Whenever I’m working with community leaders, non-profit and public administrators, entrepreneurs, or advocates, a common question often emerges: “How do we get our situation to stand out among all the others and have voice heard with decision-makers?”
With the speed of communications and the proliferation of so many voices, opinions and causes, taking the time to structure your perspective goes a long way in garnering buy-in from stakeholders. While the use of stories and testimonials are important in compelling communications, to effectively sell your case stories, opinions and lengthy diatribes, cannot fully and effectively convey the weight of an issue without sound infrastructure.
In May, I had the fortune of traveling to ASBA Zone meetings and provide a brief presentation “Sharing your Story with More Meaning”, where I introduced the Compelling Framework. This session provided a brief overview of techniques that can be incorporated in strengthening board and trustee influence.
Among the seven steps shared in my session, incorporating the “FAB Approach” is a long-standing method effective when presenting your idea and seeking genuine buy-in from others. The FAB Approach can be used in negotiations, advocacy, stakeholder relations, and even in pitching ideas to colleagues, friends and family. So what is the FAB Approach?
The FAB Approach is one technique in the Compelling Framework to construct meaningful pitches to open constructive discourse or respond to objections or opposition. There are three sequential pieces in the approach, and outlined below in the simplest form.
Feature (The what?):
A specific attribute, fact, particular point, or characteristic relating to an item or topic.
Advantage (The so-what?):
The Advantage adds the muscle to your feature. The advantage statement explains why this feature is particularly good/bad.
Benefit (The so why does this matter to me?)
The Benefit is the follow-through to your swing. It is where the power is. The benefit statement explains why the Advantage is useful or purposeful to the other person, stakeholder group, organization, general society.
While there is no guaranteed system to win everyone over every time, practical methods, such as the Compelling Framework, can be employed to bolster your persuasion, negotiation, and collaboration skills without being harrying.
Tash Taylor is a school boards consultant with the ASBA. The complete one-day workshop or two half days is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-482-7311.
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