Communication as a Catalyst: How Persuasion Can Transform Business


By Richard Mulholland

Performance in a Tough Economy

When the going gets tough, the tough get talking. With the right approach and a persuasive tone, even the toughest economic storms become opportunities for growth for great leaders. Your ability to persuade can transform any tough situation into an opportunity, a chance to demonstrate your leadership and show your stakeholders that you’re not just a survivor, but a game changer. There’s a problem though…

With the world shaking under the weight of a tough economy, we’ve been fed a lie about empathy. Let me be honest: the traditional definition of empathy falls short in the realm of leadership. When we stumble into the depths of uncertainty, we don’t need leaders who wallow with us. We need resilient figures who rise above, lending their strength to pull us out of the abyss.


Now, you might wonder what this has to do with the challenges we face today. The answer is everything. As leaders, it’s our duty to understand the hardships our people endure, even as we navigate the same treacherous waters. But here’s the secret weapon that will transform your business performance amidst the chaos: persuasion.

The difference between a leader and a manager is their ability to communicate persuasively. All great leaders have this ability and I’m calling for you to harness it to three ends.

First, there’s you. Tell yourself that you didn’t come this far only to come this far. Remind yourself that you have been through worse. Persuade yourself to get excited about the opportunities that exist in the shadows. I am a wartime leader; I live for these times.

Next, persuade your team. Your team’s energy is an extension of your own. If you use all your persuasive tools to get your team to tighten their belts, you manifest fear. And yes, you may need to cover that in the middle of your talk to them, but you had better open by showing them the opportunity and closing by getting them excited. Their energy is your energy at scale – never forget that.

According to Business Daily, Effective communication can increase employee engagement by up to 300%. And right now, you need every single percentage point.

Lastly, we need to persuade our customers. In tight times your second most important role, in every facet of the word, is sales. The single most important thing for you to be doing right now is to have lunch with the people that pay your people. Let them get as infected by your positive outlook as your team is. In tough economic times, the people in the market for the fearful are spoiled for choice. Be an antidote to them.

I’ve been a leader of my company for 26 years. Through all the bumps and downturns, I have found one thing to be true, there is nothing more persuasive than an excited optimist.

So, if sales is the second most important thing, what’s the first? Communication.

And no, I’m not talking about that company-wide memo or more emails from HR and marketing. I’m talking about you! Your people want and need to hear and see you right now. Luckily, we all own broadcast studios today. There are no excuses at all.

When a ship is sailing calm seas the captain’s voice is hardly needed, in storms though that changes.

immortal memory

When the going gets tough, the tough get vocal. People are looking for a voice to follow to get them out of the storm, make sure that voice is yours. Persuasive communication is the only guide that ever gets us to the other side.

It’s time to step up, take control and turn the tides in your favour. It’s time to master the art of persuasion. Remember, in the business world, persuasion is not just about winning arguments. It’s about winning hearts and minds, forging connections that last, and building relationships that go the distance.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

So, there it is, persuasive communication isn’t just a tool, it’s the catalyst that can transform your business performance in a tough economy. It’s your secret weapon in the business battleground. Unleash its power, and see the transformation unfold.

When the going gets tough, the tough get persuasive. And the persuasive emerge victorious, no matter how big the storm.

About the Author

Marike Herselman Word RichardRichard Mulholland Having spoken in over 40 countries on six continents, rock and roll roadie turned entrepreneur and global keynote speaker Richard Mulholland knows first-hand the impact that eloquent and persuasive leadership can make. That’s why he and his team work with executives and speakers around the world, helping them be more confident, more compelling, and more authoritative.

Clients include Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), LinkedIn, Goalcast, Virgin, Aspen Pharma, Bayer, and SAP.

He is the founder of persuasion powerhouse Missing Link and has written three books: Legacide; Boredom Slayer; and his latest, Here Be Dragons.

His talks around the world address a variety of topics spanning strategy, leadership, sales, and persuasive communication. He has shared the stage with amongst others Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, and, and recently made the RealLeaders Top 50 Leaders to Watch in 2023 (alongside Lewis Hamilton and Adam Grant).

Chris Joeckel, head of Global Sales for LinkedIn says, “Rich was inspirational, enlightening and provided incredible insights specific to our attendees development within their current roles at LinkedIn…”

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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.