by Matt Alderton | April 22, 2019
The most successful leaders are those who not only have a vision, but who can inspire their employees to actually execute it. That requires being, above all else, persuasive.

To master the art of persuasion, focus as much on your medium as your message, author Vanessa K. Bohns suggests in an article for the Harvard Business Review, in which she argues that the most persuasive people are those who make requests in person instead of via email.

"Despite the reach of email, asking in person is the significantly more effective approach; you need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email blast," Bohns says. "Still, most people tend to think the email ask will be more effective."

In a study she conducted, Bohns asked 45 people to ask 450 strangers (10 strangers each) to complete a brief survey. Although all participants made the exact same request following the exact same script, half made their requests over email and half in person.

"We found that people were much more likely to agree to complete a survey when they were asked in-person as opposed to over email," reports Bohns, who says face-to-face communications is so much more persuasive because it is both verbal and nonverbal. "When we replicated our results in a second study, we found the nonverbal cues requesters conveyed during a face-to-face interaction made all the difference in how people viewed the legitimacy of their requests."

The lesson: If you want to inspire your employees to act, give them their marching orders face-to-face.

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