Knock Their Socks Off
As a fundraiser, you often have to try and influence people: when you’re asking a major donor to help your cause; when you’re trying to get your colleagues to back your plan; when you need to persuade the board to adopt a strategic approach.
In each case, there are times when the influence message seems to arrive easily and times when “they” just don’t seem to understand. In “The Magic of Influence,” to be published by Wiley later this year, we explore how a range of psychological techniques can help fundraisers trying to win over others. This article explores one of these techniques — perceptual positions.
Perceptual positions is a more technical and sophisticated way to discuss something we all know is important — how to understand someone else’s point of view in a given situation. By understanding the other person’s preferred point of view, you can:
- build rapport more easily with different people;
- frame your own interests in a way that appeals to them; and
- anticipate possible objections, and possibly answer them.
There are three main perceptual positions to be aware of:
POSITION 1: This is the way you experience the world — the perspective you have on any given situation regardless of others’ views and opinions. Position 1 is where you hold your values, beliefs, experiences and prejudices. At best, by being clear about Position 1 you can understand what it is that you want in any situation and be assertive about your needs. At its worst, a perspective wholly based on Position 1 is self-centred and selfish, taking no account of anyone else’s point of view.
POSITION 2: This is about understanding the way someone else experiences the world — “stepping into his shoes.” From Position 2 you can gain an insight into the other person’s perspective — his needs, wants, experiences and desires. You can go into Position 2 to help you understand why you’re not connecting satisfactorily or why the person doesn’t share your interests. But you need to be careful. A total immersion in Position 2 can lead you to identify too strongly with the other person and his interests, losing your sense of self and your interests.