How to Persuade in Every Project Management Situation?
One of the key elements of an effective and successful project management is someone’s ability to master persuasion. It’s hard work since you don’t want to appear too pushy when you want certain members of the group to do what you asked them to do. Project management persuasion is different than your usual persuasion techniques that you see when someone sells a car or who leads a country for a change. The only distinction here is the objective—most of the time when you persuade in project management it’s because you wanted to reach project success or a change of process.
Persuasion techniques indeed vary; in the project management world, we can call it project management persuasion in this article. Within this spectrum, project management persuasion can be used when you are negotiating with your stakeholders or proposing a plan to your sponsors. Then there’s using it to your team members to whip them into action for a successful project.
But how do you do it? Which area should you start? What exactly are the common factors for an effective project management persuasion? Here are some practices to keep into account when persuading a group of people.
Project Management Persuasion #1: Target Your Audience
Just like a marketing team doing their target market, you also need to understand your audience and put yourself in their shoes. Determine their motivation; what drives them to act? What do they want? Once you have all the answers, use it to your advantage. Persuading while being emphatic to their needs will attract them to what you’re saying. People who can relate to the person speaking in front of them will likely cooperate than those who have a hard time seeing the big picture.
Project Management Persuasion #2: Patience
If empathy doesn’t work in your favor, you can always rely to sit in the corner and observe. Some people who have mastered the art of persuasion and tend to be as quiet as Sherlock Holmes—quiet, but are lost in their thoughts all the while straining their ears for ideas that they can use to persuade a certain group.
Project Management Persuasion #3: Know What to Sacrifice And What to Grab
You have to be willing to compromise in order to acquire a benefit in return. Project management persuasion is all about give and take for you and your listener’s part. This usually occurs between the manager and stakeholders when settling an agreement in regards to the current project. Even if you are successfully persuading the stakeholders, you still need to create a deal that can benefit them—even if it means sacrificing your own.
Project Management Persuasion #4: Avoid Being Too Wordy or Vague
Some people still end up with empty hands, even they tried to persuade to the best of their ability. So what’s the problem? This person might be too vague or too fond to pile up words and phrases that can make someone go to sleep. When it comes to sending messages, nothing beats brevity, clarity, and conciseness. You have to be direct and prompt when persuading someone. When you owe the people an explanation of why they need to do this or why they have to use that, the statement you release should not be information overload to your listeners.
Project Management Persuasion #5: Refrain From Being Pushy
Avoid pressuring your listeners to do something that you want—it will make them refuse to do it. They will simply draw back and this will be harder to persuade them to cooperate. Ever heard of customers that complain that some store personnel or sales people are notorious when it comes to persuasion? Don’t be like that. You cannot expect for the listeners to come flocking to you when you persuade them to do something. You can still push them in the right direction by being less annoying.
Project Management Persuasion #6: Ask for Help
Remember that there is strength in numbers. Ask one of your members to help you persuade your listeners—plus points if you have someone who has the gift of gab and knows what words to use when it comes to persuasion. Project management persuasion doesn’t have to be a one-man show; you can always rely on your trusted members to back you up.
Project Management Persuasion #7: Out With the Threats
No, slow down. Not death threats. Threats that you often hear when kids say, “If you don’t buy me an iPhone, you’ll be sorry.” Persuading a group of people is all about letting them have an overall understanding of the outcome if they will end up following and not following what you asked them to do. This will help them reconsider their thoughts and will most likely agree on what you are saying.
Persuading a group of people or individual, regardless of size or type isn’t a walk in the park. You need to understand that such things take time that you might think. You also need to trust and believe in your ability to deliver a message as well as you have to exude confidence to be able to persuade anyone successfully. Confidence is contagious and people can pick up if you are not confident enough. Show them you are willing to take the challenge until they are persuaded. Make them say yes.
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