How often do you need to be persuasive and get someone to see things your way? A boss, a co-worker, a customer, your husband/wife? What techniques do you use to get them to understand your point of view? Do you get frustrated by others not being on your side?
Today I want to cover the concept of “enrollment” which I was reading about in Benjamin Zander’s book, The Art of Possibility. Enrollment is a powerful way to get people engaged with your idea and excited about the opportunity. If you haven’t seen Zander in Action, make sure you check out his Ted Talk on Classical Music.
Enrolling is not about forcing, cajoling, tricking, bargaining, pressuring, or guilt-tripping someone into doing something your way. Being persuasive is not manipulation. As Zander says,
“Enrolling is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share.”
Did you know that in the Middle ages, because it was tough to light a fire from scratch, most people carried around a small metal box that had smoldering cinder inside? They kept it lit all day with small bits of kindling and it was there just in case they needed to make fire with ease. The original Zippo, I guess.
That is what we are talking about today. Our infinite capacity to be the spark and light the flames of possibility in others. Where passion, rather than fear, is the igniting force.
Think about a recent conversation where someone didn’t really see it your way. Perhaps they even said “no” to you. Those “nos” are the water that can put out our spark. We then feel like there is an impenetrable barrier to the discussion and we are left with limited choices: to attack, to manipulate our way around it, or to bow in defeat. Is that how a “no” feels?
When we adopt the mindset of enrollment, our job is to look at the “no” instead as “I don’t see the possibility here, so I think I will just stick with my usual way of doing things.”
“The practice of enrollment is about giving yourself as a possibility to others and being ready, in turn, to catch their spark. It is about playing together as partners in a field of light.”
So how do you practice enrollment and be more persuasive?
1) Imagine that people are ready for enrollment
I think a lot of times we don’t give others credit that they want to agree and come along for the journey. Everyone wants to be part of something and get excited! To be more persuasive, you should start setting your intentions that there are an unlimited number of people every day that are open to new ideas, if only someone could show them the way.
If you are in sales, or trying to promote your business, your job is really to imagine the possibility of an amazing conversation with your customers. One that, if done correctly, will get everyone inspired. Rather than thinking about features and benefits, rework your presentation into the concept of enrollment and that your job will be to inspire the customers you meet. And that they are ready for you to do it.
Stop going into your meetings with a “yes or no” mindset and re-imagine it as one where you have to create a possibility.
2) Stand ready to participate, willing to be moved and inspired
In order for this concept to work, you need to be 100% sold out to the idea and connect. How will YOU approach the scenario and be just as equally excited about possibilities with the other person? Fix in your mind an image of the two of you talking and getting more and more amped up about where these ideas will take you! How would that feel different that what you have currently been doing?
So you have to set your intentions that you have to get totally fired up to engage fully, being open to a free-flowing, inspiring dialogue. Be totally curious about what the other person gets excited about!
3) Offer that which lights you up
To be more persuasive, it is not enough to just create excitement, but you need to also share a piece of yourself with the other person. In order to build a genuine relationship and create an atmosphere of trust, you should share your own feelings about the things you’re most passionate about. For people to follow an idea, they need to first follow a person. The more you can emotionally connect yourself to the idea, the more they can easily see it from an emotional place and become inspired to take action.
How will you put yourself out there in a way that people see the spark in you?
4) Have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark
The key words here are “no doubt.” You must know in your mind, in your heart, that everyone around you truly wants to believe in something. That every day, people are just waiting to be inspired by an idea. By a dream. We all want that. To be more persuasive in everything you do, make it your responsibility to be the one who is the spark. Don’t go into conversations half-assed, but instead be actively looking for the spark in others.
As I talked about yesterday, tap into your system two and be looking for the cues that you are getting others excited.
Imagine what each day would be like if more and more of your conversations, sales calls, or emails were full of possibility? How do you think people around you would respond? What kind of an impact would that make on your own energy?