The Edges of Lean — Ep 121 Continuously Improving Persuasion with Carlos Alvarenga

I believe lean thinking is the best way to manage a business and develop people. Even though I have much experience and many great examples to share, it does not mean I am always successful in persuading people. Carlos Alvarenga is a communications researcher who has delved into what it takes to be persuasive. He joined me at the Edges of Lean to talk about his new book: “The Rules of Persuasion,” and to explain why persuasion is a skill we can all learn. 


Carlos Alvarenga


Carlos A. Alvarenga is an independent communications researcher, writer, and coach. With a background in management consulting and academia, he has worked as an adjunct professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and as the Executive Director of World 50 Labs. Carlos is pursuing a Ph.D. in Communications and Rhetoric at the University of Maryland. Carlos resides in Bethesda, MD, with his wife, a physician/researcher, and they have two sons. His diverse experiences and educational background contribute to his expertise in effective communication strategies.




00:01:10 – Carlos’s Background and Current Work

00:07:41 – The Elements of Character in Persuasion

00:11:34 – The Elements of Argument in Persuasion

00:12:19 – The Importance of Sequence in Presentations

00:14:27 – The Role of Emotion in Group Dynamics

00:22:50 – The Seven Kinds of Emotion in Persuasion

00:25:34 – The Importance of Emotion in Persuasion

00:33:36 – The Importance of Safety in Lean Transformation

00:37:14 – The Different Audiences in Persuasion

00:39:37 – The Dangers of Persuasion in the Wrong Hands

00:43:45 – Applying Persuasion in One-on-One Interactions

00:47:07 – Advice for Young Professionals





  • Persuasion is a skill that can be learned and developed by anyone. 
  • Persuasion is different from influence and manipulation. 
  • The three modes of persuasion are character, argument, and emotion. 
  • Character includes elements like status, origin, language, style, categories, and associations.
  • Arguments include elements like logic, evidence, witnesses, authorities, laws, and standards.
  • Understanding the chemistry of persuasion can help in crafting effective messages. 
  • The order and sequence of elements in persuasion are crucial for success.

Memorable Quotes From Carlos Alvarenga


“If your ideas walk out the door with you at night, if your projects would die if you quit tomorrow, you haven’t persuaded anyone.”


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