Let's say you are in a meeting. You want to persuade your team to see the beneifts of adopting a shared digital calendar.
Your presentation seems to be gong well until one colleague says, 'It's not worth the hassle of changing'. 'My diary works well for me.'
Just nod and say, 'Thanks for that'.
Keep calm. Don't look the slightest bit defensive. If you are feeling defensive, tell yourself how lucky you are that your colleague has raised his objection so that you can answer it.
You might say something like, 'Let's see if I can persuade you on that Fred'. Do it with a smile.
Now, address the issues - in this case both the value of the shared digital calendar and how easy it will be to change.
Look around the whole team as you continue to present your case. Don't look at Fred more than any other member of the group.
Don't set out to show Fred how wrong he is.
Fred has declared his opposition publicly. The consistency principle says he is likely more likely than not to maintain that point of view. If you back him into a corner with an emotionally-charged response you can count on it.
Give him a reason to change.
Facts such as benefits may help and seeing his colleagues responding positively will give you the benefits of social proof - the persuasive power of others.
Maybe. It's a judgement call. If he's obviously persuaded, yes.
If you are not sure, but you have the rest of the group with you, no. Let social proof continue to do its work as you introduce the shared calendar.
We're indebted to many researchers and thousands of salespeople for this one. It's been extensively field-tested.
It can be used in dodgy, manipulative ways, but you can use it honourably. The ethics depend on the context, so I'll have to leave the ethical issues to you to mull over.
It's the consistency principle, known to salespeople as the 'foot-in-the door technique'.
Here's how it works.