Dale Carnegie once said in his famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, that the only way to make someone do what you want them to do or think the way you want them to think is to make them want to do it, want to change their mind.
People are naturally more likely to respond positively to your idea or point of view when it is not forced upon them. Have you ever tried forcing a student to do his homework when he just wants to play? He may do it because you 'made' him but he is not putting 100% effort into it nor is he going to agree that what you've asked him to do is for his best interest. Pressure and forcefulness inevitably will be met with a wall of defense.
Have you ever walked into a store and the salesperson is in your face trying to make you buy everything you touch? Did you end up buying anything from that store? Of course not. When you feel like you are made to do something, the instant reaction would be 'I don't want to' and it becomes exceedingly hard to change that mindset.
Now picture another scenario where you are in a store and the salesperson allows you to browse freely and only come up to you when you show interest. They compliment you on your choice of product. It was your choice to pick up that item and the salesperson is merely engaging in conversation to commend you on your impeccable taste. Was that person trying to make a sale? Of course but at the end of the day, you were made to feel like you were not being sold a product but rather, you 'bought' a product. It was your decision.
The best techniques to influencing a person's decision
Knowing that you need to persuade a person to want to do what you want them to or think the way you do is one thing but how do you start?
Avoid the answer 'no' and keep pressing for 'yes'.
Never straight out say 'this is what I think' and expect the other person to agree. You need to lead the conversation with questions to enable the other person to start saying 'yes'.
Your first few questions should be ones you know would get you a yes answer such as, 'This department has potential to double it's revenue this year, don't you think?' This would be something your boss would definitely nod his head to. Continue to lead with 'yes' questions and then throw in:
'If I can do xxx this year, sign xxx amount of contracts and get xxx on board with our company, do you think it would be worth $xxx?"
When someone has been giving positive affirmation, they are less likely to say no as their mindset is already switched onto an agreeable mode. It is similar to when infomercials continuously ask questions like:
"Are you sick and tired of wasting time vacuuming?"
"Is your vacuum cleaner just not doing the job?"
"Don't you want something that can cut your cleaning time in half?"
Answers? YES. YES. YES.
Do you want this brand new state of the art vacuum cleaner for ONLY $99.99?
More than likely, your mind is already leaning towards taking out your credit card. You don't feel like you've been sold something because you feel like you made the decision to BUY it and it was your decision alone to improve your home with this brand new product.
So the next time you are in a conversation to influence someone to your side of the table, start by getting them to say 'yes'.
It was never YOUR idea to begin with
While I was working in my day job, I could see there were things that needed changing in the current process but my manager was one who was quite proud of the process that he had implemented. Yet it was my colleagues and I who were suffering as we were directly affected.
We had brought up changes in the process and presented him ways we thought would be best but time after time, the changes were dismissed.
So I decided that I would just every so often drop hints of flaws in the current process casually during lunch or after work. Casually mentioning that one of the tasks was dependent on a certain procedure and it would be nice if 'this' and 'this' could happen instead. This went on for about 3 weeks until the next meeting when my manager presented us with his new idea for changes in the process.
It was what we wanted all along and of course, we praised him on how clever he was to have thought of the new idea.
If the end result is in your favour, does it matter who takes the credit?
So often, people want others to agree to their point of view to 'prove' that they are right but if your end goal is to influence the other person to see your view, does it matter if you were right all along? Don't set out to prove, set out to persuade and influence. You will find that it makes a vast difference.