Have someone you’re trying to influence in your organization? Try these ideas:
Do your homework. If you know that Martin is always worried about the costs, make sure you know how your idea is going to contribute to costs – directly or indirectly. Be prepared for his arguments since they’re sure to come up.
Set aside preconceived notions. Walking into a meeting with Catherine, you think you know her and this can bias you right from the start. It may create a filter so that you can’t even hear what she’s actually saying.
Understand the context. I’m in a meeting with Mary from marketing. She’s saying “we really need to put this on the website” but I’m saying “we’ve already got it on”. I need to understand where Mary is coming from. Did her boss tell her to get it on? Is there a time pressure? Is she taking next week off and wants to check this off her to do list?
Learn their trigger words. You know how certain words can set people off? I was working with Adam, a leader in a big division, and everytime you said ROI his ears perked up and he started to listen – in a good way. But every time you said collaboration, he shut down as he thought is was too fluffy a word.
Don’t give up. Don’t expect you’ll be able to influence Sandeep in one 15-minute conversation. You’ll need to have more than one conversation if it’s a tough issue. Try to go for one small win at a time.