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In this weekly series, Todd Dewett, PhD, shares the tips respected and motivated managers use to improve rapport, navigate tricky situations, build better relationships, and drive the business forward. Each week, we'll release two tips ranging from avoiding the dreaded micromanagement to managing a multigenerational workforce, cultivating better listening skills, and developing an understanding of your organization's politics. Check back every Wednesday for more Management Tips.
This course qualifies for 5.25 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through lynda.com, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.
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Contrary to popular belief, persuasion is not a bad thing. It's a natural part of productive communication at work. Let's be clear, persuasion is an honest and well-intentioned attempt to get someone to think or act in a particular way. To persuade is not to manipulate. Manipulation is a dishonest attempt to get someone to think or act in a way that serves you with the intent of hurting the other person, or at least without the intent of really helping them. Being persuasive begins before you enter into a conversation.
Step 1 is always to be focused on building a great track record of performance. The more credible you are, the more persuasive you will be. Next, never forget to serve others as much as you serve yourself. When you find ways to be supportive and lend a helping hand people respect your character. And that makes you more persuasive. Finally when prepping for a meeting or a conversation be sure to think about the people as much as you think about your arguments. Know the individual or individuals with whom you'll be speaking, and think about how to tailor your arguments just for them.
When you're actually speaking, be sure to nail these vital techniques. First, create emotion. Ultimately, you want people to think. But one of the best ways to help them think is to make them feel. Create positive emotions by showing positive emotions. Eye contact, smiles, the movement or your head, arms, and body. These are non-verbal indicators of the passion you have for the topic. You can also build emotion by using examples. Too often people use straight logic in attempt to be persuasive.
Use examples, they draw mental pictures that evoke emotions. You can use a picture, a story, or maybe a video. Let good examples make your case. Next, do yourself a favor, and remember that even though you don't love it, very often, compromise is necessary. A good rule of thumb is to resist compromise if someone brings it up early. However, half the time, you'll want to eventually engage some type of compromise. It helps you make some progress instead of no progress, and it gives you the ability to be persuasive later.
Since you helped them by comprising now. Finally, remember to feed the meter. If you're in a situation and finding yourself effectively using persuasion, good for you, but the job's not done. Later, whether by email, phone, or in person, you'll have to make your arguments again and do all the things we just talked about. Again, persuasion is a process used over time, not a onetime event. The ability to persuade matters to your career. Sometimes you're not getting what you need because your arguments aren't strong enough.
Other times, you've simply got to be more credible. Help more. Draw out a few more emotions. And be ready to compromise. That's what it means to be persuasive.
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