Be persuasive with your work

Knowing how to be persuasive with your work helps you motivate people to take action. Follow Mastered’s advice below on the do’s and don’ts of persuasion so others can believe in your ideas and feel inspired to work with you.

Do’s

Know the difference between persuasion and manipulation.

Persuasion means enabling people to do things that benefit them as well as you to achieve a shared goal. You might do this by using evidence, creating a sense of urgency or appealing to their emotions. Manipulation means using power to force someone to do something that has no incentive for them. If you can’t think of how your idea meets your teammates’ needs or solves a problem that you share, rethink your approach.


Develop a credible process.

When you’re creating work that’s aimed at encouraging a message about diversity, social movements or politics, it’s not enough to visually represent what this looks like. Without applying practises that reflect this change in your process, it’s easy to come across as inauthentic and people won’t believe in you. Question each factor of your project: who’s on the team, what’s inspiring you and where you want exposure. This will help make sure that you’re creative process is aligned with your message so you can deliver authentic results.

If you’re creating an editorial that celebrates plus-size people, are you following media coverage of this movement to avoid any pitfalls? Are you using brands that are positively associated with plus-size? Are you pitching your images to publications that represent plus-size models? Use this example to help frame the questions you might ask yourself.

Anticipate questions. 

When you’re trying to get a potential collaborator or team interested in you, come prepared to answer the questions you know they’ll have about your message. Then, answer them ahead of time in preparation to pitch your idea. This shows you understand the issue at hand and how it relates to their goals – whether that’s to get published, access new markets or be aligned with contemporary issues.

Use news articles, websites, Linkedin and social media to research the career history, affiliations and interests of your potential teammates. 

Don’t

  • Persuade people who don’t care. If someone doesn’t think an issue is relevant or interesting to them, it’s difficult to persuade them to do something about it. Before reaching out to someone, research their website, social media and Linkedin to confirm whether your idea matches up with their interests. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
  • Assume persuasion is a one-time thing. Even once you’ve agreed on one part of a project, other issues might come up that require you to enter more negotiations – and that’s OK. Set the expectation with yourself that persuasion is a process, not a moment in time so you’re ready to do it more than once.
  • Resist compromise. If you do this, it’s easy to come across as inflexible and uninterested in meeting your collaborator’s needs. Before discussing your plans, think of ways that you’d adapt them. This will help you get comfortable with a different outcome but one that still benefits you.
  • Limit someone’s options. When you take away the freedom to choose, your potential collaborator is more likely to resist you out of frustration. By avoiding language like “I really need you to commit to this project” or “I don’t think we have a choice”, you’re more likely to get the result you want – involvement from your team. 

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