“Leaders communicate every day – thousands of words on autopilot?”
Picture: Tim Cook, CEO Apple
Author: Anders Christian Hjort
Do you master the effective and conscious verbal communication strategies and skills that makes you the most persuasive person in the room?
Take a look at yourself and how you persuade and communicate:
- Do you get the outcomes in meetings that everybody in the room perceives as being the very best?
- Do your employees commit, grow and follow you with pleasure and ease?
Verbal communication is such a simple idea. I say or write something; you respond (or not). We move on. People do this millions of times a day.
The communication might carry very little meaning or have little practical result. But, when the interaction is with a stakeholder about a key corporate decision, the future path of an employee’s career, a large investment, or a major dispute – then the price of getting it wrong can be enormous. Equally, being able to hold sway with colleagues, to communicate a subtle point of view successfully to senior management, to win a difficult argument without acrimony, to gain approval for things that really matter, are increasingly recognised as indispensable professional skills.
Not only are they indispensable, they are becoming rarer. More public information is communicated in meaningless sound bites and journalistic cliché. People are beginning careers without the fundamental building blocks of communications skills that stretch beyond social media abbreviations. Not only are the words truncated; so, perhaps, are the thoughts.
How to persuade people is not necessarily a function of intelligence or personality type. It is a skill, and like any other skill, it can be learned.
At Huthwaite International we have analysed the verbal behaviour of those who know how to persuade people successfully. We have noted that there are two principal styles of persuasion – push and pull style – and that each is appropriate at different times. We have studied the persuasive process, and codified who says what, when, how and to whom for maximum success. We have observed people trying to convince one another of their case; how each party responds; where they are in the decision-making process; what concerns arise along the way; what plans have to be made to achieve successful outcomes.
Above all, we have listened. We have listened to how the parties to a strategic conversation use the available airtime, the kinds of words and phrases they use – and what the conscious and unconscious effects of these might be. And with that knowledge we have built training events on how to persuade people so that you can become as effective as the most effective practitioners.
What Persuasion style do you use?
Push or Pull?
A mix of both?
Do you give more information than you seek?
Do you tell more than you ask questions?
And is that effective in a given situation?
3 styles of persuasion
“What do the most persuasive leaders do differently?”
As a manager you can choose a more Directing persuasion style of giving information, like a teacher. Push the “what” to do and push the “how” to do it.
You can also use a more Enabling persuasion style of Push the “what” and Pull the “how”. This is a good way to persuade when training and coaching people that are consciously incompetent.
A Guiding persuasion style is a third option, where you Pull both the “what” and the “how” by asking the right questions. This is more effective with people who are consciously competent.
Set them free…
Persuasive leaders apply and master these 3 styles of persuasion styles effectively and their employees commit, grows and follows, until they are set free to lead and persuade others themselves.
“Persuasive and effective communication is a skill set we can all learn and develop; if we know what to do, and how to do it well.”