My power of persuasion is to always try and sincerely show respect to others. I was taught that you must give respect to earn respect. Whether it’s dealing with elected officials, members of the public, developers, or employees, show them the respect that you would hope they would afford you.
Respect their place in our governmental process. Respect the fact that you might not have all the answers.
This is certainly easier said than done. I have found, however, that I can be much more persuasive if the people I’m working with feel like I have first heard, understood, and respected their position. This definitely can be challenging at times, but the rewards are well worth it.
North College Hill, Ohio
Having an ongoing consistent dialogue with elected officials prevents an atmosphere in which you are suddenly unloading a lot of information or sharing your position on a particular policy or administrative decision out of the blue.
North College Hill’s elected officials receive information from me on a weekly basis, which leads to trust and transparency and results in my voice being considered.
The power of persuasion is really dependent on the audience. Part of communication is to modify the communication method to the audience.
For elected officials, I ensure that I give adequate time to explain the situation and give the alternatives, also making sure they understand my point of view as to which decision would benefit the community or organization more. Hopefully, then we are on the same page and agree on the same course of action.
For department directors and employees, I try to ensure that the message of teamwork is delivered and believed. I always try to let them know that without them helping me get the job done, without us all working as a team, we would not be able to accomplish anything.
For the community, I try to give a personal touch to the message. I include a real-life example of how the item I am communicating about is relevant and important to their quality of life.
Communicating a community’s vision and needs is critical in today’s economic climate. If, as administrator, I’m not expressing this for the community I serve, no one else will.
I approach this by first creating a foundation of trust with the outlets for that voice. You can’t be perceived as whining every time you get to the microphone. State and agency representatives can absorb and solve only so many problems at once. If you dump every concern or need on them every time you have their ear, they can stop listening.
I work to address the most pressing matter(s). Limiting the request to one or two topics at a time allows people to clearly understand the action you are requesting them to take.
I also try to take a proactive approach. It is easier to address an issue before it becomes a fire.