Part of my job is to experiment with new ideas and to structure it into a process so that the idea ensures better efficiency at work. En-route this process I deal with people, end users and decision makers, who evaluate the proposal and critique it.
More often than not, most proposals are turned down on grounds that are not technical. No matter how convinced and clear cut the proposal is, I have realized that few people inadvertently are sceptical because of limitations, either of knowledge or finance or anything in-between, on their end.
Bottom line is that swaying a person to accept an idea is tough, especially if he or she is a skeptic. To overcome their cynicism, I have learned that I need to adjust my style.
Here are four ways to influence a non-believer:
Co-present with a trusted source.
Skeptics are highly suspicious of any information that challenges their experience and worldviews. You can increase your chances of success by sharing the stage with someone the executive believes in.
You need as much credibility as you can garner. Ask others, top managers or working staff, who support your idea to let the executive know.
Use Statistics, KPIs and Case-Studies.
Statistics (graphs and percentages) and key Performance Indicators are easy to digest and more comprehensible by many people. Rather than showing the full proposal, throw in an interesting Statistics, KPI or Case-Studies to get into the person’s mind space.
Skeptics respond to flattery. Start sentences with, "You've probably seen this data already…" or “You already know this but I will repeat nevertheless so that others are in sync…” or “As understood from your idea earlier…”
If you know more ways than these then help me out… I need more ideas to convert a skeptic into a believer!