Opening Closed Minds

Getting Past an Initial "No"

Keep an open mind.

© iStockphoto

Imagine this scenario: you've spent weeks putting together a proposal to present to your company's senior executive team.

Your goal is to convince them that donating money each quarter to a charitable cause would not only help the company's image with customers, but also improve team morale. You're passionate about the issue, and you're confident that once your presentation is finished, they'll be "sold."

When the time comes, you speak from your heart and give them several facts that prove your argument. You also present examples from other successful companies in your industry that currently give to charity on a regular basis.

When you're done, however, you're shocked and discouraged when the CEO rejects the idea without even discussing it with the rest of the executive team. When you ask why, she tells you that it's just too expensive, despite the evidence you presented that shows a positive financial return.

What happened here? You thought you would be successful, but it seems as if the CEO had made up her mind before you even started talking. So how can you avoid situations like this?

All too often, we can face these circumstances in the workplace. The people to whom we're talking don't really listen, because our idea goes against their beliefs, or their current way of thinking.

Dealing with closed minds doesn't have to be frustrating. With some patience and understanding – and with a few sales techniques – it is often possible to open someone's mind to a new way of thinking.

In this article, we explain why some people close themselves to new ideas, and we offer techniques that you can use to try to open their minds.

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