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Do you have an upcoming meeting where you need to convince your boss, spouse, or co-workers to make a change? Lay the groundwork for a successful encounter before the meeting starts.

Pre-Meeting Interaction
Your ability to influence others is directly tied to what they think of you. The bottom line is this: if people like you, you will be able to change minds; if people do not like you, you will not be able to influence them. What are some ways to get people to like you?

  •  Don’t complain about anything or criticize anyone. The easiest way to help people get comfortable with you is to have a pleasant attitude and only speak well of the people you know.
  •  Verbally recognize other people’s contributions. Simply praising someone’s accomplishments and/or effort without seeking anything in return makes people feel good.
  •  Show a genuine interest in other people’s lives. Nearly everyone’s favorite topic of discussion is the topic they know most about: themselves. Ask good questions and genuinely listen to the answers others give. If you are one of the few people who actually remember things about people’s lives, you cannot help but make others want to be around you more.

 You earn the right to influence others by doing these three simple things. Think about the people you are seeking to influence. What is their assessment of you? You may have some work to do before you sit down with them.

Persuasion
When the time comes to make your presentation, some practices are better than others. One of the keys to influence is understanding that you will get opposition to your views. Here are a few suggestions when you meet resistance to your ideas.

  •  Begin the meeting with a smile and immediately seek to find common ground on the subject.
  •  Ask questions that get the other person talking about the situation. Listen closely to their point of view. You may be surprised at how often people talk themselves into your way of thinking when you simply listen to them.
  •  Verbally acknowledge the merit of the other person’s ideas, even if they are contrary to yours.
  •  When resistance to your ideas arises, don’t resort to arguing. Your chances of winning someone over to your way of thinking are diminished if you become an adversary. Even if they do follow through with your suggestions, they may not want to work with you on future projects because you had a disagreeable personality.

By Ava Wilson

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