In Daniel Pink's book, "To Sell Is Human," he explains what he calls "Non-sales selling: persuading, convincing and influencing others to give up something they've got in exchange for what we've got." The role of today's executive has shifted from order-giver to "mover." Pink explains, "Moving other people to part with resources, whether something tangible like cash or intangible like effort or attention -- so that both get what they want."
I've spent a lifetime helping leaders present information in the most persuasive way. Whether we're developing a strategic messaging platform, orchestrating a four-channel content distribution approach or coaching executives one-on-one...the end-in-mind is almost always to get others to agree with your point-of-view.
After all, isn't that what leaders really do: get others to go along with them? Willingly and enthusiastically, whenever possible!
Here are a couple of persuasive strategies you can begin using today.
Leveraging the Macro / Micro Approach
Macro / Micro is the most persuasive way (from the recipient's point-of-view, always!) to get someone to agree with you. Use this construct to frame your argument at the (macro) 30,000-foot level, then immediately provide one (micro) three-foot level example to ground your suggestion. Restate the macro, followed with, don't you agree?
So, here's how Macro / Micro plays out in the real world. Let's say you and a few other parents are responsible for finding the end-of-season place to celebrate your kid's soccer team season and thank the coaches. You want to go to Red Robin. You would say something like, "I suggest we go to a place that doesn't mind if we have a bunch of crazy teenagers, with both alcoholic and fun non-alcoholic drinks for the kids, and that's nearby our final game. How about Red Robin...it has all three. Sound good?"
Some people need the philosophical framing. Some need the specifics. Kind of like the Myers-Briggs test: some are sensors; some are intuition-based. Do both. To get our way, we need to connect with everyone.
Just like sports, improving your persuasive skills requires both practice and patience. But when your plan and your delivery come together, you're going to get your way more often!
Do a Run-Through Before All Major Presentations
Another tip is one that we all already know, but often skip: perform a complete run-through in front of somebody who intimidates you before giving your actual presentation. I find most executives do what I call a walk-through. They say, I'll start with the story about the three buckets, then I'll do an intro, ask for questions, and then review each slide." Nope. It's imperative that your confidence and enthusiasm be sky-high. Present a full run-through as a practice, complete with the constructive critique from a person whose opinion you greatly respect. This will help you polish your delivery and verify if you have any communication / connection glitches. And importantly, you'll have a feeling of confidence that will exude through your remarks. We all benefit from actually articulating all of the words -- at least one time -- before "showtime."
I have yet to see an executive do a worse job after a full run-through, but I've sure seen my share of stumbles and gaffes for those who just wing it.
I've been told -- more than once -- that many of these suggestions are just "applied common sense." While that may be true, they work just the same.
Wanna get your way more often? Apply these techniques and the line forms right behind you!
Onward and upward!