Classic Persuasion Mistakes, Part 1

My colleagues and I spend just as much time changing the way people think about communication as we do anything else. Better communication is not about new tips or tricks (here is a line I hear in workshops a lot… “I am looking forward to getting some new tips.” Wow, does that drive me nuts.) Better communication is primarily about three things: mindsets, tools sets and skill sets. And the mindsets are the most foundational of the three.

Here is a classic example of a communication mistake that we see all the time. Many of us need approval for things in the workplace, and one of the most common is our solution to a given problem. Often we will see people put together a message, in the form of a presentation to a group or talking points for their manager, with the goal of selling the group or the manager on their solution to the problem. We have seen this many times… sometimes the message may have even been an outstanding presentation of the recommended solution.

But even if that message was well planned, constructed and delivered, we often see it fail. Why? Because the presenter’s mindset was flawed from the start. They had failed to go to the root cause of the issue, and ask themselves the most fundamental question… Does my audience see the PROBLEM the way I do? Before you even begin planning your discussion of the solution, first ask yourself how your audience views the problem. Do you agree on that? Do you see the same problem the same way with the same level of urgency? Because if you don’t, then the chances that you will agree on the solution, or that a solution is even required, are remote at best.

Ask yourself the MOST fundamental questions at the outset of your preparation. Because great communication is most often about getting to the heart of the issue, and really understanding the root cause of the situation in front of you. Ask yourself the correct questions, work hard to really understand the situation, and the chances that your message will resonate go up dramatically.

And you won’t even need any new tips or tricks.

Have a great day. Stay safe.

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Corporation’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.