Professional Development

How to Build Your Skills of Persuasion to Get What You Want

Written by Peter Jones

Whether you’re about to enter an interview situation or would just like generally to be a more persuasive person, there are things you can do to build your likability—and your ability to get what you want, when you want it. You don’t have to be innately good looking, super social, and super talented to be likable and persuasive. You just need to boost your emotional intelligence and build your persuasion skills.

What Great Persuaders Have In Common

There are some key behaviors that people who get what they want all have.

People Pleasing

Knowing when and how to sacrifice in order to win the war, rather than every small battle, is an important skill. Good persuaders know how to give ground to coworkers (even adversaries!) and play the long game by making people happy.

Not Pushing

You must establish needs and ideas assertively and with confidence, but without being pushy or overly impatient… all while never being mousy or a pushover!

Knowing their Audience

People who get what they want know how to play to whatever crowd or group they’re facing, know when to quit or pull back slightly, and learn to paint a specific picture in order to sell an idea.

Using Body Language Effectively

Smiling is a secret weapon you should not underestimate—inspiring trust and confidence in your colleagues and managers. But other kinds of body language are helpful as well, such as keeping your arms open and not crossed, leaning in, and making eye contact.


Acknowledging your listener’s point of view, asking intelligent questions, and using their name are all great ways to show your openness to other points of view and your willingness to compromise.

Establishing a Connection

If you want to make real connections, the best way to do this is to find common ground with the people you speak to and to be genuine, rather than trying to conform to some idea of what you think people want to see or hear from you.

How You can Improve Your Skills to Get a Job

If you are facing an interview situation, then there are a few extra tips to prove (and practice) your persuasiveness.

Determine Whether You’re Thinking or Feeling

Decide based on your interviewer whether it would be most beneficial to preface what you’re saying with “I think” or “I feel.” Research shows this makes a difference depending on how the person you are speaking to is oriented, with most analytical/cognitive-oriented people being more susceptible to thought/task-oriented language.

Think of Yourself a Product to Pitch

Remember that an interview is a sales pitch. Don’t just rely on rehashing your experience. Find a way to market and sell yourself. Try recording three unique selling points, or your brand, that you want your interviewer to remember after you leave. Never offer a standard answer when you could tailor your answer to be more relevant to your interviewer’s business and their experience. Speak with passion and you’ve got yourself a real sales pitch!

Come Armed with Knowledge

Do the homework necessary to be taken as an expert. Research the industry, wield the jargon, and prepare examples of how you would be (because you already have been) effective in dealing with the kinds of problems you might confront in this job.

Project Confidence

Remember that projecting confidence is absolutely crucial to presenting your ideas. The best way to achieve the right degree of confidence is to practice as much as possible, until what you’re saying is automatic and comfortable. Then just remember to breathe regularly to keep your nerves at bay. If you get derailed, just try and mimic the behavior, postures, and tone of the most confident person you know! Eventually, you’ll start to feel as confident as you are acting.

About the author

Peter Jones