Stop trying to change people’s minds and you’ll become a better leader, have better conversations, and you’ll do better in all your negotiations whether it’s around sales or your salary.

A few years ago, back when I was an employee instead of working for myself, I needed a raise. I went in to my boss’ office and I said “Here’s the top five reasons you need to give me a raise.” And she said “Well, here’s the top five reasons I can’t give you a raise.” At the end of that conversation, we weren’t able to come to an agreement, and I ended up having to leave a job that I loved because I couldn’t negotiate on my own behalf. Since then I’ve learned so much about how I approached that conversation all wrong.

We all know about confirmation bias, which means that people are looking for things that confirm what they already believe. They are not looking to have their minds changed. If you go in to a conversation or a negotiation and you say “I’ve got all these great facts, I’m going to convince somebody that I’m right,” you’re probably not going to be successful. Instead what you want to approach it knowing that the person that you are about to talk to you, they have a list of Fears and No (the reasons they don’t agree with what you want) and they actually have a list of Yeses, of places they agree with you. They have a Hope list, people a love to agree, they actually want to agree with you. They have something that if you can tap in to it and find a place of agreement with them, they are going to say “Yes.” Instead of going into these conversations with your list of facts, with your persuasive strategy, you need to go in as a listener. Make sure you are asking questions that are leading the person you are talking to toward their Yes list, toward their hopeful list, toward their agreement list.

You are not trying to say “I’m the expert, I know so much, and this is what you need to learn from me.” You’re trying to say “You already know this is going to work, so let’s do it together. Let’s come to an agreement.” In order to do that, it takes a mindset shift, particularly for perfectionists like me who are like “I have my list of facts and figures, and everything is perfect, and I know exactly what I’m going to say.” Instead you have to go into these conversations and say “I don’t know, I don’t know where we’re gonna go. I’m gonna ask some questions and find out what this person believes to be true, what their hope is for this to be successful. And I’m going to confirm that. I’m going to lean in to that.”

That takes a stillness of the mind. It takes a focus and a confidence. I find for myself that I have to build that every single day. In order to do that, I go on bike rides, I spend time in nature, I exercise my body. For you to make that mindset shift, you may want to think about doing some habit shifts. Find something that brings you a sense of confidence and stillness so that you can go into these conversations not knowing where they are going to go, just knowing that you are going to try to confirm the positive beliefs that the other person already has.

Message me any tips you guys have about having better conversations or being a better leader.

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