This week, I led two-days of Bud To Boss training and participated on two expert panel discussions at a major trade show. All week, I have been sharing my thoughts and insights on communication skills, motivation theory, leadership, team-building, and persuasion.
The thought behind much (not all) of what I was asked in my role as seminar leader and expert panelist basically reduced to this:
How do I get people to do what I want them to do.
My short answer: you don't.
People do what they want to do and not what you want them to do.
There are some things you can do to create situations where people want to do what you want them to do. Still, in the end, they did it because they wanted to not because you wanted them to.
You can do some things to improve your communication skills. You can work on controlling your body language, modifying your tone, and choosing the best words for both the situation and the person you're speaking with. Short of overt coercion, you cannot make another person do anything. (Even then, you just made not doing it painful enough that they wanted to do it to avoid the pain of not doing it.)
Assuming that you want to have a productive relationship with the other person, the real question is not “How do I get them to do what I want them to do?” The better question is: “How do I get myself to do the things that will connect with this person so that they will want to cooperate with me?”
In the process of changing your behaviors, I have another thought to offer. Working to control your words and actions will require you to pay close attention to the other person. When you do this, you just might learn that they have some good ideas as well.