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A little known influence approach to sidestep resistance

Campbell Such | June 30, 2015
An ‘indirect but powerful quote' is a useful tool for CIOs leading projects that impact a lot of users, from executive peers to discerning customers.

Do you remember the last time you had the flu...I don't mean a bad cold, I mean the flu. I'm talking sweating, high temperature and can't get out of bed... very sick.

If you can remember how you felt, you'd think getting a flu vaccination would be a "no brainer". Especially if your company provides them for free.

For years people have tried to convince me to get a flu vaccination. However, I've always thought getting one was just for the young, the old and those with weak immune systems. I couldn't see the point, since I almost never get the flu (only once in the last 12 years).....I'd also heard stories of people actually getting sick from the vaccine and I also was aware that it wouldn't protect me from new strains.

So, every year I've turned down the free company vaccination offer. This year was no different.

Astoundingly, just after the round of company flu injections this year, I had a conversation which changed my mind, in an instant, where all others had failed.

Next year, I will have the vaccination.....I'm now even contemplating paying to get one this year.

You might want to start now, mentally noting and collecting interactions, stories and conversations, which you could use to help get your ideas across.

What changed my mind?

What was the secret?

What worked where all others had failed?

It is the story of two influencers -- one who showed just how powerful the right approach can be.

Here's what happened:

Three days apart, the subject of the flu vaccination came up in separate conversations with two managers I know.

The first manager (I'll call her Sue) explained that she thought I should get the flu vaccination. Sue told me that she gets it done every year and I should too. She saw it as "no brainer" since she knew it was free for me. Sue couldn't understand why I didn't. I felt my resistance to being "told" kick in and explained that "I haven't had the flu for years and can't see the point". I left the conversation with Sue with no thought of changing my mind.

Alan (the second manager -- not his real name) had a very different approach. Near the end of a meeting, Alan mentioned a presentation he'd attended, where he'd heard a world renowned doctor talk about health challenges for senior executives and the staff in their organisations. He told me that this doctor covered a range of topics but was particularly passionate about the benefits of getting a flu vaccination every year.

Alan didn't just tell me that the doctor had strongly recommended everyone should get a flu shot every year. He did something subtly different....but massively more powerful.


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