April 16, 2012
Liz published this at 7:23 am
IRRESISTIBLE BUSINESS: Influencing Decisions
Be Prepared to Influence the Results
The CEO was a great thinker. He made his decisions on the facts. As I watched him in meetings as people presented ideas with their best efforts to win him over, I learned a lot about what influences the decision making process.
One of the most important things I learned was what I should know to hedge my bets.
Influence is built on trustworthiness and connection.
To achieve those and meet our goals, it’s important to finely focus on the roads that will take us to our goal and the ways of inviting people to join us that move their mission forward as well.
4 Things to Know to Move Forward Before the Abyss of Next Steps
Whether we work for a huge corporation or sit at a desk in our living room, we can’t be successful without tapping into the influence of others who can help us make our ideas and our projects become real. Yet, we all also know the experience of leaving a meeting or ending a phone only to find that the decision we wanted fell off the table into an abyss called “Next Steps.”
Knowing a few things before we go into those meetings can influence the results significantly by building foundational trust in our competence and connecting our goals to how those we want to help will benefit.
1. Know your short term purpose. Who are you and what are you building? Too often, we enter a meeting, write a blog post or email, or walk into a meeting without a specific and thoughtful goal in mind. Why are you there? Are you trying to rally support for a new idea? Do you want to change a plan in progress? Are you exploring ways to work together? Are you after funding to research the idea? Will you share something new you’ve discovered? What do you want to be true when the conversation ends?
2. Know how this project will make the answer you want clear. Know how you’re going to make the project happen. Ask yourself before you meet, “What would be next if the answer is yes.?” Sketch out a plan of action and reasonable estimates for the costs and the resources needed to execute that plan. Do the thinking so that they don’t have to. Present a simple plan that can stand on its own.
3. Know how your plan will bring relevant and positive results faster and easier. Establish context that makes your goal relevant to the audience you want to enlist. Why are you pursuing this goal and why would the audience want to align their goals with yours? Are you informing a large audience or a small one? How deeply do they need to know the details? ?How will you connect what you want to happen to what already is? How will the proposed project fit into what they’re already doing? How can you make your proposal mission critical to THEIR goals?
4. Know how your experience will add value and mitigate risk. How will you establish your knowledge base as an expert? If possible, tie the proposed idea or project to something you’ve succeed at in the past. If you can’t, know what you’d expect based on your experience and be able to explain why you’re confident that together you can make this innovative approach a success. Research similar ventures. Be prepared to speak to one or two you know well.
Ideas are fun, but they’re not the genius that builds an economy. For no matter how ideas — genius or not — that get set on the “business table,” it’s the ones founded on solid thinking, realistic plans, and influential support from the right sources that develop into the next awesome technology or killer app we own.
If we do the strategic thinking and develop credible plans before we propose the idea, attracting the influential support of the right people is faster, easier, and more meaningful. In fact it could be said to be irresistible.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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