We’d all love for our bosses and co-workers to agree with us on everything. We’d love for them to endorse our ideas and approve the way we handle our projects. Unfortunately, no matter how capable we are or how good our ideas, we are bound to encounter some resistance.

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But it’s really not difficult to convince others to see eye to eye with you on certain things. Just keep these rules of persuasion in mind when stating your case.

If you’re not sure about your own message, idea or plan, how can you expect others to get on board with it too? If you’re presenting at a meeting, for instance, remember to sound like you know what you’re talking about. Project confidence using a strong, firm voice and positive, commanding body language (so no hunched shoulders!) – stand tall, with your shoulders back, head slightly lifted, and your gaze fixed on others in the room. If you have photos, charts or props to back up your idea, remember to use them with confidence too.

Confidence is not the same as cockiness or arrogance. People are more likely to agree with you if they can see that you’re not trying to force your ideas down their throats. So always be pleasant and positive, not aggressive. Smile a lot and project a friendly, warm vibe. Most of us tend to agree with people we like, and aggressive people are often not well liked.  

If you’re someone who “ums” and “ahs” or beats around the bush a lot when sharing your ideas, you need to brush up on your delivery. The minute others start to sense reservation or confusion in your voice, you might as well have lost them. Write down your ideas so that you can refer to them while speaking, use simple language, especially when discussing complex ideas, and try not to detract from your message. The point is to make sure everyone understands you and has a clear idea about what you need from them.   

People respect a good listener. If you do meet with resistance during a presentation, don’t dismiss it or act like the other person’s idea or suggestion is inferior to yours. Instead, stop talking and listen to what they have to say. Being curious about what others think is a tried-and-tested way to win them over. When people feel that you’re considering their opinion, they’re less likely to resist yours. It doesn’t hurt to agree with them, either. Saying something like “You’ve definitely got a point, that’s why I wanted to share my thoughts with you” will help get them on your side.

As you listen to ideas, questions or solutions from your bosses and workmates, remember to keep an open mind. You should always start from this position when trying to sell an idea. Stubbornly sticking to your idea puts others off – if they can see that you’re willing to change your mind or are at least open to compromise or negotiation, then they will be, too.  

When presenting your case, let everyone know that you’re all in it together. Making them feel that everyone’s part of the same team, rather than separate from you, makes them more likely to agree with you. Words like “we can”, “let’s do this”, “every one of us should” and “we’ll get this done together” are very persuasive.

Want more advice on how to get ahead at the office? Read our stories How to deal with office politics and gain more friends at work; These 4 obvious signs indicate that you are the office enemy! and How social media could be ruining your career

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