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The Structure of an Influential Conversation
Many of my clients ask me: “Colin, how do I get more influence with my employees, my co-workers, my boss?” Today’s big topic is influence. How you develop influence in a conversation with someone without coming across pushy, so that you get them on side, build rapport, and share some ideas they’ll be more open to.
Let me share with you a structure on how you do that:
Rather than pushing them, you pace them. Rather than coming in and sharing your ideas straightaway, you come in and listen. You use your ears, you lean in, you look them in the eye, and you listen. You hear them. This is called pacing.
Whenever I start coaching someone, I would never share one of my ideas first. I would always be listening intently, creating empathy and curiosity, to discover what’s going on in their world. This pacing technique enables people to feel understood and appreciated. When you pace someone, it enables them to feel like you’re on their side.
With integrity, if you’re truly on their side, and you want to actually listen and hear what they have to say, they’ll feel it, they’ll sense that, and that will enable you to have a more open door to their heart and to their mind.
Leading is where you share your idea or you ask a question that maybe pushes their thinking, it might push them into a more uncomfortable zone. The original concept starts with ‘pace, pace, lead.’ You pace people twice before you lead them. Rather than going in and being super pushy with your ideas, next time you sit down in a meeting or with an employee, listen to them. Pace them. Repeat what they say.
Here are some ideas on how you can pace someone: Repeat what they just said, literally word for word. Ask them a question about their current situation. “Tell me about your situation right now. How is that a problem for you right now?”
This is really just discovering their world rather than pushing their world. The lead side of things is where you start to share your ideas, so you might say something like “Would it be okay if I share a thought on this,” which is a little bit pace but moving into a lead. And when they say yes (hopefully they wouldn’t say no), they will be more open and then you’ll be able to lead them into an insight or something that you could share.
The key idea is make sure that when you go in, you don’t lead people straightaway. Pace them. Get alongside them, make them feel you’re on their side. And they’ll be more open to your ideas and your influence.
QUESTION: How could you use this concept at work? Share comments below.
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