How many times have you thought, “If that client would just do what I tell him to, everything would be great!” Or “that employee.” Or “that business partner.” Or — let’s face it — “that family member.”
One thing I can promise you — because I’ve been there — is that you were focused on yourself. This isn’t because we’re so power-mad or narcissistic. It happens because we spend a lot of time under stress, and in anxiety and fear. This makes us reactive and defensive — and no one wants to follow us there.
I believe there are Four “Gets” that we forget under pressure, which make people want to dig in their heels and say “no.” Remember them and increase the chances to get what you want.
Get Your Brain Back
Ever feel as though you’ve lost your mind? Technically, you’ve lost two thirds of it. When facing a physical or verbal threat, a part of your brain called the amygdala takes over. Its job is to keep you alive, and it does this by shutting down your emotional (limbic system) and human (cerebral cortex) brains.
In “amygdala hijack” you have three choices: fight, flight or freeze. There isn’t space here to outline the entire process of reengaging your brain. However, the first step (which makes it the most crucial) is to breathe deeply and ask yourself this question: What am I feeling? That will help you start to engage your emotional brain, where you at least have five choices: mad, sad, glad, hurt and afraid.
Get Clear on Your Goals
Nearly every moment at the office we’re confronted with opportunities to succeed or fail. We sleepwalk through many of them because we don’t set goals. If we’ve done something before, we charge right in without thinking. Often we discover we’re way over our heads — then spend a lot of energy tap-dancing so others won’t notice.
Here’s the most powerful thing you can do today. Before any important written or verbal communication, say or write a goal. This automatically increases the chances you’ll get what you want. It gets your unconscious and conscious minds working on your behalf. This will help you develop messages and strategies to deliver them –and handle questions or objections that arise.
You need to know the steps the brain goes through to agree with anything: called the Persuasion Cycle. Here’s the process: 1) resisting, 2) listening, 3) considering, 4) willing to do, 5) doing, 6) glad to do, and 7) willing to do again.
We can be so focused on getting people to “doing” that we forget those first four steps. Then we end up with a client who, instead of signing the contract as we expected, develops buyer’s remorse. Knowing where people are in this cycle helps us to meet them there — because you’ll work differently with someone who is resisting than someone who is willing to do. Tailoring your approach to their needs automatically increases your chances of success.
We can spend a lot of time on “messaging” — a made-up word I hate. The reality is that only 7% of person-to-person communication comes from words. 38% is voice tone and quality, and 55% is body language.
You know it’s true. When a person’s words don’t match her body language, you believe what her body is saying every time.
That doesn’t mean you should forget about messages: I am the wordsmith, after all. But do make sure the rest of you is agreeing with what you say — otherwise no one else will.
I believe business leaders screw themselves over every day because they think it’s all about them. Now you’ll never make that mistake again. Start with yourself: getting your brain back and setting goals. Then move on to the people you’re trying to reach: through the Persuasion Cycle and good communication techniques. You’ll find this increases the attractiveness of the ideas you present — and makes others happier to do what you want.
Now — Get Going!