Exercises – Persuasion


What does it mean to be persuasive, to get your audience to say “yes”?

I’d present like this

You, an American, work in a transatlantic team which has come up with a creative approach to a difficult technical problem within the company. But, you need some serious funding. Your German team lead, Uwe, will present the solution to very senior management in the U.S. 

You have a good sense for how these American managers think. At the same time, you have listened to dozens of German presentations, and are quite familiar with how Uwe lines up his arguments. There is the potential for a disconnect. You hint at this to Uwe. He is open to your advice. 

What would be your advice to Uwe about how to be persuasive in your business culture? 

Topic Questions


In your respective cultures, in what situations is linking messenger with message persuasive, and when is it persuasive to separate them?


Choose one critical problem currently facing your respective societies. Describe to each other both the problem and the opportunity imbedded in it. Is it more problem than opportunity, or the other way around?


Take one situation in your culture in which getting a message across persuasively is critical. Explain to your colleague how your culture strikes a balance between using analysis (theory, methodology) and using experience (facts, anecdotes).


Choose a typical presentation, in a typical company, in your culture. The presenter has maximum ten slides. How many slides would be dedicated to explaining the context (past), to the current problem/opportunity (present), and to the solution (future).

Inform vs. Sell

Explain to your colleague how in your business culture one knows when to guide the audience to a logical conclusion versus when one asks the audience to make a choice.