Everyone is Persuadable. (Just Avoid These Mistakes You're Making)


Everyone is Persuadable. (Just Avoid These Mistakes You're Making)

Read time: 3 minutes

You're receiving this because you expressed interest in or took my Maven course on negotiation. Feel free to write back to me directly on what you'd like to hear/learn more about.

Today I'm going to talk about how I open up conversations where I want something, without making the other person defensive.

I find that if I open up a conversation in the right way, it makes the other person more open to new ideas.

It's common to get nervous about asking for what you want. Advocating for yourself is hard. Often those nerves end up making us avoid the conversation all together, or it spills into how we speak and it makes the other person defensive.

What we need is to be able to pull out the language that makes others clam up. Then we need to figure out how to approach the ask that we want to make.

Here's how we're going to tackle it today:

  • Structure the conversation so we don't make them defensive
  • Figure out what is important to them.
  • Avoid a typical mistake in making your ask.

Tip 1: Don't surprise them. Use this...

Telling your counterpart where the conversation helps alleviate surprise. Surprise is bad because it makes us want to contract, protect ourselves, and become defensive.

Fix this by using an agenda. Agendas don't have to be formal. It doesn't have to be emailed out before the meeting. A quick heads up about where the conversation is headed helps put you both on the same page.

OLD: "Hi. I we need to talk about my compensation."
NEW: "Hey! There are a couple things I wanted to cover today. Specifically, I wanted to chat about the priorities from our last team meeting, and how that tracks to my work items, and I wanted to chat with you about compensation. How does that sound?"

Tip 2: When in doubt, start with this...

More often than not, when I negotiate with someone and they start with what they want and the reasons they are justified in their ask.

Instead, start with Questions. No matter what you plan say to convince your counterpart, it can always be made better by knowing what motivates them.

Ask good, open-ended questions to understand:

  • What their priorities are (What is the pain in the butt problem that they are trying to solve? What's the most pressing issue for them?)
  • How do they self identify (what are they saying that tells you how they think of themselves?)
  • What do they feel they are going to be judged or evaluated on? (social/peer pressure drives a lot of incentives, even if they aren't rational)

Once you know who they are, how they think of themselves, and what's important to them, you can reframe how you make your request, so what you want aligns with what they want or who they are.

Questions buy you time (since they're talking), gives you info (what's important) and let you control the conversation.

OLD: "I think the most important part is our product launch schedule..."
NEW: "It sounds like onboarding is the most important element to you. Can you tell me more about that?"

Tip 3: Don't ask this question.

There are bad questions. Here are two:

Is there room for negotiation? Is there wiggle room?

Asking if there is wiggle room is asking them to say yes to something, without knowing what that something is. There's no reason for them to say yes unless they are desperate. Meanwhile, saying no shuts down the entire negotiation very comfortably.

Instead, complement the value they are providing and then be resolute but kind in what you can pay.

This is like an emotional payment, and then a simple statement of fact. You are making them feel good and then presenting the state of the world. You're not pleading with them for "wiggle room".

OLD:"Is there flexibility on price?"
NEW: "It sounds like something everyone should have. I'm can make it work for $XX."

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