What to Do When You Don’t Get What You Want

You’re at the end of an influence conversation during which you’ve pitched an idea or proposal to a decision maker above you. Things seemed to be going your way, but now, at the end of the conversation, it’s clear that you’re not getting the green light.

Influence skills

You’d like to finish the meeting on a high note, and keep the door open for the future. Here’s what to do.

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Successful Influence Requires the Right Relationships — Do You Have Them?

In a previous post I discussed how successful influencers do not rely on their positional power alone to get them what they want. They instead develop relationships at all levels — the strategic alliances and connections necessary for getting their proposals and ideas implemented. Here’s some advice on how to develop these necessary relationships and keep them strong.

The right relationships for influence

Nothing Much Happens Without Alliances and Connections

Alliances: You or your team likely interact regularly with others who, in some small or large way, advise on or contribute to the projects, products, or initiatives you’re tasked to accomplish. These are your alliances – the important others whom you join up with to get the results you’re expected to deliver on.

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3 Things Successful Influencers Don’t Do

There’s a whole host of things we must do to be successful at influence and I’ve discussed many of them in previous posts. At the same time, it’s just as important to understand what not to do in order to be effective at influence.

Successful influence

Here are 3 things people who are successful at influence don’t do:

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Why ‘Big Picture Thinking’ Could Derail Your Next Influence Pitch

Are you a big-picture thinker who prefers the long-range vision and what’s possible for the future? If so, when pitching ideas and proposals to your boss or to other leaders and decision makers, you might be tuning out much of your audience. Here’s why.

Research on psychological type shows us that people take in information being presented to them in one of two ways – fact-focused or idea-focused. And the fact-focused individuals comprise about 70% of the population.

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3 Mistakes Women Make When Negotiating

In an earlier post I talked about how to recognize when an ordinary work conversation turns into a negotiation and what to do if it does. Among the readers who contacted me with questions about negotiation after seeing that post were several who expressed discomfort with negotiation in general.

Negotiation tips for women

As it happened, many of the people who expressed this discomfort were women, so I wanted to devote a post to some of the particular concerns women have.

Discomfort in negotiation can lead to mistakes in negotiation. But being aware and planning ahead can dramatically increase chances for success in negotiation. In the women and negotiation classes I teach, I talk about 3 mistakes women make when negotiating, and what to do instead:

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Do You Know the Right (and Wrong) Time to Influence Others?

There’s a right time and a wrong time to present your influence pitch to leaders and other decision makers. These people have the power to give the green light to your proposals and ideas or stop them in their tracks. Knowing when to present to decision makers — and when not to — is crucial to your success.

Good and bad times for influencing decision makers

The Wrong Time for Influence

It’s surprising how often we can forget to consider timing when it comes to influence. These deceptively simple tips can save us from an influence attempt gone wrong.

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What Every Extrovert Needs to Know

Extroverts and introverts need to be mindful of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to communicating and influencing at work.

If colleagues have ever been annoyed by your interrupting them, or if they’ve ever been confused when you come to a formal meeting still forming your thoughts, you’re an extrovert. I am, too.

In this radio interview I discuss my 3 rules of influence for extroverts and provide practical examples as well as a few extra tips. Thanks to Tim Muma and the Employment Notebook radio show for having me as a guest to discuss how extroverts can communicate and influence more effectively.


Question: Have you had success with these techniques? Or do you have a tip to share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Making Gains or Preventing Losses?

If you’ve been having trouble persuading others to your point of view, it could be that you’ve been putting your focus in the wrong place.

Influence skills

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Do You Play to Win — or to Not Lose?, authors Halvorsen and Higgins describe two types of individual preferences when it comes to what motivates people and how they perceive and approach problems and demands of work and life.

Promotion-focused people, as the authors put it, “see their goals as creating a path to gain advancement and concentrate on the rewards that will accrue to them.” Whereas Prevention-focused individuals, “see their goals as responsibilities, and they concentrate on staying safe.” That means they’re avoiding trouble.

What that boils down to is this: Some people are willing to take risks and give you the go when the potential for gain is apparent. They’re driven by the upsides of taking action. The rest are cautious and risk-averse and will give you the go ahead if only to avoid loss.

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No One Cares What You Want

“I am more than qualified to lead this new project and my VP knows it.” Harpreet is a director of product engineering at a mid-sized company headquartered in Silicon Valley. “I have the proven track record but my boss is talking about having Sam, the newest person on our team, lead this project. Why?”

Influence skills at work

You have a proposal for your boss. Maybe like Harpreet you want to lead a new project coming in. Or you want your boss to give you the green light for a couple of people on another team to work with you on your project. Or you want the go-ahead to participate in the company’s 6-month leadership program.

But the truth is, most bosses are not that concerned with what you want or hearing why it would benefit you.

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Do You Really Know What You Want?

How often have you gone into a conversation at home or at work where you thought you knew what you wanted only to discover mid-discussion that things feel less clear than when you started?

Influence skills and communication skills at work

Or you’re very sure about what you want to accomplish in the conversation itself, but don’t necessarily have in mind what your longer-term objectives might be?

If you’re like a lot of us, that might have been the case more than once. We’re either unclear about what we want, or know what we want right now but don’t necessarily consider how that might fit into the bigger picture. And because of that, conversations often end up heading to an unsatisfactory end.

Two Types of Outcomes

When influencing, there are almost always two types of outcomes we want – the immediate outcome and the strategic, or long-term, one. The trick is getting clear on both before you head into the conversation.

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