The North Wind and the Sun, the legend of Aesop
There was competition between the north wind and the sun to determine who was the strongest between them. The challenge is set to make the traveling passer unloak. However the northern winds blew heavily on the traveler, and the traveler wrapped himself tighter. But when the sun shone with warmth, the traveler was overcome with heat and had to take off the cloak.
Cues from the story: Persuasion is better than strength.
Full moral: Kindness, kindness, and persuasion win where strength fails.
Think about the last time you tried to persuade someone to do something, perhaps to persuade your boss to give you an extra, or turn a "possibility" into a client … or perhaps convince your children to keep the living room clean!
How did you apply? Have you tried to "hit the person on the head" with facts and lectures, or have you demonstrated the real benefits and rewards for their cooperation and participation with your request? Did you offer a compromise?
Now think about the last time someone tried to persuade you to do something that was more necessary than the usual persuasion to do. How do you respond to the lecture and the threats (explicit or implicit)?
Here are 5 tips to help you gently persuade:
- Display facts as needed: Some people want more facts than others. Take the time to know the type of character you're dealing with – those who want a lot of detail, or those who want a more detailed overview;
- We refer to the benefits: No lecture. Sharing reward stories; personally proving reasonable and expected benefits;
- Allow the other person time to adapt to the new scenario: This is especially important if the order represents a major change.
- Provide a compromise, if necessary (possible): Everyone loves to win, so I am looking for a reasonable compromise in which the goal can still be achieved without even one person feeling as though he has lost something; and
- Allow the other person to reach his conclusion: Often times, the other person has already reached the same conclusion, but only takes a little time to "sit with him" and becomes convinced that it is the right decision. Allow them this time (if time permits), as well as the privilege of making their own decisions, rather than being afraid to comply with your decisions. A large part of gaining acceptance is simply letting others be part of the process, even if they are just their decision-maker on their part.
Whenever we have to persuade others to join us, using the arts of gentle persuasion and compromise, pointing out the true benefits of their cooperation and participation, and allowing them time to reach their conclusions, often the real keys to getting things done.