Powers of persuasion

The process of creating a change can be daunting at first! With preparation, a good understanding of your chosen issue and intelligent action, a lot can be achieved.

An important aspect of influencing change (be that in behaviour, decision making or attitude) is to understand the point of view of the person you wish to influence.


Jacob loves sports. After school he plays NRL and he really wants to be a professional basketball player. He is disappointed at the state of the school sports hall and the availability of the gym equipment. The basketballs are in a terrible condition and the outside court is deteriorating. ¬†Jacob’s woodwork teacher has announced the school has decided to build a new woodwork area, refurbish the existing tools in the classroom, install a 3D printer and computers. Jacob is concerned that students weren’t consulted and he decides to approach his school principal about the matter.¬†


Activity Instructions

Although all of the questions below are important for Jacob to have answered, which are more likely to be asked by the principal?

Drag the questions from the left and drop them into the box on the right.

What can you compromise on? What is the most pressing issue to be solved now?
Some students in this school don't like sports. Why is this more important then refurbishing the drama hall?
Students are not respecting the property. If we update our facilities, the problem will still occur.
The school has spent its money on a new woodwork area. We do not have any funds. Where do we find the money?
If we do not have tools, students cannot make things in woodwork class. Why should we do this?
Refurbishing the sports hall is in the plan. Why is it important for this to be solved now?
This is a school council issue. They set the priorities for the work to be done. Have you spoken to them?
Did you consult with other students? Is this what they want?

Influencing Tips

  • Be prepared. Investigate your issue!
  • Put yourself in other’s person’s shoes. What will they think about your issue and your proposed solution?
  • Know your goals. What do you want to achieve?
  • Be clear on what you are prepared to negotiate. If not everything you want to be done is possible, what can you compromise on?
  • Broaden the scope of your problem. The more people it affects, the greater the need for change.
  • If this problem is solved what are the positives?

Powers of persuasion (Word, 34kB)