10 Persuasion Techniques to Help You Get Ahead

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Ken Chase, Freelance Writer

11 min read


When it comes to skill development, it’s easy to become so focused on technical abilities that you lose sight of some of the key soft skills you need to get ahead. For example, have you stopped to consider the important role that persuasion can play in your career? If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance you haven’t taken much, if any, time to develop your own persuasive abilities. Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn some of the best persuasion techniques and use them to aid in your career advancement.

In this post, we will examine the concept of persuasion and explain why it matters. We will also explore the main types of persuasion and provide examples of ten persuasion techniques you can use to increase your ability to influence others and get ahead in your career and life.

What are persuasion techniques?

Obviously, it is essential to define these techniques to truly understand what they do and why they work. Persuasion techniques are tools that you can use to influence people’s opinions and understanding and get them to accept your ideas. These tools tend to appeal to psychological needs and rely on influencing the other person rather than compelling them to agree with you. Persuasive people never use compulsion to convince others. Instead, they engage in a type of negotiation, using carefully chosen language to change others’ minds.

Why do persuasion techniques matter?

The power of persuasion has been a focus of interest for thousands of years. Great thinkers like Plato and Socrates recognized the important role that persuasive arguments play in human communication and efforts to convince others to adopt your beliefs, preferences, and desired outcomes. Thousands of years later, many of the persuasive techniques used by the ancients remain as effective as ever. Many of these methods of persuasion can be used in everything from interpersonal relations to career advancement.

People with well-developed persuasion skills are adept at influencing others to help them achieve their desired outcomes and goals. They know how to use various rhetorical strategies to convince others to accept their arguments and beliefs, which enables them to build support that can be used to get what they want. The most persuasive people always seem to know how to motivate the people around them to adopt their way of thinking.

While some might assume these skills are only useful for people in sales, marketing, or similar occupations, the opposite is true. These skills come into play when you’re trying to convince employers to offer you a job. They’re invaluable in the workplace as you interact with others and build sound working relationships. Just as important, your knowledge of these techniques can help you to recognize when others are trying to persuade you.

4 types of persuasion appeals

The Greek philosopher Aristotle reportedly identified four different types of persuasion. They include ethos, logos, pathos, and kairos. We’ll briefly examine each of these different persuasion modes below before we look at the various techniques that you can use to improve your persuasive abilities.


As Aristotle explained it, ethos is a type of persuasion that relies on establishing credibility. Basically, this persuasive mode requires you to first convince your audience that you are an expert on a given subject. Alternatively, you can cite others who have that expertise and employ their evidence-based arguments to influence your audience’s thinking.


When you employ techniques that rely on logos, you are appealing to the other person’s logic. This type of persuasion is a cornerstone of most debate formats and requires you to use research and analytical skills to identify facts, information patterns, and coherent arguments that rely on that data. This is a highly effective mode for persuasion, as long as you avoid logical fallacies like strawman attacks or appeals to false authority.


This mode of persuasion is common and effective since it relies on an appeal to emotion. Human beings are inherently driven by emotion, and those feelings sometimes take priority over logic. While effective, this persuasive approach lacks both objectivity and reliance on facts. It can also backfire if you’re not familiar with your audience’s life experiences since those experiences often inform their emotional responses.


The kairos form of persuasion is based on the idea that there is always a right time to deliver your argument. Basically, the idea is that you should look for the most opportune moment to deliver your argument to your audience. For example, if you wanted to convince management to try a new approach to a project, the most opportune time to deliver that message would be after the current approach failed.

10 specific persuasion methods you can use

Below, we have compiled a list of ten different persuasion techniques that you can utilize to enhance your persuasive abilities. By learning how to use these tools effectively, you can become a better negotiator, motivate others around you, influence decision-making, manage conflict, and build more productive relationships.

1.      Establish yourself as an expert

This technique relies on the ethos approach to persuading others and requires you to demonstrate that you are an expert whose opinion matters. To use this technique, always begin your persuasion by providing your audience with details about your expertise in the subject matter, including any training or hands-on experience. That helps to build trust and gives greater weight to your opinions.

2.      Appeal to emotions

Appealing to emotion can also be a powerful way to persuade others. This persuasion technique embodies the pathos mode of persuasion and is used by advertisers, marketers, and many leaders in business, politics, and other areas of life. It can be combined with logic-based arguments but often stands on its own as an effective way to sway mindsets by influencing the audience’s feelings.

3.      Focus on the individual

Personalized arguments can be impactful as well. When appealing to a person’s individuality, it is important to use words that directly address the audience. This can include using words like “you” and “your” to help drive home the message that your appeal directly addresses their needs. When combined with an emotional appeal, this persuasion method can be a truly effective way to lock in the other person’s attention and draw them to support your point of view.

4.      Mitigate risks

Many people have an instinctive negative reaction to perceived risk. This resistance to being exposed to unnecessary risk can be based on both emotion and logic, so it is important to understand how to use persuasion techniques to overcome that obstacle. The best way to mitigate risk in your audience’s mind is to address it up front by offering information that counters any potential downside to your argument.

For example, if you are proposing a new project that you think your team might resist, develop a plan to detail the benefits and potential risks. When you make your proposal, take time to highlight those benefits while explaining all the steps you’ve taken to mitigate the risks. That can help to ease any potential concerns, even as it reinforces your expertise by showing that you’ve thought about every aspect of your idea.

5.      Form connections

Motivational guru Zig Ziglar has said, “If people like you, they'll listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you.” There’s a good reason for that, of course: nobody buys anything from someone they don’t trust because trust forms connections that go well beyond personal likeability. To develop the skills needed to form those connections, you should practice your interpersonal skills every day. Make eye contact, smile, speak clearly and meaningfully, and be authentic.

When you learn how to form these connections, you will have an easier time delivering compelling messages to the people in your life. The reality is that people who trust you due to shared and deep connections are going to be more likely to give serious thought to your arguments. That openness can make it easier for you to successfully make your case and get them to align their mindset with yours.

6.      Give a reason

Whenever you are going to present an idea to someone, make sure that you have an answer ready when they invariably ask that seemingly simplest of questions, “Why?”. If you are not prepared to explain why your idea or plan is the right way forward, you’ll almost never convince anyone else to agree. Better yet, try to get in the habit of including the reason in your initial argument.

This technique makes good use of the logos mode of persuasion by incorporating logical appeals within the argument. There are several ways to frame these statements, of course. You can use the word “because” or “so that we can” or similar language before you offer your rationale. The key is to make sure that you include a compelling reason for your proposal to help influence your audience and ensure that they can see that your idea is reasonable.

7.      Get objections out of the way early

If you can identify your audience’s primary objections to your idea in advance, you can use this persuasion technique to address those counterarguments before they’re made. Think of it as a preemptive strike strategy! By addressing their main points of resistance early in your message, you can often soften their objections and make them more receptive to your narrative. This technique employs a strategy similar to risk mitigation and can enjoy similar positive results with the right audience.

8.      Identify a need

Salespeople are trained to try to identify customers’ needs so that their sales pitches can focus on how products or services address those problems. You can do the same thing with this type of persuasion technique by thinking about how your idea or proposed course of action can solve a pressing need for your audience. If you learn to incorporate ethos, pathos, and logos into this technique, you will be able to authoritatively connect with your audience logically and emotionally.

9.      Use effective storytelling

What you say is important, but how you say it may be even more critical. Even the best narratives can fall flat if you deliver your message in a less-than-compelling way. Learn to turn your proposals and persuasion efforts into stories. Choose words that are designed to appeal to emotions. Ask questions that address possible concerns or benefits, and then answer those questions in a way that encourages your audience to continue listening.

There’s a reason that the world’s most well-known motivational speakers can command an audience. Many popular politicians also enjoy the same level of engagement with their followers for the same reason. They all know how to use storytelling to advance their message, build rapport with their audience, demonstrate their own subject matter expertise, and thus influence other people’s beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets.

10.  Start small and build

This last technique also involves storytelling but is more focused on the structure of your message than the actual content. To use it effectively, you should begin your message with a seemingly small idea that your audience can agree to accept. You then build on that idea, earning additional buy-in as you progress through your proposal. It is a persuasion technique that incorporates ideas from several of Aristotle’s techniques, benefitting from gradually increasing authority and trust, logic, growing emotional connections, and well-timed delivery of new facts.

Alternatively, you can simply start with a large request or proposal that you know most people won’t accept and then offer a less extreme idea as a “compromise” proposal. This approach can cause some people to adjust their expectations and realize that the compromise idea is more than acceptable.

Use persuasion techniques for your job search and career!

Don’t be alarmed if you don’t learn how to use all of these persuasion techniques overnight. You may need to study and practice using them for many months before you’ll feel like you’ve gained real mastery over their use. Once you do, however, you should find that you’re more persuasive than ever before – and that can pay real dividends for every aspect of your career development and success!

Our top team of resume experts is ready to help you create the persuasive resume you need to land more interviews and get the job offers you need. Get your free resume review today!

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Written by

Ken Chase, Freelance Writer

During Ken's two decades as a freelance writer, he has covered everything from banking and fintech to business management and the entertainment industry. His true passion, however, has always been focused on helping others achieve their career goals with timely job search and interview advice or the occasional resume consultation. When he's not working, Ken can usually be found adventuring with family and friends or playing fetch with his demanding German Shepherd. Read more resume advice from Ken on ZipJob’s blog.

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