You have to exert influence in many ways on different people many times a day, whether it’s your boss, customers, staff, stakeholders, suppliers, colleagues or others.
When you think about it, persuading is just another form of selling.
If you need to influence another person, it means that currently they either don’t have the knowledge you do, or are reluctant to change to your view.
So how can you sell your ideas better and influence others, while still remaining effective and ethically sound?
Here are some tips:
Define your objective and be clear about the facts.
What do you want to achieve with your persuasion and why? Think of the facts rather than the emotions involved. If you can deal with irrefutable facts, you can influence the logical thinking processes of the other person.
See the picture from the other person’s perspective.
Establish what needs and wants they have and identify how they look at things. Are they analytical? Do they need details? Or are they big-picture thinkers, where a little information goes a long way?
Talk about the benefits.
Any change will at first be resisted because of the fear of letting go of a certain position. So the first port of call is to highlight the benefits to the other party, hence reducing any objections or fears
Predict their response to the changes.
Anticipate how they will react and include them in your presentation of facts and ideas, so any objections are dealt with prior to them coming up.
Create the other person’s next move for them.
If you convince the other that your ideas are worthy of putting into practice, you produce reasons for them to take action.
Make any proposition simple and attractive to put into place.
Any challenges should be broken down and dealt with in manageable pieces. Make any changes straightforward and measurable.
Make sure the other person finds the ideas useful, attractive and actionable.
This means they are more likely to see the reasons for accepting your proposition and allowing you to persuade them to take the necessary action, whether it’s funding for a new project or deciding on a different route for the business.
The effectiveness of any influencing or persuasion session will be built on its foundation of preparation. If you prepare well, you have every reason to be confident that you can influence the thinking of another person. And that, along with your ethical reasons for doing so, should play a big part in your listeners accepting your proposals.
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Originally published: 16 May, 2011
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