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Influencing Authoritative Figures

Influencing Authoritative Figures

While educating a higher-up about a particular subject, we assume that we are the experts and somehow have power over others listening to us impart knowledge.

But influencing authoritative figures takes more than just expertise and the art of persuasion requires us to get off the pedestal and relinquish the power that we think we have.

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While making the pitch to an audience, the personal trust the presenter has built with them is more important than the quality of the proposal.

  • While pitching to decision-makers, the normal way of establishing the background and context, followed by the conclusion (that you wish is implemented) does not work.
  • You need to pitch the conclusion first and then back it up with reasons and context

The audience who are the decision-makers will not be sold just by the logic of your proposal and how much sense it makes - you have to package it in a way that is at the right level with your audience, in straightforward terms.

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Scholars have discussed the mechanics of persuasion since ancient times. Persuasion encompasses every aspect of culture, with rhetoric as a crucial tool to influence every sphere of society, from mundane negotiations to big national debates. One could argue any form of communication is a form of persuasion. Whether through writing or talking, at home or at work, with friends or customers, chances are you spend a good amount of your time trying to persuade someone of something. In Rhetoric, Aristotle defines three main ways to persuade people: ethos, pathos, and logos.

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Expertise is dead. And experts killed it.

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