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Where is your focus?

Have you ever had the experience that your well-crafted, persuasive message just didn't hit the mark and it wasn't received as well as you had expected? Why do you think this happened? Could it have had to do with your focus?

Let me explain what I mean with an example. I was recently approached by a person – let's call her Jan for privacy reasons – who was confused by the fact that her carefully crafted conversation piece had not worked in achieving her preferred outcome.

Jan had a role for a 'perfect candidate' who would fit easily into the 12-month secondment that she had available in her department. Armed with her convincing argument she approached the person. The candidate politely listened, considered their options and then politely declined.

Jan was confused as to why her candidate did not jump at the opportunity. Although Jan's intentions were good, she had focused mainly on her own motivators rather than the person she approached.

When I asked Jan to describe the traits of the person (as she saw them), she said things like:

  • A well-organised person with excellent administration skills
  • Has an eye for detail so is an asset when it comes to looking at quality assurance
  • Uses their time wisely and enjoys variety in their work
  • Works well as part of a team
  • Enjoys learning new technology and is a quick learner

What does this list of attributes tell you about this person?

Jan's approach was to emphasise that the role would be equivalent to that of a manager. A high level process overview was given but she didn't focus on how the person's organisation skills would be beneficial in the variety of work that this role would entail. In fact, she didn't consider any of the person's attributes.

If, instead, Jan had considered the person's characteristics, she would have been able to choose her words more carefully, addressing her candidate's motivators. Did she consider whether she was communicating with an introvert or an extrovert? Was she using language that appealed to a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic communicator?Consider your receiver's motivators

These are some of the questions Jan could have considered when preparing for her conversation. In doing so, she may have found that the response she received from her 'perfect candidate' to be of possibility rather than silence.

Jan was not happy with the outcome. She may have crafted a convincing argument however she did not consider her audience – the person she wanted to influence. Instead, she had focused on her own motivators.

Crafting your words is an important part of preparing for important conversations. If you do not also consider your receiver's motivators then your ability to influence them will be greatly hampered.

By considering their motivators you will be able to use language that will help to highlight the points that will ensure that they give serious consideration to your offer.

Where is your focus?



Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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