Three ways to overcome resistance
The key to persuading people isn’t telling them what to think; it’s asking them questions that reveal their reservations about your proposal.
Here are three kinds of questions to ask:
1. “Good pupil” questions. Soliciting someone’s views is the ultimate compliment. And it helps you gain the trust and credibility you need to persuade the person later. Examples: “How do you feel about the test results?” “What do you predict will happen?”
2. Clarifying questions. Rather than assuming that you understand what someone’s saying, confirm it. Boost your productivity with a follow-up question. Examples: “You mentioned having reservations about the plan. What kind of reservations?” “You referred to ‘complications’. Can you elaborate?”
3. Commitment questions. You want to sell someone on your idea despite their resistance. Rather than belabouring your point, use leading questions that guide them to make commitments. Examples: “If I can resolve your concern, would you say Yes?” “If you were sure there was no major risk, would you approve it?”