CHAPTER 6 YOU Be someone they'll listen to

‘Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.‘ Aristotle

I was sitting in a café with my client Susan, a senior manager for a large organisation, while we did some planning together for an upcoming conference. Susan's phone rang. ‘Sorry,’ she said, glancing at the screen. She identified the caller, rolled her eyes and turned the phone facedown on the table. ‘No thank you,’ she said with a sigh, as if she was speaking to the rejected caller.

‘Bad news?’ I asked.

‘He's hard work — and he only started with our business a few months ago.’

How do you think this person (whoever the caller was) was going to achieve anything in the company if he couldn't get others to take his calls? The barriers were up before the work had even begun. It was going to be a long, hard struggle to get Susan to agree or cooperate with anything. Bad news if Susan is your boss!

People buy people first

Before anyone buys into your ideas, proposals or strategies, they decide whether to buy into you. This includes deciding whether they will even listen to you.

Here are some of the questions your target audience might ask themselves about you (at a conscious or unconscious level):

  • Do you know what you're talking about?
  • Can I trust you?
  • Are you just in this for yourself, or do you have my best interests at heart?
  • Do you have your act together?
  • Do I enjoy your company, or do you drain me?
  • Do you get how the world works?

These are the types ...

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