Think about how you try to persuade anyone to do anything.  Most of the time when you try to advise, recommend, urge, suggest, or persuade anyone to take your advice, you PUSH, you TELL, you routinely give answers.  And, you may end up bewildered because very often, your answers are accurate and wise, you are well-intended, and your advice is in their best interest.

So, how do people respond to your advice, answers, or suggestions?  Very often when you PUSH your advice, you get a lot of PUSHBACK in return.  Gee, do you think it might be worth noticing that whenever you complain about people PUSHING BACK too much, it might be largely because you are PUSHING in the first place?

Here is the usual sequence on how most people try to persuade anyone to do anything.  See how much this routine seems like you.

  1. You want them to change and adopt your ideas and advice.  You want to help, you are well-intended, your advice is good, and you can “save the village just in time.”
  2. You present the gospel according to you and present (PUSH) “the answer,” (recommendation / advice / solution /prescription).
  3. Their first impulse is often to get defensive and PUSH BACK.  Often with a “yeah, but…”
  4. You now think you must clarify, explain, defend yourself, or you must “win,” so you PUSH more.
  5. The more you try to PUSH them to change, the more they resist and PUSH BACK.
  6. The result is your continued PUSHING met with their continued PUSHBACK!  Now you are in a contest of who is right!  Does this sound familiar?

So, what do you do?

Remember this:  people will conclude, they will adjust, they will sign up, they will buy, they will take initiative, and they will agree… when, in their terms, it makes sense for them to do so.

And it makes much more sense when they come to their own conclusions.  The key is ownership.  Your job is to expedite the process so people come to conclusions quicker.

So instead of telling answers you want to ask more questions.  When you ask more questions, you get better results.  Instead of PUSHING… spend more time PULLING.

WHEN YOU PUSH, THEY WILL PUSH BACK.  You try to “MAKE them have your way.”

WHEN YOU ASK, THEY WILL SIGN UP.  You “LET them have your way.”


So TELL less and ASK more.

What are your thoughts?

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