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Retain what others say to win them over

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Here’s one of the most powerful tools to influence others’ behavior: Remember what they say.

By retaining what you hear—and referring to it later—you show that you listen well. We tend to trust and respect people who care about what we say and who demonstrate that they’re concentrating on our remarks.

Consider what happened to Mindy Hall on her weekly visit to Starbucks. Hall, a management consultant, likes to stop by her local Starbucks every weekend for an indulgent treat. Her usual order: a decaf triple grande, nonfat, extra-hot latte.

Yet on one of her regular visits, she decided to order just black coffee. But as she approached the counter, the barista recognized her and said, “Triple grande, nonfat latte?”

Taken aback, Hall didn’t want to contradict the barista. So she replied, “That’s right. Just add decaf and extra hot.”

Upon reflection, Hall realized that her desire to reinforce the barista’s attempt to deliver personal service outweighed her intent to order black coffee. So she allowed his admirable behavior to shift her intent.

To heighten your persuasive power, retain what others tell you and look for opportunities to weave it into conversation later on. Remember biographical facts—the names of their kids, where they vacation—and follow up with friendly questions in the weeks and months ahead. Example: Asking, “How was Max’s soccer game last weekend?” can endear you to an employee.

— Adapted from Leading With Intention, Mindy Hall, Copper Bay Press.

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