I recently finished a really enjoyable book called The Trusted Advisor. It’s all about how to be a better consultant. One of the bits that really resonated with me was about the benefits of providing options to your clients – even when you already know what the right choice is. Quoting from the Robert M. Galford’s book:
Saying ” You’ve got to do x,” even when you know it is correct, is very likely to elicit emotional resistance. No one likes to be told they must do something (even when they do).
It is usually better to say something like:
“Let’s go through the options together. These are the ones I see. Can you think of anything else that we should consider? Now let’s go through the pro’s and con’s of each course of action. Based on those pros and cons, action X seems the most likely to work, does it? Or can you think of a better solution?”
Hip-hop producer Timbaland is masterful in putting these words into action for client Jay-Z in the following short video. He only had one beat to play but he knew just how to deliver it.