There are many communication characteristics that differentiate things like getting credited for something, being confident, and asking questions.

We speak in ways our culture has conventionalised and expect certain types of responses. These are ‘conversational rituals’, and they can vary from one conversation to another. Common types of conversational rituals are apologising, giving feedback, or giving compliments. When receiving feedback, for example, you expect others not to attack your character. Similarly, when giving feedback you should do your best to mitigate any criticism. You can a use technique such as giving praise to mitigate any criticism.

However, people have different linguistic styles, and this can lead to problems. Most of us have preconceived assumptions, and these can differ from person to person, let alone from culture to culture. And so, you need to consider how you go about giving feedback so that you don’t damage relationships.

Persuasion must be seen as an art form that requires practice and commitment. There are four essential steps to effective persuasion:

  1. Establish credibility
  2. Frame for common ground
  3. Provide evidence
  4. Connect emotionally

Silence can happen in a company when people don’t directly confront their differences. The only way to break the silence and move forward as a team is for someone to be courageous enough to act differently, and create the context in which people will value the expression of such difference:

  • Recognise your power
  • Act deviantly
  • Build a coalition

The principles laid out below are from the book Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini (Cialdini, 1985). This book briefly summarised these principles again.

  • Liking/Disliking: people like those who like them. Application: uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise.
  • Reciprocity: people repay in kind. Application: give what you want to receive.
  • Social proof: people follow the lead of similar others. Application: use peer power whenever it’s available.
  • Commitment/consistency: people align with their clear commitments. Application: make their commitments active, public and voluntary.
  • Authority: people tend to defer to experts. Application: expose your expertise, don’t assume its self-evident.
  • Scarcity: people want more of what they can have less of. Highlight unique benefits and exclusive information.