How to Gain People’s Cooperation

When you want people to do something they’re not already doing — whether at home, school, or work — it’s not good enough simply to tell them. You have to show them what you want them to do, why they would want to do it, and how they can do it.

The dynamic is the same whether you’re talking to people one on one or making a presentation to any size group.

You need to answer these five questions:

1. What do you want them to do?

What action or series of actions do you want them to take? What will it look like? How will they know they’re doing it successfully? Don’t make people guess. They can’t read your mind, and they can’t know what you’re thinking unless you tell them. Be clear, concrete, and specific.

2. What’s in it for them?

Don’t simply tell people why YOU want them to do something. Show them why they would want to do it. How will doing what you want them to do help them solve a problem, achieve a goal, or satisfy a need? Will they save time or money? Will they become more successful? Will they earn a bonus or a promotion? Will they gain recognition?

3. What will happen as a result?

Show them the consequences of their new behavior. How will their actions affect others in a positive way? Or, conversely, how will their inaction negatively affect others? Let people know that their actions make a difference.

4. How do they do it?

Presume that people want to do what is right. But realize that they often don’t know how to do it. Show them exactly what to do step by step. Gear your explanation to their existing level of knowledge and skill. Then, if possible, watch as they do it to make sure they understand and are able to do it.

5. What resources are available?

If they need additional help, where can they go? Is training or coaching available? Are there handouts or web sites they can refer to? Who can they talk to? Very few people learn something new the first time – especially if it’s complex or radically different from what they’ve always done. Let them try it on their own. And give them the ongoing support they need to learn how to do it successfully.

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The Witt Communications Newsletter contains advice for improving your ability to present yourself and your ideas in a way that wins people’s cooperation. It comes out once a month. Subscribe here.

Also see How to Connect with your Audience.

For information about how Chris Witt can help you become a more powerful speaker, contact us.

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