Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Persuasion: The Wrong Approach by Many Leaders

Jay Conger has done some excellent work on the topic of persuasion. He argues that many leaders think of persuasion incorrectly. He says they define persuasion as consisting of three basic steps:

1. State your position firmly
2. Assert your supporting data and arguments
3. Close the deal

Most people put on the hard sell, backed by passion, persistence, and data. However, Conger argues that such an approach may not be appropriate in all circumstances. He explains that leaders sometimes need to approach persuasion as a learning and negotiation process. They must start by establishing their own credibility. Then, they must determine and explain the benefits for the other party of whatever course of action has been proposed. They must provide evidence to support that assertion of mutual benefits, but they also must connect emotionally with the people they are trying to persuade. This alternative approach focuses on trying to understand the other side's point of view, to step into their shoes, so as to learn how and why they are willing or unwilling to support your position. Persuasion occurs through giving them a sense of ownership in the solution that has been developed.

1 comment:

Dr William J McKibbin said...

The art of persuasion often depends on the application. For example, negotitation is vital in buying and selling, of course. However, negotiation does not add much value in pure engineering where compromises can result in an inferior structural creation and the like. You make a good point, but great care is required in discerning those situations where negotiation can add value. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.