The ability to influence others is useful not only for communication but also for boosting your career.
Understanding the attitude and position of the people you are dealing with is the first step in influencing them.
The better you know your audience, the better you will be able to connect with them.
We discussed in previous articles learning how to influence hostile and neutral audiences. Now it is time to learn about the positive audience.
A positive audience is an audience who already agrees with you. They know you and are already supportive of your ideas.
This article talks about taking advantage of having a positive, friendly audience and enhancing your relationship with the help of a few techniques.
Interacting with a positive audience can seem easy since they already agree with you. This is not completely true, as you could still make some mistakes and not fully reap the benefits of a friendly group.
You still need your positive audience to become engaged with you and excited about what you have to say.
Here are some useful ways to influence a positive audience:
Your positive audience will already agree with you, but you can still strengthen your bond by confirming this agreement.
Focus on the things you have in common and remind your audience of your similarities. This will get them to be even more attentive to what you have to say.
Specify these points clearly and ask for assurance from your audience. Demonstrate to them that you are working towards the same goal.
Since your audience agrees with you, there is not much use in trying to win them over. They are already on your side.
Instead, you should try to motivate them and enforce their emotional bond with you.
The following techniques are effective when trying to motivate your positive audience:
The best way to keep an audience engaged is to get them to take action, and this is also true for a positive audience.
This should be easy since you’ve already established trust and are confident your audience will collaborate with you.
First, you need to define the type of action you need them to take. Your audience could:
It’s best to choose your action before you start interacting with your audience and not just leave it to chance.
Awkward pauses and disorganized behaviour are unprofessional.
Your positive audience already agrees with you, but still, they need to know that they acted on your influence.
This establishes you as a leader – people agree with you not only for your charisma but because you know what you’re talking about.
Let’s assume the solution you’re proposing is a new rating system for performance. Your colleagues already hate the old system and support having a new one.
Your job is to convince them to accept your specific system.
For this, you should explain the reasons behind choosing this product. Your positive audience may be easy to win over, but they will admire you for your analytical mind and be open to your suggestions.
In a TEDx talk by Simon Sinek, a leadership expert and the author of “Start with Why” and “Leaders Eat Last,” he emphasises the importance of having a deep connection with your topic.
Know the problem you are offering a solution to, and trust will follow.
All of us need praise and acceptance, and there can never be enough of it.
A simple thank you can change someone’s day for the better, and a little praise can go a very long way.
If you make your request to your audience in a manner that flatters them, they will be more inclined to agree with you and move to action.
Praise has its charm because it makes your audience feel more valued. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Talk to a man about himself, and he will listen for hours.”
A positive audience will be more inclined to accept your praise and appreciate it because they know you. Your positive relationship makes this praise more genuine and, as a result, more effective.
Even if you’re facing a positive audience, there are still mistakes you could make that could potentially turn a positive audience into a neutral or even a hostile one.
It’s still your job to excite and instil action. Learn to avoid these three mistakes, and your interaction will maintain its positive vibe:
One of the common mistakes when dealing with a positive audience is ignoring or forgetting that there is another side to the story. Failing to mention disadvantages or arguments that aren’t in favour of your solution is not going to keep your positive audience convinced for too long.
You may believe that since your audience already agrees with your side of the story, there is no need to mention the other side. This is not true.
You have to prepare your audience for attacks by introducing them to other arguments. Make them aware of all the sides of the argument. This will make them able to defend your point of view once they encounter objections from others.
Being prepared is key in any situation, and interacting with a positive audience is no exception. It’s easy to skip preparation when you trust that your audience already agrees with you.
But no matter how much confidence you have in your audience, you have to be well equipped to handle any questions.
Set aside time before your interaction with your audience to gather data and organise your ideas. Having an audience that likes you is no guarantee when you are not prepared.
When dealing with any type of audience, the end result should be something actionable, whether that’s a decision, preparing for a project or getting straight to work.
No one likes to waste their time on meetings that don’t provide an end result.
Even if your audience likes being around you, they still have to know what to do next.
Every interaction should have a goal, and you could even specify this goal at the beginning of a meeting. This will encourage your audience and get them on board.
Having a positive audience can be a relief. Unlike hostile and neutral audiences, you already have a common ground to build upon.
Still, you shouldn’t rely only on the fact that they like you.
Every relationship is based on an exchange, and since your positive audience will provide you with the support you need, it’s your job to lead the discussion in the direction you want it to go and inspire your positive audience to take the right kind of action.
By learning the techniques we have discussed, you will influence your positive audience and foster your connection with them.