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Me-We Persuasion Styles

 

Techniques General persuasion > Articles on persuasion > Me-We Persuasion Styles

Me-We | Push-Pull | The Me-We Model | See also

 

Here is a useful model of how we persuade, based on the concern for self vs. the relationship, plus the tendency to push or pull in the approach we use.

Concern: Me-We

In the Me-We dimension, the question is to what extent is the person doing the persuading focusing on themself or or whether they are concerned for a more balanced sharing.

This dimension shows the intent, the focus of concern by the persuader in this area.

Me

When I focus on me, I have less concern for others and more for what I can get out of this. I may see the situation as a zero-sum, win-lose. I may care less about others. I may be in a hurry and have no time for friendly persuasion.

We

When I focus on we, I make the relationship important. This is often a very real concern in negotiation and persuasion, where longer-term liking and trust will lead to greater overall benefit. It also is related to the general sociability of the person persuading. To work with other people, requires greater trust.

Direction: Push-Pull

When persuading, we can push our views onto others, or we can use a more collaborative approach.

Push

When I push, the direction of influence is from me towards the person I am trying to persuade. I start with my ideas and try to find the best way to foist them on my target audience, often employing direct forms of power.

This approach is appropriate when I want to get people to act differently and where am not that worried about whether they truly agree with me. I usually just want action, and want it now.

Pull

When I pull, the direction of influence is from others to me. Rather than directly foisting my ideas on others, 'making' them agree, I want them to voluntarily agree. This typically requires greater people skills than push methods.

This approach is important when I want to get real commitment, such that the person will act autonomously in the long term as I wish.

The Me-We model

The way people persuade tends to fall into one of four styles, depending on their concern for others and their relative power. In practice, this means we vary our style as our power changes and with our relationship with the other person. However we will still tend to prefer one style and will navigate situations to create the appropriate environment. Our preferred style may be one which aligns best with our other personality characteristics. It may also be that where we are most skilled.

If you can understand these, you can use this model to predict their actions and so increase your power and ability to respond.

 

Me-We
Persuasion Style

Concern
 

Me

We

Direction

Push

(from me)

Pull

(to me)

 

Insist

 

Influence
 

Inspire

 

Inquire

 

Insist

When I just want you to do or agree to something, I will push my ideas or commands, insisting that you accept what I say. I do not really need to change minds; action is often enough here.

This method is the most coercive and works best when you have the necessary power and where speed of action is important. It is a common approach with many managers when they lack skills or time for other methods.

Influence

When I still want to push my idea but am more concerned that you really agree, then I need to use more persuasive methods, arguing my case, using reason rather than command or passion.

This method is useful when you have lower power or when you need people to agree with something to which they would not normally agree.

Inspire

When I really want you to buy into my ideas, getting you not only to agree with me but also to follow me on a journey to the future, then I need to really inspire you.

This is the method of visionary leaders who need to create impassioned followers. It is also the preferred pattern for politicians who seek votes and support for political action.

Inquire

When I am concerned to get the right decision as well as get people bought into it, then a more collaborative method is likely to be used. In this, discussions may be longer with greater listening on both sides. The result, hopefully, will be sound decisions and committed action.

This method is best when you do not have the full answer and want to get people fully engaged into design, decisions and longer-term actions.

See also

Pull principle, Push principle, Values

 

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