Reward/Consequence proposals are a terrific way to influence others to do what you want them to do. Giving people a choice between reward and negative consequence allows them to make decisions that benefit everyone. The challenge is to communicate the reward and consequence with absolute clarity. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for getting people to do stuff.
1. “I” statements cannot be denied.
“I” statements are an effective way to deliver a message because they immediately establish an agenda that cannot be denied. “I have a problem” and “I’m uncomfortable with this” are examples of “I” statements. “I” statements invite responses like “What is it?” and “How can I help?” “You” statements, on the other hand, can trigger anger and aggression. “You have a problem” is an example of a “you” statement.
2. Documentation is your friend.
When setting up a reward/consequence scenario, try to reference official documentation such as a report or some other statistical reference. This will strengthen your case and help the other person understand that it is not your word against his. Of course, the report is evidence, but you don’t have to use that word. If the other person tries to discredit the report, ask them if they have a report for you to consider. When they answer, “no,” say, “Then, let’s consider this report for now.” Link the other person’s poor performance or misbehavior to the report.
3. Use a “call back” to stay on your agenda.
When confronted, people will sometimes try to distract you from the topic at hand. Casey McNeal, a friend and former stand-up comedian, taught me a technique referred to as a “call back.” The “call back” is a terrific way to get others to focus on your agenda. When the other person tries to move the discussion off center, simply say, “You may be right, but I still have a problem.” A firm return to your initial “I” statement allows very little sway in the conversation and keeps the focus on your agenda.
4. Empower others with a “proposal.”
Use a reward/consequence proposal when both of the proposal’s options move you toward your solution. After presenting the other person their two choices, say “Whatever you decide is okay with me.” If you’re thinking ahead, you can be sure that whatever option is chosen, things will work out for everyone.
5. You never win, you just keep playing.
Follow up is important when you use the reward/consequence scenario. Use language like “Let’s meet again in two weeks” and “I see you’ve made a decision.” Refer to “progress updates,” not “deadlines.” Remember, you never get to win the reward/consequence game; you just get to keep playing.