How To Get Cooperation (from anyone)
a parable about communication
There was once a little boy who fought his parents at bedtime every night.
He would cry, beg, fight, anything to get out of going to bed.
His parents, both loving and caring for his well being, did everything they could to try & get him to go to bed at a reasonable hour. But nothing seemed to work.
New stuffed animals, noise machines, bribing, snacks, they even tried essential oils! Nothing worked.
After a few weeks, the entire household was exhausted. Mom was cranky, dad was frustrated, and the little boy was so over-tired.
The house was in pure chaos.
With nowhere else to turn, the exhausted parents sought counsel from their parents. They both knew that they weren’t raised in perfect households but they were out of options and willing to listen to any advice.
They called a family meeting, sat both sets of parents on their sofa, and with tears in their eyes admitted defeat.
Our son, we love him, but he is killing us. Please tell us how to get this child to go to sleep.
Almost immediately, the two grandpas began to debate.
One said did the boy needed tough love while the other contended that he would go to sleep if you just rocked him for long enough and loved on him.
As the conversation went on the two grandpas became louder and seemingly more decided in their own opinion. So much so, they didn’t even notice that the grandmother’s had left the room.
It wasn’t until the grandmother’s walked back in that anyone even knew they were missing.
Where have you been??? The family inquired.
We’ve been watching your son sleep.
What!?!? How did you get him to go to sleep?
The grandmas smiled.
We asked him if he liked bedtime. He said no.
We asked him if he liked breakfast. He said yes.
We asked him if he had ever ridden in a time machine. He said no.
We asked him if he would like to ride in a time machine. He said yes.
So.. We told him his bed was a time machine to breakfast.
He fell asleep because it seemed more fun to get into the time machine to breakfast then to simply go to bed.
Even when we have the best of intentions it can be a challenge to get other people to cooperate with us. That’s why our message is so important. The more we focus on the other person’s perspective the more we are able to craft a message that will win us willing cooperation.
Talk in terms of the others person’s interest and you’ll get willing cooperation.