Strategic Persuasion Workshop: The Art and Science of Selling Ideas

Program Overview

Inside organizations, soft skills are the hardest skills. Relationships and credibility are on the line in every interaction, and your power to positively influence others is one of your most important assets. Even if you have brilliant ideas, they can’t change the world unless you can sell them to others.

The Strategic Persuasion Workshop is Wharton’s premier experience for enhancing these key skills. Based on Richard Shell’s co-authored book The Art of Woo, this program teaches a structured, actionable process for selling your ideas. You will learn easy-to-remember tools to guide you each step of the way. Join us for this intensive, interactive workshop and become a master of relationship-based persuasion.

Strategic Persuasion Workshop gives you tools to defend and advance your goals, says Academic Director G. Richard Shell.

Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In the Strategic Persuasion Workshop, you will gain:

  • Self-awareness, including emotional intelligence
  • Credibility, a critical personal quality that includes expertise, position, sincerity, and trustworthiness
  • Organizational intelligence, including the mapping skills needed to assemble winning coalitions
  • Communication skills for bringing just the right tool at just the right time to make the sale

Experience & Impact

The Strategic Persuasion Workshop is a highly customized experience. It begins before you arrive at Wharton with three personality-based assessments. This "inside-out" approach helps you recognize which persuasion styles come most naturally and better enables you to leverage your strengths. It also helps you to understand the steps you must take to gain greater influence and credibility in your organization.

Taught by G. Richard Shell and Cade Massey, the same award-winning team that leads Wharton’s Executive Negotiation Workshop: Negotiate with Confidence, this program shows you how to overcome influence barriers, improve credibility, and persuade others inside any organization, large or small. It features group work, feedback sessions, interactive lectures, and exercises to provide you with personalized feedback on your persuasion styles.

Rather than rely on lecture-based case studies, the program uses actual organizational challenges submitted by the participants, who work on them in teams. This approach means that in addition to learning new tools and techniques, you gain experience in applying them to real-world problems before you leave the program.

Session topics include:

  • Using Authority to Gain Cooperation, Not Just Compliance
  • Secrets of a Well-Structured Argument: Define the Problem, Discover the Causes, Present Your Preferred Answer, and Justify It as the Best Alternative
  • Corporate Culture: How to Understand and Cope with It
  • The Four Steps for Selling an Idea: Consider, Connect, Communicate, Commit
  • How to Master Organizational Politics Without Going Over to the "Dark Side"

Who Should Attend

Persuasion and influence inside organizations are core skills for everyone who has to get things done in a complex work environment. These include executives who are moving from a functional to a general management role, as well as managers at every level. This program also attracts participants who work in government, health care, international agencies, and nonprofit groups.

All candidates must be able to understand written and spoken English and participate actively in intensive discussions and teamwork in English.


Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Strategic Persuasion Workshop participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Strategic Persuasion Workshop participants by job function

Participants by Region

Strategic Persuasion Workshop participants by region


The Steinberg Conference Center

Plan Your Stay

This program is held at the Steinberg Conference Center located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Learn more about planning your stay at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus.


Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.

Faculty


Richard Shell

G. Richard Shell, JDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Thomas Gerrity Professor; Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics; Professor of Management; Chairperson, Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department, The Wharton School


Cade Massey

Cade Massey, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Practice Professor, Operations, Information and Decisions, The Wharton School

Research Interests: People analytics, judgment under uncertainty, organizational behavior

Testimonials


Christopher QuinleyLiang & Quinley Wealth Management


In my HR division we're increasingly turning our eyes to talent management and talent strategy to make sure the business has what it needs, when it needs it. I became interested in the Strategic Persuasion course because I had started to work more with our C-suite executives, and felt that the way of communicating that I’d been successful with in the past was not going work as well with a higher-level audience. I really needed to figure out how to grab their attention so I could advocate for my function and my team.

The Wharton program was terrific. I’ve always felt you should be able to take away one thing from a course or conference that made the trip worth it. I got my takeaway item by the end of the first morning! Some of the things I heard in the first few hours had me thinking about opportunities to change my approach dramatically, by structuring my proposals more clearly and concisely.

One essential takeaway for me was the importance of networking. That may seem obvious, but it’s something that hasn’t come naturally to me. In the course, networking was positioned as when you get to a certain level the way you build and leverage your network is the job. For me, that was a different way of framing it, and it has given me a lot to think about and work on.

The faculty intentionally moved us into different groups and gave us a lot of exposure to each other, which was fantastic. Even in the final exercise we did, you weren't just on one team, you actually had a functional team and a cross-functional team and were working with both. I had a chance to directly interact with probably 75% of the participants.

The Wharton Delivery team did a fantastic job. I've been in the corporate talent development space for about 20 years and I've never seen a course so well put together. For example, at the end of Day One and Day Two, they came in with personalized envelopes with the information we were going to need for the next day. Everything was well thought out and brilliantly executed. The entire experience was top notch.”

Scott FarleyGeneral Manager, HR, Komatsu America Corp.


Lee LatiniExecutive Director, National Retail, Comcast


I have already used what I learned in the Strategic Persuasion program many times. A pharmaceutical account that was in question when I came to the program is now stronger than ever. The practice and technique of Woo that I acquired at Wharton saved this annual $5 million account, and kept a long relationship from going to my competition.”

Anthony SalduttiPrincipal Project Manager, MHR Inc.


In my position there’s a lot of relationship-building and a lot of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis. We have some very large programs, and often we struggle with getting people on board on certain decisions, which causes delays. At my level and in my role, my ability to influence people and to get agreement and alignment is extremely critical. I wanted to enroll in a program where I could really understand what the best persuasion techniques are, and how to speed up the decision-making process.

I liked Strategic Persuasion very much. The concept was simple but very relevant: it’s all about how you manage the emotions, the varying perceptions, and the behaviors. The use cases were fantastic because they were like real situations that we deal with on a daily basis within our organization. There was a lot of learning around how you can have different or conflicting opinions but ultimately get the buy-in and make sure you agree on a common theme.

Meeting the other people in the course was a great learning experience. I enjoyed getting their perspectives, dealing with their scenarios, hearing insights into their organizations, and learning the kinds of strategies they use to influence others. The course is structured so that you learn from each other. There’s a lot of role plays, team interaction, and engagement, which was wonderful. The faculty were really good, very seasoned. They dealt very well with folks who came from different industries and sectors, and they knew how to apply and generalize the material. They had a great ability to ask the right questions and get people talking.

I would absolutely recommend this program. It was a really good experience, which is why I have also applied for Wharton’s General Management Program.”

Manju JalaliSenior Director Asia Pacific Head IMIT, Global Foundries, Singapore

Date, Location, & Fees

September 9 – 12, 2019Philadelphia, PA$9,100

June 8 – 11, 2020Philadelphia, PA$9,375


Download the program schedule, including session details.

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Hotel Information

Fees for this program include accommodations and meals. Prices are subject to change.

International Travel Information »

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Contact Us

Schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your professional goals:

 +1.215.898.1776

 execed@wharton.upenn.edu


The Strategic Persuasion Workshop is based on The Art of Woo by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa. Each participant will receive a copy of the book.

The Art of WooVisit Wharton Digital Press to purchase the book

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