As a business analyst, it is entirely likely that you will be trying to convince either stakeholders or your own team members on a regular basis. This can be regarding the direction of the project, the ultimate goal, or the techniques that are being used. In most instances, it can often seem that a lawyer would be more suited to the task at hand. Luckily, you do not require practice in front of a jury in order to hone your persuasion skills. Instead, the following tried and true points may be more useful to you:
Create an Affinity
Consider this for a moment: are you likely to listen to someone that you do not like or trust? Even if someone is offering you an incredible opportunity or solution, it can be very difficult to separate it from the benefactor. The same concept can be applied to your client. They are unlikely to consider anything that you have to say if they have not formed a connection with you. This is why one of the first things that you will need to do is to establish a relationship that is based on mutual respect. One of the ways that you can do this is by highlighting the similarities between you and the stakeholder. Individuals tend to be more receptive towards others that they feel are like them. By doing so, you will overcome one of the largest hurdles with convincing someone about a particular idea.
Identify Your Potential Supporters
Even if a group of stakeholders appears to be nonresponsive to the solutions that you are offering, this is not a finality. Some individuals are simply determined by nature and will be unwilling to change their minds regardless of the consequences. Often times, however, they can be convinced to consider switching tactics if others in the group change their minds as well. Therefore, it is important to identify the members with the greatest potential to be convinced. These are the ones who can be made to see reason and who, with the right arguments will soon be on your side. You will then typically be able to see a domino effect of more and more individuals siding with you in the end. In the beginning, however, it is all about finding that one or two individuals who will get the ball rolling.
Your Conviction Matters
Prior to trying to convince someone else of something, you need to first ensure that you are, in fact, a believer. This is why you should consider your own feelings about a particular course of action. Do you believe it to be the best solution? If you harbor reservations, it is quite likely that this will be translated to your clients. In this instance, you may find it necessary to turn the task over to someone who is better equipped to convince the stakeholders. Either that or you come up with a solution that you can back with more conviction. If you are passionate about or are interested in what you are trying to encourage, you are more likely to be successful in your endeavors.
These are just some of the strategies that you can utilize if you ever need to convince other individuals of your position or viewpoint.
James Lewis is a Senior Business Analyst for, Corporate Business Solutions, a company that he has been a part of for many years. He has taken part in hundreds of onsite business analyses for clients of numerous industries. James frequently contributes to Corporate Business Solutions Reviews, a collection of studies and reports on the trends dominating this field.
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