Sometimes we have those moments that we look back on and wish that we could have made better choices, stood more ground, or said something more influential. Sometimes we’ve gone down a path where we didn’t get what we want, or others got the better of us.Here is a proven communication method to help influence others to see and appreciate your way.
4 Mat System
The 4Mat System was first created by Dr Bernice McCarthy in 1975 and is still an effective method to help students be more engaged in learning, understand the concepts, retain the learning, and explore and adapt what they learn to put it into practice. The system was created to engage the most impatient personality types first, those who needed to understand the broad concepts before listening to the details, and then share and retain the details by the detailed and process-oriented thinking types. If you regularly feel unheard, or your wishes are passed over in favour of someone else’s then at least try this format (4Mat). Here are the 5 steps to communicate:
- Know the purpose of the discussion. For example, you may ask your boss ‘Can we meet for a performance review please?’. This sets the agenda, and the purpose of the chat is established.
2. Why? Senior managers are busy people in leadership and are often fast thinkers and dominant personality types. They want to know why they need to talk to you and what’s in it for them before anything else. For example, “I’d like to show you how my work could fund a pay increase.”
3. What? Briefly discuss the model or framework involved in the discussion. Keep this high level as a summary only. For example, “The new initiatives I have to present today will increase existing revenue streams and create new ones”.
4. How? Here’s where you can go into details and step out the calculations specifically and explain how it all works.
5. What If? What Else? Think about any possible objections that may come up and raise them pro-actively with a solution in mind. Those who are conscientious, procedural, and systematic will be listening the whole time you are speaking and looking for the mistakes!
Knowing that nothing is guaranteed, you could top this off with one of the most powerful sentences you can ask is ‘Would you be willing to……?’
That pay rise may not be on everyone’s radar, but this 4Mat system works in any communication – even just to have your family clean up their own mess at home! If you find that ‘Because I said so!’ is no longer working at home, then you need to build a decent argument using 4Mat.