Forget Convincing, Go For Influencing

It was hard for me to be heard above the elevated male voices in the room. Male vocal chords are on average longer than female vocal chords. They naturally had more voice power, but that didn’t stop me from trying to match them voice to voice. If my male colleagues were going to raise their voices at me, I was going to raise mine right back. After all, I had to convince them of my opinion, and I could not risk being talked over. My business reputation was at stake.

I had forgotten how biblical a soft answer is. I had forgotten that a soft answer turns away wrath. And so I fought on, being outshouted at each turn. Well, trying to outshout anyone is a useless waste of energy. The only result is a newly created enemy and loss of joy all around. Further, getting into a shouting match drives us to our small, negative place. Our creativity shuts down along with our common sense. We say things we don’t mean and lose emotional control.

Years into my career, I found a much better way of presenting my views. Let me say, however, it is important to get our views out there. We need to stand for what we believe in. But, instead of trying to convince others of my point of view with an elevated voice, I learned to influence others. As it turns out, influence is far more lasting and effective.

Influence comes from ego strength, inner stillness, and security. Before we can access our inner stillness, we must choose to avoid reacting to contrarian views of others. When we calmly and respectfully present our views by tapping into our inner stillness, we also tap in to our most creative potential. The views we present in this manner are rich and thoughtful. Therefore, our views become more long lasting and effective.

Being thoughtful, we have a far better chance of connecting people emotionally to our view. When others see our thoughtful passion and intelligent expression of what we believe in, they can more readily get behind what we’re saying. Convincing sometimes turns into self-absorbed shouting matches that lead to lose-lose outcomes. Influence is enlightened expression carried on strong winds of intellect and thought. The result is more often win-win solutions.

About Bonnie Hathcock

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Bonnie C. Hathcock, author of Lilac Dreams, has over 35 years of experience in corporate America in leadership positions in sales, marketing, and human resources. Most recently, she was the chief human resources officer and senior vice president for Humana Inc., a Fortune 100 corporation with over $40b in revenues and 40,000 employees.

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What People Are Saying

  • Wonderful insights Bonnie. Thanks.

  • I love this article . It is what I needed. ” strong winds on intellect and thought” are more apt to turn the tide. I needed to read this article this very week.

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