It’s the dilemma that’s so common now—when you’re “Out of the Office”, how “Out” of the office are you? Fol owing on from Part 1 and the importance of putting some helpful structure to your email ‘out of office’ bounceback, a simple-to-fol ow formula of Acknowledge/Inform/Guide is useful and hits the spot. It’s also the safest bet to show your clients, customers and col eagues how professional, helpful and thoughtful you are.
Depending on how you’ve decided to handle being away by doing one of the following:
• Read your emails regularly whilst you’re away, twice per day for example
• Have someone read them and then sort out the ones you need to read when you return or
• Read them all but only when you return. You can just slot your information in and then lean into enjoying your holiday.
Here are a few simple samples to slot your words into: Reading your emails regularly whilst you’re away
• Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X.
• Inform: I will be reading and responding to my emails in the meantime and will do this twice per day.
• Guide: If your message is urgent and you need immediate assistance, please email John Smith, Title, who will help you. You can email him at — or call him on 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.
Someone reads them, sorting out the ones you need to read on your return
• Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X.
• Inform: My col eague, Jim Smith, Title will be accessing my emails during my absence and will make sure any which need immediate attention are handled.
• Guide: If you want to speak to Jim Smith or call him direct whilst I’m away, he can be contacted at —– or you can call him on 123 456 7890
Read them all but only when you return
Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m out-of-the-office at the moment.
Inform: I will return to the office again on August X and in the meantime I have no access to my emails
Guide: If you require immediate assistance, please contact Jane Smith, Title, who will be happy to help you. You can email Jane: ——- or call her direct on: 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.
There’s always a balance to achieve and to weigh up how your emails impact on your time away is a decision you have to make yourself. There’s always a rub.
If you decide to read them and respond to them whilst you’re away, agree you’ll read them and respond to them for a certain period of time, say an hour, every day at the same time. Plans can then be made around that and you can tell people when you’ll get back to them. Managing their and your holiday companions expectations too!
Helping yourself by discussing this first with everyone makes it easy for them to understand and let you get on with it. Trying to do it between trips or between meals just becomes stressful.
You may, or may not agree but this quote sums up the point here: “Time for work—yet take much holiday, for art’s and friendship’s sake”. George de Wilde Putting a bit of structure in place will set you free and anyway, everyone needs some down-time, some time to reboot, so lean into a successful holiday, a managed inbox and your art and friendships too.
If I Were 5 Years Old, What’s Going On
(and could you even tell me)?
A quick question to get to the heart of what’s going on.
This was one of a few key questions I asked a group of CEOs and senior directors I worked with recently as we focussed on communicating with influence. This question, as basic as it sounds, real y helps people boil down what’s actual y going on and separate it from the “stuff”. It’s one of the secrets of great communication—keeping things simple.
It took quite a bit of head-scratching (and a few laughs too) to translate some of the expressions below into a 5 year old’s language.
Confusion and unease—not to mention boredom—is often the main result of rambling on using a combination of too much detail AND corporate
“gobbledeegook”. Listeners/readers tune out, switch off and often miss vital bits of information as it’s wrapped up in “blah” language—which actual y confuses the person saying/writing it too!
We worked with the KISS principle—Keep It Simple and
Straightforward. Leonardo de Vinci himself said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and it’s true. Anyone you think of as a great speaker or inspiring leader communicates in simple, clear, accessible language as much as possible. Translating the “blah” language when they can.
Encouraging clients to use clearer and more “down-to-earth” language, as part of their day-to-day emails/presentations/meeting messages is just as important. This is one of the questions I often ask to get clients to the nub of what’s going on. You build it up from there but it gets you to the core of the message. If you don’t have a 5 year old in your life to use as a reference, remember you were a 5-year old yourself!
We worked on the fol owing expressions together and we came up with a variety of translations for a 5 year old to understand:
• Key Performance Indicators (ways of being able to tell how you’re getting on)
• Optimisation (making the best of things)
• Strategic implementation (doing things we’ve said we will do in our plan)
• Blue-sky thinking (having big, different ideas)
Once you’ve boiled the message down to this 5 year old sort of language you can then start building it up a bit BUT still keep the essence in there.
The group all agreed that the corporate “lingo” is necessary at times—legal language, corporate messages that are already being used—but to use the “if I were 5, what’s going on?” or “if I were 5, what are we talking about?” with your col eagues, team—even clients is a real y powerful question. Trust me.
I asked this question to a recently-promoted Director when he was gradual y going cross-eyed trying to explain the twists and turns in a story about his team. Along the lines of “the KPIs are all being missed because no-one’s interacting in a strategic way and we’re out of alignment because there’s unrest amongst the troops”. Crikey. “Excuse me, Uncle David, if I were 5 years old, what’s going on?” I actual y said that.
After looking at me with a combination of shock and bemusement, he had to sit for a while to be able to boil this down. I said “I don’t understand KPIs, strategy, corporate stuff Uncle David ’cos I’m only 5”.
Final y, after quite a lot of head-scratching, we knew what was going on. He told me “some naughty people are playing some nasty games ‘cos they think we’re going to take their toys away”.
Try this question.
Try it on yourself if no-one else and, I dare you,
Try it with your colleagues/team/clients
You’ll help yourself AND your col eagues to get to the core of what’s going on, and you can start to understand together from the same place. If you need any more encouragement, try some from Albert Einstein “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”.
What Do You Want People to Say About You,
When You’ve Left the Room?
How to be confident and clear when talking about yourself and the sort of person you are.
Working with a group of senior executives—all of whom were either re-applying for their posts or going for a promotion fol owing a management restructure—this was a BIG question they were struggling with.
It’s expected now, when being interviewed, for everything from col ege and University entrance to Board memberships to prepare a personal statement of some form or another. We have to get across the sort of person we are, the way we think and the things we know about ourselves. Rarely is it enough these days to list our “Responsibilities and Achievements” like a role cal .
Organisations from the solo-entrepreneur to the multi-national FTSE/Fortune companies want to know and understand more about you, how you tick and what you’re about.
It’s a big part of getting your message across in an interview (even, if you think about it, on a date which is often an interview-with-dinner!) Ask yourself “when I leave the room after a meeting, what do I want the people still in the room to say about me?” Jot down your thoughts—at least 5 points. Then, if you real y want to get clearer and more useful input for where you are at the moment, ask 5 other people. It’s good to ask people from different areas in your life—family, friends and of course col eagues, past and present.
Pose them the question “when I leave the room, what do you think people say about me and the sort of person I am?” Clients often do this via email to make it easy. Tell your 5 people that it will real y help you and then capture what they say and compare it with what you’ve said yourself.
5 things I guarantee you:
• You’ll be surprised
• You’ll learn something about yourself
• You’l have some different expressions/language to use
• You’ll tell the person you ask you value their opinion
• You’ll be able to describe yourself more confidently and easily.
Right, I’m leaving the room now.
Being Seen Notes
When we hear the word ‘Difficult’ we automatical y say to ourselves ‘uh oh, watch out’ and it slows us down. As a self-confessed WordNerd I real y encourage you to get under, over, around some of the words you use, hear and 3
react to every day. ‘Difficult’ is one of them and let’s translate it so you can Power Up and Be Heard when having conversations like this.
‘Difficult’ is described as:
hard • strenuous • arduous • laborious • tough • onerous • burdensome •
Conversations demanding • punishing • grueling • back-breaking • exhausting • tiring • fatiguing •
They Don’t Have
wearisome • informal hellish • killing • archaic toilsome to Be Difficult
Instead of ‘Difficult’ I use the word ‘tricky’. Tricky has a different sense, a different energy about it…look at the Thesaurus and you can tell the difference.
‘Tricky’ is described as:
awkward • problematic • delicate • ticklish • sensitive • embarrassing • touchy
• risky • uncertain • precarious • touch-and-go • thorny • knotty • complex •
complicated • informal sticky • hairy • dicey
You can handle ‘tricky’ things far more creatively and with far more confidence because you immediately—just by using this word—encourage yourself to be sensitive, to think and plan, to unravel what might be complex.
Tricky has a ‘canny, be savvy’ feel about it.
Difficult conversations is the everyday way, the ‘management’ speak of handling tricky, sensitive, delicate conversations. They’re easier because now you have the energy and angle to approach them. Difficult = hard. It isn’t.
With a bit of thought, it’s actual y often real y easy. What’s hard is avoiding tricky conversations. It just slows you down. You have to have tricky, ticklish, delicate conversations all the time—just power up and move through them.
Discover The Power of This Secret Website Address
How to easily tell someone what you really want to say —
without upsetting them
So often we either ask someone else—or say to ourselves –“How can I tell them that what they’re doing real y needs to be better?” or “I wish I could tell them what I real y want / think, without upsetting them”. Wel , it’s easy to do just that and—
like most things that may seem a bit tricky at first—it takes a bit of practice. Once you’ve tried it a few times and got great results; it becomes part of your toolkit.
Assuming you have a range of tools in your toolkit?
As I’ve heard said many times “if the only tool you have in your toolbox is a hammer, then you’re going to treat everything like a nail”. Communicating and connecting with people to get our work done, to have people take notice of us and to keep things moving, we need a range of tools—everything from a hammer sometimes, to a ruler, to a feather duster (and everything in between.) The tool I’m offering you to use is a ‘made up’ website address (so no point
“Googling” it): www.ebi.ok?
It’s simple to remember; easy to use; and as a way of giving feedback it’s both natural and easy-to-take on board.
• www. = What Went Wel
• ebi. = Even Better If
• ok = OK? Checking in.
How does this work and why is it useful? Well try this scenario for size.
Your col eague has just handed you an email they’ve drafted to send out to one of your clients. You read it and immediately you want to say “no, you’ve missed the point” or “it’s OK but you’ve left out the bit about XYZ”.
Put your possible response through the www.ebi.ok tool instead:
• www: “wel , it reads well and you’ve got the main points we discussed in there,”
• ebi: “and if you can bring out the part about XYZ then it’ll be spot on”.
• ok: “Does that makes sense?”
Can you see, when you read it back, we’ve brought out what’s good about it first and we’ve checked in to make sure they’ve understood. We haven’t just gone headlong in to “point out” what’s wrong. It’s a very subtle and natural way to say “and even better if XYZ”—you’re saying it’s already good and then giving specific guidance to make it ‘even better’ (without diving in and trampling all over the other person’s feelings).
That approach so often just closes the other person down—and what’s the point of doing that, if you want the other person to work with you and alongside you?
How to Slow Down to Speed Things Up
Save yourself time, money and energy now
People often say “it’s as if time stood stil ”, wel , even though we both know it doesn’t, you can make it slow down for you. I put it to you that you can slow down to speed things up. Yes, I know—it’s a dichotomy (I had to look it up—a polar opposite, a contrariety) to say you have to slow down to speed things up. Wel , it’s true.
So often we think we have to decide on the spot; say “yes” or “no” in the moment and know all the answers to all the questions we’re asked. Especial y if we’re having a tricky conversation, where it’s so often the case that people feel they have to fly through and ‘get out’ as quickly as possible. Wel , we actual y make things harder for ourselves and harder on ourselves if we believe that to be true.
One thing I’ve learned is that we think faster than we think. It’s worth saying again to remind us both—“we think faster than we think”. Our brain processes the question; the decision; the issue in front of us quickly. What we do is
assume that we have to always be thinking on the spot and just because we’re asked a question we have to know the answer; respond straight away or act immediately. Wel , we don’t. Even if we do know the answer, we don’t have to commit ourselves straight away. We can buy ourselves time and we can make the other person wait—even if it’s for just a few seconds.
Clients say that one of the big struggles they have when they’re promoted or as they start up their own business and take on more responsibility is the feeling of fear of having to know all the answers; of “making the right decision on the spot”. Wel , “hel o”- firstly who does know all the answers? Secondly, who knows what the right decision is? Only time tel s us that. We make decisions taking into account what’s going on at the time; the information, insight and instinct we have and then, we wait to find out how it pans out.
It’s liberating—certainly it is for me—to know that you don’t have to know all the answers and you don’t have to do everything or decide everything
“now”—even if it would suit others if you did.
People waste huge amounts of time, money and energy—our three most precious resources—by rushing in to decisions; responding to emails in a
“shooting from the fingertip” mode; diving in to tricky conversations or situations and by being asked questions and—without a second’s thought -
blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Clearing up or back-tracking from rushed decisions or responses just slows us down.
Here’s just 3 of the many ways to slow things down to speed things up for yourself when you’re asked a question:
1. Repeat the question. Say it back to the person in a way that sounds thoughtful (it is) so you and your brain can process it. It also has the added bonus of making sure the person asking the question is actual y asking what they want. (This is a great tip for interviews by the way) “Hmmm, what do I think about XYZ. Now that’s a good question. Wel …” Can you see how you’ve bought yourself at least 5 seconds to slow down and think about what you’ll say—if you’ll say anything in fact. This is so easy it’s embarrassing and we don’t do it more! Well you will now, it buys you this precious time to think.
2. Ask the person asking what they think first. You can literal y say
“hmm, now just before I tell you what I think, I’m intrigued…what do you
think?” This is especial y powerful for someone working or reporting to you—why not make them do the thinking first? What also happens here is that you’ve told them that you will tell them ie you’ve put their minds at rest but you want their thinking before you do. Another great one is “OK, let’s pretend I’m on holiday and this comes up…tell me what you’d do?” By asking this question, you’re tel ing them that you know they know they’d do something…you just want to know what it is.
3. Ask another question. It sounds so elementary doesn’t it? Rather than answer what you’ve been asked; ask a few more questions about the background to the question to get clearer and, again, to buy you and your brain a few more seconds before—and if—you decide to answer. So “OK, well before I answer that, just tell me a little bit more about that: or “hmm, let’s see—before I give you my thoughts, tell me a bit more about…” Now that’s something to think about, isn’t it?
Are You Saying What You Mean
(or just what they think you mean)?
Try this revealing (and fun) exercise to show you how easy it is to confuse what we think we’re saying with what others actual y hear.
Sitting in a circle, everyone looked a bit apprehensively at each other and I could virtual y hear them saying to themselves “oh here we go, I’m going to have to say something about myself and ‘share’ when I don’t want to etc”. You know the dril .
The point of doing what we were about to do was to show why it’s so crucial to check in with your client/customer/col eague/spouse/friend to make sure what you think you’ve said means, (to them) what you actual y said.
I asked everyone to write the word “dog” on the top of a piece of paper and then to take 30 seconds to write as many words that sprang to mind when they heard the word dog!
Everyone partnered up to compare notes and, without exception, we all had many different takes on the word “dog”, ranging from “tooth check”, “hound-dog”, “scary”, “man’s best friend”, “commitment”, “furry”, “poo-bags”.
Now if all those differing associations came from such a simple, everyday word just think of the room for confusion when people use jargon-y, overblown, words-for-words sake.
These days, as we’re working around the world and in quick-fire style, on email/text/twitter etc it’s even more important to check what you mean to say is clear—“by that I mean” or “in other words” or “you could say” are useful little phrases to pop in.
Why “Why?” Can Trip You Up…Tread Carefully
Do you want to close the door before you’re ready?
‘Why’ is such a small and yet powerful word to notice, understand and be aware of as you use it. Real y, why?
Wel , it does two things very quickly, immediately in fact. Two things you want to avoid.
One, it sends people straight to the word “because” which is justifying their actions/decisions and
Two, it closes down your information-gathering opportunity in the request for
Let me explain. As Big Bird from Sesame Street tel s us “Questions are a great way of finding things out” and questions are crucial to us digging deeper, connecting with people, understanding what’s going on.
The trick about “why” is the effect it has on us and, more importantly, the effect it has on those we ask the question.
When children are growing up (and yes, we probably did it too) it’s seen as quite cute when they ask “why?” and then you answer and then they ask
“why?” again and again and, often again. As you answer them you’ll probably say “because” and “because” etc until eventual y “because I say so!”.
Day to day, we’re constantly asking questions (well I hope you are, based on Big Bird’s philosophy!) to find out what’s happening, what progress there is on things, how people are, where things are etc.
Notice the difference in this situation. Imagine I was with you and asked you what you’re up to this weekend? You tell me “oh, I’m off shopping with friends and then on to the cinema” for example. Then I say “Oh, why are you going to the cinema?”. You’ll say, “because XYZ film’s out and I want to see it”. It’s an innocent enough question with, in this case, no further agenda. And yet, you’ve justified to me “why” you’re going to the cinema. Because…and then you’ve gone inside and thought about the reason you decided to go to the cinema.
If I ask you the same question and when you tell me you’re off to the cinema with friends I say to you “aah, what are you going to see?” or “who are you
going with” are much less on-the-spot questions. They seek information not justification and when we justify ourselves we’re on the defensive, we’re explaining the reasons as opposed to giving information, however innocent the scenario. It’s also quite irritating to have to explain why—and here’s why.
Because we have to take a position and the question implies some judgment behind it.
Now this is the powerful bit. Take this scenario to the workplace, or to a home life discussion about something that has some emotion attached to it, “why did you do that?”, “why haven’t you done that?” “why are you going there?” and you’re immediately putting the other person on the back foot, defending their decision or their position. That’s the moment when you close the door on more information, often before you’re ready.
It’s one of the many small words that make a BIG difference in our day-to-day conversations and directly affect the reactions and responses we get. Working with a Board of Directors recently discussing this very word, they all had an
“aha” moment and something useful and simple to take and use straight away.
The trick is we don’t know until we know, do we?
Try it out with someone as an experiment and get his or her feedback from the experience. They’l tel you why they prefer one question to the other, because you’ve asked for a bit more information as opposed to put them “on guard”.
By the way, you’ll be able to read more about this in the Bonus Resource section. The chapter from my book “Q is for Questions” gives you the great questions to ask and which ones to use and when.
‘It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question’.
—Decouvertes (the Romanian who became a famous French playwright)
Whose Glasses Are You Wearing?
And Do They Suit You?
“Oh, it’s so obvious, what you want to do is, blah blah”. “Wel , what you should do is xyz”. We’ve all done it, said it and been told it, haven’t we? ”What you need to do is” or “What you should do is” etc. Wel , in fact, what we should do most of the time is ask a question vs tell our friends/col eagues/family what it is they should do.
Hmm—not always easy I know. Time is short and it seems quickest to just tell as opposed to ask but just think about when someone last said to you “now, it’s obvious, what you should do is xyz” and I bet you there was a part of you that was thinking “grrr, how do you know what I should do?” Imagine if you went to the Optician and explained that you’re finding it a strain to read close work these days or that you can’t see the bus even when it’s at the stop—bus, what bus? After listening to you for a couple of moments, the Optician says
“aha, you should try these” and takes off their glasses and hands them to you saying “now then, these work a treat for me, real y great. Use these and you’ll see much better. I know I do”.
Steven Covey uses this example in his bril iant book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and in the chapter entitled “Seek First to Understand” he poses the question—Whose Glasses Are You Wearing? It’s good to question yourself before you decide if the advice you’re given, however wel -meaning, fits for you—especial y if the advice-giver is less than a great example of a success in this area themselves! Hmm, sound familiar?
Good old questions general y help people so much more than dishing out advice ”tell me a bit more about that” or “what else have you noticed?” or
“when did it start?” etc. This is also a nicer way of being in the world rather than being a Quick Fixer” or—even worse—an Out-Trumper ”well if you think you’ve got a problem, try this for size”—someone who tries to out-trump you with their problems! Crikey, no thank you.
There’s always a rub, though. At a party recently, after asking a chap (who shall remain nameless but let’s just call him Hugh R Dul ) a number of questions about himself and his connection to the host, his career etc—after about 20 minutes of centre-stage droning on about himself and tel ing me what I
‘should’ do, I final y asked him “so Hugh, what would you like know about
me?”—he was, momentarily, stumped. Result. Not for long however but long enough for me to say—“oh, and Hugh, is that the time? I must go and top up my glass”.
The lesson here for us is, for us to be heard, we must think of a conversation a bit like a tennis match. Back and forth over the net. Not just like one of those tennis machines that fires bal s at a player…there has to be interaction.
If you find yourself trapped with a Hugh R Dul -type, when there’s a slight pause, say the word “So”—so is a natural ‘bridge’ to something else. It will tell the other person that you’re shifting gears. “So, I’m sure you’ll want to chat with other people here so I’ll leave you to it and it’s been great meeting you and now it’s time to meet other people too”. This is a truly easy, respectful and comfortable way of saying “I’ve been here long enough, I’m exiting now”.
To be able to ‘influence’ things is to be able to have an effect, to make something happen—and the secret here is that more often than not, it’s making something happen without directly tel ing someone to do it.
This is a big chunk of your eBook, the biggest in fact. When you understand and use your influence to get things done (as opposed to your force) it’s as if Influencing
the sun comes out. This is where the ‘Jedi’ piece comes in. It’s almost magical.
We all know that if someone tel s “what you should do is…” or “do this and then Skills
do that” we feel a form of resistance. We all like to do things because we want Your Jedi Mastery…
to do them—not because someone else told us to.
When Your Rubber
Again, to get behind the word ‘Influence’ is to understand that it means ‘the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of Meets the Road
someone or something, or the effect itself’.
The capacity to have an effect. Hmmm—this is where the savvy part comes in. You don’t necessarily have to do anything or say anything specific, you just have to give other people what they need to either act—or stop—and they’ll
do it themselves—more easily, more quickly and, most importantly, because they want to.
A lot of people come to me saying ‘I want to be more influential’—and just like the word ‘impact’—you have to understand the actual word, its energy, the ‘what are you doing when you’re being influential’ part.
You’re having an effect. You’re making things happen and being part of things but you’re not always banging the drum and tel ing people.
The first thing I encourage clients to do when we start working together is for them to read Influence: The Science of Persuasion by Dr Robert Cialdini. We then work together on precise ways to apply these principles in your language, your emails, your day-to-day conversations.
As a Starter Kit eBook, here are the principles for you and the chapters fol owing lay out a few examples of how these principles play out. Do buy Dr Cialdini’s book as wel . It’s a game-changer.
Dr Cialdini lays out clearly the 6 principles of influence which, once you real y get them, you’ll notice everywhere. You’ll start to notice how you’re influenced by them and how you can start to use this way of thinking to get people into action and listen to you.
To give you a flavour—and I do encourage you to grab the book and dive into it—Robert lays out these 6 key principles which inspire or ‘influence’ people to do—or not do—things. All the time.
2. Consistency & Commitment
5. Social Proof
Whilst I encourage you to grab a copy of the book, here are the long and short of the principles for you:
Reciprocation—when someone has either done something or given you something (time, attention, money…something physical) you are compel ed to want to reciprocate in some way. You want to do the same for them, to help them in some way. The essence being that if you want someone to do something for you, do something for them first. Offer to help, first.
Consistency & Commitment—people like to do what they say they’ll do. If you can get someone to commit to saying they’ll do something—you need to wait for them to say it. “So what will you do now?” then wait. More power and influence if they tell you what will happen than if you tell them what you think they’ll do.
Liking—People are natural y drawn to people they like. We’re all more likely to help someone who we like or someone we know likes us. Who are you most likely to recommend to someone—someone you like of course, someone you respect or who you know likes you.
The liking part also plays out in that we like people like us.
People who are like us, who have things in common with us, they also influence us because we work out that they have similar circumstances and choice—they have children like us or they have dogs like we do or they work where we do, they drive the same car as us, they know people we like—well these all influence us in how we choose.
Authority—We’re natural y influenced, drawn to, respectful of people in positions of authority. Now the authority may be that they’re seen as an expert in something, it may be that they wear a uniform and represent
‘authority’ eg a Policeman, Doctor, Judge or have a title such as Professor, Lord, Your Highness! We are natural y respectful and give them authority, a sense of
“if they say it, it must be true” if you wil .
Authority can work in the celebrity world too—if, say, Madonna or Brad Pitt go to a place on holiday, wear a certain brand of something, exercise in a certain way—we assume that they can vouch for, recommend, this because they have so much choice and opportunity and ‘if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me’. Think how powerful that is for advertisers to know.
We buy (or they’ll think we’ll buy) or do (or not do) because the ‘Authority’
person is recommending it.
Social Proof—such a powerful principle. When you see or notice someone doing something, buying something, looking at something—especial y if it’s more than one person, let alone a crowd—then you’re influenced to do the same. Look, buy, do, whatever. It’s the ‘power of the crowd’ effect. That’s why if we come around the corner and a group of people are looking up in the air, we wil . “What do they know that I don’t?” “What am I missing that they know about?” It’s so powerful and it affects us every day.
Scarcity—“This is the last principle for you”. “There aren’t any more after this one”. “Grab it while you can, we’re running out”. Can you get just how powerful limiters are? Limiters (or scarcity factors) are made up of either
• time (last few days, last 24 hours, for one week only, today’s price) or
• opportunity (last seat, only 2 spots remaining, the last ever time on tour, never at this price again)
You’ll see these signs and words everywhere. It’s one of the most used and time-tested ways to bring you to a decision.
We’ll be influenced by these 6 principles today, tomorrow, forever. It’s OK, we just need to know about them. Then we get to choose whether we allow them to influence us—and how we influence other people with them.
Are You “Should-ing” All Over Everyone?
3 Easy Ways for People to Take On Your Advice
“Now, what you should do is…” “Wel , it’s obvious, you should do this, then you should do that and then you should tell them you’ve done it”.
Should do. What you should do and what you want to and actual y do are often very different things entirely. Even if the advice we’ve been given is spot on, the fact that we’ve been told we ‘should’ do it is often the very reason we don’t. So if that’s the reaction we have, it’s the reaction that others will have when we ‘should’ all over them.
There’s something innately irritating to be told we should be doing something.
It implies—this is the subtle, savvy part to understand—it implies that we’re not doing something and that the other person is wiser that we are.
It’s implicit that we’ve missed a trick and they haven’t. That they know better exactly what will work for us. Wel , in reality, we know best—better than anyone—what works for us and as we all know, making a decision ourselves and then sticking to it is always more powerful than carrying out
other people’s advice or instructions. We own the outcome and, as such, are responsible for the result. (Or, in this case, response-able).
One of the big pieces of being an influential communicator as you work is putting across your ideas, suggestions, or advice and letting the other person decide for themselves how, and if, it will work for them. It then becomes their decision, their action. This principle applies just as effectively, if not more so, at home with our families and friends—and of course, including those trickiest of customers, your children!
So, how do you get across your idea, suggestion, advice without saying “what you should do is” or “I think you should…”?
Here are 3 quick and easy ways which work, for you to try out: Start with “I’ve got an idea for you” —this way you’re putting out that it’s only an idea and it’s for you to contemplate and understand if and how it will work. By saying “I’ve got” you’re tel ing the other person “OK, I’m ready with something that I think you’ll want but it’s up to you what you do with it”.
Say “Can I make a suggestion here?” —again, you’re putting across that you have something to offer and you want to get their buy-in before you