Say Less, Influence More
Allison, a law graduate called me because she needed help to increase her persuasion in interviews. This was her last of 11 interviews that year and the pressure was on. She wasn’t sleeping, feeling anxious and emotional at times. This meant that during interviews she was naturally saying more and blurting it all out to get her points across in a panic. If she didn’t get a graduate role it could potentially be another year and she couldn’t bear the thought of going through a year of more interviews and drillings.
So she went to the final interview of the year. Her heart in her throat and pounding like a drum. Two hours later she was still there and hadn’t said more than a few sentences. It seemed the interviewer was quite the talker. Previously she would have been concerned that she didn’t get to say enough and try to interject but this time was different. She decided to listen and ask more questions. She realised that the reason he was talking was that he wanted to be heard.
The first thing the next morning the phone rang with the hiring manager offering her the job. They said they were so excited about her and she’s the perfect fit for the role. You can imagine her relief!
Some of the questions we are often concerned about when influencing and persuading others are:
- What do they want to hear?
- What are the buzz words?
- What will make them see what I have to offer?
- What will make them say yes?
- What can I say that will inspire and motivate my team to do what I want them to do?
It can be easy to go into overdrive and anxiety due to wanting to control the situation. For some this means saying lots of the right things, but in many cases it can actually mean saying less.
Jess Pryce-Jones found in her research in her book “Maximising Your Psychological Capital” that the #1 contributor to staff engagement in her book is being heard.
As Robert Browning said in his 1855 poem “Andrea Del Sarto (Called the Faultless Painter) “Less is more.” To increase your influence there are three things that can create a shift for you. Listening, Insights and Questions.
Listening– say less. Be present to what is being said. Block out every other distraction and be curious to help both them and you get clear. Listen to your own intuition. What are you hearing that’s not being said?
Insights– these come from your experience, research and connecting with where the person is at. If you’re talking about the solution and they’re still talking about what challenges they’re facing you’re going too fast. Slow down, reflect on what they’re saying and not saying. Just because you’re the expert doesn’t mean you do all the talking.
Questions– Ensure your questions match where they are and are and based on what you’re hearing rather than what you want them to do. Only take them forward when they’re ready to go there, not when you’re ready. Only when you connect can you progress. A real expert asks the right question at the right time.
So don’t compete. The goal is not to sell yourself or push your agenda. The goal is to connect. Once you can connect the possibilities are endless.
Love to know your thoughts…..
Jane Anderson works with Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Thought Leaders, Experts and CEO’s to leverage the expertise of their talent through LinkedIn.
She is the author of 4 books including “EXPERT to INFLUENCER: 12 Key Skills to Attract New Clients, Increase Sales and Leverage your Personal Brand to Become an Industry Leader.”
To inquire about Jane speaking at your next event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.