7 Steps to Improve the Art of Persuasion

Persuasion skills are beneficial to any industry. From convincing customers to purchase an item to talking to potential partners to asking your boss for a raise; Your persuasion abilities are put to the test. Therefore, it is important to develop persuasion and argumentative skills.

While some people have a flair for the art of persuasion, most people find it hard to speak up. The good news is that there are concrete steps for you to improve, and below are only some of them:

Be ready for making proper arguments and counter-arguments.

Convincing someone means having the right arguments. As you try to persuade people, you will encounter a lot of questions and counter-arguments to what you are going to say. More often than not, there will be difficulty talking to certain individuals. However, you should not give in and bow down in defeat.

Be prepared to provide a satisfactory rebuttal. If this is not your strength, practice beforehand. Try to foresee the possible issues or questions that will be raised. Once you do so, provide convincing answers for each. You may ask a friend to help you out and assess the logic and agreeability of your responses.

Work on your critical thinking skills and logic.

Critical thinking is a higher cognitive process that involves analysis of available information from credible sources. This will result in being able to come up with the most agreeable and logical decision. A critical thinker is able to look past mere descriptions and assess matters logically and rationally.

Beware of fallacies.

Now that we are on the subject of logic and critical thinking, let us talk about the elephant in the room – fallacies. What many do not know is that a lot of people resort to such fallacious reasoning even in everyday conversations, decisions, and situations. If you ever decided to try out this new product because your favourite celebrity is endorsing it in an advertisement, then your reason is, logically speaking, fallacious.

What are fallacies? In an everyday context, it can mean trying out a new product because of a celebrity endorsement. Fallacies are hard to identify especially in the workforce.

Different fallacies include ad hominem, strawman, a circular argument and irrelevant appeals. Even with no legal concerns, you would want to keep your arguments flawless and unbreakable. Going for cheap shots that require fallacies would be a big risk, especially if you happen to be trying to persuade someone aware of logical fallacies as well.

7 Steps to Improve in the Art of Persuasion

Never forget to research.

Remember, the art of persuasion is not a one-size-fits-all thing. You need to know what would make a specific someone say “yes!”. Knowing an individual’s personal and professional background can help keep the conversating going.

Thanks to today’s modern technology, you can usually find what you are looking for with a few taps here and there on your smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

Take advantage of this convenience by making it a habit to look up necessary details. Information on products/services, clients, companies, competitors, and others, various studies, are very useful data.

A critical thinker always makes sure that she has the most important, up-to-date information before coming up with an argument and ultimately, picking her choice.

Learn to use the right tone and pick the best choice of words.

When you are trying to persuade someone, its success does not depend on your message alone. Your delivery of the information and arguments is also a massive factor. Now, your delivery can be improved in three aspects: confidence, tone, and choice of words.

First, you have to seem like you yourself believe and agree with what your arguments or whatever it is you are trying to make the other be convinced of – that is confidence. Your body language must indicate so as well; do not be as stiff as a robot, but avoid excessive movements as well. With regards to the tone, you will have to change it according to who you are talking to.

It is better to adjust according to how the other speaks; if he/she is very formal, you will have to avoid being too casual and using the right, complete words instead of abbreviated or colloquial ones. Last but not the least, you have to be picky about the words you use. Make sure they will not offend anyone; saying “just kidding” in the end would not always help your situation.

Stop assuming, and start asking.

There is a great tendency for some to make judgments and assumptions about a client or a customer. While this might work out at times, it might not be a risk worth taking. The better thing to do is to provide the different available options and information and let them decide for themselves.

On top of that, if you think some information from them will help, do not be afraid to ask questions as well. This is very helpful in the process of persuasion; aside from the fact that you might get useful information that can strengthen your arguments, it will also give out the impression that you are interested in their concerns and are really focused on them. This alone might not lead to the “yes” you are seeking, but it will definitely add some plus points on your part.


It might sound overly simplistic, but this is one thing all of us should never forget to do. If you really want to be better at persuading people, you have to consciously work on improving your skills, and you can do that by practising regularly. Start with identifying your strengths and weaknesses; this would make the job easier for you since you can put more attention and focus on being better at your weak points. Find it difficult to speak straight and clearly in public or verbalize your ideas?

Believe it or not, practising speaking in front of the mirror can get you far. The kind of tone and language you also use when you are thinking also matters; try thinking in straight, formal, and grammatically-correct sentences instead of broken phrases, words, and lines. This will make the flow of words easier once you are actually speaking.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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