Approval Flush

In our newly video – shortly to become hybrid – sales world, I often discuss the nuances of voting on a video call.

The ways approval gets sought in real life, sat around the same meeting table, is curiously haphazard.

Let’s take a vote!
We all in agreement then?
We’ve been talking this ’round the houses long enough, hey…

Over video the chances to do this way better are legion.

One of my 52 Ways (to get what you want from virtual meetings) goes deep into prioritisation.

A pillar of polling, as I’ve blogged on before with relation to primetime politics, is shaping the question.

I myself bore witness to a seasoned (albeit slippery) pro handle this often tricky terrain with aplomb.

After establishing that all questions were done, from her top-left corner of the zoom grid, she simply said;

Do we have any objectors?

There was silence.

Quick as a flash, she banged her metaphorical gavel.

Motion passed.

It did remind me a little bit of the moment during a wedding ceremony officiated by a religious type, where they strangely feel compelled to ask if anyone has an objection. The awkward, ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ part.

Also in part of the UK parliament’s 10-minute Bill procedure. Where MPs on the “back benches” can propose legislation. Duly passed if the chamber remains silent after they finish speaking.

Anyway, the lesson was not lost on me.

Perhaps the first point to make, is the style of ‘close’. Asking who agrees passed over for who disagrees.

There’s plenty of psychology surrounding this framing. Yet when the decision is one you as Chair support, it can work in your favour to make those opposing have to verbalise their dissent. The idea being, the pregnant pause will discourage speaking out.

If someone does pipe up, then if it’s only one person, would that not really matter? In one sense, you have your “rough consensus“, rendering a single divergent voice irrelevant.

But if that person (or more) have clout then at least you’ve managed to flush out the objection(s). Never a bad thing on a solution sell. And what’s more, you now know who is on your team too. Unblinkered machinations may begin.

This vote tee-up tactic works well in the staccato playout of a video call. A good tactic to have up your sleeve for when running the agenda item that means most to you.

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