Communicating for influence is key for job success, especially when it comes to interacting with your customers, colleagues. According toScalable, it is the 2nd most important trait that distinguishes good programmers from great programmers. It could make all the difference in getting what you want, whether it is to get your idea heard, doing an ace interview, or getting engagement from your team.
In my presentation to a local CAMUG Meet up I talked about five things. Here they are…
- Use your body to change your mind and the outcomes. See Amy Cody’s famous Ted Talk and the famous power pose to be more confident by increasing testosterone and reducing cortisol. Great before going into a meeting, or giving a presentation.
- Make a great 1st impression. Remember it is not what you say but how you say it. Stride into the room, maintain eye contact and use a great firm handshake. If you going into a meeting, but careful about what your body is saying about you. Lean in, smile, have an open stance, rather than crossed arms or legs.
- Be a likeable person and build report with others. It goes without saying that people are more likely to say yes to a request if they like you. Some great resources for this. Travis Bradbury “The 13 qualities of likeable people” or “The 10 qualities of unlikable people” also by same author. A long time favorite is Dale Carnegies “How to win friends and influence people”. Using questions to make the other person feel heard, and throwing away your phone for a few minutes, tells the person that you are important to them and worth listening to.
- Going in gently to the discussion and pointing out areas of agreement works well, gets your audience into thinking ‘yes’ right away, so that they are more ready to agree to your request. The opposite approach, of arguing or pointing out areas of disagreement, usually results in stirring up emotions, putting the brain into ‘fight or flight’ mode, and setting the person up for saying ‘no’, which is difficult to change later on. So taking a more diplomatic approach is likely to get you more success.
- Talking the same language. Don’t assume that because you are both speaking English that you are speaking the same language. Everyone processes language differently. Just think about the members of your family or team. Create an instant bond of understanding with them, by initially flexing your language to get the other person to hear you. Some people connect better with emotional language, others like big open possibilities, others like structured organized language, and yet others like research backed language that ‘cuts to the chase’ language. For example, if you are an abstract thinker and you are trying to get buy in from a more practical, concrete thinker, you will need to stretch your language and make it more detailed and practical. Lots of great tools are out there. One of the most exciting is Emergenetics, a scientifically proven tool based on Neuroscience, Psychology and Personality. If you would like more information on how tools such as Emergenetics could help self-organizing teams see my other blog on TeamBuildingForSelf-OrganizedTeams.
Finally, don’t be upset if you do not have immediate success. Like the greats Steve Jobs and Warren Buffet, we must practice and get feedback. Be on your side and not on your case. Keep a positive attitude. By the way having a positive attitude was the most important quality in the article I mentioned from Scale. Go for it!