So you want to influence someone in a meeting, email or on a call. You think about the words, what message you want to convey and maybe even what action you want them to take. You read or think it through and test whether or not you would be influenced to give something the green light. Great. But something is missing if you want to increase your chances of a smooth ride to success.
How do they like to be communicated with?
We can all identify good communication from bad, but how often do we consider preference when communicating? Good communication can be made even more effective if you take a step back to consider how the reader or decision maker likes to be communicated with, rather than using your own preference as the criteria.
Are they someone who isn’t interested in social niceties and just wants you to get straight to the point on what action is required?
Is their style relaxed and informal? If so, reflect that in your tone and don’t weigh them down with procedures and details.
Have you considered the broader impact of your proposal, particularly on the people? What concerns might be top of their list? It could be different priorities to you.
Do they like time to consider all the details and evidence in advance? If so, don’t expect a positive response if you try to rush them based on your gut feeling.
In a situation where you are trying to influence or communicate with a group,try and ensure there is something for everyone. Not an easy task, but if you think through different styles in advance, you can be prepared. Send out information in advance but don’t assume everyone will have read it. Give those who want to contribute an opportunity to share their ideas. Ensure those who are less vocal are also given the space and time to air any concerns, either there and then or privately afterward.
You have to be realistic about the practicalities of what is possible, but raising your awareness of not only others style but also how your own preferences influence your communication will help you be much more effective.
How someone communicates with you is a great start to help identify their preference. Look for clues in their emails, pace and even body language. There are also personality profiling tools available to help you navigate the world of personal preference, to increase your impact and effectiveness.
This isn’t about changing who you are – doing that would be uncomfortable for all concerned. But when you are looking to influence someone, just take a moment to consider how they like to be communicated with rather than just defaulting to what you would like.