by Mike Lally
What practical approach can be used to persuade people to agree and accept what you want them to think and do?
And can these suggestions be used to turn an opponent into an ally?
Let’s face it, we all want things done by others in a way that suits us.
Unfortunately, at times people can be rather difficult, some even impossible!
It is common for many of us to believe we are right about most things.
Not only right, but often dead right!
It takes little persuasion for us to agree with ourselves!
The challenge arises when we wish to impart our wisdom on to other people.
Sometimes the more we reason with people the more obdurate and obstinate they become.
Perhaps we fall into the trap of trying a bit too hard.
Of course, we philosophically and readily accept that it can’t always be expected that we will get our own way, but this attitude rarely helps in a given moment, does it?
If people are unsure or uncertain about you, or what you have to offer, it is much easier for them to say “no”.
Sometimes they may be sympathetic, polite and charitable enough to respond with “I’ll get back to you” or “I’ll think about it”, but they normally don’t.
However, there are some specific steps you can use to remedy any obstacle when communicating and dealing with people.
Step 1: Make people feel good about themselves. Actively look for opportunities where you can put yourself into a “subservient” position to the person you are communicating with.
This temporarily gives the other person a sense of control and reduces resistance.
You want them to do something for you, so make them feel powerful!
It’s amazing how quickly they will respond if you give them the opportunity to feel good about their ability to assist you. Most people feel a sense of pride when they are asked to help others.
Step 2: Avoid words like “should” or “must” as in sentences that suggest “You should do this” or “You must do that.”
People generally do not like to be told what to do and this immediately has the tendency to irritate them and will stiffen opposition.
They will automatically think “Why should I!”
Once offside they may stop listening to you.
A better way is to use softeners – these types of words provide a person with the illusion or impression of choice.
“Perhaps you could consider…”
or “Maybe you might like to…”
Step 3: Ask for help.
Instead of arguing and making matters much worse, say something like “If you were me…” or “What would you do if you were me?”
There are several phrases you can invent to achieve this aim including “I have a problem and I’m wondering if you can help me with it?”
An approach like this gives the other person incredible power and allows them to consider and respond with something other than a brutal “NO!”
This will offset the need for them to exercise their personal power by responding in the negative.
Interestingly, it seems that women are far happier to ask for help than men.
It is common for women to exercise their intuition and discuss what is of concern to them, whereas men appear to believe that stoicism is the best and only expression permissible!
However, once you begin to feel comfortable in asking for help it starts to free you up and it becomes increasingly easier to do.
Funnily enough, results seem to improve in tandem with this humble but practical approach.
This can be taken a step further by confronting a task and asking:
“Who can help me with this?”
Maybe a person can’t assist you with everything involved with the task, but they may be able to help you to take the next step.
Try this, and don’t be surprised when you receive a positive response accompanied with a beaming smile!