Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Persuading people, part of Communication Tips Weekly.
- Influence is a huge part of our everyday life and in the workplace we tend to be overly reliant on logical appeal when we persuade others. We focus on the facts and the data, and certainly that is important, but even the toughest, most logical business people make decisions with more than just their logical sides. We all have a heart that goes into our decision making, too. I love how Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM, put it.
"Change is not something you do by writing memos. You've got to appeal to people's emotions. They've gotta buy in with their hearts and their bellies, and not just their minds." So how exactly do we tap into the hearts and the bellies of our listeners, and not just their minds? Three steps will help. First, align your influence attempt with the values of your listeners. Let's say you have two colleagues, one who talks a lot about how he wishes you all got paid more.
He has mentioned that things are pretty tight financially for his family right now. You have another colleague who loves to be the center of attention. You want both of them to support you at an upcoming departmental meeting when you suggest new software for the office. To align the new software purchase with the first colleague's needs, mention how the software will make him more efficient, which could increase your bonuses next quarter. Speak to the possible financial gain for him because that's what he values.
Now, to the other colleague, the one who loves attention, perhaps you say, "You could go to the training and then come back and teach the rest of us how to use it. We're going to need an expert." You are communicating the same central message, buy the software, but with two very different approaches, depending on the values of your listeners. So that's our first way of increasing emotional appeal. The second step in appealing to the hearts of your listeners is to show your own emotion.
If I get up to present at a meeting and I say, "I'm really glad you're all here today. The idea I'm about to present is amazing and it's gonna transform the way we do business." Well, no one is every going to feel excited. To evoke emotion, we must show emotion. Turn on the video camera on your phone sometime and record yourself in a practice attempt to influence someone. When you watch back, do you seem animated and excited or bored and apathetic? Remember, to evoke emotion, show emotion.
Finally, we build emotional appeal by choosing vivid words. Take this example from an executive who had to address very concerned shareholders when the management team made some dramatic changes to the way the company did business and didn't get much input from the shareholders first. She said, "We had no time to waste because the company was hemorrhaging losses to the discordant tune of almost $100,000 per day." Now, as a listener, we can imagine this poor company literally bleeding out, and we have the specificity of $100,000 per day to really hit us at an emotional level.
Imagine if instead the executive had said, "These massive changes were necessary and you need to be supportive." The central message is the same, but you don't feel the urgency like you do in the actual speech excerpt. Remember, logic is great, but alone, it's not enough. You have to speak to the hearts and the bellies of your listeners, too.
- Understanding introversion and extroversion
- Persuading people
- Negotiating your needs
- Making small talk
- Saying no
- And more…
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