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Influence! Everybody wants more of it. People respect you when you have it.

Marvelous things occur when it is used properly. You get more of what you personally want or need. Teams and projects move forward and causes are advanced.

As with most wants and desires in life, the doors you open with influence depend on your people skills.

The Oak Door

Some people are like huge oak doors in an old English castle like you saw in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. They are solid, tough, a bit formidable and intimidating. They process information quickly and are interested in the bottom line.

To open their door, don’t be superficial and forget the humor. Just present a bulleted list of conclusions, no background information – they will only get impatient. Expect an immediate decision.

The French Door

Other people are like French doors. They have lots of windows that open to patios of fun.

To open their doors, present your needs with a little humor and give them options. Be patient as they take time to consider alternatives before making a decision.

Because they are not strong on follow-through, you may have to call them inside, shut the door and give them a deadline to make a decision.

The Cabin Door

I remember a cabin we rented that had a large, inviting knotty pine door. When you opened it, you walked into a warm room with a huge fireplace and a neat row of rockers in front of it.

Be warm with the cabin door person. They are slower paced – they “rock” on decisions.

Since they are concerned with the feelings of others, be prepared: your ideas will be passed around the entire “cabin” for full consensus.

The Library Door

As a child I used to make a weekly stop at the library on the way home from school. I’ll never forget pushing that sophisticated, finely crafted door open and seeing all the volumes of information inside.

This is like our fourth type of person. They are complex. They thrive on details.

Present them with the whole story, not the cliff notes. Be sure to include the ISBN number and the publisher information.

Do not jump from subject to subject, but keep your flow of information linear. When you are finished, give them time to process and thoroughly analyze the information.

When the “book is due,” assure them they are making the right decision.

Try these people skills tips and you’ll never have a door slammed in your face.

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