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persuasive wordsPersuasion is an art form, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.  While anyone could rattle off a list of words for you to throw into your debates, your sales pitches, or your essays, if you don’t understand why you are using them, you will not be persuasive.  When you boil it down, persuasion is all about power.  You are making someone change their mind about something, and that is no easy task.  It will require you to present yourself confidently – not only as being absolutely right, but as believing that you are absolutely right.

Since persuasion is mainly all about how you present your arguments, there are some valuable, key phrases and words you can use to help bring people over to your side. We’ll go over some of them below, but we will also talk about why they are effective.

Phrases to Make You Sound Sure of Yourself

When trying to persuade someone, you have to know what you are talking about, but more to the point, you have to convey that concept to your audience.  For this reason, it is especially important to avoid saying things like “I think that…”, or “I guess…”.  These sound flimsy, and in a debate setting, these phrases might as well be blood in the water.  You can fully expect your opponent to respond with “You guess?  Well, let me tell you what I know…”  Better go with something more solid.

Good Examples:

“Personally, I have found [this concept] to be true.”

“I can tell you from experience that [this product] is of excellent quality.”

“I have dealt with many people over the years, and never once have I heard them say that [your opponent’s position] is best for them.”

The phrases above are all self-referential, and give your listeners and readers the impression that you are personally experienced with the issue at hand.  They also convey the concept that you have gathered information from others over time, and have come to your conclusions after giving it considerable thought.  What you are doing here is essentially telling them “I know you want to research this for yourself, but you are not going to find a better source than me.  I am experienced in this matter, and you should trust my judgement.”

Better Examples:

“This is not a matter of opinion.  I am saying this because it is a fact.”

“[The opponent’s plan] will not work, because it has not worked in the past.”

“The figures tell the story.  [This product] is the highest rated option available.”

Sometimes, people are wary of your personal opinions, and in those cases, it is better to state your position without referring to yourself. The above examples cite only facts and data, and leave emotion out of it.  If you are dealing with someone who seems to bristle when you use terms like “I know that…” try one of these instead.

Phrases to Deconstruct Your Opponent’s Position

Sometimes, it’s not a matter of getting someone to see things your way.  While they might concede that you have a good point, they happen to feel that your opposition has a better point.  This is when you need to come at them from an entirely different angle.  They already feel that you have some merit, so run with that.  What you need to do now is dissect the opposing view, and show them exactly why your way is better.

Good Examples:

“Believe what you want, but [my view] is the better option.”

“I’m sure [my opponent] has convinced some of you that their plan is best, but they have not been honest with you.”

“[The competitor’s product] might have had higher sales figures, but that’s only because consumers didn’t do their research.”

Each of the above statements takes a pretty powerful swing at your opposition.  These phrases play on the fact that some listeners and readers are not secure in their decision, and fear they may have made the wrong choice.  You are implying that only people who didn’t think things through are siding with your opponent, and that can sometimes work.  You just have to be careful that you are not antagonizing, or “othering” your audience.

Better Examples:

“We can do without [the opposing concept] because [my concept] already addresses that.”

“[This competitive product] definitely seems like a good idea when taken at face value, but our product offers more versatility and lower cost.”

“[The opposition] will lead to undesirable consequences for everyone.  We can solve this by simply going with [my viewpoint] in the first place.”

Each of those phrases manages to pull the rug out from under your competitor without having to bring your audience’s actions or feelings into it.  You are simply stating facts in a confident way. You know your position is superior, because your opponent’s position is inferior – it’s just a matter of pointing that out.

Persuasive Words to Use When Addressing Your Audience

While it’s true that persuasion is a matter of presenting organized thoughts and arguments, there are still a few key, individual words you can make use of to keep your audience engaged.

“You” – First and foremost, this is a powerful word, because it makes the audience accountable for what you are saying.  “You don’t want this situation, because your quality of life is important.”  By addressing them in that way, you have made them personally involved.

Accurate, Certain, Confident, Definitely, Absolutely, Surely, One-Hundred Percent, Yes, Clearly, Lead, Strongly: – All of these words convey positivity and confidence to back up what you are saying.

Atrocious, Confusing, Cruel, Harmful, Inferior Dreadful, Outrageous, Shocking, Shameful, Offensive, Horrible, Unstable, Severe, No: –  These negative words can be used to great effect when pulling apart the opposition.

Persuasion is a useful tool in the business world, the educational sector, and in everyday life.  Learning how to make it work for you can lead to more opportunities and greater success.  Check out “Six Shortcuts to Powerful Persuasion” taught by sales training coach Gerry Hurley at Udemy.com.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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