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Win by finding what’s in it for them

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in Workplace Communication

Sometimes, the best way to get what you want is to talk about what someone else wants.

Example: Say you want your boss to pay for you to enroll in a Webdesign class. You know why you want to take the course. But what’s in it for
your boss?

“What you want to do when approaching him about it,” says Susan Mason of Vital Visions Consultants, “is shape a message that’s about him,
not about you.” Nail the answer to your boss’s biggest question — “What’s in it for me?” — by asking yourself three questions:

1. “What reason will I give to justify his giving me time to pay attention to my message?”You have to tell the boss how a conversation with you will benefit him.
Example: “We can save money by handling our Web site updates internally. Do you have 10 minutes today for me to tell you about it?”

2. “What will my message do for him?”
Example: “By taking this course and learning basic Web-design skills, I can update our site myself. And that means we won’t have to pay an agency for that service anymore.”

3. “How does my message compare with what he already knows?” “Don’t tell people what they already know,” says Mason, “because they … stop listening.”
Example: Instead of telling your boss what you’d learn in a Webdesign class, tell him exactly why this class is best: “I know dozens of training classes are out there, but I’ve found one with two distinct advantages: It’s taught in the evenings, so it won’t take me away from the office, and the Web-design software we’ll need is included in the cost.”

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