Persuade and influence opinion

This unit covers high-level workplace communication for working at a senior level with internal and external clients, colleagues and other staff. It includes preparing for high-level communication, critically analysing and responding to opinions, persuading and influencing others, and reflecting on and honing communication strategies.In practice, persuading and influencing others may overlap with other generalist or specialist public sector work activities such as acting ethically, complying with legislation, applying government systems, managing change, managing diversity, etc. This is one of 5 units of competency in the Working in Government Competency Field that deal with communication. Related units are:PSPGOV202B Use routine workplace communication techniquesPSPGOV312A Use workplace communication strategiesPSPGOV412A Use advanced workplace communication strategies PSPGOV512A Use complex workplace communication skillsThis is a new unit of competency, added to the Working in Government Competency Field of the Training Package in 2004.


Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare for high-level communication

1.1 Communication objectives are clarified, those to be present are confirmed and communication mode is identified.

1.2 Analysis is undertaken to anticipate the likely attitudes of and positions to be taken by those present on the matters under discussion.

1.3 Communication styles of those to be present are considered and their effect on the tone and likely direction/progress of the discussion is assessed.

1.4 Critical self-evaluation of communication strengths and vulnerabilities is undertaken and compared with other participant/s knowledge, styles and likely approaches in planned encounters.

1.5 Subject matter is researched/organised, key messages to be conveyed are distilled and tactics planned to utilise personal strengths and maximise outcomes for the organisation in accordance with legislation, policy and guidelines.

2. Critically analyse and respond to opinions

2.1 Others are listened to critically and responsively to evaluate complex levels of meaning in spoken communication and to identify impartiality, bias or unsupported argument.

2.2 Tone, style, non-verbal elements and points of view of speakers are noted and their use in influencing and affecting particular outcomes is considered.

2.3 Reaction to speakers and their point of view is analysed to identify and manage emotional triggers and maintain objectivity.

2.4 Opposing/challenging views are welcomed and examined for their value in achieving the same ends.

2.5 Communication is examined for subtext, significant inclusions and exclusions, socio-cultural values, attitudes and assumptions.

2.6 Complex concepts and ideas are explored to clarify understanding, and to challenge and justify interpretations based on underlying assumptions, beliefs and values.

3. Persuade and influence others

3.1 Communication approach is chosen and used to maximise effect with the given audience.

3.2 Sustained points of view are asserted with determination and conviction.

3.3 Content and approach are modified when speaking to an unresponsive audience, and diversions and unexpected questions handled confidently.

3.4 A variety of verbal and non-verbal behaviour is used to explain abstract ideas and expand on complex issues to maintain listener interest.

3.5 Complex questions and arguments are responded to quickly and saliently, backed by reasoned explanation.

3.6 Disagreements or conflicting personalities are handled objectively and agreements are negotiated where possible, concluding with positive summaries of achievement.

4. Reflect on and hone communication strategies

4.1 Feedback from others is obtained, outcomes are assessed and underlying interactions and motivations analysed.

4.2 Own vulnerability to emotional and other seductive appeals is analysed dispassionately.

4.3 Lessons learnt are articulated and used to underpin future interactions.

4.4 Sophisticated language structures and features that influence audiences to a preferred point of view are developed and practised.

4.5 Creative and innovative communication strategies are explored and practised for a range of workplace applications in accordance with organisational requirements.

Required Skills

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Skill requirements

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

applying legislation, regulations and policies relating to communication in the public sector

analysing and using language structures and features that influence the interpretation of spoken communication

interacting responsively, critically and confidently with both familiar and unfamiliar groups on specialised topics in formal and informal workplace situations

speaking with confidence and listening evaluatively and critically

responding to diversity, including gender and disability

applying procedures relating to occupational health and safety and environment in the context of high-level communication

Knowledge requirements

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

legislation, regulations, policies, procedures and guidelines relating to communication in the public sector

the power and effect of spoken language

stylistic devices and their ethical use for calculated effect

the ways in which socio-cultural factors, language features and structures, and non-verbal elements combine to influence the interpretation of spoken communication

equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles

public sector legislation such as occupational health and safety and environment in the context of high-level communication

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide specifies the evidence required to demonstrate achievement in the unit of competency as a whole. It must be read in conjunction with the Unit descriptor, Performance Criteria, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Public Sector Training Package.

Units to be assessed together

Pre-requisite units that must be achieved prior to this unit:Nil

Co-requisite units that must be assessed with this unit:Nil

Co-assessed units that may be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:

PSPETHC601B Maintain and enhance confidence in public service

PSPGOV601B Apply government systems

PSPGOV602B Establish and maintain strategic networks

PSPGOV604A Foster leadership and innovation

PSPLEGN601B Manage compliance with legislation in the public sector

PSPMNGT604B Manage change

PSPMNGT605B Manage diversity

PSPMNGT606B Manage quality client service

PSPMNGT613A Develop partnering arrangements

PSPMNGT614A Facilitate knowledge management

PSPOHS602A Manage workplace safety

Overview of evidence requirements

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

the knowledge requirements of this unit

the skill requirements of this unit

application of Employability Skills as they relate to this unit

opinion influenced in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Resources required to carry out assessment

These resources include:

legislation, policy, procedures and protocols relating to public sector communication

current theory and practice on influencing skills for the public sector

case studies and workplace scenarios to capture the range of situations likely to be encountered when persuading and influencing opinion

Where and how to assess evidence

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

a workplace environment or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when persuading and influencing opinion, including coping with difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine

opinion influenced in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time).

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

people with disabilities

people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people


young people

older people

people in rural and remote locations.

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

case studies






simulation or role plays

authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training courses

For consistency of assessment

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The Range Statement provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. The variables cater for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. They allow for different work requirements, work practices and knowledge. The Range Statement also provides a focus for assessment. It relates to the unit as a whole. Text in bold italics in the Performance Criteria is explained here.

Communication objectives may include:

share information

brief Minister

reach consensus

shape opinion

influence policy

represent the organisation's position

represent the business unit's interests in internal negotiations

resolve differences

negotiate a joint position/compromise

build reputation (of self and organisation)

market services

Those to be present may include:



those senior or junior to the position

staff from other agencies

senior executives/chief executive

ministerial liaison personnel


Minister's chief of staff

Mode of communication may include:



video conference

Internet (online forums)


one-on-one, or in a group

forum, seminar or conference

Communication styles may include:

inter-cultural, equity or diversity considerations












Organisation of subject matter may include:

identifying features, advantages and benefits and aligning evidence/examples

anticipating likely disagreements and structuring material to address these

Legislation, policy and guidelines may include:

State/Territory and Commonwealth legislation, regulations, policies, guidelines and standards relating to exchange of information in the public sector, such as:

ethics and accountability guidelines/codes of practice

information security standards

principles of equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity

freedom of information and privacy acts

intellectual property guidelines and policy

fraud standards

professional liability requirements

Reaction to speakers may include:

own reaction

others present

Communication approach may include:

catering to political sensitivities

working within government processes and operational frameworks

balancing intellectual debate and action

considering wider organisational/public sector issues

using language calculated to appeal emotionally to a particular audience, such as humorous, serious, cajoling, authoritarian

speaking with confidence and authority

covering cultural, ethnic, diversity or equity considerations

selecting a communication style appropriate to the occasion/audience such as consultative, collaborative, assertive, reasonable etc

Verbal and non-verbal behaviour may include:

inclusive language, ideas and information

congruent speech and body language

speaking with confidence



drawing on different sources of information

Sophisticated language structures and features may include:

use of metaphors and similes

use of analogy, imagery and other comparisons

stylistic devices such as using pronounced downward inflection to convey 'the final word', or upward inflection to invite opinion/agreement

use of passive voice

using personal names repeatedly to convey intimacy or sincerity

using 'we' rather than 'I' to infer corporate rather than personal position

tone, style and point of view

rhetorical devices



Not applicable.

Competency Field

Working in Government.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.