In any leadership role, persuasion is a key skill to influence someone’s behaviour or decision-making to advance business objectives.
We define leadership as a social process impacting direction and commitment towards a company’s goals but in reality, workforces are made up of individuals with different values and needs. As we convince and persuade people around us, from bosses to peers to clients, influence is constantly occurring in the workplace. Without persuasion skills, a leader will struggle to bring their vision to life and set a good example to their team.
In terms of positions within the fashion industry, persuasive skills are going to be impactful within any leadership or managerial roles, and also within other roles in sales and marketing as the end goal is to persuade someone to make a purchase at some point down the consumer journey. Content creators and advertising roles also need to harness their persuasion skills, as they incorporate influencing elements into their work to persuade a consumer to engage or interact with a brand.
What’s the difference between influence and persuasion?
Persuasion is the process of convincing others to change their opinion to agree to a commitment, purchase or take a specific course of action. Oral and written persuasive skills are essential within the roles previously mentioned, with sales being the most obvious form of persuasion.
Influence is having the ability to visualise the perfect outcome for a situation or company and without the use of force or coercion, motivating people to make the vision a reality. Influencing is softer and independent of positional power. It’s a vital part of leadership; a successful leader should be able to inspire and motivate their team by selling ideas, whether that be in business or socially.
According to a CCL report, there are three influencing tactics; the Head, the Heart, and the Hands. Each person has their own preference for how they like to be influenced, so by choosing the best tactic you will achieve the best outcome. Effective leaders understand the difference and know when to apply the different types to build relationships and commitment.
The Head: This uses logical influencing tactics to address people in a rational manner. Arguments or discussions with factual information and figures are brought forward in the best interest of the person or the business.
The Heart: This incorporates emotional influencing tactics to connect the decision to the person’s feelings and sense of belonging. The leader’s persuasion skills appeal to attitudes, beliefs, and values through enthusiasm and inspiration.
The Hands: This uses cooperative influencing tactics to offer advice and assistance. The leader reinforces the connection that they have with others in the workforce, collaborating to come to a mutual understanding and important goal.
Essential Persuasion Skills
To effectively engage the Head, the Heart, and the Hands across multiple situations and people requires using a wide range of persuasion techniques and skills. To shape the commitment and direction, leaders and fashion professionals must be skilled in six areas; understanding and navigating organisational politics, creating visibility, building and maintaining personal trust, leveraging networks, clear communication, and motivating others.
Many organisations have formal and informal structures and leaders need to understand and adjust to the realities of corporate politics, being sensitive to how a company functions. Effective leaders are also successful when they allow their team members to shine while not over-promoting themselves. This also requires an element of trust and integrity that allow successful persuasion. By leveraging their professional networks and creating new experiences for their team, a leader can effectively motivate others to become more engaged and empowered.
If you are a leader within the fashion industry or are in a role in which persuasive and influencing skills are required, we recommend that you harness these skills and tactics mentioned in this blog to develop your power of persuasion.
If you enjoyed this blog, we recommend you read our blog ‘How to Write a Successful Cover Letter for a Fashion Job’, or find all our other blogs here.