Make It Easy for Them: 4 Ways to Get the Yes
Making decisions is hard work. Reviewing data takes time. Imagining something you can't see can take a lot of brain power.
These are all obstacles to getting buy in for your solutions.
Whether you're internal L&D or outsourced help, like the Your ID team and me, I have the same advice: if you want to get people to buy into your solutions...
make it easy for them.
"Make it easy for them" is one of Your ID's mottos (the other is "Make learning that matters.™" -- yes, we're so committed that we're trademarking it).
Now, I should clarify that the "them," in this case, isn't the learners. I'm all about rigor. And what learners think is "easy" is a whole other post for a whole other day.
The "them" in "Make it easy for them" is your clients or internal project owners and your SMEs-- the people who need to "buy in" in order for you to see out your vision.
You want to make it easy for them to say yes.
So how do you make it easy for them?
Here are four ways to do just that.
Do your homework so they don't have to.
Listen carefully, think critically, and present your evidence. Preemptively respond to questions or objections you think they'll have, rather than waiting for them to come to you. Document your findings, recommendations, and research, and share it.
Don't make clients go through the whole decision making process, trying to evaluate the right choice. Make it so they can just say "yes, this plan looks well-considered. Let's go with that."
The clearer you are and the better prepared you appear, the easier it is for them to be confident that your way is the best way.
Show rather than tell.
It can be super challenging for people who aren't learning designers or creatives to imagine what we can do. Whenever possible, throw together a sketch, sample, or prototype. Anything at all that helps to immerse them in the experience you're suggesting can help get you the yes.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much you could get from 3 slides or 1 interaction or 10 seconds of video.
Have a process/systems you can communicate.
Nothing creates mistrust like uncertainty, and trust is, of course, what it takes to get buy in. Having processes and systems that you can quickly describe is a big win that can instantly position you for success. It shows that you're experienced, thoughtful, and have a method your client can just step into. They don't have to do the hard work of figuring out workflows and handoffs. They can just let you take the lead.
Tell them exactly what you want.
One of my biggest challenges as an early career ID was telling people what I wanted. I spent a lot of time talking about what I didn't want. It can still be a struggle for me, but in negotiations, it's important not to just say no but to say "This is what would work for me".*
Some people say "don't bring the problem, bring me the solution," and while I'm not sure that always has to be the case, I understand the why.
When you bring a solution, you've minimized their cognitive load. You've made it easier for them. So easy they might just say yes.
*Yes, of course, there are exceptions.
Doing these four things positions you as a helpful guide with significant expertise. You're someone who knows what it takes to get things done, and you can reduce your client/boss/SME/colleague's cognitive load. You're not another person who needs to be tended to and micromanaged.
Thus, they're more likely to say yes to the help they so need.
And when you've asked for what you've want and shown why it works and how to make it work, you've put all the stepping stones in place for your client/boss/SME/colleague to do things in a way that works for you.
It's a win-win.
Want to learn more about needs analysis and positioning yourself for success? Check out From Data to Design.