How to Be an Influential Communicator in Six Easy Steps
Meet Bob, Chris and Tina.
Bob just won’t listen to reason.
Chris is pigheaded.
Tina will only do something if it was her idea.
We’ve all worked with Bob, Chris and Tina. Some of us have been Bob, Chris and Tina, perhaps at a low point in our careers. They’re not bad people. You just haven’t figured out how to talk to them. Here’s how.
6 Steps to Influential Communication
Believe it or not the first step is not to hurl a load of facts and data at Bob, Chris and Tina. Smart people love to do this. Threatened, insecure people hate having it done to them. Instead, discover what’s driving them. What do they want? To hit their quarterly number? To look good in front of the boss with minimal effort? To send their kids to private school with this year’s annual bonus?
Build trust. How do you build trust? Simple. Show them that you care about the things that they care about. You care about the quarterly number. You care about the department looking good to the higher-ups. You care about the annual bonus. There's a catch though - trust takes time. You have to be consistently trustworthy, not just at the times when you need or want something.
Now use your facts and arguments. Bob, Chris and Tina weren’t ready to hear them before. But they are now, because they trust you.
Bring up their objections and misgivings before they do. Confess that you’ve been guilty of thinking that way yourself.
Briefly hint at the hell if we don’t. Rhapsodize about the heaven if we do. If you dwell on the hell, you may come off as desperate and you’ll lose them. But if you get them to buy into your heaven, well now you’ve got them. Everyone wants to go to heaven.
Ask for a specific action. If you don’t ask, nothing will happen. Have you ever seen someone argue passionately about something, using sound logic and reason, only to fail to suggest what should happen next? It’s amazing how often we forget this part.
Yes, you might be rejected. Don't let that discourage you. If they're not ready to buy into your big ask, break it down to a smaller ask that will lead to something bigger.
See? That’s all there is to it! Easy peasy.