Persuasion – an essential tool in the 21st century workplace by John Hill

Persuasion – an essential tool in the 21st century workplaceThere are some things happening in our world which simply would not have occurred to us ten years ago. Here are three to begin with.

Farmers are now using drones to spray weed killer in places that are difficult to access. It is now possible to use a 3D printer to produce obsolete or spare parts for cars, appliances, and kitchen gadgets. Thousands of people study to gain qualifications by clicking their way through immersive online courses.

What does this mean for the world of work? It means that the work that used to be done by a farmer spraying weedkiller, the engineer who manufactured the spare part for the machine and the teacher who taught the course is now being done by a machine. The world of work is changing irreversibly. Add to that the migration of repetitive, simple jobs overseas to countries where labour is cheaper, and it’s not hard to work out that the work undertaken by those of us, at least in what we call developed countries relies more and more on a different set of skills. It calls on our interpersonal skills, our ability to adapt and innovate and our ability to persuade others.

We have become the ranks of persuaders. And this is not just the professional sales people.

Doctors persuade patients to live healthier lives, personal trainers persuade people to pursue their own fitness, parents persuade children to work hard at their schoolwork and be active, lawyers persuade juries to believe the case they are making, financial professionals persuade people to manage their finances responsibly and invest wisely and police officers persuade people to live safely and responsibly and to keep the laws of the land. Yet none of these people are categorised as salespeople.

As Daniel Pink, former White House staffer and now published author, puts it, ‘We are all in the moving business these days.’ – To Sell is Human, Canongate 2012

In research done with Qualtrics, a research and data analytics company, he discovered that 4!% of all the people surveyed counted convincing and persuading others as part of their job, and what is more they counted this aspect of their work crucial to their professional success.

We don’t just do it to meet some abstract and arbitrary sales figures, but because the work our organisations do strives to add value to the lives and businesses of those we serve, not just to take money from them but to leave them better off in the end.

Now some people are naturally better at these skills than others. We all know them, those of our friends who can get us to do things even when we feel least like it. But these skills can also be learned. And, believe it or not, it comes down to simple things that we can all do. For example, did you know that people are much more likely to listen to you and be prepared to co-operate with you if you are pleasant, if you smile at them, have a sense of humour and are encouraging and positive? Warmth and positivity disarms our automatic nervous system, helps us to relax and be prepare t consider alternatives, rather than retreat into resistance.

Did you know that people are much more likely to tell you what is important to them if you ask them? And then listen to what they have to say? Listen carefully and not just wait to speak your mind or give them your sales pitch. Did you know that people are much more likely to be persuaded if, rather than convince them that you are right or better informed, that you empathise with their point of view and as the late author and business guru, Stephen Covey, puts it ‘to seek first to understand and not to be understood’?

These are an invaluable set of skills, which can be categorised, which can be understood and which can be acquired through self-awareness, sustained effort and practice. Things like empathy, active listening, body language, the art of enquiry and trust building.

As the world of work evolves and continues to do so at ever increasing rates, these skills not only become more valuable and necessary, but they also transfer extremely well from job to job. These skills have become the new skillset of the person who stands out from the crowd, who makes a tangible difference in their workplace and who adds value to their organisation.



Well the fireworks went off as planned but the Address Hotel with it’s superb view was probably more watched on media for very different reasons.

A new wave of social reporting has emerged in the UAE last year thanks to the Periscope application and nowhere was it in more evidence than New Year’s in Dubai. On New Year’s Eve a few hours before midnight fire broke out at the Address hotel close to one of the world’s most iconic buildings the Burj Khalifa. Immediately , around 20 periscope reporters started to broadcast the events. An image map at the time showed multiple broadcasts and footage of events was picked up by International News Stations.

That dramatic event aside here is a quick look at Periscope and it’s uptake in the UAE.

Social Media giant Twitter bought the Periscope app in March last Year for a hefty sum and within 10 days of its launch the app had logged 1 million users, within 4 months over 10 million. The Periscope app allows users to live stream video content and the audience can interact by posting comments or tapping on the screen to show their appreciation (love heart). The app can be linked to your twitter account and so when you do a live transmission it will show up in your newsfeed allowing you to potentially gain more followers.

The Middle East is notorious for having avid users of social media so it is no surprise that we love Periscope. So who is broadcasting in the United Arab Emirates? Right now at the time of writing…prime commuter time… we have just a few stray broadcasts from Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah… nothing that is going to blow your mind: a kid showing us where he lives and someone else is showing us the rain (which is a major event here!). If we look at the prolific Periscopers in the UAE the content starts to get a bit more interesting. The Dubai Health Authority ( DHA) streams live from round table discussions answering audience questions, Emirates Live with almost 45,000 followers invites us to tour the country with them and Anika Morjaria is getting her media career off to a good start by regularly streaming from her travels as well as linking her broadcast to her you tube Channel and video blogs. So we are not all just cruising around showing off high performance cars and our surround sound system, Periscope has some real interest not just locally but also internationally.

So what sort of uses can you put Periscope to make it work for your brand? Remember you need to keep it engaging, informative, legal and fun. Just beware though…trolling on this app can reach quite high levels but the users and posters of inappropriate comments will fall foul of both local and international laws. You can block individual users or report them.

What are the current uses of Periscope and what is the application of this to your brand or business? ISM Training explores these questions and more on our game changing Digital Marketing course. Currently, we at ISM have used the App to show you where we train, inviting you to walk around a course and meet the trainer and delegates. Look out for us we will be periscoping our way through 2016!