A lot of leaders feel frustrated when plans or requests don’t get the “green light.”
Often this wasn’t because of a bad idea, it’s because of how the idea was communicated.
Here are three things you can start to do right now to be more influential:
- Data does not tell the story. Data is just that…numbers. People don’t usually have emotions about numbers. They do have emotions about what those numbers mean. If you want to be more effective at influencing and getting to “Yes!” then, talk about what the data means. Keep it tight, and be sure to hit on the points people care about. If there are no strong feelings, there will be no strong action.
- Say out loud what you see this doing. The benefits are probably obvious to you, so part of you thinks, “It’s so obvious…why even mention them?” You want to mention the benefits to help people orient to what you see, anticipate, or expect to result from a change. Don’t assume your manager, who is juggling other items and is focused on other issues, will automatically see and understand the benefits.
Three phrases to eliminate when talking about recommendations are: need to, have to, and should. They are poor substitutes for your experience and understanding.
- It’s not about you or your part of the business. Don’t talk about what’s important to only you or your team. Talk about how this will affect the business, or a larger process. How will the proposed solution increase reliability or effectiveness between groups, or open up time to accomplish other key tasks with customers? Don’t just talk about it making your life easier. It’s not compelling and sounds whiney.
Practice these things when you are working with others to help them see what you see. You’re changing your part in how you help others understand the situation differently, and how they feel about it!