Being able to influence others, to orchestrate support, and to inspire trust and confidence are the hallmarks of political skill (Ferris, Davidson, & Perrewe, 2005). Communicating effectively is how those activities are accomplished. People’s attitudes can be changed when they come in contact with information that alters their beliefs. This provides us with the opportunity to design the messages we write and speak in ways that can influence how people think. According to Perkins (2008), there are three ways to persuade someone about an issue:
Speaking or writing to persuade is different from communicating to only share information. The goal of informational communications is to have your audience remember specific facts. The goal of persuasive speaking or writing is to have your audience draw a conclusion about information to get them to believe something or take action (Young & Travis, 2008). Persuasion happens over time, but you may only have an e-mail, a short meeting with a policymaker, or a chance encounter in an elevator to convince someone to take action. This means your spoken and written words should be clear, concise, logical, and, ideally, rooted in evidence. When you advocate for solutions to problems by attempting to persuade others to support you or join you, don’t expect success each time. Rejection will occur no matter how effectively you make your case. Rejection can be difficult to deal with, but it demonstrates that you are working to solve problems and can provide you with guidance toward an alternative solution (Kush, 2004).