We need to influence other people’s actions every day.
To do so, we usually try what I call “going faster to speed up.” We tell, suggest, teach, make a case, or argue. Sometimes we’ll use indirect influencing emotions like excitement or guilt. Then we hope that they’ll do what we want sooner than later.
The problem is that these methods actually slow you down. They raise the other person’s defenses and cause resistance. Why? People always resist being told–directly or indirectly–what to do, how to do it, and how to think. Even if they don’t show it and even if there is trust between you, they will resist.
You can succeed by pushing: doing more and more of the above tactics. And that will not work for very long.
Or you can take the time to do things like
- Flex to match their communication style.
- Agree on what is true now in the situation and what you’d like to be true.
- Seek to understand their perspective, their suggestions, and what would make a win for them.
- Make requests and negotiate what will be done by when and by whom.
You need not do all of these all the time. As trust builds (which it will) and on less important issues, you can do fewer.
As you slow down, you’ll speed up results now and down the road.
To your continued success,