How to Gain People's Cooperation
When you want people to do something they're not already
doing — whether at home, school, or work — it's not good
enough simply to tell them. You have to show them what you
want them to do, why they would want to do it, and how they
can do it.
The dynamic is the same whether you're talking to people
one on one or making a presentation to any size group.
You need to answer these five questions:
- What do you want them to do?What action or series of actions do you want
them to take? What will it look like? How will they know
they're doing it successfully? Don't make people guess.
They can't read your mind, and they can't know what you're
thinking unless you tell them. Be clear, concrete, and
- What's in it for them?Don’t simply tell people why YOU want them to
do something. Show them why they would want to do it. How
will doing what you want them to do help them solve a
problem, achieve a goal, or satisfy a need? Will they save
time or money? Will they become more successful? Will they
earn a bonus or a promotion? Will they gain recognition?
- What will happen as a result?Show them the consequences of their new
behavior. How will their actions affect others in a
positive way? Or, conversely, how will their inaction
negatively affect others? Let people know that their
actions make a difference.
- How do they do it?
Presume that people want to do what is right. But
realize that they often don’t know how to do it. Show
them exactly what to do step by step. Gear your
explanation to their existing level of knowledge and
skill. Then, if possible, watch as they do it to make sure
they understand and are able to do it.
- What resources are available?
If they need additional help, where can they go? Is
training or coaching available? Are there handouts or
web sites they can refer to? Who can they talk to? Very
few people learn something new the first time –
especially if it’s complex or radically different from
what they’ve always done. Let them try it on their
own. And give them the ongoing support they need to
learn how to do it successfully.
The Witt Communications Newsletter contains advice for
improving your ability to present yourself and your ideas in
a way that wins people's cooperation. It comes out once a
month. Subscribe here.
Also see How to Connect with your Audience.
For information about how Chris Witt can help you become a more
powerful speaker, contact