Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has delivered a striking number of momentum-building speeches that demonstrate his ability to use communication as a means to persuade others.

Persuasion is central to effective leadership. It is the act—or, as some would say, the “art”—of influencing someone to do something by advising, encouraging, or convincing them. Beyond informing, persuasion involves ways of conveying information that convince listeners to agree with a particular perspective. The goal is to get to “yes,” a nod, or that glimmer in the eye of a listener that indicates you’ve achieved agreement—you’ve gotten through and the listener is embracing your ideas.

Persuasion plays a central role in enabling leaders ...

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