How to influence people
Do you have a great idea and want to get people on board? How do you convince them? How can you get them to join you on your journey? I learned a great lesson about how to influence people and here is my experience.
I had many great ideas but I needed people to execute those ideas as I couldn’t do it by myself. I explained what I had in my mind to these people I trust. It seemed they like the idea. But all this time, I failed to get them on board.
I didn’t understand why, until recently I had a long conversation with some of my friends. Then I realized where the fault was.
It’s a must-have ability.
Influencing people is a crucial skill we need to have in the entrepreneurship journey.
It can be selling your product or service, working with a team, getting people on board, getting someone to believe in your idea or vision, you need to have the ability to influence people.
Otherwise, it’s going to be extremely difficult to grow and most probably it will end up being a lonely journey.
How I did it before
In the earliest days, I didn’t consider much about influencing. When I have an idea, I just explained what I had in mind. Obviously that didn’t work out.
- Listening to your explanations are boring…
- People always think about why you are going to fail or why that idea wouldn’t work.
After learning how entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to investors and how designers pitch their concepts to clients, I started to rethink how I should present my ideas to get people on board.
Well, that didn’t work out either.
Interestingly, many people liked those ideas, but they didn’t want to commit.
I thought it’s their fault. I honestly thought they are just shallow minded and didn’t want to do greater things in life.
Here is the problem.
The discussion I had with my friends helped me realize that each and every person is going through their own journey and cannot hop into all the trains they come across.
People already have plans for their life. They have goals, things they are passionate about, and most importantly a destination they want to reach one day. Your train may or may not take them to the destination they want to reach.
It doesn’t matter how great you pitch your idea. People are not going to change their travel plans just because you have a cool idea to make an impact in the world.
Then how to influence people?
Rather than trying to convince people why they should hop into your train, try to understand what position they are in their journey and where they wish to be. Then find out if your train can take them where they want.
It’s easier said than done. You simply cannot get on board every person you meet. But out of hundred people, you will find a few who are going to the same direction as you do.
The wrong way to do it.
Most of the time, we assume what people need rather than asking them. You might assume what their problems are and come up with a solution based on your assumptions.
A good example would be how some entrepreneurs create a product without doing proper research on customers, assume what their customers’ problems are, and try to convince people to buy their solution.
The danger is, what the customer is actually going through is most probably different from how you think it is.
Likewise, you can’t influence people by assuming what they need. What if they don’t need what you offer?
The right way.
Always ask questions. Get answers from them instead of assuming. Try to understand what they are going through, what their plans/goals are and what drives them.
Rather than trying to tell them, try to get the answer from them. Ask how your train can help them reach their destination.
If your train can help them reach their dream destination, if the journey benefits both parties, no need to convince them anything.
The trick is, you are not telling them why they should get on board. Let them think and make them come up with a reason WHY they need to get on board.
This is what I learned from the mistakes I did.
About the author
My name is Mayantha Shaveen. I’m working on growing my self & helping other passionate, ambitious people to grow.