Thought it’d be useful to know a little more about mind mapping so you could use that tool for setting your new year’s goals !
In a few hours, we’ll know who the next President of the greatest power of the world will be. In the meantime, let’s watch again the famous speech that made Obama President and let’s get an insight into the power of story telling to draw people and the masses to you and embrace your vision. This is leadership.
Building Stronger Teams by Facing Your Differences
Conflict is pretty much inevitable when you work with others.
People have different viewpoints and, under the right set of circumstances, those differences escalate to conflict. How you handle that conflict determines whether it works to the team’s advantage, or contributes to its demise.
You can choose to ignore it, complain about it, blame someone for it, or try to deal with it through hints and suggestions; or you can be direct, clarify what is going on, and attempt to reach a resolution through common techniques like negotiation or compromise. It’s clear that conflict has to be dealt with, but the question is how: it has to be dealt with constructively and with a plan, otherwise it’s too easy to get pulled into the argument and create an even larger mess.
Conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Healthy and constructive conflict is a component of high-functioning teams. Conflict arises from differences between people; the same differences that often make diverse teams more effective than those made up of people with similar experience. When people with varying viewpoints, experiences, skills, and opinions are tasked with a project or challenge, the combined effort can far surpass what any group of similar individual could achieve. Team members must be open to these differences and not let them rise into full-blown disputes.
Understanding and appreciating the various viewpoints involved in conflict are key factors in its resolution. These are key skills for all team members to develop. The important thing is to maintain a healthy balance of constructive difference of opinion, and avoid negative conflict that’s destructive and disruptive.
Getting to, and maintaining, that balance requires well-developed team skills, particularly the ability to resolve conflict when it does happens, and the ability to keep it healthy and avoid conflict in the day-to-day course of team working. Let’s look at conflict resolution first, then at preventing it.
When a team oversteps the mark of healthy difference of opinion, resolving conflict requires respect and patience. The human experience of conflict involves our emotions, perceptions, and actions; we experience it on all three levels, and we need to address all three levels to resolve it. We must replace the negative experiences with positive ones.
The three-stage process below is a form of mediation process, which helps team members to do this:
Step 1: Prepare for Resolution
- Acknowledge the conflict – The conflict has to be acknowledged before it can be managed and resolved. The tendency is for people to ignore the first signs of conflict, perhaps as it seems trivial, or is difficult to differentiate from the normal, healthy debate that teams can thrive on. If you are concerned about the conflict in your team, discuss it with other members. Once the team recognizes the issue, it can start the process of resolution.
- Discuss the impact – As a team, discuss the impact the conflict is having on team dynamics and performance.
- Agree to a cooperative process – Everyone involved must agree to cooperate in to resolve the conflict. This means putting the team first, and may involve setting aside your opinion or ideas for the time being. If someone wants to win more than he or she wants to resolve the conflict, you may find yourself at a stalemate.
- Agree to communicate – The most important thing throughout the resolution process is for everyone to keep communications open. The people involved need to talk about the issue and discuss their strong feelings. Active listening is essential here, because to move on you need to really understand where the other person is coming from.
Step 2: Understand the Situation
Once the team is ready to resolve the conflict, the next stage is to understand the situation, and each team member’s point of view. Take time to make sure that each person’s position is heard and understood. Remember that strong emotions are at work here so you have to get through the emotion and reveal the true nature of the conflict. Do the following:
- Clarify positions – Whatever the conflict or disagreement, it’s important to clarify people’s positions. Whether there are obvious factions within the team who support a particular option, approach or idea, or each team member holds their own unique view, each position needs to be clearly identified and articulated by those involved.This step alone can go a long way to resolve the conflict, as it helps the team see the facts more objectively and with less emotion.
Sally and Tom believe the best way to market the new product is through a TV campaign. Mary and Beth are adamant that internet advertising is the way to go; whilst Josh supports a store-lead campaign.
- List facts, assumptions and beliefs underlying each position – What does each group or person believe? What do they value? What information are they using as a basis for these beliefs? What decision-making criteria and processes have they employed?
Sally and Tom believe that TV advertising is best because it has worked very well in the past. They are motivated by the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Mary and Beth are very tuned-in to the latest in technology and believe that to stay ahead in the market, the company has to continue to try new things. They seek challenges and find change exhilarating and motivating. Josh believes a store-lead campaign is the most cost-effective. He’s cautious, and feels this is the best way to test the market at launch, before committing the marketing spend.
- Analyze in smaller groups – Break the team into smaller groups, separating people who are in alliance. In these smaller groups, analyze and dissect each position, and the associated facts, assumptions and beliefs.Which facts and assumptions are true? Which are the more important to the outcome? Is there additional, objective information that needs to be brought into the discussion to clarify points of uncertainly or contention? Is additional analysis or evaluation required?
Consider using formal evaluation and decision-making processes where appropriate. Techniques such as Quantitative Pros and Cons , Force Field Analysis , Paired Comparison Analysis , and Cost/Benefit Analysis are among those that could help.
If such techniques have not been used already, they may help make a much more objective decision or evaluation. Gain agreement within the team about which techniques to use, and how to go about the further analysis and evaluation.
By considering the facts, assumptions, beliefs and decision making that lead to other people’s positions, the group will gain a better understanding of those positions. Not only can this reveal new areas of agreement, it can also reveal new ideas and solutions that make the best of each position and perspective.
Take care to remain open, rather than criticize or judge the perceptions and assumptions of other people. Listen to all solutions and ideas presented by the various sides of the conflict. Everyone needs to feel heard and acknowledged if a workable solution is to be reached.
- Convene back as a team – After the group dialogue, each side is likely to be much closer to reaching agreement. The process of uncovering facts and assumptions allows people to step away from their emotional attachments and see the issue more objectively. When you separate alliances, the fire of conflict can burn out quickly, and it is much easier to see the issue and facts laid bare.
Step 3: Reach Agreement
Now that all parties understand the others’ positions, the team must decide what decision or course of action to take. With the facts and assumptions considered, it’s easier to see the best of action and reach agreement .
In our example, the team agrees that TV advertising is the best approach. It has had undeniably great results in the past and there is no data to show that will change. The message of the advertising will promote the website and direct consumers there. This meets Mary and Beth’s concern about using the website for promotions: they assumed that TV advertising would disregard it.
If further analysis and evaluation is required, agree what needs to be done, by when and by whom, and so plan to reach agreement within a particular timescale. If appropriate, define which decision making and evaluation tools are to be employed.
If such additional work is required, the agreement at this stage is to the approach itself: Make sure the team is committed to work with the outcome of the proposed analysis and evaluation.
If the team is still not able to reach agreement, you may need to use a techniques like Win-Win Negotiation , the Modified Borda Count , or Multi-Voting to find a solution that everyone is happy to move the team ahead.
When conflict is resolved take time to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions everyone made toward reaching a solution. This can build team cohesion and confidence in their problem solving skills, and can help avert further conflict.
This three-step process can help solve team conflict efficiently and effectively. The basis of the approach is gaining understanding of the different perspectives and using that understanding to expand your own thoughts and beliefs about the issue.
As well as being able to handle conflict when it arises, teams need to develop ways of preventing conflict from becoming damaging. Team members can learn skills and behavior to help this. Here are some of the key ones to work on:
- Dealing with conflict immediately – avoid the temptation to ignore it.
- Being open – if people have issues, they need to be expressed immediately and not allowed to fester.
- Practicing clear communication – articulate thoughts and ideas clearly.
- Practicing active listening – paraphrasing, clarifying, questioning.
- Practicing identifying assumptions – asking yourself “why” on a regular basis.
- Not letting conflict get personal – stick to facts and issues, not personalities.
- Focusing on actionable solutions – don’t belabor what can’t be changed.
- Encouraging different points of view – insist on honest dialogue and expressing feelings.
- Not looking for blame – encourage ownership of the problem and solution.
- Demonstrating respect – if the situation escalates, take a break and wait for emotions to subside.
- Keeping team issues within the team – talking outside allows conflict to build and fester, without being dealt with directly.
Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us, and it’s impossible to make a perfect choice every time. But there are many ways to improve our chances — and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking. Samantha Agoos describes a 5-step process that may help you with any number of problems.
Great podcast ! Inspiring …
But what about the really good bosses? How did they manage to bring out the best in you and could you become one?
There’s actually a name for this kind of leader: the “superboss.”
“A superboss is a leader, a boss, a manager, who helps other people accomplish more than they ever thought possible,” said Sydney Finkelstein, professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and the man who coined the phrase. “As a result, they accelerate the careers of those people that work for them.”
Finkelstein, author of “Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent,” spoke to Money Talking host Charlie Herman about the qualities superbosses have and why their hiring practices can make for a better workplace. Finkelstein also wrote about the subject for the Harvard Business Review, “Secrets of the Superbosses.”
Here are some ways they do it:
1. They generate a talent network. They surround themselves with good people and therefore create a better work environment. And by helping other people do well and move up in their careers, they generate a network of former employees who can help them out in the future.
2. They’re always on the lookout for talent. “Wherever they’re going, they got their opportunity antenna up.” Finkelstein said. Which also means they create jobs for people they like, even if they aren’t looking to fill a specific spot. And they’re not afraid to hire people who are smarter than them.
3. They hire outside the box. Superbosses, like chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, look for unusual people and talents despite experience. “She’d hire people who sometimes didn’t even work as a chef in the past,” Finkelstein said. “Because she thought they had that something special.”
4. They move employees around. They make employees try different positions within workplace. Finkelstein said Gene Roberts, executive editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, used to move reporters from the sports desk to the investigative department. “This is in the DNA of superbosses,” Finkelstein said. “And anyone can replicate that idea.”
5. They look to inspire. Superbosses create an team environment where everybody counts. That keeps employees motivated and engaged.
6. They focus on performance. While managers tend to be more focused on efficiency, superbosses prioritize performance and effectiveness.
7. They don’t focus on being nice or keeping thing easy. Working for a superboss isn’t for everyone. “Not everybody wants to work that hard,” Finkelstein said. “Not everybody has that type of aspiration.”
A must-see. Tim Urban is fabulously hilarious in this Ted Talk. I laughed so much.
Thanks to him, we get to better understand what goes on in our mind when we do procrastinate and struggle with time-management and deadlines !
At least, it seems that we are not alone to have that love story with Mister Procrastination and it feels good as we’re just human, full of flaws, imperfect but being aware of our shortcomings is definitely a great start to make progressive changes in our behaviour so we do not let that ‘panick monster’ appear ever again and ruin our lives.
Below a great read on Leadership in today’s fast paced world – written by Brad Smith.
Like this quote : “Just when I had all of the answers, someone changed all of the questions.”
I recently wrote about the three things I wish I’d known before becoming a CEO. Today, I want to briefly discuss how I see the model for being a successful leader evolving in today’s fast-changing world.
Once upon a time, the conventional wisdom was that to be a CEO, one needed to be a confident, charismatic individual who never expressed weakness, and seemed to have all the answers. Today, the pace of change and disruptive threats have required the emergence of a new breed of leadership in the Silicon Valley and across the globe. The new model is a leader openly dedicated to self-improvement, working with others to create shared success and where having a high curiosity quotient, or CQ, is more important than a high IQ. Below, are three leadership traits I admire in others, and seek to emulate:
Open to Learning and Change
The best CEOs and leaders recognize that they do not have all the answers. As the adage goes, “Just when I had all of the answers, someone changed all of the questions.” That’s never been more true than in today’s fast-paced environment. Becoming a CEO or a leader at any level is not the end of journey, but the beginning of a challenge to live up to continuous improvement and re-imagination of both yourself and the organization you lead. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a great example of a CEO who, even with all his success, role models that his quest for learning never ends. Each year, he publicly declares what he will be working on – from learning Mandarin to trying to read two books each month. In doing so, he not only improves himself, but also role models the importance of ongoing personal development for his entire company.
Success is a Team Sport
None of us can do it alone, especially CEOs. I always loved the old saying “Show me a CEO who appears to walk on water, and I’ll show you a team of people underneath the surface carrying him orher on their shoulders.” Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, is the quintessential example of a generous leader who views one person’s success as being connected to the success of others. His 2014 book, “The Alliance,” explains how leaders can attract and retain the best employees through forming mutually beneficial alliances where everyone wins. The new trait he role models for others is that the best path to success, on both a personal and organizational level, is a culture where everyone’s success is linked to the success of each other and the entire team.
In today’s connected world, there are no secrets. How you treat others, both good and bad, creates a personal brand that follows you wherever you go. Successful businesses, such as AirBNB and TaskRabbit, have built business models that showcase how others view you as the key to driving success. The currency that makes systems like Airbnb and TaskRabbit work is trust, influence and reputation capital. If you have a habit of trashing Airbnb rentals, pretty soon you’re going to find it hard to find a host that will accept you. The same is true for CEOs and leaders in general. Employees and contractors have a choice, and even in tough economic areas where limited job opportunities may exist, there is the negative consequence of having an employee who is deeply de-motivated based on a poor work environment. We all know that putting a fully charged battery and a dead battery into a flashlight will drain the new one and the light will no longer work. How you treat people matters. Today’s leaders need to build reputations based on trust and respect, to both inspire teams and to attract and retain top talent.
Today’s leaders are breaking the mold of the CEO as a confident, charismatic individual who never expresses weakness, and seems to have all the answers – and replacing it with a more collaborative, teamwork-oriented approach to leadership. I am personally inspired by these traits, and I believe these are positive changes that offer a leadership model that best fits the times in which we live.
I came across this very inspiring read on career change. ‘You shouldn’t remain chained to what you think your career path has to be.’ It is so true. It is never too late to change jobs, roles, departments even industries. It is never too late to learn new things, expand our skill set, develop our potential, explore new sectors.
We don’t have to be stuck in a career we don’t feel is right for us any more. The studies you chose or your parents chose for you, don’t have to dictate what you should be doing now or your whole life.
The world changes and we change along with it. Our encounters, our successes, our failures, our personal and professional experiences change us, change what we expect of ourselves, our goals, our ambitions, our dreams.
Where we are now might be different from where you thought you’d be. But nothing is impossible and any change is still possible should you decide it. As we get older, we realise one crucial thing : that time is running out …As the most precious asset, let’s not waste it on the wrong career, doing the wrong job instead let’s chase that dream job and be truly fulfilled!
The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “How do you leverage a non-traditional background in a new role?” is written by Jeremy Roche, president and CEO of FinancialForce.
So many of us enter the working world with a single-pane view of what is expected of us after we get that coveted diploma. You studied medicine, so you must be a doctor. You went to law school, so you must be a lawyer. But it’s never too late or too early to try something new, whether in your own field or elsewhere.
In the span of my 25-plus year career, curiosity and an open mind have given me the opportunity to hold a variety of roles across different industries and departments. I was a systems engineer early on, a sales executive, a CTO, and am now a CEO. I have a background in law, so for a time I even served as FinancialForce’s legal counsel, while also managing IT.
Because this is the path I have taken, I have a soft spot for my own employees who want to take a risk and move to a new role. Despite the degree you earn (or don’t), you can always find a way to pivot your career and the kinds of roles you take on. Follow your instincts. You don’t need to remain chained to what you think your career path has to be.
I’ll be honest, though: Moving into a new role with a non-traditional background isn’t easy. But if you’re ambitious and curious, it can be both personally and professionally rewarding. The twists and turns, the challenges, and the people who helped me along the way has made it worthwhile. Who knows what the next 25 years will bring, but in the meantime, here are a few things I’ve learned that’ll help you take your career in a new direction without losing momentum:
Learn everything you can about the new role
If you’re thinking about accepting a new role in a department or industry that’s foreign to you, it’s time to learn everything you possibly can. Look for books, blogs, and conferences that cover the new role or industry that can inform you about the market landscape and its terminology. Learn by doing: Shadow someone in a similar role. Mirror their every move, ask questions, and soak up their knowledge.
Identify transferrable skills
Just because you’re transitioning roles doesn’t mean you’re starting from scratch. You likely already have a base of skills you’ve learned in previous roles to draw from. I went from CTO to CEO — executive positions that have very different responsibilities and skill sets — but I was able to transfer the knowledge I had about how to deal with technology and pain points and apply that to other departments within the organization.
Ask yourself what hard or soft skills you currently have that could apply to this new role. What experiences from your last job could be spun to help you succeed today? This will not only help you thrive in your role, but if you’re in the interviewing process, it may help make a case to get buy-in at your company — or from a hiring manager — on why you’d be a good fit.
Be willing to go back basics
I can’t express enough how important it is to throw your ego out the door. When you jump into a new career or position, there is a 100% chance you will make mistakes. No matter how much experience you have and how high up the ranks you were, when you start a new job, you will have to prove yourself all over again.
And while that might sound daunting, you have to stay positive. Embrace the unknown and be willing to go back to the basics of learning new skills. This experience can build empathy, truly enhancing your leadership skills in the long run.
Seek out advocates and mentors
Changing careers can be much easier if you have an advocate and a mentor who can help you. I’ve been lucky enough to have bosses and colleagues in the industry that I owe much of my professional growth to. Seek out guidance from someone you want to learn from, such as a manager who can refer you for a new job, or a colleague who can help you transition more easily to a new role. It’s much easier to make the switch inside an organization if you have the referral of someone who’s respected at the company. A mentor with experience in this new role — or maybe even someone who’s made the same — can help develop the skills you need to succeed.
If your goal is to change roles at your current company, you may need to be patient while they find someone who can fill your previous role. You may even need to be involved in finding this person and training them.
Once you do kick off in your new role, make sure you manage your own expectations. It will take awhile before you feel like you’re truly succeeding in your new position. There will be unforeseen challenges and learning curves you didn’t anticipate. But remember your very first job: It wasn’t a walk in the park right off the bat, was it? A successful career transition takes time. If it’s a move you believe in, it will be well worth the work you put into it.
Both the individual employee and the company stand to benefit from embracing career flexibility. For employers, providing flexibility in roles and letting people try different parts of the business prevents them from leaving because they get to learn something new. For employees, realizing you work at a company at which you can take control of your own career may be the best motivation you could ever hope for. If you stay curious, you could end up somewhere completely different than you imagined, but completely fulfilling.
My wife and I just got back from a week-long getaway to Antigua. It was our first vacation together that we didn’t bring our son, Logan, with us (thank goodness for in-laws). It was an awesome trip, which entailed doing a whole lot of nothing. Our days consisted mostly of lying on the beach, hanging out at the cocktail bar, kayaking in the Atlantic and playing beach volleyball. It was perfect (we stayed at the St. James Resort, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a relaxing, beach vacation). I came back from this vacation recharged and more motivated than ever to get to work…
For obvious reasons, I love vacations. Who doesn’t? Exploring new lands, eating great food and sleeping in are all perks of vacations. But for more than just those reasons, vacations provide tremendous value for my businesses, and I strongly believe that annual getaways should be mandatory for entrepreneurs.
As an entrepreneur you should never regard a vacation as an expense. You should consider a vacation as a vital investment in yourself, and your business.
You Deserve It
Being an entrepreneur, never mind just dealing with everything life throws your way, is taxing. I love being an entrepreneur, don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t want it any other way, but it can be exhausting. Putting in 60 to 70 hours per week is normal for entrepreneurs, and it needs to be rewarded, otherwise what the hell is the point of working so hard?
If you don’t invest in a vacation every year, you’re certain to burn out, which can lead to potential health problems, and at the very least, it will negatively impact your earnings.
Vacations help clear your mind; they allow you to catch up on sleep, and recharge your battery so that when you return from your getaway you are fired up, and hit the ground running again.
Going on a vacation allows to you to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and that, my friends, is paramount.
One major reason to get away for a week is to go offline, so to speak. As entrepreneurs we are way too connected in our day-to-day. Whether it be receiving hundreds of emails, phone calls, processing orders online or texting back and forth with employees, always staying connected to one glowing box or another is not good for us.
Now, I know it is vital for us to be connected in this day and age, but you must shut it down, or at least put a limit on it, when on vacation.
If you’re like me, and conduct most of your business online, set a reasonable limit of ‘connected time’ while on vacation. My limit (largely imposed by my wife), is 20 minutes per day. That allows me to make sure the shop isn’t burning down back home, and get back to enjoying my vacation. Don’t use this 20 minutes to email your employees and clients, just use it to make sure everything is okay so you can rest comfortably on the beach with mojito in hand.
Your Mind is Clear and Creative When Relaxed
It’s a fact; when you are relaxed, your mind thinks clearly and creatively. Many of the best and more profitable ideas/innovations I’ve conjured for my businesses came to me while on vacation, in moments of complete relaxation, when I wasn’t distracted by the everyday hustle and bustle.
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”
— Alan Alda
Make Great Connections
On this last vacation I met a fellow entrepreneur while playing beach volleyball. Once I learn of someone else being an entrepreneur, I immediately want to find out more about their story, and how they got started. I noticed he had a wedding ring on, but didn’t see his family anywhere, so I asked him what brought him to Antigua. He told me it was a regular spot he and his family went on vacation, and on his last visit to the island he had met a local businessman who was looking to start a rental car company.
This guy owned his own venture capital firm back in Toronto, and funded startups his entire entrepreneurial career. Anyway, from what I gathered, he and this local businessman had hit it off and he was now in Antigua to launch their new rental car business, which would be the only rental car company on the island that provided GPS for free (that is a big deal considering the island had very few street lights and virtually no street signs). He had been the financier of the startup, while the local businessman would be running the operations.
This fellow entrepreneur was in Antigua for the week meeting with some big airliners such as British Airways and Virgin to try and work out marketing deals and travel packages. He and I ended up hanging out quite a bit, and by the end of his trip he had closed a deal with a major airliner. Furthermore, he and I may be working together on a separate venture as it appears we have synergies between two of our businesses.
This example just goes to show that if you keep an open mind, have an eye for opportunity and enjoy meeting new people, vacations can even end up making you a lot of money.
Time to Read
One of my favorite things about beach vacations is that it gives me ample amounts of time to read. I absolutely love to read. It triggers my creativity, and I believe being an avid reader is essential for entrepreneurs. It keeps you up to date with what’s happening in the world, improves your marketing tactics, provides great entertainment, allows you to reflect on what’s important in life, and opens your mind to how other people think (all important for entrepreneurs to improve their businesses).
I work in the publication business. And in order to be a great writer, one must be a great reader. On this last vacation, I finished three books, two of which I highly recommend.
The Health Benefits
Stress can have profound negative effects on our bodies, especially on men. One of the methods doctors use to test healthy testosterone levels in men is in relation to their cortisol levels. If cortisol is high, testosterone can’t be.
Why does this matter?
High natural levels of testosterone have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer in men, as well as disease – like heart disease – while also lowering the likelihood of depression. In short, if you’re stressed, your body isn’t working like it should, and all other areas of your life will be negatively effected, including your ability to focus and work, as a result.
As for women, cortisol also wreaks havoc on their bodies from a hormonal standpoint, as well as their energy. For both sexes, cortisol – a hormone released when we experience stress – needs to be kept in check, and one of the best ways to do this is by taking a vacation, unplugging, and removing yourself from those things that make stress your constant companion.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to throw everything we have at our businesses. It’s just our nature, and it’s not always a bad thing. However, this can negatively impact our personal life and self-improvement. We need to constantly seek balance in our lives. Vacations give us the opportunity to reflect on what’s important, spend time with our loved ones, recharge so that we can be better entrepreneurs, and live a life of fulfillment, not desire. Vacations are a vitally important investment entrepreneurs need to make every year.
When I was at uni and before making my way to a B-school, I studied linguistics. I then realised how powerful each and every word could have. How you could just convince, make a point or make a conflict go away ‘just’ by the appropriate use of well-chosen words. Words can make or break a relationship.
I remember my high school philosophy teacher once even said to the class that words were so powerful they could kill. She was referring to verbal abuse that could lead to depression and eventually death.
That wonderful teacher also taught us the positive power of words that could put a big smile on the face of someone even a stranger, words that can heal through therapy, words that enable you to be a human connecting with another human. So fascinating when you think about it.
This morning while having breakfast, I just came across this great read about 10 powerful words that can get you what you want. Thought I’d share it with you. Happy reading 🙂 !
From Jayson Demers
The words we use every day shape our realities, whether we realize it or not. Our word choices can make a powerful impression on the people around us, whether they occur in a polite conversation at the grocery store or during a more formal exchange at a significant client meeting.
Different situations and different companions demand different levels of vocabulary and tone, but there are some words that hold power, no matter what the situation.
So, next time you’re pressing for something you want — whether it’s a salary increase or the last pineapple in the produce section — here are 10 words that can help you get it:
“Because” is the conduit you will use to explain your motivations for every element of your request. In his book Influence, Robert Cialdini describes this as a “request + reason” and proves that this combination significantly increases the likelihood that your request will be obliged.
In one case study that I read in college (but, sadly, couldn’t find to link to here), one experiment had people ask if they could cut in line. The study found that people were far more likely to allow others to cut in line when the word “because” was used, as opposed to when it was not used (i.e., “May I cut in line?” vs. “May I cut in line, because I’m very late for an appointment?”). This was true even if the reason given was ridiculous (e.g., “May I please cut in line because I need to get to the front sooner?”). The word “because” seemed to trigger something in people that caused them to oblige the request.
A simple thanks is an expression of immediate gratitude, and if you start your conversation with it, you’ll start everything off on a good note. You’ll show that you’re appreciative, which will make people more interested and willing to help you out. Something like “thanks for your time” at the beginning of a meeting (or at the end) is all it takes to establish that positive tone.
When extending requests, too many people make it all about themselves. They’ll say things like, “I want this because I need it,” explaining their personal motivations or the logical reasons why they want it. Instead, try framing the conversation in the perspective of the person you’re talking to.
How will your request affect them? For example, something like “I think you’ll see a rise in sales if you implement this,” makes your listener the center of the conversation, which makes for a more positive engagement.
“If” holds a ton of power because it gives you the opportunity to break a situation down to its most basic terms by exploring hypothetical outcomes. As long as you’ve done your research (or at least some brainstorming), you’ll come out in a good position. For example, consider: “If we go with option A, we’ll see increases in both cost and productivity, and if we go with option B, everything will remain the same.”
Related: Pastor Joel Osteen Reveals the 2 Words That Can Motivate You to Pursue Your Dreams
Using the word “could” implies openness, unlike the word “won’t” or “never.” This keeps the conversation positive, and further allows you to explore your hypothetical future outcomes, which is especially handy when your conversational partner has a counterargument or request for you. For example, “I could take on the extra work, but I’d prefer it if I had more flexibility on the deadline.”
Like the word “you,” “we” takes some of the focus off your own self-interest. As a first-line effect, this makes you seem less ego-centric and more welcoming. As a second-line effect, it implies that the two of you are a single unit, and that any positive benefit for you will be a positive benefit for them.
“Together” works much the same way that “we” does. It implies a degree of familiarity and cooperation, providing a kind of conversational lubricant to make your requests easier to swallow. Anything you can do to make your request (and hypothetical future) seem like a mutual opportunity is going to help you here.
The word “fact” can help you out significantly in your attempts at persuasion. There’s only one caveat — the facts you claim have to be actual facts, supportable with empirical evidence or research of some kind. Still, using more facts in your dialogue will help you strengthen your position, and secure a more persuasive angle for your discussion.
During the conversation, you won’t agree with everything the other person tells you, and you won’t comply with every request. But shutting these requests down with a “no” or a “never” is negative and counterproductive. Instead, state that you’re “open” to the idea, but further negotiation will be required before you fully agree.
“Will” is the word we use to switch to future tense, and it’s a powerful word because it implies what happens after the conversation is over with a degree of certainty. Stating that you “will” do something as a direct action provides a clear vision and mitigates the possibility of miscommunication.
Related: Your Words Have Impact, So Think Before You Speak
These ten words aren’t magical, nor do they affect listeners at the level of mind control. But, used in the proper context, they can help you open the door to a meaningful and mutual negotiation. You’ll come across as more open, intelligent and persuasive, which means you’ll have an edge when you make your request.