project team brainstorming

Be Persuasive — Even When You’re Outnumbered

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It’s hard to be a dissenter. How can you maximize your chances of persuading your colleagues and bosses when you find yourself going against the grain? Start by demonstrating your past experience and competence to cash in the goodwill you’ve earned. Next, illustrate that you have the best interests of the group at heart. Acknowledge your position’s potential upfront costs or short-term pain points, but emphasize that you’re focused on a better long-term future for the team. You want to inspire trust and evoke curiosity, not fear. As you deliver your dissenting idea, stay consistent when you’re met with challenges from the group. Be prepared to explain your position in several different ways, depending on your colleagues’ counterpoints. And most importantly, emphasize objective information as much as possible and try to limit your subjective opinions or intuitions. Show how your own view has evolved over time in response to new high-quality information, and watch your team follow suit.

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