Professional Persuasion

All About E

More often than not, we seek to appeal to logic over emotion in business.  If we focus on facts our decisions will be clear and concise.   If we look at the numbers, we can gain clarity of thought and be effective and have a great impact.   If this position held true, I think a lot of companies would behave differently.   I believe that companies try to use compelling logic and ignore the emotions that get wrapped into decision making.   The effort of trying to use logic as opposed to actually using logic are two different things.  How many decisions can you think of that you know either you or someone else made because of an emotional position over a logical one?

The emotional position is informed by their feelings.  The feelings are of course not fact but the feelings may inhibit the ability to even allow facts to the table.   Facts are our friends that can never come over because our emotional elephants are blocking the door.   If we are looking to be effective and truly beneficial to our organization, we must understand the emotions in play and find ways to get logic to the table.

Once I went to a meeting with facts in hand.  I sat at the end of the table and listened quietly while the conversation was playing out.  I had a feeling inside like I just wanted to burst out and yell “look at this….!!!!!!!”  While holding up a report and waving it around.   I kept quiet until the end of the meeting.  When the leadership asked if anyone had anything to say, I pushed the report forward and said “I think you will find in this report that we should reconsider our thinking on this matter.” She looked over and gave me a nod.  Everyone got up from the table and no one took the report.

Fact is …

There are many factors in consideration of why someone won’t even listen to facts.   I have seen plenty of senior leaders put out clear guidance only to be ignored by junior staff.   There is a difference between persuasion and manipulation.  Some folks will use tools to manipulate a situation instead of persuasion.   The thought is that it is easier to control someone or something through deceptive tactics.  This may work in the short run but not in the long term.

The Truth

“Moreover, nobility and dignity, self-abasement and servility, prudence and understanding, insolence and vulgarity, are reflected in the face and in the attitudes of the body whether still or in motion.” -Socrates

If we are true to ourselves and our beliefs we can easily deceive ourselves.  It could be that we want something so badly that we believe it to be true and represent it as such.  Regardless of how we believe or represent something there is the case for why and how we can be persuaded to do or accept something.

Rising Above

Outside of the (WHAT) of persuasion, I have a strong belief and conviction in a balanced and honest approach.  To be truly effective we must always do the right things.   It is our integrity, honor and our understanding that we may in fact be wrong even as we try to persuade.    It is our responsibility to be a “Professional” this behavior will essentially lend itself to our credibility.  I learned years ago as I watched that report sit on the table that being right only meant that later I could say “I told you so” which didn’t prevent the problem from happening, it only served to exacerbate the problem.   I understand today that if a decision is being made from an emotional place and logic can’t be introduced directly, there are indirect methods that can be effective.    Additionally, we have to ask ourselves, if this is worth it and/or will this simply fail fast.

Some indirect methods are:

  1. Phone a friend – Ask others for help, state your position and the facts and see what they say.
  2. Phone someone who isn’t a friend – Ask someone who may have an opposing view or someone who has no stake in the decision.
  3. Make a case – Create a clear and simple 1- pager
  4. Take a chance and elevate the concern- Depending on how important this is to you and the organization, schedule a meeting with all parties concerned and their leadership.  (This may mean your bosses boss.)

In the end your ability to execute is always dependent on your credibility, your integrity and your results.   Persuasion is a tool that can be used for good.  Understanding the power of persuasion coupled with good ethics, morals and values,  you can do many great things!

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