Greg Nathan's Franchise Relations Tip #16

How to influence others without talking

Chances are at some point you have had the urge to tell someone what they should do . Maybe you are a field manager wanting a franchisee to take action on something that will improve the performance of their business.

Although our first reaction is often to rush in and give advice, this can be the wrong approach, as our advice can often come across as a put-down.

Of course the other person may want your advice.  But even then, I would first consider whether you really need to give it. How committed will they be to taking the actions that you or anyone else have recommended?  And should things not work out, who will be blamed

I say this not because you want to duck responsibility.  It's just that people are more likely to take action based on their own solutions.

The coach's secret weapon

With this in mind, an effective approach to help others sort out difficulties and set goals is to use “active listening”.  It's a powerful tool used by coaches and psychologists and it works.
To practice this you need to listen carefully to what the other person is saying, without interrupting, reacting or giving advice.  It helps to show genuine curiosity and to maintain the belief that they have the ability to work out what they need to do.

This may sound easy but active listening requires concentration, empathy and self-control.  It means censoring our natural tendency to make comments, pass judgment and yes, give advice./p>

In normal conversation we don't usually make this extra effort to really understand what is going on for another person.  Instead, our advice, comments, even our reassurance although well intentioned, can prevent people from taking responsibility for making their own decisions.

Active listening is an effective tool for influencing others to make needed changes, especially when used with the right type

of questions.  I'll tell you more about these in later tips.

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