EYN#035 - "No Man Is An Island" - 3 Ways To Convince Others To Do Stuff

Jun 04, 2024

As the poem says, "No Man Is An Island". To drive change and transformation you need others, you can't do everything yourself.

No matter your gender, actually getting stuff done often means persuading people to do something. So, persuading and convincing people are essential skills in the Tech world. They're not just skills for the sales folks.

Here’s 3 ways to think about how you persuade people, particularly in presentations and meetings. It's based on Aristotle's "Three Means Of Persuasion" and I think works a treat. An effective persuade:

  • Has credibility
  • A rational argument
  • Creates an emotional connection


Let's dig into them


Credibility (Ethos)

Why should they listen to you?


Firstly, does your audience believe that your opinion is valuable?. If they know you, your reputation will help with this. If they don't, spend a small amount of time at the beginning of your session outlining your experience in this field. It builds your credibility. It might be years of experience, or it might be something you've learnt recently through research. Don't go on for ages, but give them a reason to trust your opinion.

Secondly, think about how you deliver that message effectively. You need to communicate effectively and with gravitas. People listen to people with experience, that can communicate effectively.

In the Technical Storytelling Program I spend a lot of time breaking this topic apart and working with folks on how to do this effectively.


Rational Argument (Logos)

Is this a logical, rational approach?


You need a well-reasoned approach. Something of substance that gives your argument weight. This could be data that supports your idea. It could be facts on how your approach would work. It could be tried and tested patterns and reference architectures that can be reused to apply to this situation.

People in tech are great at this. They're great at stating logically why they think this is a good idea.

The challenge is that they stop there, and don't think about the connecting emotionally with their audience.


Emotional Connection (Pathos)

Do people care?


A well-reasoned approach is not enough. People will rarely allow themselves to be convinced by logic alone. People need to emotional connect with your approach and understand the why.

So help your audience connect with your ideas. Help them understand the horror if they leave things as they are. Help them understand how amazing things will be if they make them change.

Bring the subject to life with stories about real people in real situations.

Make people care.



Want to know more? We talked about this topic in more detail in EP24 of the Tech World Humans Skills podcast with Mark Green. So check out the episode if you want to know more. I also spend a lot of time helping people with this on Technical Storytelling Program.

So next time you need to influence someone to do something:

  • Think about your credibility
  • Your rational argument
  • Their emotional connection

Hope this helps