PolyU student question: How to convince others?

One of the questions asked by PolyU students is:

It is hard to get everyone agree on your idea, so I would like to ask how should we express and make people agree without miscommunication and efficient technique as a leader?

There are a number of things here. There is a huge difference between wanting to achieve something and having an idea. Before having an idea, you first need to agree together on what all involved actually want to achieve with your idea. Why? It is much easier to argument an idea by stating how it contributes to the common goal.

Second: The whole point of ideas is to bring in options, creative collaborative thinking, where people listen to each other’s ideas, and create new ones based on your idea. All ideas in the world are nothing more than combination of multiple existing ideas and things that are already known.

So, there should be no convincing here, just stating the idea. When you come up with a great idea, it is crucial that you don’t hold to it like it is your child. Unless your idea also becomes owned by others in team, it won’t be accepted. Even if you really have a one million dollar idea, others tend to disagree because you might defend it too much.

To be very practical, I’m usually stating my ideas like this: “I have an idea which will help us achieve something we all want. My idea is……. The advantages are ….., and disadvantages are…. So, I’m asking you what you think about this idea. Is it good, bad, why or maybe you have even better ideas?” In this way, you give a large opening for others to become really involved in your idea. The idea is then owned by the group, and not only you.

Third: A real trait of a leader is to encourage others to come up with ideas. Dominant people, who are often wrongly seen as leaders, should be even more careful in the process of continuously stating their own ideas. Other, less dominant people in the group tend to become more and more passive in their behaviour if the so called “leader” is constantly bringing and defending his ideas.

Sometimes, the best or only possible way to convince others is by implementing your idea first and demonstrating how good it is. This action should always be finished with a question to others: “So, would you like to join me in finishing this idea into something useful?”

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