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6 Persuasion Strategies To Help Others And Get What You Want

6 Persuasion Strategies To Help Others And Get What You Want

Have you ever noticed that just about everything we do in our lives and the results we achieve revolve around our ability to persuade and influence others? From getting your four year old to put their toys away, to getting someone you admire to go out with you, to convincing someone to employ you or simply getting your wife to leave the toilet seat up, we are doing it all day.

Interestingly, it’s something that we can’t avoid and is vital to our success, yet most people don’t want to talk about it. Many of us associate the concept of persuasion as something reserved for the call centre or the car showroom when it’s actually a far nobler pursuit.

Persuasion is about getting others to do what you know is in their best interests, and once you’ve learned how to do so, you often get to benefit too. Here are some suggestions to help you become better at the art of persuasion.

1. Think in tweets

We are all subjected to thousands of demands for our attention every day. Many of us are overwhelmed with emails at home and at work, text messages, media advertising, and incessant demands from our colleagues, customers, and our boss.

When you are trying to persuade anyone to do anything that you know will serve them well, they will tune you out if you drown them with more “noise.” Your message has to be simple, clear, and compelling. Summarise what you have to say that will help them in the form of a mindfully crafted tweet.

For example, when people ask me why they should consider buying my book Hamster to Harmony, this is what I tell them, using the tweet approach:

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“Some of us find ourselves wishing, hoping and dreaming for more. This book is for those who are tired of tiptoeing their way through life.”

2.  Focus on the goal

If you are going to persuade anyone to do anything, you need to have a very clear goal. That goal should contain how you want people to feel. You can talk all day long but if the people you are speaking to don’t connect emotionally with your words, they are unlikely to act.

I once worked for a CEO who insisted on calling the entire team together at 8:30 AM every Monday morning every week for a three-hour meeting. His goal was to ensure that he understood everything that had happened in the business the previous week and to ensure the team was focused on the new week.

It was a clear goal but it only served to make the executive team resent him and dread the Monday morning “inquisition.” Persuading him to switch to the Monday afternoon for an hour satisfied his goal but in a way that left him feeling that he was building his executive team rather than alienating them.

3. Make it about them

In the above example, the CEO was a very exacting and anxious man who needed to feel in absolute control, and he needed to feel that at the very start of the week. There was no point trying to persuade him to change those meetings without understanding what he needed and how any change to his preferred start of the week would impact him.

Once he understood the adverse impact that having such long, repetitive, and arduous meetings first thing on a Monday morning were having on his team, he was prepared to listen. More importantly, he was only persuaded to shift the meeting to a more sensible time when he felt he would have even more control through a management team who were given the space to at least gather their thoughts.

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4. Watch your language

Choose your words carefully to ensure that your audience not only understand your message, but feel it makes a significant difference.

In the current American presidential election campaign, Donald Trump is trying to get people to vote for him by using words like:

“Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.”

Hillary Clinton has chosen to use words such as:

“We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.”

Donald Trump appears to be trying to persuade his audience using the language of fear whilst conversely Hillary Clinton chooses words of hope.

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5. Play nicely

Remember when you were a child and you asked your mother if you could go outside to play with your friends? If she was anything like mine, you probably heard something like, “Yes, but play nicely.”

Those were powerful words from our mothers, and evidence that she understood the keys to a life of connection, success, and happiness. She also understood that if you were “likeable” enough, you could increase your chances of persuading anyone to do anything.

Playing nicely as adults and professionals is the same today as when we were small children. It involves smiling, listening carefully, being kind, being generous, and paying compliments.

6. Share a vision

As I began my long, hard journey to climb the corporate ladder over 30 years ago, my boss told me something which I didn’t realise at the time would have a profound impact on me personally and professionally. He said: “The only people who need to be motivated are the people who can’t see a future and it’s your job as their leader to help them to see a future.”

That one simple truth has always held great wisdom and power for me and I believe it’s at the heart of persuasion and influence.

The idea of persuading anyone to do anything must not only be based on their best interest but also offer them a glimpse of the possibilities and opportunities available to them. If you can help someone to see and feel a brighter future, no matter how small your idea or suggestion, you are more likely to succeed.

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I believe that if you embrace these 6 simple strategies you will learn to master the art of persuasion. Whilst you consider and practice these principles, please don’t follow the advice that some suggest as the means to successfully persuading people to do things.

1. Don’t create scarcity

Unless something is genuinely likely to soon become unavailable and you really don’t want someone to miss out on the benefits of the opportunity, don’t pretend it’s scarce.

2. Don’t be overbearing

Healthy persistence is one thing, but there is nothing worse than someone becoming a pest by repeatedly calling on you when you have already made your perspective very clear.

3. Don’t give to get

Reciprocity, similar to persistence, is a principle which can persuade people to respond positively to you and act on your idea. That said, if you give something to someone with the sole objective of receiving something in return, that isn’t good practice and something I would avoid.

4. Don’t rush them

Have you ever noticed that a magician or stage hypnotist will often try to rush a participant to choose the first answer that pops into their mind? If you have, then it’s worth knowing that the reason they do that is to increase the likelihood of you saying what they have already planted in your mind. When you are trying to persuade someone to do something that is genuinely in their own best interests, there is rarely, if ever, a need to rush them.

Featured photo credit: Endostock via dreamstime.com

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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