If I had eight hours to chop down a tree,
I'd spend six sharpening my axe.--Abraham Lincoln
We never outgrow our need to be persuasive. Managers have to persuade employees to "get on board" with a new idea or change; salespeople get paid to persuade customers to buy; and potential customers persuade salespeople that a change in the "deal" just might make them a paying customer.
We're all faced with the challenge of persuasion and influencing. Here are three ideas to help meet your next challenge:
Create the Right Atmosphere
Did you know that participants rate educational seminars higher when they are held at a resort location? That factoid comes from the meeting planners who have to schedule them. Diners linger a bit longer in comfortable restaurants, and are prone to ultimately have a more expensive after-dinner refreshment and a dessert. Shoppers spend more time shopping if there is background music. Job applicants sign on the dotted line more often if they are interviewed in plush surroundings vs. the loading dock.
The next time you have a meeting, with one or one hundred, what's the best atmosphere to put your listeners in the most receptive mood?
Get At The End of a Parade
If you find that you are one of a number of presenters at a meeting, ask to go last. We've all had different experiences with this but here's what I've realized happens more often than not:
1. By the time the others trot out their list of pie charts, statistics, and million-dollar ideas, the listeners are growing tired as well as forgetful. Your presentation will at least be the last one on their minds.
2. If you are last, you stand a chance of being bumped completely and then end up getting a courtesy re-schedule. This now puts you in the position of being the only thing on people's minds at your new presentation. (There's also something of a sympathy factor for being bumped. Bask in it).
When I work with a small group--6-8 people--I start off seated at the table with them. When it comes time to make a serious point or convey urgency, I stand up and draw on a flipchart or whiteboard. It changes the dynamic, adds to the point trying to be made, and lets people know I believe the issue or idea merits special consideration.
How will you be a bit more persuasive today?