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Monday, February 4, 2013

The powers of persuasion

Communication and influence: two of the strongest tools we have in our pockets as emerging leaders of nonprofits. Mastering them offers great rewards, as a means to:
- meaningfully communicate the value of our work
- form clear, mutually beneficial, and productive relationships with other organizations
- advocate for our ideas and initiatives within our organizations
- effectively manage others within our organizations
- advocate for ourselves as professionals

Intentionally influencing others is something I haven’t historically been good at. My strengths lie in facilitation and gathering input, not in convincing others to my point of view. Similarly, my style as a communicator is to share information – not to convince someone to do something. I became aware of that difference for the first time during an Emerging Leaders session and my 360. Realizing that persuasion is one of my weaknesses explained a number of professional challenges. I also realized I need to be a much better persuader, negotiator, and influencer.

Fortunately, through our curriculum, speakers, and my peers, we’ve worked on concrete steps to improve our powers of persuasion, had the opportunity to practice, and received constructive feedback to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. That type of practical coaching is truly invaluable, and I’m looking forward to continuing to put them into practice.