April 10, 2012 Communication, HR, Management

Identify a Listeners Preference to Gain Support

Listen, Understand, Act

Listen, Understand, Act (Photo credit: highersights)

Managerial attentiveness is high on the list of stated employee wants and needs.
But how about when it’s time to gain support for your idea or program? Employees at all levels will give you their attention if you understand how to legitimately capture it.

Here are four ways to identify a listener’s preferences and plan and deliver your message so it can be heard.

1. The “Trend-Chaser”: Help Them Follow the Trend

These folks pay attention to what others are doing. Perhaps they need to feel like they “belong”; maybe it’s just a matter of not thinking too much. Who knows? It doesn’t make any difference. You need to provide social proof-testimonials-of what other people think about your ideas.
Use these phrases:

  • “The benchmarking companies have implemented . . .”
  • “The top experts in (name the appropriate field) have just written that. . .”
  • “Statistical trends now show that. . .”

2. The Analytical: Facts and Stats

Even though we know for a fact that people decide based on emotion, these people need to hear supporting evidence. And you’ll be questioned on it, so be prepared. They won’t go to a fast food outlet without seeing which one has the “best” value meal: $1.00, $.99, or $1.03. Why? One reason is that they want to be confident that they can give a “logical” answer should someone ask them. So, give them the confidence with facts and figures. Quantify everything.

3. I Love A Challenge!: Overcome Obstacles
Routine bores this group. When the sun rises, they’re ready to assault a mountaintop. When they hear that something can’t be done, it energizes them to prove otherwise. So, tell them:

  • The system doesn’t work
  • It’s too late to change (or too early)
  • They can’t afford to do what will really make a difference

Watch them leap into action when you present your ideas as barriers to be overpowered.

4. What’s the Payoff? Incentives & Rewards

Here’s the group that examines the benefits of your idea, both organizational and personal. They want to improve their situation every day. Show them “how to”.

  • How to increase profitability
  • How to reduce conflicts
  • How to be more effective at managing
  • How to leapfrog their career

These are the Four I see regularly. But there are many more.