The Best Way to Influence People
By Nikola Grubisa and Boris Vene
Nothing happens unless someone does something. But ... why should they if they don't need to?
If you don't know how to motivate yourself or others, you will achieve much less than you could.
Here is some good news: "real" motivation is not based on "must to do" energy or any pressure that causes bad feelings - and even suffer - but on expressing a person's true self - their great talents, creativity and love.
So how can you build that kind of environment? First, you have to know some background. Let's look at how people perceive and react to your instructions.
You can tell people what they should do. This method is weak and primarily works on the mind by acquainting people with something - either by confirming or denying a certain way of thinking.
Well, sometimes even a single word or sentence read is enough to unleash new ideas or experiences - but when that happens, then the person was already on the verge and just needed one final "push" to get there. But this is not usually what happens when we tell people what "we think" they should do.
The next thing; you can repeat your information - speak the same theme, repeatedly. There are three possible consequences:
- They build critical mass in this new direction;
- They become "numb" - whatever you say, they don't hear you, even if you shout at them;
- They turn inward/close up. If you share ideas or show things this person is not yet ready for, he comprehends them as "pushing." Even if this person is somewhat receptive to your information, every repetition will generate a new and greater resentment. By doing this, you are building a critical mass of unpleasant feelings toward whatever you are pushing the person to accept.
One of the biggest mistakes happens when you speak or demonstrate tasks to others, you "hope" (or are falsely "sure") they are ready for them and that they will accept what you offer and even incorporate these new activities into their work.
Unfortunately, this doesn't usually happen ... So what can you do?
Well, you can teach by example or through "role-modeling" (in a special environment and specific way). This is the only way that really works in real life. People do not generally "do as you say," they "do as you do."
It's also the only method where you can't be aggressive and the only method that doesn't compromise the person's integrity. Speaking "may be" welcome - if the person you speak to really wants to hear what you have to say - or unwelcome and forceful if the person isn't yet ready to open up to new information.
Teaching by example (role modeling) can be effective for many reasons:
- You show how something can be done and the right path to achieve it;
- You show that it's possible (replies to your "desire" for better sales is often: "Yeah, right. Why isn't someone else achieving this?") - by giving them an example of success in someone close to them, someone they can touch;
- You show how the environment is going to accept, and react to, what you are doing; many people are afraid of what others will say and whether they will still accept them if they take an uncomfortable risk by doing something new;
- You show they can get practical help from the person who sets the example, because they have already "gone through" all of the phases, faced the same or similar problems and successfully resolved them. Thus, the employees know they won't be left to themselves in a critical situation and will have someone beside them that can and will help them (this differs greatly from the help that comes from the management of the company that often just talks, nags and pressures - without giving any real or practical solutions).
- You show that they won't be held 100% responsible for their actions, because they are only going to "work the system" that was designed by others. Many people - as we said earlier - really don't want to be responsible for everything they do. Instead, they prefer to be shown how to do something and then they just follow the example. In this case, they want control, but not responsibility. (Problems occur when you want to both control them and put all the responsibility on their shoulders...)