Convince me – persuasion techniques that get things done


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From noted IT expert and author, Kevin Kline - Ever wanted to convince the boss try something new, but didn't know where to start? Ever tried to lead your peers only to fail to achieve your goals? This session teaches you the eight techniques of influencing IT professionals, so that you can innovate and achieve change in your organization.

1. Learn about the fundamental difference between influence and authority and how you can achieve a high degree of influence without explicit authority.
2. Learn the eight techniques of influencing IT professionals, when to apply them, and how to best use them.
3. Discover the communication and procedural techniques that ensure your ideas get a hearing by bosses and peers, and how to best win support for them.

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Convince me – persuasion techniques that get things done

  1. 1. CONVINCE ME! Persuasion Techniques That Get Things Done For the IT Professional Kevin Kline Director of Engineering Services at SQL Sentry Microsoft MVP since 2003 Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter at KEKLINE,
  2. 2. FOR FRIENDS OF SQL SENTRY • Free Plan Explorer download: • Free query tuning consultations: • Two Free ebooks (regularly $10) to attendees. Send request to • SQL Server educational videos, scripts, and slides: http://SQLSentry.TV • Tuning blog: • Monthly eNews tips and tricks: asp
  3. 3. AGENDA • Dispelling Some Myths • Introverts and Extroverts • Natural-born Leaders • Influence that carries weight • Three appeals that persuade • Logical: the Head • Emotional: the Heart • Cooperative: the Hands • Summary
  4. 4. DISPELLING SOME MYTHS • How much do personality types effect influence and persuasion? • How much does innate abilities effect influence and persuasion? • In both cases, influence and persuasion are BEHAVIORS, not TRAITS. 4
  5. 5. BUILDING INFLUENCE Credible: Technology competence Communicator: Informative Listener: Open and honest Professional Team Builder: Edify your team 5 Political Capital
  6. 6. TECHNICAL COMPETENCE • Know the answers for relevant tech questions. Or know where to find the answers. • Have an opinion! Even if the opinion is “No opinion”. • Base opinions on shared values. • Present relevant information when appropriate. • Cite sources for backup. • Work harder than your peers. • Put in a full measure. • Stay focused. • Self-awareness, especially for strengths vs weaknesses. • Care.
  7. 7. COMMUNICATOR • Know the value of B.L.U.F. • Strive for brevity, then ask “Want more details?”. • Know your audience. • Use relatable examples or analogies. • Keep ego out. • Remember, you’re communicating even when you say nothing. • Differentiate fact vs. value statements. • Stay focused.
  8. 8. LISTENER o Be respectful. Be “fully present”. o Good questioning skills involve: • Getting the specifics • Seek fact vs. value. Use open vs. closed questions. • Observing reaction o Good listening skills involve: • Acknowledging statements • Summarizing • Empathizing o Ninja secret: Understand the power of silence!
  9. 9. TEAM BUILDER • Tout team successes, not individual successes. • Preparedness for “Leadership Moments”. • Emergencies – a “clutch” player • Periods of upheaval or dramatic change • An informed, but dispassionate and flexible opinion. • Knowing the options and their pros / cons • Open to other ideas / opinions • Knowing what the organization is trying to achieve • Leads to becoming the Go-To-Guy/Gal
  10. 10. PROFESSIONALISM • Lots of words: o engaged, competent, credible, accountable, honest, integrity, goal-oriented, autonomous, et al. • Care and respect: o Treating everyone as you’d like to be treated • Facilitate consensus and good decisions. • Mitigate conflict and confrontation. • Consistency and Constancy. • Personal presentation and Image: o Speech and dress • Don’t be “THAT GUY”. o Teach … with a positive attitude.
  11. 11. PASSIVE INFLUENCE BECOMES POLITICAL CAPITAL • Build political capital, so that you’re more likely to sway decisions when you make requests or express opinions. • Aim for basic competency in: • Technical credibility • Communication skills • Listening skills • Team building • Professionalism • Train to overcome your weaknesses or get an ally. • One weakness generally isn’t an obstacle. • Two or more weakness can be a big obstacle. 11
  12. 12. DIRECT INFLUENCE, ALSO KNOWN AS PERSUASION • Leadership is … • … action. • So is persuasion. • Swaying opinion through “appeals”: • Logical, a.k.a. “The Head” • Emotional, a.k.a. “The Heart” • Cooperative, a.k.a. “The Hands”
  13. 13. COMMON METHODS OF ACTIVE INFLUENCE Direct Influence: • Rational Appeal • Intimidation • Inspirational Appeal • Flattery • Alliances • Appealing up • Call in a debt / favor • Consultation Influence is like … physics … and banking…
  14. 14. LOGICAL, HEAD APPEALS • Rational Appeal versus Intimidation • When and How? o When your audience is rational o Build a case of rational facts o Make a careful SWOT analysis o Use a proposal or “suggestion” format (WIFM) o Make a pitch and then explicitly follow-up • Common mistakes include: o Too much detail/data without setting the big picture or major goal o Misunderstanding the interest of the audience o Failing to bounce the idea off of others ahead of time o Failure to align with the goals/needs of the audience
  15. 15. EMOTIONAL, HEART APPEALS • Inspirational Appeal versus Flattery • When and How? o When your audience is motivated by values o Appeals to our “better selves” o Requires strong, in-person delivery o Make a pitch and then explicitly follow-up • Common mistakes include: o Insincerity or hypocrisy o Double-standards o Failure to follow-up and follow-thru
  16. 16. COOPERATIVE, HAND APPEALS • Alliance | Consultation | Call in a debt / Favor o When and how? • When your audience is similarly inclined • Use WIFM or “Doing well by doing good” • Recognize the transactional nature • Appealing up o When and how? • Only in the face of serious obstacles or ethical breaches • Recognize the potential for “paybacks” • Common mistakes include: o Overuse o Failing to reciprocate o Only recognizing the transactional nature of the social bond
  17. 17. CASE STUDY FOR A PERSUASIVE ARGUMENT Communicating Upward 0. Credibility 1. Align with the Biz 2. Build the proposal 3. Get Explicit Buy-In 4. Follow-up Explicitly
  18. 18. ALIGN WITH THE BUSINESS • Demonstrate that you understand the business and what the business needs • What do the managers need to be considered successful? • Consider when asking for something, … o How will it further the goals of the organization? o How will it further the goals of other teams or potential allies? o What are the immediate questions that arise from the proposal? Anticipate them and have answers prepared. Communicating Upward
  19. 19. BUILD THE PROPOSAL • Have several formats: o Super-short, 2-minute “elevator pitch” o Executive Summary, for “IT-ish” people o Full proposal, with details for IT people • Describe the situation and its opportunities or consequences: o A challenge or problem that needs help o An idea that needs support, approval or input • What’s the risk? Or, what’s the ROI? o SWOT or another form of analysis? Communicating Upward
  20. 20. GET A COMMITMENT • One of the most common mistakes is not making an explicit call to action. With that in mind … • Depending on manager’s style: o “May I make a suggestion…?” o Ask for manager’s ideas & suggestions, offer yours o Propose solution, its benefits, then probe for reaction • Trial run – make it easy to say ‘yes’. • Come to agreement on solution and action plan. • Send summary email afterwards. • Define the explicit follow-up date and express appreciation Communicating Upward
  21. 21. FOLLOW-UP • The other most common mistake is to fail to explicitly follow-up at a specific time and date. • For greatest impact, express gratitude for the trust and the opportunity. • Report on progress at regular milestones, whether it’s required or not. • After completion, provide a follow-up report touting the success of the initiative, lessons learned, ROI achieved, brag on the team, etc. Remember that political capital has the physics-like properties of momentum and inertia. Communicating Upward
  22. 22. Kevin Kline Social media at KEKLINE Email at Blogs at,