Never force your point of view
Published: May 06, 2013
If you are trying to influence someone to your way of thinking, you first have to try to think the way they do. In other words, you need to try to see the world or situation from their point of view.
It’s easy to insult or criticize another person’s perspective. Sometimes it even feels good to articulate our brilliance at another person’s expense.
However, if you want to win someone over to your point of view on a matter, it is doubtful you will be successful by insulting them. People naturally take offense when someone tries to push their point of view down their throat and tell them they are wrong. As a matter of fact, if someone feels disrespected, insulted or bullied; the argument is no longer about the issue, it’s about maintaining their stance. This is human nature. We resist being dominated. One of our universal needs is the need to feel significant. If feeling important is threatened, we become defensive.
For example, let’s say you own a small business, you don’t like the way your team dresses and you feel their appearance is a poor representation of your company. You’ve determined the dress code is too subjective and you want to introduce uniforms. However, last time you mentioned uniforms your team was resistant to the idea. They think uniforms are boring and enjoy self- expression through clothing, which is a part of your problem. How do you influence them to your way of thinking?
Well, you can just mandate the uniforms, announce the cost will come out of their pay and let them know if they don’t like it they can find another job, after all you are the boss. If they ask why, you can tell them that all their clothes are too bright, ugly and inappropriate. Plus you are tired of them breaking the dress code. You may get compliance, but you’re sure to kill morale. This will create another problem.
What’s the problem here? Number one you insulted their taste, you made it personal. Number two you said, “all your clothes”. Definitive words like ‘all’, ‘never’ or ‘always’ open the door for a new argument. Someone may begin to defend themselves by reminding you that yesterday they wore navy blue (which is not bright) another may say last week you said you liked their outfit.
If you want to influence your team, stick to the facts and only talk about how uniforms will benefit them. For example, if you know a few of them have distressing mornings because they have small children to get ready for school, you can say, “I’d like to make your life easier by giving you one less thing to think about in the morning. You’ll save money on clothes for work and you’ll have more money to spend on fun clothes. Plus, the clothes you love will get less wear. I’ve chosen some uniform designs; let me know which you like best”.
No resistance needed. Now they feel like you suggested it, but it was their idea.
• Kim Welcome is CEO of Influential Voice, a Communication Trainer and Coach; she assists businesses and individuals to achieve their goals through helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. For more info www.DevelopProfessionalCharisma.com.