In this episode, Mary Lynn Manns shares techniques you can use to get buy-in for your ideas and influence others to take action.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • Why facts and data don’t motivate people to take action
  • How to create an emotional connection to your idea
  • The difference between influencing an individual and influencing a group
  • How to make your ideas stick using stories


You can have the best ideas in the world, but if you can’t persuade people to take action, they go nowhere.  When you explain your idea and hit them with data, you can move their heads, but are you moving their hearts?

We need to get people to care about what we’re saying.  Facts alone can’t always do that.  We can help people understand our idea, and it’s a lot more difficult to get them to care about the idea.


Getting People to Care About Your Idea

Before you try to persuade someone, get a feel for what they care about.  Once you understand what they care about, you can relate your idea to how it supports what they care about.

This “Personal Touch” approach helps form an alignment between your idea and that which is important to the person you’re trying to persuade.

The Personal Touch approach can be challenging when working with a group.  One solution is to help the group understand the problem that’s causing the need for your idea.  This technique is known as the “Wake Up Call”.

When using the Wake Up Call, be cautious about how you discuss the underlying problem as there may be people in the room who have causes or are responsible for the problem.


Don’t Just Give Facts and Data

We’re usually very good at providing facts and data.  While data can be important, we often don’t connect on an emotional level with data.

To enhance the way you provide information, try adding stories to your data.  It doesn’t even need to be a true story.  You can share a hypothetical story with a few sentences that illustrate your point.

Put your data into a story to give them something they can feel and connect with on an emotional level.

Stories make your idea memorable and give your audience a vehicle to retell your idea to others.


Imagine That

If you find it difficult to tell a story about your idea, you can use the “Imagine That” technique to get people to make up their own story.

Have them discuss the current situation and its related problems.  Then have them imagine what things would look like if they adopted your idea.

The Imagine That technique allows people to feel your idea and trigger an emotional response.


These strategies and techniques take extra time, but the payoff is worth the effort.

Listen to the full episode to learn more strategies for getting buy-in for your ideas and how to avoid some of the pitfalls.



We work hard to get the facts and data right.  We need to work a little harder to emotionally connect with people.

Start at home.  How can you persuade people you know well by talking about things they care about?

After that, look at the data you’re using in the workplace and how you’re talking with people.  Think about the strategies you can use to form an emotional connection and get people to not just understand your idea, but care about your idea.


 Links mentioned in this episode:

Mary Lynn Manns

Mary Lynn Manns

Author and Professor at UNC Asheville

Mary Lynn Manns is a professor on the Management faculty at UNC Asheville in Asheville, North Carolina. She is the co-author of two popular books, Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas and More Fearless Change: Strategies for Making Your Ideas Happen, which document the successful strategies used by leaders of change in many different types and sizes of organizations throughout the world.


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