WORKPLACE DIPLOMACY: 10 TACTICS TO BE MORE INFLUENTIAL

The art of #persuasion can help anyone seal deals and climb status ladders faster. This article shares 10 scientifically-backed strategies used by corporate leaders to gain easy-wins.


First published on Entrepreneur Magazine



Negotiation skills make you stand apart, no matter which industry you’re from or what position you hold. Today’s education and exposure produces armies of technically competitive human capital. How can you steal an advantage, and have things go your way? Here are 10 tools to become a charismatic diplomat and wield more influence:


1) DON’T PLAY DIRTY TO BE DIPLOMATIC

Diplomacy is NOT about cheating or lying. It is about re-packaging truth in a more persuasive, attractive hamper.

Whatever you need to say, can be designed in a manner that REACHES people more deeply, taking into account their feelings and personal reactions.

Sticking to facts and being truthful is supremely important, since TRUST is crucial to diplomacy. Untrustworthiness gains short-term advantage, but loses the game in the long run.


2) SETTING IS EVERYTHING: Manipulate timing and environment.

A good diplomat remains alert to the ‘right moments’, to ‘make hay while the sun shines.’ A good example is Elon Musk meeting the Chinese Vice-President Wang Quishan recently, as American tariffs loom. This is his strategy to prevent diplomatic power from festering with the government alone, and shifting some power to non-governmental agencies such as technology empires (securing his business, needless to say). Leverage current affairs (not just big world affairs, but also INSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION), to know when to make your move.

The other aspect of ‘setting’ is choosing the right ambience for your talk. The European Journal of Social Psychology says that this simple act can impact your negotiation outcome by 40%! Choose what emotions you want to convey during that deal:


A formal oval-office setting makes a more intimidating impression of power (works best for wall-street style deals, lawyers etc.)


An elegant dinner environment spells sophistication and openness to interaction (new-client wins, fashion & luxury markets etc.)


A relaxing coffee-talk in a cafe works best to induce comfort, ease stiffness and makes you appear more friendly (works well for creative ventures such as advertising design, coaching & training topics etc.)


3) ENGAGE BOTH THE LEFT-BRAIN AND RIGHT-BRAIN OF STAKEHOLDERS

All people have an emotional side as well as a rational side. Neuroscience reveals that some people are more left-brained (analytical) while others are right-brained (emotional decision-makers).

So your pitch needs to have NUMBERS & PROJECTIONS, as well as concepts that TRIGGER ANTICIPATION, EXCITEMENT AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION. Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation – exclaims that stronger emotions, like temptation (for money, fame, pleasure) and alarm (fear of loss & distress, by creating urgency through deadlines etc.) can culminate in quick closure of deals.


4) MASTER EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Control your emotions and avoid impulsive reactions. A diplomat does not bark out orders, but inspires others to action instead. Blaming and shaming doesn’t work. Dale Carnegie said,

Arouse people with what THEY want, not with what you want.’

Encourage people to talk about themselves and make them feel important. Use the person’s name often, and hold eye-contact. Read people and contemplate what it’s like to stand in their shoes. A good doze of intuition, empathy, politeness, integrity and maturity defines a diplomat.


5) USE POWERFUL, POSITIVE LANGUAGE AND A PLEASANT TONE OF VOICE

Clear, smart vocabulary can change your game. For example, let’s say your boss has been micro-managing you, and you require more freedom to function. Start by saying: “I appreciate all your support. Your inputs are insightful. I have been thinking about shouldering more responsibility, however. That way, we can both free up creative space for efficiency!” This is a lot more effective than getting spiteful with your manager! Ego needs to take a step back. You can have your way without compromising self-esteem, just by shifting vocabulary and tone of voice.


6) BALAN