When a client tells me how she’s struggling to get people to respond to her or to get into action in a way they said they would, I always ask her “So what’s in it for them?” and “What did you say would happen next?”
These two questions are subtle and magical if you want to grab people’s attention in their crowded inbox or amongst all the noise that’s going on generally.
Let me explain
- “So what’s in it for them?” – this is where you need to consider what the person wants AND what they want to avoid. Is there a payback or is there a price to pay if the response/action doesn’t happen?
- Then – use it. “Thanks for sending the response you said you would X by Friday – I know you’ll want to be included in the Board pack which will go out at 9am on Monday.” ie if you don’t, your contribution will be excluded. Not written of course but clearly implied. And you send it at 9am.
- “What did you say would happen next?” – most of the time it’s easy to assume people know what their piece of work or response will do. Don’t assume – it’s easy to lose this moment of influence by reminding them the importance (not to you) to the organisation/team/bottom line of their response.
- So – again, use it. “Knowing the deadline for X is Friday, I’ll make sure you get the report in good time for that CEO’s planning meeting you’re going to. Leave it with me once I’ve got your input.”
The point of just highlighting these moments of influence and power is this.
People are only filtering (us too ) how things will affect them. What’s in it for them. What’s the payoff or cost? What will it be useful for? etc etc.
Answer those questions in this subtly assertive way and notice what you notice as you’re being all magical and stuff…
No foot-stamping or huffing and puffing for you. Wasted energy and unlikely to be as effective as pointing out the next steps, their part in it. Or, the cost of being left out.
They might still ignore you but, if they do, you can’t say you didn’t show them the cost or benefit and you also – of course – followed it up in a helpful (and influential) little email ie in writing…<< another influencer.
So, off I go – I have a deadline of my own to meet for a group of clients (and I know the benefit of taking this action!)
In other news…
Well, 2 years ago this very weekend we held our annual Christmas Drop In Drinks Party. We had about 60 friends drop by (argh!! just thinking of that now, post Pandemic) and we had a Grazing Table made for us, full of nibbles. It was fab and feels another lifetime ago at the moment BUT in a while, let’s hope…
Our niece Grace and I enjoyed showing up and sparkling together!