We all at some point need to get people to do things for us, and some people find it hard to achieve the end result. Here are 5 simple steps to getting people to do things, without looking like Attila the Hun.

1. Identify what makes people tick

Different things motivate different people and motivated people are more productive. You need to identify 'what's in it for me' with your staff so you need to get to know your people. To do this you need to acknowledge the importance of chat. Take time to have short informal chats with your staff to find out a bit about their personal lives, but remember it isn't Jeremy Kyle.

2. Make good arguments and express them clearly

Getting people to do things is a bit like selling. You are trying to answer the question 'why should I...?'. Effective communication is key here. Get all your facts and arguments together before meeting people and make sure you present them simply and clearly. Answer questions openly and if you don't know the answer, say so but say you will find it out. This will demonstrate you are human and honest. It's far better to pull people with you (come on in the water's lovely) rather than push them to do things (go and jump in that lake).

3. Win through negotiation

This is like old fashioned bartering, each side starting from different points and slowly, through give and take, you move closer till you find a position you are both happy with. It's a relationship and not a contest, win-win works. Show you understand their views and concerns and look for common ground as a starting point. Be a guide not a guardian, strive for partnership and be prepared to give a little.

4. Be genuine

Saying things you think people want to hear which are not true, leads to distrust. Be a real person, show uncertainty and even weaknesses, but also show strength and willingness to get advice, and don't forget to be there for your people to offer support. By being genuine and keeping promises people will react more positively to what you say. They will trust you and trust breeds respect and a willingness to help.

5. Take the long term view

Don't oversell something, don't run like hell before they change their minds or seize any chances or offers. Sometimes it just isn't possible to accommodate everyone, accept this and move on accordingly, but be prepared to feedback the reasons why so people stay engaged with you. After all, it won't be long before you will want them to do something else and you don't want to have to start from scratch again.

Article by Lynne Hammond of Pet&r LLP.

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