The Power of Personal Experience in Influencing Others

The Importance of Personal Experience

Have you ever tried to convince someone to care about something that they didn't think was worth doing at all. It can feel like pushing a string or herding cats. In a call center, the help desk employees often felt this way. They wanted respect from their peers in other departments, who didn't think supporting the call center was worth doing well.

So how do you convince people that your issue is important and that they should care. Lectures, sermons, and data dumps are not very persuasive. People put up defenses as soon as they realize you're trying to persuade them. The key is personal experience.

The Gold Standard of Persuasion

Personal experience is the gold standard when it comes to changing people's minds. If you want someone to understand the importance of responding to the call center, put them in the call center. Let them experience the pressure and challenges firsthand. This is exactly what we did in our organization, and the results were remarkable. Engineers, accountants, and even people from the attorney group were rotated through call center assignments. They experienced what the call center employees had been going through, and it changed their minds.

This approach is not unique to us. Companies like Saturn and McDonald's also use personal experience to influence their employees.

Creating Personal Experiences

So the next time you need to persuade someone, think about how you can create a personal experience for them. If you want your daughter to understand the importance of keeping up with her homework, have her volunteer to help with an adult literacy program. If you want your colleagues to return calls from the call center, find a way for them to experience the pressure and challenges firsthand. Personal experience is far more effective than verbal persuasion.

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