I was talking to a management consultant friend of mine yesterday and he enlightened me on strategies to use when wanting to persuade a person to do something they’re reluctant to do. As it turns out there are five major techniques to get your way: (1) use your authority (this only works if you outrank the other person), (2) negotiate, (3) appeal to the sense of common good, (4) bribe, and (5) threaten.
It’s amazing the amount of times we have used any or all of these strategies to get our way. I mean, think of the times you have either bribed or threaten a child to get them to do what you want; or the times you have passed down crappy assignments to your assistant so that you don’t have to deal with them (and you can do this just because you’re their superior); or back when you were a teenager and you tried to negotiate your curfew or allowance with your parents. We’ve all seem to have used these strategies throughout our lives, and probably are where we are and have what we have because of them.
The one that I really have a problem with is appealing to someone’s sense of goodness, and I think that it’s the most difficult one for most of us. Now why would that be, I ask. Is it because we don’t trust that others can be (and are) naturally good, and won’t be able to tap into this side of them? Or is it because we, ourselves, are a little deficient in this department? I know I’ve tried to appeal to people’s conscious before, but the more I think about it the more it’s resembles a trap to guilt them into doing what I want them to do, than to actually make them see the good of these actions for themselves and all involved. Could it be that what I wanted them do wasn’t that good to begin with? Could it be that my appeal to there conscious does not stem from my own goodness, but my ability to use these techniques and get what I want?
Ok, enough with the questions already, I’m starting to realize I might not be as good a person as I thought I was, I mean , as I think I am! See? I’m getting all confused here! I’ll stop now, I just wanted to share my friend’s knowledge… sigh.