Getting stakeholders to say “yes” to the dress

RandyMy wife and I watch Say Yes to the Dress on TLC (I know, I know) and during an episode tonight I realized that Randy and his team of bridal consultants are absolute masters at giving their ‘stakeholders’ both time and space to adjust their initially negative reactions into something more positive without losing face or appearing to back down.

This was illustrated tonight in an episode featuring the guy from American Chopper, Paul Teutul, Jr. and his fiancée Rachael. After trying several dresses, Rachael appeared in the viewing room in a dress that she loved, Randy loved, her family and friends loved, but her mother did not. This didn’t faze Randy though, he knew that he just needed to give Rachael’s mother a) some time to observe how much everyone else liked it and b) a way to justify to herself (and everyone else) why she now liked it. He accomplished both of these by having Rachael try on several accessories (veil, headpiece, etc.) and voila – Rachael’s mother suddenly started seeing the dress in a new light and loving it.

UX professionals can learn from this, when our stakeholders are split in their opinions we need to develop techniques to help the detractors gracefully change their opinions. What are some ways you’ve seen this work?

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