At one time or another, each of us has been in a position where we need to persuade a manager, a fellow worker, or anyone for that matter, to our point-of-view. For example, you might want new server hardware, to upgrade an existing instance of SQL Server, the help of a co-worker, or you would like a raise.
While you might think that persuasion is more of an art than a science, you would be wrong. In this book, Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive (Free Press, 2008), the three authors provide a series of rules that have been scientifically proven, through over 60 years of research, to help persuade people to your point of view. Here are a couple of the rules discussed in this book.
Don’t Offer Too Many Choices: People often get confused and frustrated if faced with too many choices. For example, if you want new server hardware, offer two or three choices at the most, so the decision-maker won’t be overwhelmed with information.
Argue Against Self-Interest: Trust is one of the most important parts of persuasion, and one of the best ways to help foster trust is to be honest in your persuasion and to admit to any small weakness in your argument. For example, continuing our example of wanting new server hardware, you might say that while hardware is changing so fast, and that a newer model will probably be out in the next few months (the admission of weakness); you can follow up with the argument that even though this may be the case, the sooner the existing technology is implemented, the sooner the benefits will begin.
The Threat of Loss is More Persuasive than the Potential for Gain: Traditionally, people list all of the possible benefits of their argument, such as listing all of the benefits of purchasing new hardware. While benefits are important, it is actually more important to to list all of the negative possibilities that could/would happen if the choice is not made. For example, if new server hardware is not purchased in the next 60 days, then the server could fail, which would result in downtime, and potentially costing the company lots of money.
As part of your personal self-development as a DBA, it is important to master the many “soft skills” needed to get along better with people. And one way towards this goal is to read this book and learn how to persuade people to get what you want.