Influencing partners can be a challenge but if we follow a few simple guidelines it can be made more straight forward. Some partners can appear direct to the point of bluntness or even rude. Others can talk about the details of things for a very long time. The first thing we need to bear in mind is…
That whatever their work style they will almost all think they are normal and that their work style is normal. Some people who are of a more social or friendly work style can fall into the trap of thinking it is they who are causing the abrupt style in the partner, you are not. (Well in fact there are situations where you might be, but more on that in a future post) They are like this with most people because it is their work style. It is their way of working.
So in order to influence them we can use the principle of mirroring. Mirroring uses the principle that most people like doing business with people like themselves. We are fundamentally herd animals and even the abrupt partner likes to do business with abrupt colleagues, only the behaviour is not perceived as abrupt in a bad way, it is seen as a good way to behave. Mirroring states that in order to influence a partner we can try to mirror their work style and that in doing so we will make them feel that we are like them, at least in our work style. If they feel we are like them then they are that more likely to warm to us and do business with us.
So the idea is to observe the work style of the partner you want to influence and then mirror them. Obviously this comes with a health warning. If the partner is sat back on their chair, arms behind their head and feet on the desk, you do not march in, sit down and mirror them, however good it would be to try. If anyone does try this please can you let me know what happens and which law firm you moved to?