Karl knocked on the doorjamb. Sara looked up. "You were right," he said to Sara. She made a little circular motion with her right hand, which by now Karl recognized as "Come in, close the door, sit down." He did all that, sighed a deep sigh and said, "Wolf will be a problem."
"Say more," she said.
"Well, he's convinced that Metronome won't work, even if we try this extension. I think he wants to try the Marigold approach instead."
Sara looked thoughtful. "Good thing we found that out now. Marigold is a mess, and we can make sure everyone knows why before we even enter the room on Thursday. I love it!"
Karl and Sara are trying to make a case to decision-makers, and they're taking a very strategic approach. They're speaking to opinion leaders first, finding out where they stand, and learning how to strengthen the case they plan to make on Thursday.
If you plan to "sell uphill" soon, what can you do before and after your formal presentation to enhance your chances of success? Here are five tips.People are persuaded in
part by the relationship
they have with
- Build relationship
- Most people are persuaded in part by the relationships they have with the persuader. Are you known to the people you're trying to persuade? If not, reframe your objective from persuasion to relationship building. Think of the current effort not only as an attempt to persuade, but also as a chance to start building relationship.
- Connect with opinion leaders
- Often decision-makers rely on trusted advisers — opinion leaders. Build relationships with opinion leaders, keep them informed in advance, and listen carefully to their questions and suggestions.
- Make your approach valuable in itself
- Even if you fail to persuade, will you be imparting value? Will the time spent be valuable to all concerned? Make your case so informative, engaging, and stimulating that your audience will be eager to listen to you again sometime.
- Give them something useful
- Deliver something concrete that will make you memorable — a handout, a summary chart, an insight they can use in other contexts, or a quick-reference resource. Put your name on it.
- Appreciate the listeners
- Most of us thank our audiences when we're at the front of the room, but few of us take time afterward to express appreciation. That's actually good news, because it means that when you send a hand-written thank-you note the next day, you'll easily stand out.
If you are yourself a decision maker, and you'd like the champions and advocates in your organization to use some of these strategies, tell them about it. People are a lot more likely to deliver what you value if they know what it is. Top Next Issue
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More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- How to Ruin Meetings
- Much has been written about how to conduct meetings effectively. Here are some reliable techniques for
doing something else altogether.
- How to Make Good Guesses: Tactics
- Making good guesses probably does take talent to be among the first rank of those who make guesses.
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- When It's Just Not Your Job
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- Words of wisdom are pithy sayings that can be valuable so often that we believe them absolutely. Although
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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming June 27: Interrupting Others in Meetings Safely: I
- In meetings we sometimes feel the need to interrupt others to offer a view or information, or to suggest adjusting the process. But such interruptions carry risk of offense. How can we interrupt others safely? Available here and by RSS on June 27.
- And on July 4: Interrupting Others in Meetings Safely: II
- When we feel the need to interrupt someone who's speaking in a meeting, to offer a view or information, we would do well to consider (and mitigate) the risk of giving offense. Here are some techniques for interrupting the speaker in situations not addressed by the meeting's formal process. Available here and by RSS on July 4.
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- The Race to the South Pole: The Power of Agile Development
- On 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald
Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen
had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished.
As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough. Lessons abound. Among the more important
lessons are those that demonstrate the power of the agile approach to project management and product
development. Read more about this program. Here's
a date for this program:
- Ohio National Insurance, 1 Financial Way, Blue Ash, OH: July
Monthly Meeting, Cincinnati
chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis. Register now.
- Ohio National Insurance, 1 Financial Way, Blue Ash, OH: July 17, Monthly Meeting, Cincinnati chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis. Register now.
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
- Your stuff is brilliant! Thank you!
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- A sort of Dr. Phil for Management!
- …extremely accurate, inspiring and applicable to day-to-day … invaluable.