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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Communicate Effectively: How To Win People’s Cooperation

1. Make People Feel Understood.

Spend less time trying to make people understand what you want, and more time making them feel understood. In an ideal world people might make decisions, commitments and judgments based on logic and sound reasoning. But in this world people act in response to their preferences, feelings and social influence they might not be even aware of. If they trust you and feel you care about them, they are much more likely to cooperate with you.

2. Find Common Ground

Show people how their needs, values and dreams mesh with yours. To do so, you have to understand their values and concerns. See things from their point of view. Be sympathetic with their feelings. Then show them how cooperating with you can help them achieve what they want.

3. Listen

Listening is the best way to make people feel understood and at the same time to find common ground. Ask open-ended questions, the kind that invite people’s careful consideration and honesty. Try to understand what people mean, without getting hung up on the literal meaning of their words. And acknowledge their thoughts and feelings (which is not the same thing as agreeing with them).

4. Do Not Argue

The person you defeat in an argument today may be the person whose cooperation you need tomorrow. Arguments make people stake out positions and defend them. And the more you try to prove them wrong, the harder they will resist you. People may feel overwhelmed and stop arguing with you. But that does not mean you have won them over. Most of the time, when you win an argument, you lose an ally.

5. Care About The People You Want To Influence

If you are concerned about the people you are trying to win over, if you value their needs and dreams, they will know it and they will reciprocate. They will communicate more freely, speaking their mind more openly and listening more attentively. They will give you the benefit of the doubt and they will want to cooperate.

6. Be Open For Others Ideas

Do not try to impose your ideas on others only. Listen to and value the ideas of the people that work for you or with whom you work together. Be open minded and feel confident with sharing the ideas with others. Even request for new ideas to gain people’s support and cooperation.

7. Help People Believe The Change Is Possible

People often know, although they will not often admit, that they need to change. They feel a vague uneasiness, sensing that things will not pan out the way they want. But they persist in doing what they have always done, thinking they are doing the best they can. Show them a better way, but more importantly convince them that the change is possible. Do not just give them a solution but offer them confidence.

8. Time Your Request Well

There is a time and season for everything, especially for asking for support. When people are feeling stressed out, anxious, angry, resentful or threatened, they are not really receptive. Do what you can to reassure them and to make them feel safe, and you increase your chances of winning their support. Look for “moments of influence”, times when they feel capable and confident, and make your best case then.