5 Easy Ways to Persuade Your Boss

June 6, 2016
5 Easy Ways to Persuade Your Boss

HR professionals have some of the best business ideas in the world. They are as close as you can get to the organisation’s most valuable resource – its people – and they understand that developing great talent creates great results. So why aren’t many HR professionals seen to be making big impact in the executive boardroom? Well, if you’re an HR professional yourself, then you’ll know that it’s hard enough getting people to even listen to you, let alone agree with you! And I think that this is part of the problem.

Recently, I was reading about 17 “Jedi Mind Tricks” you can use in your quest to become more persuasive. If I’m being honest, I don’t think all of the techniques listed would work too well in the workplace. For example, I think that using swear words while trying to convince your MD of a great new business idea, would come across as either a cheap shot at attention, or as just plain rude. But some of the techniques discussed actually make a lot of sense, and so I wanted to share a few of the best ones here. If you’re wondering how to persuade people to your way of thinking, then these might help.

1. Use Balanced Arguments. Have you ever heard the phrase “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”? If you’re presenting a seemingly flawless plan or idea, it’s actually less likely to win anybody’s confidence than if you present it with the weaknesses included. Just because your plan isn’t perfect, don’t assume that anybody who sees these imperfections will automatically reject it. Balanced arguments are far more believable, and therefore far more persuasive, than one-sided arguments.

2. Use a Positive Frame. Keeping the above point in mind, focus on the positives. If you’re talking about something negative, see if you can word it in a positive way. For example, let’s say you’ve had an idea for a new training initiative that will produce the same results in a much shorter time. Instead of saying “we won’t be wasting 2 hours a day on training anymore”, you could frame this positively by saying something like “we will be gaining 2 hours of productivity per day”. Too much negative talk, even if it supports your argument, could put people off.

3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. There’s a reason you end up singing those annoying radio jingles while you’re in the shower, even when they’re not playing. Sure, you might not like them, but once you’ve heard them a few times, they really stick in your head. Don’t expect to convince somebody first time that your idea is the best idea – instead, try to open up multiple conversations over a period of time, and eventually your plan might just stick in the right person’s head.

4. Tell a Relevant Story. If charity adverts are anything to go by, we know how well story-telling works in persuading people to buy into an idea. Why not explain your idea using the medium of a hypothetical story that could happen if it were implemented? For example, “Sarah comes to work every day and tries her hardest because her family relies on her for income and she is determined to earn her bonus. This new idea would give other teams and departments that same incentive Sarah has. Imagine a workforce where everybody is as motivated as Sarah!”

5. Be Clear. No matter what persuasive techniques you’re going to be “using”, the most important thing of all is to not let these techniques cloud your clarity. Clarity is key to understanding, and understanding is key to confidence and trust. Above everything else, be clear with the message you’re trying to communicate, and your persuasive abilities will jump up a level.

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