9 Steps to Convince Anyone Next Monday
You've been walking around with this idea in your head. It is the best idea you've had in a while. You talked about it with friends, and nobody gave you pushback. You are convinced this could be a great opportunity for the organization. This week you will take the first step!
Monday, you run into your manager, Susan. It is not always easy-to-read Susan. Sometimes she greets you and asks you about your weekend, and then the same day she walks past you without even noticing. Anyway, she seems talkative today. And while you are waiting for the machine to pour you a cappuccino, she asks what’s on your mind.
This is it… now is the time to tell about your idea.
At first, Susan is paying attention and even asks questions. Some questions you didn't think through yet. Now she punches holes in your idea. Argh, why can’t she just listen to the gist of it, you already told her it is just an idea. It takes you time to answer; she checks her phone to see when the next meeting is coming up. You notice, it pulls you out of your flow. Susan’s face shows she doesn’t fully understand where you are heading with all this. Now you hear yourself talking, searching for words. For Susan a perfect moment to take back the conversation. “Maybe we should talk about this another time? I really have to go now!” And before you know it you’re talking to your cappuccino.
When you see an opportunity to improve something, you need to persuade someone to say yes to your plans. This isn’t always easy. I’ve learned to increase the chance of success by working through the following steps.
Believe and be confident
As soon as someone asks difficult questions, you need to own the idea and its context. Are you able to explain it? Explore your idea.
These questions will help you prepare:
Practice your delivery
When you get the chance to pitch your idea, you want to deliver it in its best way. Work on an elevator pitch that gets people interested right away. Try to use persuasive language. Make your words powerful. And talk with someone on the same level. If the person you are talking to, has the power to say no, you don’t want to let them think about that. So it is important that they see you as an equal partner.
When your pitch feels right, don’t approach the big kahuna right away. First practice your pitch on others. Avoid filler words like ‘ehh’ this can make people feel you doubt your own story, and they start to doubt too.
Build up your emotions throughout the conversation. Don’t start on top of your excitement right away. Keep in mind that the other person still needs to get used to your idea. The end of your pitch is a good moment to become more excited.
Don’t fall into the pitfall being too attached to your idea. You are convinced about your idea, but the other person could ask questions you didn’t think of before. They could even have a better idea. Listen to the other. Repeat and summarize what you hear. It prepares you better for next time and sets you up for success.
Speak their language
You've probably talked to the person you need to convince before. How do they speak? What do they value? Do they use jargon or try to stay away from it? Communicate with them in their language.
Pick the best medium
You are convincing someone of an idea they didn’t hear before. This means you need to cultivate the environment for your pitch. Figure out how they like to communicate, is it email or phone?
How did you end up here?
It is human to stick to an opinion, it often feels like a failure when someone has to change his mind. That’s why it is important that you also show them how you ended up with this idea. Maybe first you had a different opinion about it, but since you explored the idea, you changed your mind. Tell them. This can help the other to be more open-minded.
Create a sense of belonging
Show them how the future will look like in your story, make the other person want to go there too. You are already excited about what it could bring. They also need to get this image in their head. Tell them how you will make sure this change can happen.
Create a sense of urgency
Creating a sense of urgency can help push your idea forward. Is this the moment to change? Talk about that. Why is now the right moment? What would they miss out on if we wouldn't? Your chances increase a lot if you are capable to explain that.
Dare to make concessions
It’s your idea, it’s hard to let go of parts. But sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward. If you have to convince a person of your idea to continue, embrace the fact of making concessions. See if you can get a smaller part of your idea approved. Often when things progress, you still get the chance to work towards the complete idea.