Your route to the top: How to get your way

Keep your enemies close. Let the other person speak first. You'll gain invaluable insights into their true concerns and they'll be more likely to listen when it's your turn.

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Delve deep. Ask questions to find out what's driving them. Whether they want to be inspired or to be given irrefutable facts, you can adapt your approach once you know their motivations.

Engage them. Be clear about what's in it for them: 'This project will involve working closely with a number of different people. I believe this will appeal to your social side.' People make decisions for their own reasons, not yours.

Choose your words carefully. Use phrases like: 'let's... ' or 'shall we try... ?' If you're pushy, they'll be less likely to comply.

Flattery will get you everywhere. To get a colleague to adopt the next proposal, explain what was good about the last one and why: 'The industry examples work really well and I like the humorous tone.' If they feel favourably towards you, they'll be more open to persuasion. Just don't overdo it.

Guide them. People are most likely to agree to something if they feel they've come to the conclusion themselves. In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the protagonist's mother uses gentle questioning to get her way. It's so effective that the daughter leaves to follow her dreams, and her father thinks it was his idea.

Make your case. State all the facts, and be clear about the pros and cons. Offer solutions that will resolve their concerns and open a debate to incorporate their views. Focus on areas where it's easier to adapt without damaging the integrity of what you're trying to achieve.

Be prepared to compromise. Is your way really the best way? Present your proposal as a first draft to work on together. A collaborative solution is more likely to lead to a positive outcome for everyone.

- 'The Mind Gym: Give me time' is published by Time Warner Books (£12.99). Contact the firm at www.themindgym.com.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Ranked: Britain's best-run companies

These are the businesses rated top by their peers for their quality of management.

Unconscious bias in action

Would you dislike someone just because they’re from the Forest of Dean?

I ran Iceland's central bank in 2009. Here's what I learned about crisis ...

And you thought your turnaround was tricky.

"It's easy to write a cheque you don't have to cash for 30 ...

But BP's new CEO has staked his legacy on going green.

AI opens up an ethical minefield for businesses

There will inevitably be unintended consequences from blindly adopting new technology.

The strange curse of No 11 Downing Street

As Sajid Javid has just discovered, “chancellors come and go… the Treasury endures forever”.