If you want to influence a stakeholder who is resistant to your proposal, and you have already tried everything you can think of, try this…
- Clarify exactly what you want them to agree to (how you want them to do, think, feel or believe etc.)
- Select 5 to 10 people in your network whom you trust and who also know the stakeholder you are seeking to influence.
- Forward this email/post to them explaining what you are trying to achieve, and that you would value their help and guidance.
- Motivate them into helping you, perhaps with coffee, lunch or beer (tailor it to your relationship and culture).
- Ask them to think about their answers to the questions below, relevant to your stakeholder, ahead of your lunch date.
Naturally you will need to tailor your approach according to circumstances and budget! Some people might be more than happy to help you because you asked – most people love to share their wisdom and advice.
Here are the questions for your trusted advisors to think about before you meet…
- What in your experience works really well when influencing my stakeholder?
- What definitely doesn’t work?
- What three things are at the top of their “personal” agenda?
- What about their professional agenda, what challenges are they facing in their job right now?
- Why do you think I am struggling to influence my stakeholder?
- If you were in my shoes, what would you have done differently?
- What would you advise me to do now so that I can better influence this stakeholder?
- Can I return this favour and maybe help you with one of your influencing challenges?
When you do meet with them, make sure and keep an open mind, don’t judge the flow of ideas they are giving you, at least initially. We have to assume that whatever they have to contribute to your understanding is coming from an intelligent and experienced source so they clearly think it is something you need to hear – so listen carefully.
And finally, notice that you can use this idea in a wide variety of ways – for instance, how about using it as preparation for your next team meeting if you need to get them all sharing their insights about influencing a particular stakeholder, individual or group. With this process, they will arrive ready to talk and you’ll probably get a much more constructive and insightful discussion.
Please do let me know how it goes. I love to hear about the results you are getting from implementing the ideas on the Influence Blog – just email me.
Colin Gautrey is becoming the most sought-after expert in power and influence by ambitious and talented professionals who are serious about accelerating their careers and their results. But, Colin is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
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