One Idea Group Session from Persuading People by Harry Mills

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This resource will help you facilitate a short session to help a group learn from the One Idea Summary on Four Ideas For Effective Persuasion.


  • Be able to describe what the four keys are.
  • Demonstrate how to use the four keys in practice.


Send a copy of the One Idea Summary on Four Ideas For Effective Persuasion to the participants one week before the session. They are to read it before the session and bring it with them.


Introduce the session

Introduce the session by sharing the learning objectives with them.

Review the four keys

Put them into small groups and tell each group to discuss and review the four keys. Give them flipchart paper to write a summary of their discussion about the keys.

Give them 10-minutes to do that.

After 10-minutes stop them. Ask each group to tell you what they discussed. Make sure their feedback shows that they know and understand the four keys. If not, use the One Idea Summary to remind them of the keys.
Next, to help them understand how the keys may be used in practice, you will share an example of how to use the keys to influence a group of stakeholders with them.

 Example: Using the keys to influence

Tell them that:

I am going to share with you an example of how you can use the four keys to persuade a group of stakeholders about buying a software product.

This example is about a Chief Learning Officer (CLO) trying to persuade his organisation’s leadership team to invest in a new Learning Management system (LMS) which is 20 percent more expensive than the current one.

So how did the CLO persuade his leadership team?

He started with his credibility. The CLO has a lot of experience implementing learning management systems, so he can talk about them with conviction. He has also built trust implementing successful learning and development projects in the past, so the leadership team were ready to listen to him.

Next, he looked for common ground with the leadership team by putting forward a win-win proposal. He told them that, though the current LMS is cheaper, it can only do two things well, which is track eLearning courses and face-to-face training. The new LMS will be able to do those two things and provide an analytics dashboard to track training completion more accurately, something they have been struggling with for some time now. It will also give them more facilities to do other types of learning interventions such as virtual training, social learning, and virtual coaching. The CLO was telling the leadership team that, though the proposed LMS is more expensive, it will make learning delivery in the organisation much more effective.

The CLO had also done a lot of research to compare the LMS he was proposing to the current one and others in the market. He presented information to show them that it was one of the best systems in the market since it ranked in the top ten and showed them customer testimonies from organisations that were already using it.

Finally he appealed to their emotions by telling them that providing better learning and development was a major employee engagement tool for the organisation and it is something in the future that can attract higher quality talent if they are known as an organisation that provides good quality learning and development. He believes having a great LMS that provides various learning options is one way to make that happen.

By doing this the CLO had covered the four points of persuasion we have been discussing, which are credibility, common ground, supporting information and deep understanding of emotions.

After sharing the example, now get them to discuss how they can use the four key points.

How will you use them?

Tell them that, now that you have heard my example, I want you to discuss and reflect on how you can use the four keys.

To set up the discussion activity:

  • Split them up into pairs.
  • Tell each person to first think of an area where they want to persuade someone or a group of people about something. Preferably a work or business area.
  • In relation to the persuasion issue, they should answer these questions?
    • How will you use ‘credibility’?
    • How will you use ‘common ground’?
    • How will you use ‘supporting information’?
    • How will you use ‘deep understanding of emotion’?
  • Once they have individually answered the questions, they should discuss what the persuasion is about and the answers to the questions with their partner.
  • In total give them 20-minutes.
  • 7-minutes to think about their persuasion areas and answer the four questions.
  • 6-minutes for each person to talk about their persuasion issue and the answers to the four questions with their partner.

After the allotted time is up, stop them.

Ask for feedback from every participant. What you expect to hear from them are the persuasion issue and answers to the four questions.

Make sure you use questioning to focus them on telling you what you expect from them.

After their feedback, appreciate them for doing the activity and move on to review and close the session.


To review the session tell them that:

  • During this session we explored four keys for effective persuasion.
  • First you reviewed the information you read about the keys from the one idea summary.
  • Then I shared an example of how to use the keys to persuade people about something.
  • Finally, you did an activity where you each thought about an area of persuasion and answered four questions which have to do with the persuasion keys.
  • Like anything else, knowing about the keys is not enough. Find ways to practice using them. Whether you are delivering a presentation to convince a group of people about something or trying to influence someone on an issue, find ways to practice using the keys.
  • Even if you don’t use all four keys at once, find ways to use one or two of them.

After that end close the session.

End of session

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