At some point in your career, you will almost certainly be called upon to express a point of view, take a position, or recommend an action that is counter to that held by the majority. Standing alone in the face of dissent requires the courage of your convictions. And, regardless of your gender, ethnicity, stature, or position in the organization, it takes strength and tact to present this position effectively and gracefully.
Here are some techniques to help you state your case with integrity, dignity, and self-confidence and encourage others to be more open to your perspective.
- Active listening is a profoundly effective communication strategy. A sincere effort to listen and understand other points of view sends a positive message.
- Don’t make getting your point across the goal. Stay focused on the fact that there’s a problem that needs to be solved. It’s not about winning points or keeping score.
- Don’t push your position or your agenda too aggressively. The harder you push, the more entrenched others become and the harder they will push back.
- When engaged in difficult discussions, look for points of agreement, and seek to provide information that adds value to the discussion.
- Stay centered, positive, and focused on the issue, problem, or situation at hand.
- Above all, don’t blame, accuse, or put down others, either verbally or with gestures, facial expressions, or body language. Remain poised, respectful, engaged, and purposeful. Whenever possible, allow your opponents to look good and save face.
The ability to influence and persuade is not just for leaders. Getting people to listen to, accept, and implement your ideas is essential for career success as well as success in all other aspects of life.