Communication Requires

People usually reject your ideas first.

People have trouble accepting advice, learning from another’s experience, or being taught.  Why?  People value their own thoughts more highly than they value the thoughts of others.

There is an old way to ask what someone is thinking.  “A penny for your thoughts.”  Maybe I would expect to get more than one thought for that price.

On the other hand, if you want to express your thoughts, you let me know by saying,  “Here‘s my two cents worth.”

Even in this archaic language we find the listener values the thought of another at no more than one penny while the creator of a thought values it at two pennies.  This  100% difference in perceived value means two people are unlikely to share their thoughts efficiently.

Selling a car 

How long would it take to negotiate the purchase of a car if you value it at $25,000 while the dealer thinks $50,000 is fair?  Quite a long time! It might be possible, but that is not the way to bet.

Notice that ideas are harder to sell than cars.

Selling ideas

The “not invented here” syndrome kills many ideas in business. People often don’t want to see anything new. It makes them feel inadequate. When presenting ideas, recall that the other person sees them as half as valuable as you do. If there is a discussion,  the listener presents and an alternative idea and it  is just as surely and just as immediately depreciated by half. Both parties think they have given something of two cents value and have received only a penny’s worth in exchange. It is a wonder anyone is ever persuaded by someone else’s reasoning.

Should we care?  Maybe not!  Cynics point out that, despite inflation, a penny for most thoughts is still far more than their worth.

Communication is difficult

It is especially so if the sender does not pay attention to how the listener receives the message.  If you know, with certainty, that the value of the message will be discounted by half compared to what the listener already knows, you could do three things:

  1. Discover what they know and build on that. You can lead people to a new place if they are firmly attached to where they started and can see the difference and the value in that difference.
  2. Add more to your message.  Like testimonials, third party material, and examples. People may discount your ideas, but they tend to accept other material at face value.
  3. Delete buzzwords, jargon, and acronyms.  As opposed the customary 50% discount, these are discounted about 99.995%

Persuasion is a form of good communication.

Your first must get their attention and that is easiest if you agree with something in which they already have an interest. Even better if you can make a huge statement about. Donald Trump talks about a border wall. People who are concerned about illegal immigration can identify with the idea even though they know in their heart, it’s impossible. Opponents get caught up in the details instead of the point of illegal immigration. The persuasion win is that everyone has an opinion and is talking about it.

Eventually something possible will happen.

Learn about persuasion

We all spend a good part of our life negotiating and persuading. Everything from selling ideas, to leading others, to getting the kids to go to be on time. It make sense to learn a little of the helpful methods.

There are several useful books available. Robert Chialdini has two. A well respected veteran book, “Influence” and the newer “Pre-Suasion.”  Dilbert creator, Scott Adams, produced “Win Bigly.” An updated paperback edition of that one has just been released. Any of them would improve your ability.

Persuasion use good communication as a tool

Good communication is the sender’s duty 

Communicators can only achieve success if they pay attention to and respect the thoughts of the receiver. They can help the recipient to see new and better ways, or they can help them learn about why they believe what they do. Maybe another day they will see the value in the new.

Pay attention and act on what you see.

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