Have you ever been in a situation where you wish you had greater persuasive powers?
A situation on a flight reminded me about some of the critical steps we need to take to enjoy more influence with others.
I took an early plane to the Northwest to spend time with family on the Puget Sound. Looking forward to a quiet flight, I encountered, instead, two co-workers across the aisle who were in a heated exchange.
One gentleman, Frank, was insistent that the other “take a look at the numbers – the numbers speak for themselves!” But this was not having the desired effect on his seatmate, who sounded frazzled.
“How do I get through to you, John?” Frank finally blurted out. “It’s like talking to a brick wall!”
Have you ever felt like you were talking to a brick wall?
How do you begin to get through?
As it happens, Frank didn’t have a chance.
In fact, John turned to him and said, “Your conversation is wearing me out, Frank. I can’t listen anymore. End of story.”
I wish I could have taken Frank aside, and said this:
Frank, here’s where you could have turned this around.
You should have made an emotional connection with John to tip the scales.
Get the dopamine flowing.
Making an emotional connection is the conduit of “warm and fuzzy.” This helps people feel good and predisposed to listening, to being open to more conversation.
Instead, Frank began his conversation with, “John, I need to get you on board with this new strategy. What’s it going to take?” Diving into a selfish stance of “I need…from you” staged the failure.
Frank could have paved the way to a successful conversation by something like, “John, how was your weekend? Do anything special with the family?” or, “John, what project are you working on right now that is especially rewarding?”
When you connect in this way, it stimulates the pleasure-reward area of the brain – the “feel good” area. You are showing people you care about them in a genuine and personal way.
When you do this, people feel you are interested, and they feel heard as you listen. They tend to want to reciprocate, and will ask you some personal things, as well. This sets the stage as common ground.
It changes the other person’s attitude from one of “what do you want from me,” to “what are we looking at together?”
If you want to influence people, you need to make and strengthen that emotional connection, not only throughout the conversation, but in your relationship in general.
With whom do you have an important relationship that needs more emotional connection?
What impact are you having in life and business?
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Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.