Five ways to be more persuasive at work

Written by
Philip Hesketh

10 Nov 2015

10 Nov 2015 • by Philip Hesketh

How we work

For all of us, being part of a social group provides an all-important sense of belonging. In the animal kingdom it’s mostly about survival. For humans, belonging to a group helps us form a view of our social identity which, in turn, contributes to our sense of who we are.

We have seven psychological drivers:

1. The need to be loved
2. The need to feel important
3. The need to ‘belong’
4. The need to believe
5. The need for some certainty and some uncertainty in our lives
6. The need for growth and development
7. The need for ‘a place’

Be more persuasive

By understanding what makes us ‘tick’ we can establish five great tips to be more persuasive and influential at work: 

1. Make sure people feel loved and important

Catch colleagues doing something right and let them know. Make them feel important by telling them that what they are doing really matters and allow people to feel like they are part of something that has a great future. They will feel they belong to a group and that there is scope for personal growth and improvement. 

2. Make sure your colleagues believe in you

People who feel that life is meaningful are more likely to be in good physical and psychological health. And if you believe that, then you are much more likely to find true meaning in life. It’s why placebos work. So the next tip is to make sure your colleagues believe in you. Be reliable, be trustworthy and be honest. 

3. Help colleagues through uncertainty

We are driven by a need for some certainty and some uncertainty in our lives. It’s about having things to look forward to. If we know exactly how our life will be mapped out, it takes away the fun and interest. But if we dread the future we have too much uncertainty in our life and are equally unhappy. So ask colleagues what they are uncertain about and care about their uncertainties.

4. Respect the need for ‘a place’

We all need our own space and place, so be respectful of colleagues’ needs for their own personal space when chatting and don’t get too close unless invited. 

5. Respect colleagues’ different motivations

We all want ‘more’ - and that is why you are reading this article - for growth and improvement. Some want more money, some want more recognition, some want more freedom. So ask colleagues what they want more of. And ask them how you can help them achieve it.