Just think you have just come up with the perfect solution to one of the company’s biggest problems and yet either people don’t listen to your ideas or they tell you that you lack the ability to build rapport with people and rub people up the wrong way.
Once of the main reasons for this is that as a creative and intuitive person you may think very differently from your counterparts in the organisation. So when you get all enthusiastic about the best idea you have ever had – they somehow just don’t get what you are saying or understand the benefits that just seem so obvious to you.
So how do you get other people to listen to you? Well firstly you need to understand about different psychological types. Writing in 1921, the psychologist Carl Jung identified 4 ways in which people preferred to communicate and view the world. These were Intuitors, if you tend to have lots of great ideas and are constantly trying to improve the way things work, chances are that this is your dominant style. The other types are Thinker, Feeler and Sensor.
The Thinker dominant style is characterised by organisation and logic and by the phrase ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. Thinkers don’t really understand why other people are not more like them since this seems like such an obvious way to be. The dominant Feeler style is characterised by how they feel about things and they tend to interpret people and events in terms of good or bad. They need to feel comfortable about people and situations that they come across. Lastly the dominant Sensor behaviour is characterised by action. The do not need long explanations of events, ideas or feelings and are able to make rapid and often highly accurate decisions based on their reading of the situation they are presented with.
So when the Intuitor has a great idea and tries to sell it to his colleagues, unless he or she is lucky to work in a creative environment surrounded by other Intuitors, they are going to adapt how they communicate to get the other three styles on board.
When talking to a Thinker they need to tell them all the background to the project, the cost, the benefits, how long it would take to implement the idea and the steps you would need to take to get it off the ground – be prepared to keep going, Thinkers like a lot of information. To influence a Feeler you will have to emphasise the human touch and the benefits to people, the best way to do this is to pull up a chair with them and gradually introduce your ideas over a coffee. Sensors on the other hand just need the business benefits, the cost and when you can do it. If you manage to sell your idea to them using this approach you should be ready to move on the project almost straightaway.
Understanding the different ways that people communicate and see the world will greatly enhance your chances of getting your ideas and innovations adopted. You also need to understand how to adapt your idea to the agenda of the person you want to influence in the organisational hierarchy and to be able to use an effective step by step model to influence people which will keep you on track and enable you to pace your efforts to the person and situation you want to have an impact on.
For further information about these techniques, the People Skills Revolution provides a step-by-step approach to developing sophisticated people skills.
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