by Lesley Nevills
Do you struggle to find the right words when you need to communicate persuasively or influence others within or outside your organization? If so, join the club. Lots of people find persuading others challenging, especially when the conversation is strategic and you anticipate pushback. Having the skills to gain buy-in for your ideas or approval for a solution you are recommending is critical to your success in business. These skills will also build your confidence and can help raise your profile in the workplace.
Here are some tips to help you win people over and get them to support your ideas.
Project into the future
When you ask someone to project into the future, you change the way they frame the present. You also engage them in actively taking part in the discussion.
- A month from now, when this project is behind us, won’t you be glad we went the extra mile to reach a quality outcome?
- If we think ahead to three months from now, what will have to have happened for you to feel that the project was a success?
Retrace your steps
To keep someone on track and move the conversation forward, summarizing what you have achieved so far can help you bring the discussion to a decision point.
- So far, we’ve looked at the possibilities and the practicality of moving to a new location and agreed we should at least investigate what kind of office space is available out there. Why don’t we move on and set out some criteria for what we need in terms of space, location and facilities?
Agree on the benefit
As an authentic way to bring someone around to your point of view, take time to reach an agreement about what benefits you both agree on.
- It seems to me that we both agree that saving overhead costs is the primary objective of moving to new premises. Am I right about that?
- Can I assume that we agree that improved customer service is still our primary goal in purchasing a new system?
Give the rationale
The word “because” can have a magical effect in persuading someone to buy into your idea because most people like to have reasons for doing things. Studies have shown that people are more likely to agree with a request or proposal if they are given a reason why.
- You can easily justify the higher costs because we are going to save so much money in the long run.
Cite your experience
When you say, “experience has taught us that …,” you give authority to your statement. When you say, “from my experience in similar situations …,” you lower the level of uncertainty in the mind of the receiver.
- When we look at our hiring experience over the last five years, the numbers tell us that those candidates with at least five years’ work history stay with us much longer.
These strategies have helped me when I need to persuade others. What has worked for you when you need to communicate to influence?