Nudge vs Push vs Shove – What’s the Best Way to Persuade?

By July 12, 2017 March 3rd, 2019 No Comments
two female executives fiercly boxing, both in business suits, with obvious facial expressions of anger - serves as a metaphor on how to persuade

One week ago, I sent my customer a list of three “Better Tomorrow MessageTM” options. We were then going to meet a week later to select the preferred option.

The BTM is the first sentence you say when asked, “What do you do?” (your elevator pitch/elevator speech). The strategic purpose of your BTM is to ensure everyone in your organization understands and appreciates the value you bring to your various stakeholders. Think of it as a very practical mission statement. Some folks may call it your value proposition, your benefit statement, or your differentiation statement.

We met, a week later, which was yesterday. In the meeting, there were two VERY strong-willed executives, Joan and Christine*. Joan, was willing to agree to BTM two, if the group as a whole, was in favor. Christine, really, really  wanted BTM one. And she let everyone know it. Christine nearly bullied the room to accept option two, using more assertive language than Joan to persuade her fellow executives.

Can you guess who was the primary voice of opposition? Yes, Joan. Why? Because human nature kicked in. She became defensive and reactive.


Christine had two options to make the decision process smoother (a nice way of saying to persuade the other executives). She could have 1) met all of the key decision makers before the meeting to advocate for her preference and/or b) used subtle ways of influencing and persuading during the meeting (e.g., provide examples and share stories).

When you have a project or idea you are especially passionate about, think about how you can influence and persuade…will you gently nudge, assertively push, or shove them off a cliff?

* names changed

ps I suggested that they have some informal one-on-one meetings to compare and contrast the two Better Tomorrow MessageTM options.

Photography Source:

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive communication coach.