Have you ever noticed the way most people try to persuade others to their way of thinking?
I was at a dinner a few weeks ago when the conversation turned political. Some people excused themselves from the table, some sat silent, while others spoke louder and more emphatically about their perspectives, presumably thinking that volume and passion would influence the table to their “side.” It was uncomfortable for everyone present…except the ones speaking the loudest. Internally, this made me smile at the understanding I have recently received regarding the importance of knowing what language to speak if we truly want to influence others.
The languages of influence
There are four basic languages of influence. And even within each language there are different dialects. It takes time, attention and intention to learn the languages of others. Granted, more often than not we are in situations where we don’t have the time it takes to build a relationship and learn fluently the language of those in front of us. But even if you only have a few minutes, you can discern enough to speak a small portion of their language. Have you ever been to a foreign country where you didn’t speak their language? Even small attempts on your part to communicate with the nationals in their language is appreciated. It is the same with the languages of influence. Since honoring people in this way is not the norm, it is highly likely that your attempts will be appreciated and remembered.
Why is this important? Because if we want people to not just hear our words, but to also understand and consider them, we need to become more others-focused and less self-focused. We need to speak with them in mind, so that they can not only hear our words, but hear our heart. This can help bring understanding. Or at least a desire to care to understand. Just because we are speaking, does not mean others are truly hearing us.
Speaking in a way others will hear you
Most people want to influence others to their way of thinking, especially in matters where they have strong beliefs. But if we believe strongly in what we are saying, isn’t it important to say it in a way that people with varying views will hear us? Not just tolerate us?
How do you feel when someone who holds an opposing view, on a matter that is of great importance to you, begins to insult the way you think? When they invalidate what you uphold? Whether your response is to shut down or fight back, either way they certainly didn’t influence you to their way of thinking, did they? What we need to learn is that the reverse is also true! We must change the way we speak if we want to truly be heard on a level that will influence.
This is the first of a series of blog posts that will delve deeper into how you can learn to speak the four languages of influence more fluently. I hope you will join me as we discover together the various ways to more effectively express ourselves through the languages of influence. Until next time, remember…
Speaking louder with your opinions influences nobody. If you are not speaking their language, they will not understand you.