Do you really need a growth mindset for persuasion?

Most people want to be more consistently persuasive in their work and home lives.  After all, it’s annoying when we need to want something from someone else and they just won’t give it to us or do it!

In my latest book called, How to Persuade: the skills you need to get what you want (Wiley) I outline the 40 actions and all their sub-actions for becoming more persuasive so that yes, you do actually get what you want.

There are so many cool little tips and trick that will help you build your persuasiveness – no matter the communication scenario. And you can read a book to learn them all – amazing!  One of those cool tips is to cultivate a growth mindset.


What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is a belief that you can develop your skills and talents through hard work, the right strategies, and guidance from others. The term growth mindset was coined by American psychologist Professor Carol Dweck in her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

My family and I are all mad-keen basketball fans. One of the best all-time point guards in the NBA is Stephen Curry — and in our family, Curry is a legend! Curry once said, ‘Success is not an accident; success is actually a choice’. What he means is that if you want to be successful at establishing your credibility, you need to commit to a growth mindset. Strive constantly to add to your back story, personal history and experience so you’re a well-rounded person. And, importantly, don’t just talk about doing it. Actually do it! Take classes, read books, listen to podcasts. Become a whole person who is always learning new things and adding strings to your bow. The more interests you have, the better placed you’ll be to add value to other people’s conversations and meetings.

Also understand that brains and intellect are not the only things that matter when it comes to a growth mindset. Your dedication and hard work as you learn new things (and become fundamentally interesting in a variety of environments) will make you an expert in the long run. People with a growth mindset put more energy into learning than they do worrying about failure.


How do you embrace a growth mindset?

Try the following four options to embrace the growth mindset:

1. Set goals: Write down your goals and the steps you’ll take to achieve them. Research has shown that when you write down your goals, you strengthen the image of that goal in your mind, and this helps you focus on achieving it. This vision creates clarity and direction, which can lead to a change in how you then act. From a neuroscience perspective, we know that writing down a goal improves what’s known as the ‘encoding’ process — or the process where things are stored in your long-term memory. This encoding makes it more likely you will remember and action the goal.

2. Reflect on your failures: Take time to acknowledge, reflect on and embrace all your failures. Remember — growth is on the other side of discomfort, and failure is just another word for discomfort! What are you going to learn from the experience? How will you make sure you do better next time?

3. Use ‘yet’: You can add this to the end of so many sentences; for example, ‘I’m not there — yet’. ‘Yet’ becomes the important word in this sentence. It highlights that you will eventually achieve your persuasion goals, you’re just not there yet. To take a lesson from the character Dory in Finding Nemo, ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming’ and, through hard work, determination and focus, you will ultimately achieve your goals. Integrating the word ‘yet’ into your vocabulary signals that, despite any struggles, you will eventually develop the skill or ability you are seeking.

4. Foster grit: Grit is defined as a toughness and determination. It’s about resilience and that drive to keep trying even when you fail. You have grit when your ‘never say die’ mentality forces you to persist through adversity. Grit is an important element of the growth mindset. Sarah Lewis, Associate Professor at Harvard University (and recipient of the Freedom Scholar Award), offers some advice: ‘Grit is not just a simple elbow-grease term for rugged persistence. It is an often-invisible display of endurance that lets you stay in an uncomfortable place, work hard to improve upon a given interest, and do it again and again.’

By challenging yourself and continuing to learn you will automatically become more interesting, better connected and more persuasive (and therefore successful) in your life.

Happy Persuading!


©2023 MICHELLE BOWDEN CSP is an authority on persuasive presenting in business. She’s run her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass over 970 times for more than 13,000 people over the past 24 years and her name is a synonym for ‘presentation skills’ in Australia. She’s a multi-million-dollar pitch coach to her client list that reads like a who’s who of international business: banking and finance, IT, pharmaceutical, retail, telecommunications plus many more. Michelle is the creator of the Persuasion Smart Profile®, a world-first psychological assessment tool that reports on your persuasive strengths and weaknesses at work, the best-selling internationally published author of How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting live and online (Wiley) and her new book is called How to Persuade: the skills you need to get what you want (Wiley)

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