Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Let's say you are in a meeting. You want to persuade your colleagues to see the benefits of sharing a digital calendar. 

Your presentation seems to be going well. Then Fred leans back on his chair and announces,  'It's not worth the hassle. My diary works well for me. I'm not changing.'

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 Fred has given you the chance to respond.

So what do I do next?

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 sharing a digital calendar and how easy it will be to change.

Don't set out to show Fred how wrong he is

Fred has declared his opposition publicly. The consistency principle says he is more likely than not to maintain that point of view. If you back him into a corner with an emotionally-charged response to show how wrong he is, you can count on it.

Look around the whole team as you continue to present your case. Don't look at Fred any more than any other member of the group.

You might include something about how paper diaries made sense in the past, but work has changed. It's easier to persuade people to change if you acknowledge that they made the right choice earlier, but the circumstances are different now. If you say, or even imply, that they've been wrong all along, they're likely to put barriers up. You hope Fred is listening, but still address your thoughts to everyone. 

Why address the whole team?

It keeps the pressure off Fred. Pressure would only work against you.

Instead, make it easy for him to change his mind in front of everyone. When Fred sees his colleagues responding positively you will have the benefits of social proof - the persuasive power of seeing what others do.

Should I ask if he is persuaded?

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.



 Interested in a workshop on the science of (honourable) persuasion? Call us on +64 3 3653164 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.