“One of the best ways to persuade others is by listening to them.”
–Dean Rusk, former U.S. Secretary of State
Getting Attention to Gain Support
Managerial attentiveness is certainly high on the list of employee wants/needs.
But how about when it’s time to gain support for your idea or program? Managers at all levels will give you their attention if you understand how to legitimately capture it. Here are four ways to diagnose listener preferences and deliver your message. (It’s often helpful to be able to sort and classify).
1. The “Trend-Chaser”: Help Them Follow The Fad
These folks pay attention to what others are doing. Perhaps they need to feel like they “belong”; maybe it’s just a matter of not thinking too much. Who knows? It doesn’t make any difference. You need to provide social proof–testimonials–of what other people think about your ideas.
Use these phrases:
“The benchmarking companies have implemented . . .”
“The top experts in (name the appropriate field) have just written that. . .”
“Statistical trends now show that. . .”
2. The Analytical: Facts and Stats
Even though we know for a fact that people decide based on emotion, these people need to hear supporting evidence. And you’ll be questioned on it, so be prepared. They won’t go to a fast food outlet without seeing which one has the “best” value meal: $1.00, $.99, or $1.03. Why? One reason is that they want to be confident that they can give a “logical” answer should someone ask them. So, give them the confidence with facts and figures. Quantify everything.
3. I Love A Challenge!: Overcome Obstacles
Routine bores this group. When the sun rises, they’re ready to assault a mountaintop. When they hear that something can’t be done, it energizes them to prove otherwise. So, tell them:
- The system doesn’t work
- It’s too late too change (or too early)
- They can’t afford to do what will really make a difference
Watch them leap into action when you present your ideas as barriers to be overpowered.
4. What’s the Payoff? Incentives & Rewards
Here’s the group that examines the benefits of your idea, both organizational and personal. They want to improve their situation every day. Show them “how to”.
- How to increase profitability
- How to reduce conflicts
- How to be more effective at managing
- How to leapfrog their career
These are Four Biggies that I see regularly. If you have experiences that show another category with descriptions, weigh in with a comment!