we use to control and relax our audience/stakeholder.
  22. You frame after you have built rapport.
  23. If you don’t frame you’ll have a chaotic meeting that’s all over the place, with interruptions and distractions and questions out of scope.
  24. Never stand in the fig leaf position. Instead try to have your arms by your sides, or move them (gesture) to reinforce your points.
  25. Diaphragmatic breath is important for 3 reasons: clarity of thought (oxygen to the brain); it will relax you; you will project our voice with more authority if you breathe into your diaphragm.

I know you know this, it’s not rocket science, so take the time to plan your meetings in advance, analyse your performance at the conclusion of every meeting and continuously strive to be an expert communicator who masters the craft of persuasive communication.


For more tips on persuading, presenting, and communicating at work go to www.michellebowden.com.au and subscribe to her FREE magazine called How to Present.

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