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The Secret To Being Persuasive At Work (And Anywhere)

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Being persuasive is a trait many people wish they had. Think about it: how many times a day do you wish you could change someone’s mind? How often do you crave influence? When you present an idea, project, or pitch, your main goal is to persuade someone to agree with you. But what’s the secret to being persuasive at work — or ANYWHERE for that matter?

According to Jeff McHugh, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company, the secret is storytelling.

“If you want people to look at the world through your eyes,” he said, “tell them a story.”

For example, how often do you remember statistics when someone is trying to convince you to change your behavior or mindset? For most of us, statistics aren’t memorable. But how many times do you showcase statistics when you make a presentation or pitch at work? Chances are, you use statistics regularly. While this isn’t a bad thing, it’s not going to be the piece that persuades your audience to agree with you.

However, how many times do you remember a STORY that pulls at your heartstrings, makes you laugh, or draws out another emotion?

Here’s an example. What influences your opinion more?

According to a recent survey, four out of 10 people have found their “best” job through networking.

OR…

I spent hours, days, even MONTHS applying to jobs online and I got NO RESULTS. It wasn’t until I spent that time on my networking strategy that I found myself face-to-face with the CEO of my dream company, which lead to the job offer I had been waiting for since I graduated college.

Which one makes you think differently about the power of networking?

Being persuasive at work isn’t as hard as you might think. It just comes down to good storytelling. Next time you try to convey an idea, an opinion, or a project, pause for a moment and think: “stories, not stuff.”

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Ariella Coombs Ariella is the Content Strategist and Career Coach for Work It Daily. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.