Speak Up and Influence People

(from Michelle Bowden’s ½ day training presentation for GrainCorp in November 2011)

  1. You can communicate with your stakeholders from three potential ‘positions’.  1st position is where you are in your own shoes – completely self indulgent and all you care about is yourself.  2nd position is where you are completely and utterly in the other party’s shoes.  3rd position is the helicopter view.  From up in 3rd position you can see your needs (1st position) and you can see their needs (2nd position) so from 3rd position you can make some very good decisions about what is best for you and what is best for your stakeholder.  Spend more time in 2nd and 3rd position than you currently do!
  2. P = Position shifting; O = Control; W = Walk in their shoes; E = Empathy; R = Reduce Objections.  All together this gives you POWER!
  3. Expert communicators analyse their stakeholder, prepare their messages and even rehearse the delivery so they increase their chances of success.
  4. Expert communicators get into their stakeholder’s shoes and build both conscious and deep unconscious rapport so they can present meaningful, needs based solutions.
  5. Expert communicators know how to design persuasive, powerful and memorable messages and as a result expert presenters keep more stakeholders happy.
  6. You can’t really connect with your stakeholder unless you’ve taken the time to ‘Control’ your communication. You need to control your self, your message and your environment. “I am in control!”
  7. Rapport is all about a relationship or connection with your stakeholder and team members. It’s easier to build rapport with people who are like ourselves.
  8. You can’t ask for anything unless you are in rapport – well you can ask but they’ll probably say “no”!
  9. Pacing is being as ‘like’ your stakeholder or team member as possible without mimicking them. You build rapport though pacing their energy and the speed, volume and pitch in their voice.
  10. Universals and truisms are statements that reflect back to the other party what they already know to be true. We call them ‘pacing statements’ because universals and truisms ‘pace’ your stakeholder’s attitudes.
  11. You don’t have permission to ask for anything until you have first paced them.
  12. The number of pacing statements that you need to use to be a master of influence is directly related to the existing level of rapport.
  13. You can be in (or out) of rapport using two separate criteria: 1. Personally; 2. Contextually.  If rapport is non-existent using either criteria you need at least 3 pacing statements before you lead.
  14. The filter that determines our ability to accept information on face value or not is called the Matcher/Mismatcher filter.  People with a matching preference are those who look for what is true and correct, for what matches what they know to be true. People with a mismatching preference look for what is different to what they know to be true – where their reality is different to the presenter’s reality.
  15. To meet the needs of all types of stakeholders and team members avoid absolutes in your pacing statements such as “never”, “all”, “everyone”, “must”, “should” and use CABS instead: “or not”, “many”, “most”, “some”, “few”.
  16. “No” is just feedback that you didn’t pace enough or properly.
  17. It’s not about me, it’s all about the audience. It’s not about what you want to say or the way you want to say it, it’s not about how you want to stand, sit or move your body. It’s all about the other party and what they need to hear from you in order to understand your message and change their behaviour accordingly. Understand this and you’ll be connected to your stakeholders so they feel loyal to you and part of your business.
  18. Empathy is the expression through words and tone that you understand the significance of the issue to someone else. Use empathy where necessary.
  19. Some people get their energy from within – they are known as ‘introverts’; others derive their energy from others – they are known as ‘extroverts’. An ‘ambivert’ derives their energy from both internal and external sources.
  20. Some people have an internal barometer that tells them what the right decision is – they are known to have an ‘internal frame of reference’; others have no internal barometer and rely on others to tell them what the best thing to do is – they have an ‘external frame of reference’. It’s best to have a combination of these.
  21. Some people are motivated by not getting in trouble/causing a negative outcome – they are known as ‘move away’; others are motivated by moving towards a reward/positive outcome – they are known as ‘move towards’.
  22. Some people prefer to work in groups – they are known as a ‘team player’; others prefer to work by themselves with little connection to others – they are known as ‘individual players’; and then there’s the group in the middle who like to be part of the team, but enjoy working by themselves – they are known as ‘proximity players’.
  23. The point is that we are all different. If we persist, stubbornly expecting people to do it our way, rapport will be low and you’ll feel disappointed when the other party doesn’t act as you would like.
  24. You can choose to flex your style to be more like them  – that way you’ll build stronger rapport and be more likely to influence them to your way of thinking. You’ll be more likely to get what you want!
  25. It’s best to manage objections BEFORE they are raised.  We manage objections with the POO technique – Pacing Out Objections.
  26. First you state the objection that the person is feeling; then you say “and”, “so”, or just pause and say nothing; then you lead to a solution.
  27. ‘But’, ‘However’, ‘Alternatively’, ‘Although’ all negate what you have just said and activate the fight/flight response in the other party and incite them to fight you! Choose to say “and”, “so”, or just pause and say nothing in the middle of this technique.
  28. As you can’t always foresee every single objection that could be raised, you can also use the POO technique for managing objections when they are raised.
  29. Before a difficult conversation, use the power of positive self-talk and positive thinking. Remind yourself you’ve done the hard work. Tell yourself you have thought about it from all points of view and you know the best way to say it.
  30. Once a tricky conversation with your stakeholder or team member is over, expert communicators take 5 minutes to think through what went well, what they need to do more of, and what they should improve.  So take the time to congratulate yourself on the things that went well and determine where you need to improve for next time.

I know you know this. It’s not rocket science. So take the time to plan your important conversations in advance, analyse your performance each time and continuously strive to be an expert business professional who masters the craft of expert communication.

Good luck!