How To Develop An Assertive Style: Office Politics
Wall St. Journal’s Marshall Loeb wrote an article titled, “Six Ways to Win at Office Politics” recently.
He states that “Office politics can be vicious, and how power and influence are managed in your company will be a part of your career whether you choose to participate in them or not.”
Develop An Assertive Style
Among others, Loeb recommends that you “Develop an assertive style, backed with solid facts and examples, to focus others’ attention on your ideas and proposals. Good politicians can adjust their messages for their audience and always appear well-prepared.”
But what does that mean, an ‘assertive style’? Here are my suggestions about how one goes about developing an ‘assertive style’.
An assertive style means that when you speak, you speak with authority, in order to invoke confidence in your listeners that you believe in what you’re saying. You convey authority by the way you dress, the way you enter a room, the way you make contact with people, the way you address them and the way you respond to them.
As to solid facts and examples, facts in and of themselves are NOT persuasive. Witness all the dumb ideas that have been sold to ‘the people’ by their federal governments over the last 200 + years, all the poorly made products that almost nobody needs and most everybody buys, and it is obvious to even the most casual observer that facts aren’t even necessary to be persuasive. More important, if you have facts, that you be able to illustrate them. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a picture worth that is painted with words? It’s called an example, and an example well delivered provides people with an opportunity to experience a fact as a reality, as a meaningful story, as something connected to their humanity.
As to adjusting messages, different groups have different agendas, but all groups are made up of individuals who have the same interest: “What’s in it for me?” To the degree that you can speak to the self interest of the individuals in any group, you increase your persuasive power and the likelihood of moving people to action, agreement and change for the better.
Be Prepared Before You Say a Word
Confidence is invoked when confidence is present, and confidence comes from preparation. This is why it is always in your interest to prepare yourself to speak before you say a word. Practice presenting your ideas using each of the eight persuasion guides in the Insider’s Guide To The Art Of Persuasion, and you’ll easily be able to identify the ones that work best and most naturally to deliver your ideas most effectively.
When you are well prepared, you appear well prepared, and the authority and confidence this invokes allows you to communicate persuasively.
The complete WSJ article is here.
Change is inevitable, but progress is not. Discover how you make the difference by developing your ability to communicate persuasively.