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Your own worst enemy: How we make influencing others harder on ourselves

Ever notice that the harder you try to influence someone, the more closed minded they seem to become?  Realized that as you make better and better arguments, the less willing to listen some people get?  Me too.  And it drives me bananas.

While it may be true that the (insult of choice) sitting across from us is being pig headed, there’s often another reason why they’re shutting us down: We’re more stubborn than we think we are.

Our barrage of persuasive facts and compelling evidence often only serves to show people how certain we are of ourselves, not how great our proposal or idea is.

It’s easier to influence others when you show them you’re open to influence as well.  Talk less, listen more, and ask questions you don’t already know the answers to.

About the author: Hi I’m Dan Green, blogger, entrepreneur, documentary film producer and negotiation specialist. I’ve helped executives negotiate deals worth up to 400 million USD. But before you read on…

6 comments… add one

  • Agreed. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

  • I really like this short, to the point post. I have learnt through my PR and Communications degree, that showing you are an active listener will land you further, faster. However, I am starting a new blog on conflict and negotiation on small scale in the work place, and bigger conflict issues worldwide. Does our influence and persuasion technique change when more is at stake? Do we become more nervous and talk faster and more often to come away with what we want? I am really interested to see what you guys think. Sophie http://thepowerbattle.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks for the comment Sophie! In my experience, like many things, it depends. Lots on the line can cause people to prepare thoroughly and ask better questions, be more creative etc. Or, it can (ironically) cause them to avoid the conversation, be more emotional, listen less, argue more, take stronger positions, be less creative etc. Good luck with the new blog. I’ll check it out shortly :-)

  • I agree Daniel, a lot depends on the individual situation and no one rule applies to all. My new post talks about bringing negotiator skills into your home life. I would love your insight as a top negotiator yourself. Can you detach yourself from that role when not in the office? Sophie http://thepowerbattle.wordpress.com/

  • Is highly frustrating when you try to convince somebody that your strategy is the way to go and they just don’t want to understand; and as you say, more you try to talk them through, more they will reject your idea. FRUSTRATING.

    I think is because they feel that you want to push your point through and have your idea validated by them without being interested in what eventually they have to say of what their perspective is. Probably a collaborative approach will be more suitable.

    I recently wrote a post about this. Have a loof if you are interested:

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