To date, there have been many studies demonstrating the benefits of e-learning in a workplace environment, and it would be nice to think that when it comes time to convince your board or boss to implement e-learning at your company, your task would therefore be simple. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. After all, board members, bosses and managers didn't get to where they are by saying “yes” to every idea that comes their way. If you believe e-learning would make sense for your workplace but you just need a little extra help convincing others, Inc. magazine offers these three tips that just could win you the approval you need:
- Aim for two or (ideally) three “yes” responses. Sometimes, setting the mood is all it takes to help you get your point across. If you anticipate some resistance, help set a positive tone by first asking three simple questions related to your goal rather than jumping right in to your primary discussion. For instance, you might ask questions like, “Are you still looking for ways to reduce accidents (or improve productivity or morale, or any of the other tasks an e-learning program could help you accomplish)?” You might follow with something along the lines of, “I think I have an idea that could help you do that and also save money. Do you have a few minutes to discuss it?” Approaching the issue of e-learning in a way that establishes it as a helpful solution right from the start can help reduce any initial objections or resistance so your idea has a better chance of being warmly accepted.
- Pause for effect: Today, most conversations are fast-paced and hurried, which makes it easy for another person to say “no” without really taking the time to think about what they're saying “no” to. Instead of rushing through you presentation or argument, make time for pauses at critical points, including just after you state your proposal and again after you hear the response. In the first instance, your pause creates just enough drama and anticipation to help the other person to focus on what you're saying. In the second instance, pausing after you hear a response shows you're taking time to really appreciate and evaluate what the other person is saying. If you plunge right away into a rebuttal, you give the impression that you don't value the other person's opinion and response.
- Acknowledge the other person's input: Sure, it's nice to have the glory that comes from having a great idea or solution. But if you really want to win approval for an idea you feel is important, it can be a lot more effective to acknowledge the other person's ideas and influence, and even to make it look like your idea is simply an extension of an idea the other person already had. Remember: The person you're trying to convince gets just as much pleasure from coming up with a winning solution as you do, so use that to your advantage.
Not everyone is a natural-born persuader, but with a little practice, you can use these techniques to your advantage, gently persuading your manager, boss, supervisor or board members that your idea is well worth considering – and ultimately, approving.