If you want to dominate you industry you have to be able to dominate the conversation going on in your industry. You have to be able to steer the conversation in a way that benefits what you are trying to do.
If you are the big guy and trying to get bigger then you need to be able to create a conversation that helps you do that. On the other hand, if you’re the small guy trying to disrupt a legacy market, then you need to understand how to create words and a discussion that support your disruption.
In every industry there are rules.
Rules that decide what is important. Rules that decide what you can charge your clients for your services and the “best practices” that frame up how you deliver your services.
Unless you can change the conversation, you’ll spend your time being combative and ultimately struggle to create the impact that you need. If you can control what your industry talks about, you’ll be the one they talk about. Which is a pretty good position to be in.
Here are a few ways to control any conversation:
- Don’t say anything. — Let your competitors fall on their own sword. When competitors get combative or ridiculously petty it can help to just hush up and let your opponent damage themselves. You win because they lose. And you’re smart to let them.
- Defend your position. — When the facts are on your side, use them. When the facts are especially sensational use them. Pound them home. The best defense is a great offense. Remember that. Keep repeating cold, hard facts. Try not to be angry. It ruins the moment.
- Make your opponent incredible.– If you can’t attack your opponent’s tactical position, then bring them down to yours. Point out what makes them unbelievable. Make it personal. But be careful, you can end up help your competitor if you don’t appear sympathetic to your audience.
- Bring up a more interesting topic. — Change the subject all together. Instead of playing along with the dialog, create a new one. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Any new topic will do. The smarter the better. What matters is that you disrupt the flow of the conversation.
- Argue over “facts”. — You can make the facts seem like fiction. And in reverse as well. The difference between big ideas and delusion can be pretty slim. Especially if you make a passionate case for why you are right. Create the debate.
- Be likable. — Sometimes being right means you’re completely wrong — but extremely likable. It’s hard to argue with someone that you like. Right? Play that card. Use gender, good genes, and polished behavior to keep the conversation focused on what you think is important.
- Bring up history favorable to your postion. — This is an easy one. History is always on your side. It doesn’t matter what position you want to take, there is always an example to back you up — or scare your competitors in the opposite direction. Exploit that.
- Demand proof that you’re wrong. — Stop proving that your right. Demand proof that you are wrong. Make your competitors present unassailable proof that you are wrong (which is near impossible to do). Meanwhile you keep repeating your side of the story.
Like with any superpower, you can use your skills to be helpful or to hurt other people.
Changing the conversation doesn’t mean you get to push people around.
You don’t have a license to be a bully.
You still need to give more value than other people pay for. You still need to listen. You still need to be kind. You still need to execute. You still need to put in extreme behavior.
But now you have your playbook. You know how to dominate your competitors.
Any one of these strategies will help you.
And enjoy conquering.