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I've found the personal productivity methods and techniques I use (such as GTD and Inbox Zero) to be hugely helpful, but I've always struggled with good ways to introduce them to other people.

Some people will seek new information out: they'll see you collecting actions or catch a glance of an empty inbox and actively seek out more information. Obviously those type of folks are easy to share with because they initiate the dialogue. People you're very close to are also easy because there's a relationship of trust and a history of healthy communication.

What's trickier is how to share with someone more passive. You think they would be interested, but you don't want to offend them or turn them off to the whole thing if they resent your approach as an implication that they're not productive now (kind of like offering someone a mint right after you've started a conversation, but taken more personally).

How do I introduce someone to personal productivity methods in a non pushy way so that it's not likely to be taken as critical, but instead taken in the spirit of sharing things that someone might find useful?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Instigate curiosity. Make them ask.

I usually use this as a personal technique to share a new idea. It gives me time to think of good arguments.

"I've got a great idea!"

"Cool. What is it?"

"Yadda yadda about the basics and questionable changes."

"But what about questionable change ? Won't this compromise something important ?"

"I can give you more details tomorrow during luch time. I've got to go now, bye."

"Ok. Later!"

He's going to think about it a lot more than if you had told him the complete idea. For some reason, people don't react well to a change that wasn't of their initiative so it's healthy to grow interest before sharing and you never know if you can get his attention enough time to convince him, but using this technique can make it the exclusive subject of your next conversation.

If he's still not interested in the idea the next time you see him, be sure to make him think you've changed your mind because it's stupid, which may cause him to think your golden secret may be too good to be shared.

I have the Pomodoro Technique printed and laying over my desk. I've told a co-worker about the technique but never got into details because he never asked. Whoever else asks about the document gets "tomato sauce recipe" as an answer. The objetive here is to make them google more details based on what's written in the cover and start using it on their own.

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+1 for "Instigate curiosity". – Soner Gönül Sep 15 '11 at 20:13

How to Win Friends and Influence People has some wonderful ideas:

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're Wrong."
  3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
    1. Appeal to the nobler motives.
    2. Dramatize your ideas.
    3. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.
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