How to be a leader of influence in your business meetings;6 Ways to Show How Smart You Are in Meetings

How-to-be-a-leader-of-influence-in-your-business-meetingsAl Pittampalli, author of “Read this Before Our Next Meeting” and proponent of what he calls ‘the modern meeting’, has a pretty great webinar series. 


It’s called the 12-Min Webinar.


Each week he talks about a topic related to buisness meetings for 12 minutes – exactly – and then takes some questions. I highly recommend them.   It’s a great way for busy people to fill their meeting skills toolbox.


This week he gave 5 tips for being persuasive. These tactics are meant to help you become a long-term leader of influence in your organization. These are not common tips geared towards sales people, focused on short-term goals like closing a deal.


Some even fly in the face of common persuasion tips.


Like tip number one…


“Appeal to logic rather than emotion.”


This prompted one participant to type something like, “Are you seriously telling me not to use emotion to persuade?!” in the Q&A pod.


Yes and no.  According to Pittampalli, long-term persuasive success requires that you first focus on the logic behind your idea. 


Get the data, clear it with other stakeholders and present your idea as a solidly vetted case. 


He does recommend wrapping the logical case in emotion to be even more persuasive.  


But don’t start with emotion. Pittampalli says, “Just because something works, doesn’t mean you should do it.”   After a while, you’ll get a certain reputation as an emotional persuader.  Your ideas sound good, but rarely have any data backing them up.  


Emotion is great short-term.  Add logic and you’ll be pervasive long-term.


Sounds pretty good to me.


Tip 2 is “Focus on calibration, not always on confidence”.   

It’s great to have confidence in your ideas. It does make you more persuasive. But again, “Just because it works, doesn’t mean you should do it.” 


You might end up like the boy who cried wolf. He was pretty confident as he screamed about a wolf coming down the hill to chew on his bones.   He convinced everyone.


They dropped what they were doing and ran out to save him.   But his confident cries yielded zero good results for those he persuaded– no pats on the back for a heroic save, no wolf pelt for their cold children; just a few broken dishes and a sprained ankle (from the running).  After that, no one listened to his confident cries, even when they were real.


Pittampalli suggests that you calibrate your confidence.   If you feel pretty good about an idea, but don’t have the data to back it up, share your reservations.  Then when you do show massive confidence in an idea, people will take note. You won’t have jaded them to your own confidence.  


 Tip #3 is really interesting.  “Let Them Save Face.”


Persuasion has remarkable effects on social status. When you persuade someone your status is increased, while theirs is decreased.   To be an effective long-term influencer, you want to let them save face so that they will be more willing to let you persuade them in the future.


If you think you almost have someone convinced, but maybe they are holding back because they don’t want to be wrong, say something like, “I can see you have some reservations with this idea. Maybe we can meet one on one so we can come up with a plan together.” 


Short of taking the meeting offline, Pittampalli suggests you take a certain appeasing tone with someone you’ve just persuaded. I.E. Don’t rub it in their face.


Tip #4 – “Use Indirect Methods”


It’s nice to get credit for your ideas but in some situations, it’s better to let them think it was their idea – especially if you’re thinking long-term.  Send them an article or a book.  Let them read it and come to the same conclusion as you.       


You might not get the credit, but you get what you want.


Tip #5 – “Be Persuadable”


Pittampalli suggests you find opportunities to be persuaded publicly.  Let others know that you are flexible and open to good ideas.   It helps to create a culture of flexibility or adaptability.


This is a strategy for your long-term influence so you don’t have to win every battle, just the ones that matter.


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For more of Al Pittampalli’s 12-Min Webinars check out his Modern Meetings Blog.


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