Category: Leadership

Get people to do what you want

How to get people to do what you want

So, you work in marketing.

You want to progress your career.

You want to improve your leadership skills.

But you have a problem: Nobody seems to want to listen to you – or follow your lead. How do you deal with that?

One of the biggest challenges you face as a marketer is how to get the contributions, support and feedback you need. You often rely on the buy-in and decisions of others for doing your job in the best way. It’s not easy, but there are techniques available for you to use to improve your influence and your ability to lead people.

Know yourself

You can’t truly understand other people and their motivations if you don’t first understand your own. What drives you? What triggers you? What is it that makes you want to follow others and take their direction? A bit of introspection will make all the difference in being able to identify and impact the behaviour of others.

Know your stakeholders

Do you know who your ‘personal stakeholders’ are? Who makes the decisions that impact you? Who are the people you need in order to reach your goal? Who are your allies? Develop your ability to ‘tune in’ to the agendas of those people and align yourself to them.

Your ability to influence the decisions of other people is very closely linked to your ability to influence their priorities. You need to be able to make what’s important to you important to other people. You will of course still need to be sensitive to the individual and to the situation. Not everyone will react in the same way – unless you’re dealing with robots!

Adapt your communications

By learning to adapt your communications to suit each of your stakeholders, you can maximise your impact on them. The way you express yourself holds the key to their reaction and response.

Technique 1: The Three Ws

Whenever you ask someone to do something for you, always set the expectation from the start. The Three W technique is a good reminder for this!

  • What?
    Be very precise on what it is you need. Don’t allow them to assume the task is insignificant if it will in fact require a large effort on their part. And don’t assume they will instantly know what you mean – take the time to explain.
  • Why?
    Make sure they understand why the task is important for you. Can you explain the context, or perhaps expand on what the favour would mean to you? This will help them connect with the bigger picture and see how their contribution will play a part in it.
  • When?
    Be clear on the deadlines. Do you have a hard stop at some point? Is there a critical finishing date? If you give an obvious timescale for the other person, it will help them prioritise it.Even if there is no specific urgency to the task, give an expectation of time anyway. Otherwise it may just end up in the other person’s ‘someday’ pile. Suggest that you follow up after a couple of weeks’ time, and then give them a gentle nudge when the time is up, to check progress

Technique 2: Make an offer

Everyone has their own agenda. And if you know something about what the other person is looking to achieve, you can align yourself to their goals.

Rather than simply asking someone to do something for you, try to frame it in such a way that the other person gets the feeling that they will also benefit from taking the action.

You may want to use phrases such as…

I wanted to give you the opportunity to be involved in my project first, before anyone else hears about it.


I know how much you care about social issues so I immediately thought of you when I started looking for charity sponsors.

Always take a moment to think about the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) factor. Why should they want to support you? How can you make it appealing to them?

Technique 3: Say thank you

Surprisingly many people forget to recognise and thank others for helping them.

No matter how important you are in the business, you can always afford to be polite! When someone acknowledges our efforts and shows gratitude, it makes us feel good. That good feeling is something we want to experience again, so we are likely to do more favours for that person in the future.

Don’t get overwhelmed

It may feel like a huge mountain to climb, but influence is a long game. By working towards a greater understanding – and acceptance – of yourself, you will gradually become more comfortable with expressing your leadership. Coupled with a strong ambition to understand your stakeholders and improve your communication techniques you will be well on the way towards lasting, genuine influence.


Want help to start your influence journey?

Join our free marketing group the Awesome Marketing Community on Facebook for guidance, advice and support on your journey towards becoming an influential marketer.

How to nail a presentation

The two ultimate tips for nailing a presentation

It’s my first ever annual corporate conference at the US head office. Everyone is gathered in this high-ceilinged, carpeted theatre, expectantly watching the people making their way up on to the stage at the front.

One of those people is me.

I’ve been pulled up on stage by my interim manager, in front of the entire business, unprepared to speak. I’m knee-rattlingly nervous.

“Just give them an update on what you’re working on,” I’m told. It doesn’t exactly help. My words are trembling. How am I supposed to instil confidence in marketing when I can’t even keep my voice steady?

This was a horrendous experience, as it is for many other people who have a deep-rooted fear of public speaking. I know many people who hate presentations and get just as flustered as I do when asked to speak to a group.

Now, I may not have been given the opportunity to prepare that time, but I used that incident as a motivation for adopting a mini-speed-preparation process for unexpected presentations.

It consists of just two steps.

Step one: Breathe.

Step two: Focus on one single listener (ideally someone nice), and imagine that they really need to hear what you have to say.

What to do before a presentation

However, for those occasions when you do in fact have time to prepare, these are a few things to bear in mind to make the experience less of a terrifying rollercoaster ride.

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare
    This may sound ridiculously obvious – but preparation is critical. If you suffer from even just the occasional butterflies when speaking in public, you must have a plan for your presentation. Don’t assume that you will know what to say! Leave the ad-hoc for the seasoned professionals, and prepare your notes like a real person.
  • Know your audience
    Always be clear on who your audience is. What do you know about them, and what will they want to know? How can you best address their questions and pique their curiosity?
  • Focus on THEM
    One of the most powerful tools for overcoming confidence issues is by focusing on the listeners. Don’t let your presentation become a performance – that’s when the nerves kick in. Rather than worrying about how you look or stand, think about the audience. Focus on helping them, adding value to them, and being clear.
  • Be memorable
    If you want people to come away from your presentation with one important key message or fact, consider giving them the information in a way that is different. Use an item, a large sheet of paper, a piece of music or an image. All these things will spark up people’s memories.
  • Engage
    Some of the best presentations are the ones where the audience plays an active part. If you can get people to feel like they are part of the message, they will enjoy it more. If you can have some positive interaction in the room, it will help you feel more at ease too.Tip: If you’re worried about taking questions, try to get a couple of topical questions beforehand, that you can prepare answers to. This will help keep your confidence up.

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