In my mentorship program, one of the recurring topics I discuss is how to be more powerful and influential with others at work.
Here’s one powerful technique that I’ve taught my Inner Circle members in the past that I’ll share with you today.
I call it the “You’re Mostly Right” technique.
When you’re arguing with somebody, the simplest way to get them to listen to you is to agree with them.
It works incredibly well because it’s hard to object to someone who thinks you’re right. If you do object, you’re objecting to their favorable view of you!
One approach is to find the aspects of the other person’s position with which you DO agree.
You say, "I think you’re mostly right on this."
For the topics you agree with, make their argument for their position (the position you agree with) even more eloquently than they did. This essentially demonstrates you heard their point of view, you fully understand it, and you have conviction about it.
This builds an important intellectual (not to mention emotional) rapport with the other person. They’re all ears because what you’re saying makes so much sense to them (because it came out of their own mouth a few minutes earlier). Then, extend the argument to an area in which you disagree.
You’d say, "It makes perfect sense to me that X, Y, and Z are true. I can see that. However, under certain conditions, I’m not so sure X, Y, and Z always hold true."
You introduce your area of disagreement and then explain it.
The sequence of this approach makes an enormous difference.
If you start the conversation by focusing on where the other person is “wrong,” it becomes a debate. In a debate, there can only be one “winner” and one “loser.” If you’re in a debate competition, then by all means, go ahead and debate.
However, most of us don’t debate for a living. We disagree with one another as part of our work or personal lives.
In these contexts, forcing the other person into a position of “losing” usually doesn’t further your medium- and long-term goals, nor does it enhance the relationship.
When you start by making the other person’s argument even more expertly than they could themselves, it builds a bridge of intellectual connection. It is this bridge that causes the other person to be more open-minded and to listen for the purposes of understanding (as opposed to listening for the purposes of preparing a counter-attack).
When you build a bridge of understanding first, it makes it far more likely the other person will walk across it too.
If you build a bridge of attack/counter-attack, it makes it far more likely the other person will do as you do.
It’s difficult to progress in your career if many of your interactions are of the attack/counter-attack paradigm. This approach isn’t conducive to building relationships within a company or industry.
It’s the path of understanding others that builds the relationships with people that will assist, support, or accelerate your career.
It’s impossible to progress in your career if your colleagues and your company’s executives don’t respect you.
Power, respect, and influence.
These are all recurring themes that I discuss in the regular video conferences I have with members of my mentorship program. If you’d like to learn more about it, complete the form below to be notified about the next opportunity to enroll, coming up later this month.