Keep an open mind.
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.
Most of us are closed-minded about something, whether we realize it or not. We hold onto a particular issue, idea, or practice – and we can't be convinced that there are possible improvements, or better alternatives. Our ears may listen to opposing arguments or viewpoints, but our minds remain fixed, certain that the other person is wrong and we're right.
Why do we behave this way?
It's human nature to "follow the path of least resistance." In other words, it's often easiest to think in familar, comfortable ways. If we challenge ourselves to examine other ideas or practices, we might have to change. For many people, change is too uncomfortable, so they close off the possibility of thinking in a new way.
A second, perfectly valid reason is that closing our minds allows us to...
With the Mind Tools Club, you get much, much more than you do here for free.
And we'll give you the 4 workbooks above when you join!
Learn on the move with the free Mind Tools iPhone, iPad and Android Apps. Short bursts of business training ideal for busy people.