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.

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

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