Sunday, January 16, 2011

Elements of Persuasion #3

The persuasion techniques I have written about in the last couple of newsletters were geared towards teaching some of the “ground rules” regarding the subject. I hope you have all had an opportunity to try the techniques show. Those of you that have, no doubt are starting to see some difference in you results and would like a little more to work with. Here we go.

When you are discussing a work problem, and you are trying to persuade someone to help, go easy on the people involved. When faced with an accounting problem, for instance, don’t refer to “the dummies in accounting” or “the stubborn accounting manager”. In fact, do the opposite – the bigger the problem, the easier you go on the people.

• If you have a big accounting issue, say “I am certain that the people in accounting are doing all they can”.

• If it is a REAL problem, say “The people in accounting have been stellar in trying to help me with this, and I think we still have a lot more to do”.

• If it is a HUGE problem, say “the people in accounting are not the problem here – they are just like everyone else; doing all they can with what they have. We have to find a way to better communicate our needs and work with them to find solutions. This issue has significant impact and has to turn around before we find ourselves stopped from working on anything else”.

What I am saying is that the bigger the problem, the easier you go on the PEOPLE and the harder you get on the PROBLEM. This practice will help you win allies and make it far more likely for the people to want to help you and focus on the PROBLEM.

If you find yourself being attacked by another, recast the attack on you as an attack on the problem. For instance, let’s say you are a program manager and someone says to you “you’re just like all program managers; every one of you is ready to push us all to work more and work faster, but you have no idea how to do my job!” Do not address the attack on you. The best thing to do is to recast this as an attack on the problem. “I feel the same way. The pressure to get these jobs done is huge, and we are all so specialized that we can’t really grasp the details of each other’s job. It is a big problem, especially when it comes to budgeting time to do the work. We have set a deadline and the customer is counting on us to meet it. We need to discuss a better way to set deadlines for future jobs”

These are two ways you can keep the discussion from becoming about the people involved and focusing back on the PROBLEM you want to solve.

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