Seven Strategies for Helping People Get What They Want

October 15, 2013 · 6 comments

It’s human nature to want to help others but we may not always know how. We offer solutions to problems with the best of intentions but sometimes the solutions we offer are taken as if we are telling others what to do. What we really need to do is help people find their own solutions, but how? Here are seven strategies to help others help themselves in getting what they want.

1. Establish and maintain rapport
When communication goes badly it is usually because of one factor: lack of rapport. When rapport wains so does trust, connection, and influence. Start by gaining rapport through acknowledging the other person’s intent, building trust, and active listening. If they appear to disengage then go back to building rapport before doing anything else. Nothing else will work until rapport is firmly established.

2. Have them state what they want in the positive
The subconscious mind doesn’t understand negatives. Saying “I don’t want to be taken advantage of again,” is the same as saying “I want to be taken advantage of again,” to the subconscious mind. Instead of focusing on what they don’t want, have them state what they want in the positive, like “I want to be valued for the amazing person I am.”

3. Have them make it sensory specific
The stronger and more intense the desire, the more powerful it can become. Do this by having them intensify visualizations by making them full of colors, textures, smells, sounds, and touch. Have them associate positive feelings to what they want. Ask, “How will it feel when you get it?” The more they focus on feeling how they will feel when they get what they want, the easier it will be to achieve.

4. Initiated and maintained by the one who wants it
When helping others to get clear on what they want it is important to make sure it is what they want and not what you want. Avoid suggesting what they should do and instead encourage them to answer that question for themselves. If you do offer advice then give at least three alternatives so they can choose for themselves and it becomes their decision and their responsibility.

5. Acknowledge and appreciate limiting beliefs
Sometimes we hold ourselves back from doing what we want because of limiting beliefs. All believes had a purpose when they were formed but sometimes beliefs can outlive their usefulness. Rather than challenge a limiting belief, recognize the original intention and be grateful for it. This helps us see beliefs without triggering their defense mechanisms. Then look for other ways the original intention can be satisfied.

6. Preserve the positive by-product of the current situation
If we are not getting all of what we want then it is usually because we are getting part of what we want and we fear giving that up. Acknowledging this can sometimes help us see how we may be holding ourselves back and encourage us find better alternatives.

7. Recognize benefits of new perspectives
Behind every want is a desire to feel a specific way. This is the essence of why we do things, to have particular feelings. Keeping this in mind can help inspire and motivate us to get what we really want and feel the way we really want to feel. If what we want is better than what we are getting then focusing on this can inspire us to go for it.

Wise people have said that if we truly desire something then we are capable of having it. Supporting others in discovering what they truly want can also help us get clearer on what we want and encourage others to help us to get it.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake Calabrese October 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Great post David! I also loved the presentation – would be great to see that again somewhere!

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David Bernstein October 18, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Thank you, Jake. It was great to have you at my talk at Agile 2013. I love presenting on the technical stuff but that talk went so well that I’ll have to consider presenting more on collaboration/communication.

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Jake Calabrese October 19, 2013 at 1:16 am

After hearing you – and you telling me the above in person… I don’t think you should ever present on technical stuff!! :)

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David Bernstein October 19, 2013 at 1:32 am

Ah, but you’ve never heard me present on technical stuff…and thank you!

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Jake Calabrese October 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

You know… I realized that after I posted the above… so I’ll have to look for one of those!

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