Stop Persuading. Start Influencing.
During our "Power Speaking for Women" workshops as well as any presentation skills courses I run, I like to ask the attendees: "Show of hands…who likes olives?" Several hands will raise. I then tell them, "I don't, but since you do, I want you to convince me to like them." And, then pick someone to do the convincing.Persuasion In Public Speaking
"Wellllllll, they are good for you," she'll say.
Me: "So is jogging, but I don't like that either."
"They taste great!"
Me: "No they don't"
Me with emphasis: "I don't care"
"Did I say they were healthy?" A nonplussed workshop attendee will try one last time.
To let them off the hook and keep the class moving, I will finally add that "olives, are gross!...Sure, one dipped in a Dry Martini might not kill me but they are big, and taste like the ocean floor, and who the heck knows what the red thing inside is really."
These statements tip my hand and lead the discussion into the whole point of the exercise. Someone will finally say: "Did you know that there are different types of olives?" "No" I will say, "you're kidding." And, off we go into an exploration through questioniong that I don't know much about olives. That I have many preconcieved and false notions about olives. And that these notions, if not addressed, will not allow me to be influenced in my thinking.
Seems the simple instruction of "Convince me to like them to like them," is what creates the problem.Presentation Skills And The Power Of Influence
Influencing in a presentation environment or in a one on one discussion is a tricky deal. When we are attempting to influence another we are wired to want to convince them to our way of thinking, before we get to understand theirs. We will pile on the information, details, data, and our own preferences, sharing what we believe strongly about our idea, product or service. We then lose any real opportunity to influence because the other party doesn't care what you like or feel about it! They only care about what it means to them...what moves them. In order to find that out you will have to learn to ask.
A smart man said:
"People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others."
― Blaise Pascal, Pensées
I have said before: (The best sales advice I ever got was from a surfer dude)
"What we think, feel or say about our idea, product, or anything is largely irrelevant. In all my business training courses for women and public speaking for women workshops, we do not convince people to accept an idea or thing, but rather we simply uncover and relate to their needs and their needs only. Remember this and your ability to influence and persuade will increase in a big way.
So. Who likes olives?