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Frame your persuasive appeal

Choose the best strategy to win over others

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

When you want to persuade others to side with you, it helps to select the proper context within which to couch your remarks. By framing comments in a way that increases your listeners’ receptivity, you can pry their minds open and earn their approval.

Here are some examples of frames you can use to exert more influence over others:

Let’s fix what’s broken. If you focus on learning from mistakes or admitting errors, then you lead everyone to think in a problem-solving mode. For instance, if you’re proposing a reorganization, you might say, “If you don’t act now, it’ll cost us much more to clean up the mess later” or, “We’re like plumbers facing a job to unclog a severe bottleneck.”

Let’s think big. By encouraging your audience to embrace more ambitious goals, you can make bolder suggestions without triggering instant dissent (such as, “We’ve never done it that way before” or, “That’s biting off more than we can chew”). Guide others to consider your grand plans by first insisting that they disregard their assumptions and overcome their limitations. You want them to think “outside the box.” Tempt them by describing the rewards of attaining higher-level or record-breaking objectives.

Let’s dig a bit deeper. Use this frame when everyone knows there’s something wrong, but no one can pinpoint the problem. Harness your audience’s frustration by rallying the group to move beyond their standard complaints or anxieties so that they methodically identify and combat specific challenges. Like a detective, you want to invite others to join you in launching a thorough and systematic investigation to root out underlying causes and expose them for all to see.

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