Persuasive and Argumentative communication: The right approach for workplace success

Persuasive and Argumentative communication: The right approach for workplace success

Communication is a vital skill in the workplace, and it comes in different forms. Two common approaches to communication are persuasive and argumentative communication. While they may seem similar on the surface, they have distinct differences in their approaches and outcomes. In this blog, we will explore the nuances of persuasive and argumentative communication and how they impact workplace interactions. Whether you’re a manager looking to improve your communication skills or an employee navigating professional relationships, understanding the difference between persuasive and argumentative communication can help you communicate more effectively, build stronger relationships, and achieve your desired outcomes. We will explore the key characteristics of persuasive and argumentative communication, discuss their advantages and limitations in the workplace, and provide practical ways to utilize each approach in different scenarios effectively. By the end of this blog, you will clearly understand how persuasive and argumentative communication differ and how to apply them strategically in your workplace communication for optimal results.

Persuasive and Argumentative Communication

Effective communication is crucial for managers in the workplace. It allows them to convey their message clearly to their team, which is essential for the success of any team. However, managers can use two types of communication to achieve their goals: persuasive and argumentative. Persuasive communication is a type of communication that aims to convince the team members to take a particular action or adopt a specific point of view. This approach is often used when managers want to motivate their employees to achieve a particular goal or to persuade them to support a particular project or idea. Persuasive communication is usually centered around emotional appeals, storytelling, and rhetorical devices such as analogies, metaphors, and similes. Argumentative communication is used when managers want to prove a point or win a debate. It relies on facts, data, and logic to persuade the audience to accept a particular conclusion or to support a specific decision. Argumentative communication requires a more analytical approach and usually involves using evidence, statistics, and expert opinions to support the manager’s position.

Advantages of persuasive communication 

There are several advantages of using persuasive communication in the workplace. These include:
  • Motivating employees: Persuasive communication can be a powerful tool for motivating employees to take action and work towards a common goal. By presenting a compelling vision and inspiring employees to take ownership of their work, managers can create a sense of purpose and drive that can increase productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Building rapport: Persuasive communication often involves emotional appeals and storytelling, which can help to build rapport and create a sense of connection between managers and employees. Managers can foster trust and create a more positive work environment by establishing a personal connection with their team.
  • Encouraging innovation: Persuasive communication can effectively encourage employees to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to problems. Managers can tap into their team’s creative potential and generate new ideas and approaches by presenting a challenge or Goal and encouraging employees to think outside the box.
  • Improving teamwork: Persuasive communication helps align team members around a common goal or vision, enhancing collaboration and teamwork. Managers can build a more cohesive and productive team by inspiring employees to work together towards a shared purpose.
  • Gaining support: Persuasive communication can be an effective way to gain buy-in for new initiatives or changes in the workplace. By presenting a compelling case for why a particular decision or change is necessary, managers can win their team’s support and help ensure that changes are implemented smoothly and successfully.

Limitations of argumentative communication

Some of the limitations of argumentative communication include:
  • Time-consuming: Argumentative communication often involves presenting evidence, considering opposing viewpoints, and engaging in back-and-forth discussions. As a result, it can be time-consuming and may slow down decision-making processes, especially in fast-paced work environments.
  • Emotionally charged: Arguments can sometimes become emotionally charged, especially when people have strong personal beliefs or are invested in a particular outcome. This can make it difficult to remain objective and sometimes result in hurt feelings or damaged relationships.
  • Inflexible: Argumentative communication often involves presenting and defending a particular viewpoint with evidence and reasoning. While this can be effective in some cases, it can also be inflexible and may not allow for alternative perspectives or creative solutions.
  • May not be effective with certain personalities: Some people may not respond well to argumentative communication, particularly those who are more emotional or prefer a more collaborative approach to decision-making.
  • May not be suitable for all situations: While argumentative communication can be effective in some cases, it may not be suitable for all. For example, a more collaborative approach may be more appropriate when dealing with complex or sensitive issues.

Traits of persuasive communications

  • Empathy: Persuasive communicators seek to understand the other person’s perspective and emotions and strive to connect with them on a deeper level.
  • Credibility: Persuasive communicators establish credibility by presenting a strong and compelling case supported by evidence, expertise, or experience.
  • Flexibility: Persuasive communicators are adaptable and open to new ideas and perspectives and are willing to adjust their approach to meet the needs and preferences of the other person.
  • Active listening: Persuasive communicators actively listen to the other person, asking questions and clarifying their understanding to ensure they address their concerns and needs.
  • Focus on common ground: Persuasive communicators seek to find common ground with the other person and build on areas of agreement rather than focusing solely on areas of disagreement.
  • Respectful: Persuasive communicators respect the other person’s opinions and feelings and avoid attacking or belittling them.
Persuasive communication is about building trust, creating a sense of mutual understanding, and finding common ground.

Traits of argumentative communications

  • Assertiveness: Argumentative communication often involves a high degree of assertiveness, with the communicator expressing their point of view strongly and confidently.
  • Aggressiveness: At times, argumentative communication can turn aggressive if the communicator becomes overly emotional or dismissive of the other person’s perspective.
  • Focus on winning: In argumentative communication, the communicator often focuses on winning the argument rather than finding common ground or understanding the other person’s perspective.
  • Use of logic and evidence: Argumentative communication relies heavily on logic and evidence to support the communicator’s position, often using examples, data, and research to support their claims.
  • Adversarial approach: Argumentative communication can take a negative approach, with the communicator taking an “us versus them” mentality, seeing the other person as an opponent rather than a collaborator.
  • Defensive: Communicators who rely on argumentative communication may be defensive about their position, refusing to consider alternative perspectives or criticism.
While argumentative communication can be effective in certain situations, it can also limit potential outcomes. 

Examples of persuasive communication

  • Convincing employees to adopt new policies or procedures to improve efficiency or productivity.
  • Encouraging employees to take on new projects or initiatives that require extra effort or time.
  • Motivating employees to achieve a particular goal or milestone, such as increasing sales or improving customer satisfaction.
  • Persuading employees to support a particular decision or course of action, such as a change in organizational structure or a new product launch. 

Examples of argumentative communication

  • Presenting a case for a particular budgetary decision backed up by data and evidence.
  • Persuading employees to accept a change in policy by presenting a compelling argument for why the change is necessary and beneficial.
  • Resolving a conflict between team members by presenting a logical and objective argument that considers the interests of all parties involved.
  • Making a case for a particular strategy or approach based on evidence from previous successful initiatives or industry research.

How can managers become more persuasive rather than argumentative while communicating?

  • Listen actively: Effective communication involves not only speaking persuasively but also listening actively. Managers should take the time to listen to their employees’ concerns and opinions and show that they value their input.
  • Focus on common ground: Instead of getting caught up in areas of disagreement, managers should seek to find common ground and build on areas of agreement. This can help create a sense of mutual understanding and trust.
  • Use empathy: Managers can connect with their employees on a deeper level and understand their perspectives and emotions. Managers can build stronger relationships and create a more positive workplace culture by showing that they care about their employees’ well-being and concerns.
  • Be credible: Persuasive communicators establish credibility by presenting a strong and compelling case supported by evidence, expertise, or experience. Managers should take the time to research and prepare their arguments and present them clearly and convincingly.
  • Avoid defensiveness: Managers should remain open and receptive to alternative perspectives instead of becoming defensive or dismissive when faced with criticism or disagreement. This can help create a more collaborative and inclusive workplace culture.
  • Be respectful: Persuasive communicators respect the other person’s opinions and feelings and avoid attacking or belittling them. Managers should treat their employees respectfully and show they value their contributions.
By adopting a more persuasive approach to communication, managers can build stronger relationships with their employees, foster a more positive workplace culture, and achieve their objectives respectfully, collaboratively, and effectively.


In conclusion, persuasive and argumentative communication are two distinct approaches to workplace communication, each with its own goals, approaches, and outcomes. While persuasive communication focuses on building trust, finding common ground, and appealing to emotions and values, argumentative communication aims to win a debate or argument through logical reasoning and evidence. Both persuasive and argumentative communication have their advantages and limitations in the workplace. Understanding the appropriate use of persuasive and argumentative communication in different workplace scenarios is essential. Managers and employees can benefit from honing their communication skills and choosing the right approach based on the context and desired outcome. In conclusion, mastering persuasive and argumentative communication can empower professionals to navigate workplace interactions with finesse, achieve communication objectives, and foster positive relationships with colleagues. 

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Frequently asked questions

What makes an argument persuasive?

A persuasive argument is compelling and influential, aiming to convince others to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. Several key elements contribute to the persuasiveness of an argument:
– Evidence and reasoning
– Emotional appeal
– Credibility and trustworthiness

What is the difference between persuasive and informative communication?

Persuasive communication aims to change or reinforce the audience’s attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors, while informative communication seeks to convey information or knowledge about a topic or issue. The key differences between persuasive and informative communication are Goal, approach, audience response, and bias.

What is the difference between arguing to convince and persuade?

Arguing to convince and persuade are two related but distinct approaches to communication. The key differences between the two are focus, outcome, approach, and relationship.

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