Strengthening Our Senior 
Persuasive Skills

Persuasion.  It seems we are often attempting to persuade another person, or we are on the receiving end of another person’s attempt to persuade us.

Persuasion wouldn’t be necessary except for the fact that we are all different, with different perspectives, experiences, and understandings.  Each one of us is unique.


There are times when it can be helpful for seniors to exhibit strong persuasive skills.  It can be useful when babysitting our grandchildren or even navigating relationships with our spouses or extended families.

On the other hand, it might require more effort and finesse from us to gain the goal of harmonizing another’s view with our own.

Our goal, of course, is to effect a change in another person’s thoughts or actions while being as inoffensive as possible and bringing their views into closer harmony with our own.

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There are some basic principles that are applicable to productive persuasive techniques.  Some of them are listed below.

   1. Know your audience and their interests.  This is a given when we are dealing  with our own family members.  Still, we need to be aware of their current mindset and concerns.

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   2. Don’t be pushy.  This may be obvious but is still often overlooked.  You have a great idea and one that is important.  Why can’t they see that?  Because they don’t have your life experience, and they view life differently than you do.

   3. Use positive and engaging body language.  Uncross your arms and lean forward.  Take a neutral body position.

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   4. Speak softly and gently.  Avoid raising your voice.

   5. Get to the point.  Few people have the interest or patience to endure a long epistle.  A good way to hold their attention is to get to the point quickly.

   6. Maintain a sincere and gentle tone.  Keep the volume down and talk slowly.  Don’t feel rushed.

   7. Ask questions and be clear about what you need.

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Let’s face it.  Persuasion is an art form.  Not everyone will be persuaded by our way of thinking.  That’s reality.  The foregoing techniques can be very helpful in increasing the chances of your efforts to find harmony with others.

One of the best examples of persuasion is found in Acts 17:16-34.

Paul reasoned with the people of Athens as opposed to preaching to them.  He treated them with respect and as equals.  He sought to understand their thinking by soliciting their input.  He did not talk “down” to them.

For me, the lesson is Paul treated everyone with Christian courtesy.  No one felt belittled or put down.  He knew the gospel well, and he knew his Master well. He was not afraid to converse with people who offered little hope of being persuaded to his way of thinking.

Would that we (okay, me) had the courage to witness for Jesus wherever we find ourselves.

Please share your thoughts and any response you may have in the form below.

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