The smallest change in phraseology can make a big difference in how our ideas come across to another person.
Has anyone ever said to you, either while attempting to prove a point or during the sales process, “If I can prove to you that (such and such) will save you money…”?
And didn’t you sort of say to yourself, “This guy/gal isn’t going to prove anything to me!” I know I have. It’s human nature to resist when challenged.
Here’s a more effective way* to help someone be more receptive to your ideas:
Instead of saying, “If I can prove to you that this widget will be more cost-effective…” say,
“If you could prove to yourself that this widget will be more cost-effective…?”
Or, rather than, “If I could prove to you that this would be a more productive alternative…?” say,
“If you could prove to yourself that this would be a more productive alternative…?”
Now you’ve allowed that person to take ownership and prove something to herself. Remember, people don’t resist their own ideas.
Practice this enough so that when the situation arises, the correct way of phrasing your point will come out naturally.
After all, if you could prove to yourself that this idea would help you to more effectively persuade, wouldn’t you want to master it? 😉
*Credit for this idea goes to Zig Ziglar.