Disability Advice

Reviews and advice for disabled people by disabled people.

Tools and techniques for Parents and Carers part 4


A simple influencing structure and looking at situations from different points of view.

Following on from my previous article on influencing others and asking for what you need, in this article I focus on how you can use a simple influencing structure and a tool for looking at situations from different points of view.

As sometimes you may feel frustrated in trying to get what you want or need as a carer or daunted that you have to push for resources, it helps to have an influencing plan.

The Influencing Plan

  1. Set objectives. It helps to have multiple outcomes, agree and write down what you
    1. want,
    2. will settle for,
    3. definitely do not want.

    Focus on what it will be like to get what you want so that you are able to describe it clearly and vividly to others.

  2. When you get to talk to the people you want to influence take the opportunity to get their point of view first. Probe and use open questions, (where they can’t say yes or no). How do they see situation and why do they see it like that?
  3. Summarise their points back for clarity and to show you are listening. This will break down resistance to allow you to then present your desired solution.
  4. Present how you see the options in terms of benefits that make sense to them not just you, e.g. – If you invest in letting us have this equipment at home it will result in less hospital bed time being taken up.
  5. Close by asking questions that require a yes or no. e.g. So you will contact the relevant person to persuade them to do this? Get a date for the action: e.g. When is the earliest you can do that by?

Think of the situations where you can use this structure and have it in front of you to remind you when discussing care options. Remember you often end up being the expert in the care needed so be prepared to share this. Don’t presume others will know more than you or have the right answer so it is ok to challenge decisions.

Looking at situations from different points of view.

It is really useful to develop the art of using different points of view in order to understand how to negotiate and understand others to be able to influence them.

To understand a situation fully involves looking at three perspectives. There is no ‘right’ perspective in any situation.

  • First position: is your own reality, your own view of any situation. You need to know your values and goals to influence others.
  • Second position: is making the creative leap of your imagination to understand the world from another person’s perspective, to think in the way they think. Second position is the basis of empathy and rapport. It gives us the ability to appreciate other people’s feelings. (Emotional second position is understanding the other person’s emotions. Intellectual second position is the ability to understand how the other person thinks, the kind of ideas they have and the sort of opinions and outcomes they hold.)
  • Third position: is a step outside your view and the other person’s view to a detached perspective. There you can see the relationship between two view points and what needs to happen to reconcile them.

When to use them

1st position is a good one to adopt when you want to stand up for yourself, get in touch with your own feelings, or when initially setting outcomes.

2nd position is a good one to adopt when you can’t understand another person’s behaviour or decisions. Once you understand, or seek to understand them, it will give you a greater understanding and therefore choice about how to deal with the situation taking into account how the other person is affected by it.

3rd position can be valuable when you want to stand back, take stock, and think objectively about a situation.  It can be particularly valuable when you don’t want the emotions attached to either being in or thinking about a situation.

If you get in the habit of seeing situations from all three perspectives and your ability to understand and influence others will increase dramatically. (The Perceptual Positions tool was first put forward by John Grindler and Judith DeLozier and developed from work by Gregory Bateson.)

Next time I’ll be looking at how you can to empower the person you are caring for.

Toby Buckle

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