Okay, let’s get a little bit serious.
When you speak with another person, it will most certainly be on a business level. Almost all communication takes place on a business level.
Buying a bar of chocolate in a shop requires Business level communication. You say what you want – ‘I’d like a bar of fruit and nut chocolate, please.’
Or in the office: ‘Mary, please type this report and return it to me this afternoon.’
These Business level interactions could be so much better if you add a Human level.
Think about your experiences
I’d like you to think for a moment about a time when you had really exceptional customer service. Perhaps it was when you booked a holiday, dealt with a utility company, or bought something in a shop or a store. Think about it for a moment and write down what made this service so good. When I do this exercise with a group of people, they can always tell me all the bad stories. However, they eventually come forward with examples of good service and they say things like:
Occasionally some people will say:
The first group of answer always outweighs the second group. In other words – people make decisions about the level of customer service based on the interactions they have with the people in the business.
The comments in the first group are Human level responses.
The comments in the second group are Business level responses and are taken as a given.
We expect goods or services to be delivered on time, and do what the supplier said they would.
Think about a job experience
In a similar situation; if I ask participants in a seminar, to describe a job that they enjoyed, and what made it a good place to work, they rarely say things like:
They are more likely to say:
The comments in the first group are Business level response.
The comments in the second list are Human level responses.
When interacting with other people, particularly difficult people, Human level responses are vitally important. It doesn’t matter if it’s face to face, over the phone, or by e-mail. You need to mix the Human with the Business.
People often say to me:
‘I don’t have time for all this nicey-nicey, touchy-feely stuff; I need to get the job done.’
My answer to that is:
‘If you introduce some Human level responses with the people you interact with, be they customers or staff, then you will get the job done, better, faster, and with less mistakes.’
This isn’t about being nicey-nicey, it’s about meeting the human needs of every person you interact with.
Human beings are almost totally driven by their emotions. If you meet their human needs then you’ll make managing difficult people a whole lot easier.
Check out the book – How to Manage Difficult People
‘Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit.’
Now that may seem a bit old fashioned for many of today’s salespeople, but I believe the principle still holds true particularly if we’re attempting to persuade another person; be it a member of our team, a colleague or a customer.
Change the mindset
If you’re going to persuade someone to change their behavior, their viewpoint, their attitude any other aspect of their business or personal life, then you’re talking about changing a mindset.
If anyone is going to change their mindset then they need to envisage benefits for them that outweigh their present circumstances or situation.
If you’re the person doing the persuading, then you need the following skills, qualities and characteristics which make you believable and credible.
Successful persuaders believe in themselves and what they’re talking about. After all, if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, how do you expect anyone else to?
I’ve known people who totally believe in what they’re saying but fail to communicate with any enthusiasm or passion. Many people find difficulty with this.
If you want to persuade someone, you’d better find a way to get enthusiastic about it.
You must know what you’re talking about, so make sure you have all the information, facts, figures and statistics to make your case.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What do you think is important to them? Consider carefully why they should accept what you’re saying.
If someone is frightened of flying, then there’s no point in telling them not to be silly and to stop behaving like a baby. You need to think about how you might feel in these circumstances and what might persuade you to change your mind; you need to outweigh the fear with benefits relevant to the individual.
If you want to persuade someone, don’t give up on the first ‘no’ or rejection of what you say. Persist and persist – but do it nicely!
People wont necessarily react in a negative way to your persistence when they realise you really believe what you’re saying.
There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a nuisance.
Watch the other person’s reactions and if it looks like you’re persisting too much – stop!
Put energy into all your interactions with other people. Energy fuels enthusiasm; we are persuaded by people with energy.
Many TV presenters use their energy to sell us their ideas. Think of the celebrity chefs on TV persuading us to produce fabulous meals or other presenters who get us all excited about re-modelling our homes or gardens.
Everything you do or say is important, everything counts. If you want to be a powerful persuader then you must be consistent. If you’re trying to persuade someone to keep their promises, then you must always keep yours.
If you say, ‘I’ll phone you back in ten minutes,’ then phone them back in nine minutes.
To be a powerful persuader you need many skills, qualities and characteristics. Even with them all in place, there is still no guarantee of success.
People are more likely to be persuaded by people they trust, they like and have a good relationship with.
Sell yourself and change a mindset.
Excerpt from How to Manage Difficult People
Let me tell you a quick story. Some years ago when I first visited South East Asia as a Professional Speaker, I was somewhat apprehensive about how I well I would communicate with people from totally different cultures. After all, I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. It was even a challenge at times, to communicate with people 150 miles away in Aberdeen, whose culture was slightly different from mine. So how would I communicate with people on the other side of the world?
I needn’t have been concerned because the people I met and spoke to in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia were much closer to me, in communication, than I had anticipated.
We need to understand the world
In this global economy, we all have to interact with suppliers, vendors and our counterparts in other cultures. Our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined partly, by our knowledge of other cultures. Knowledge of food, art, fashion, behavior, customs, language and religion; all of this will stand us in good stead when we communicate with others. This knowledge can be gathered from books and other media; also from closely listening to and observing the people that we interact with.
We are all human
More importantly, our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined by our emotional intelligence and human qualities.
Many business people seem to forget that when dealing with other people, they are dealing with human beings. Whatever culture these people have been raised and reside in, they still display human characteristics such as happiness, sadness, confidence, insecurities, desire for acknowledgement and acceptance of others. They experience anger and frustration, jealousy, fear of rejection, laziness and much more.
As humans, we are predominantly driven by our emotions when making decisions; whether to buy product or service or to accept what other people say.
When dealing with others, people will allow their emotions, rather than logic, to influence them.
Step 1 – Communicate on a Human and Business level.
When you work with suppliers, vendors, staff and customers; communication happens on two levels – the Human level and the Business Level. It is always better to open any interaction, be it written or verbal, on the Human Level before doing any business. This satisfies the individual’s need for acknowledgement, courteous treatment and acceptance of their viewpoints.
This does not mean that every time you interact with a supplier, a colleague or a customer, that you launch into some personal discussion. Opening on a Human Level can only take a couple of words, however, they have to be genuine.
The Business Level is about work related issues. If you interact with other people only on the Business Level, their needs on the Human Level will not be met and may get in the way of their ability to understand and respond positively to what you say.
When other people are angry or upset, they will demonstrate strong feelings. It is important to address these feeling on a Human Level or the business aspect may be disrupted and conflict will be created. You need to deal with the other person’s feelings, and then deal with their problem. When the business part of the interaction is completed, it is important to end on the Human Level
Step 2 – Get people to like you
Much of our success in cross-cultural communication will be determined by our ability to sell ourselves to others. Whether in our personal or working lives; people will judge us by what we say and what we do.
More importantly, this will be influenced by how likable we are. Likability is about being human; it’s about displaying warmth.
Warren Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, sometimes acclaimed as the world’s greatest investor, once said:
‘I’ve walked away from some great deals because I didn’t like the people I was dealing with.’
Likability in people will also be measured by their ability to really listen and be interested in others. Likable people use your name and look as if they care. We like people who have something positive to say and don’t whinge!
Likable people empathize with our problems and accept that we may have a different view of the world from them. Likability is demonstrated by a genuine smile, good eye contact, a sense of humor and relaxed open body language.
Step 3 – Be a credible communicator
When communicating with other people, and particularly when you’re trying to persuade them, the key ingredients are credibility and believability. Your credibility will be determined by the verbal, vocal and visual elements of your message.
If the words you say aren’t confirmed by your tone of voice and how you look, you won’t be believed. People will evaluate you (an average of 11 decisions within the first six seconds) based primarily on non-verbal information. We all tend to make snap judgements about other people, and often make mistakes – we stereotype.
So don’t fall into this trap when you meet other people, or speak to them on the phone. Also, be very aware, they will make decisions about you based on your tone of voice and body language.
Low self-esteem and self-image affect body language and tone of voice. People tend to make movements and display posture which indicates a lack of confidence. The people you communicate with, will sense from your tone of voice whether you are confident and believe in what you say.
If you don’t feel confident in a particular situation, act or pretend to be confident. Walk into a room as if you own the place. Pick up the phone and speak in a clear, confident and distinct manner.
You confidence and credibility will be determined by the self-talk that goes on inside your head.
Listen to that self-talk and ask yourself – ‘Is what I’m saying allowing me to be confident, positive and credible?’ If so – great! ‘Or is it holding me back and stopping me achieve my goals?’ If this is the case – STOP IT, change the program!
By talking to yourself in a positive manner, you’ll start to feel physically better; you’ll look better, sound more confident and credible. Words have an enormous power to create change in the chemistry of your body. Your heart rate, blood pressure, muscles, nerves and breathing will all react to the words you say to yourself and this will evident to other people.
‘Who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Make no mistake about it, if you build your knowledge of other cultures and couple that with these 3 Steps, you will become an even more effective cross-cultural communicator.
‘Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit.’
Now that may seem a bit old fashioned for many of today’s salespeople and this isn’t an article about selling, but I believe the principle still holds true.
Don’t make the job harder
If you want to get one of your team to do something, then you need to communicate your instructions to them. Of course you could just ‘tell’ them to do what ever it is you want, and lots of managers do just that. However that’s not what being a Motivational Manager is all about and telling just makes your job a lot harder.
There’s sometimes a case for telling, however it’s harder work for you because no one will continue to do what you want unless you keep telling them.
It’s all about customers
Your team members are your internal customers and you need them to “buy” from you in order to get the job done. And in order to get them to buy; you need to be a good sales person. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase – you need to get peoples buy in.
It’s all about sales
You also need good sales and persuasion skills when you’re dealing with your colleagues and even your boss.
Now you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve started to talk about sales people and buyers. It’s because I believe that we’re all sales people and buyers from the moment we enter this world till the moment we leave it.
And according to my Scottish countryman and author, Robert Louis Stevenson, Everyone lives by selling something
A baby crying for food, attention or a change of nappy is trying to persuade you to take action. If you don’t respond to this initial “request” then they step up the volume until you do.
Because we love that child, because we care, we are very open to their persuasion. So, it follows throughout our life; if people care about us, if they respect us, if they have good rapport with us, then they’re more likely to respond to our persuasion.
The sales or persuasion process is very much part of our world, and it’s far better to sell than to tell.
Make your life easier
A manager will get much further with the people who work for him or her by selling rather than telling. If people understand the benefits for them, then they’re more likely to respond in a positive manner to those who supervise them.
In any sales or persuasion situation, you should be looking for a win-win outcome. This is when you obviously benefit as much as the other person.
If this isn’t the case and it’s a win-lose situation, then instead of the words selling or persuasion, we may be talking about manipulation, control or coercion.
However, as any good salesperson or negotiator knows, a win-win outcome is what you should always be aiming for. It follows, that if you want one of your team to do something and they see a benefit for them or they’re just happy to do it, then you have a win-win situation.
So whether we like it or not, selling and persuasion is going on all the time and you need to utilise these skills if you are to be a successful Motivational Manager.
“You can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people to get what they want” – Zig Ziglar
Jane, who was recently married, explained to a friend why she had married Bill instead of Bob.
‘Bob is everything; handsome, well educated, extremely intelligent, clever and has a successful career. I felt that when I was with Bob I was with the the most wonderful person in the world.
When I’m with Bill, I feel that I’m the most important person in the world!’
Help people to like themselves and they will love you!
These answer are all perfectly valid, however when you think about it, there a whole host of other reasons why people would want to join a health club.
There are lots reasons why people could buy your product or service, and you need to be aware what they are or could be.
People buy to solve either real or perceived problems. They want to move away from pain and towards pleasure. They want to feel better after having made the decision to buy your product or service than they did before. So it follows that – buying decisions are emotional
YOUR HEART OR YOUR HEAD
All decisions to buy are emotional because people are driven by their emotions in everything they say and do.
We buy religion and politics, and we buy other people based on our emotions. We also buy products and services based on emotions.
People will decide to buy emotionally and then justify logically. Picture the man who buys a new Mercedes instead of a basic family car, and then tries to justify the extra cost to his partner. He’ll explain all about the reliable German engineering, the superb after sales service and the high resale value. However, as we all know – he probably bought the Mercedes to impress the neighbours and his friends. It was another decision based on emotions.
Some people will also buy a house (probably their most expensive purchase) because they feel good about it.
THEY WONT ALWAYS TELL YOU
Your customers won’t always tell you the real reason for buying your product or service. Take my example of the health and fitness club – a potential new member might tell you that they want to lose weight and get fit. However, they’re prime motivator for joining, is to meet new friends.
The health club markets its business by promoting the range of fitness machines, qualified instructors and superb swimming pool. However what the new member really wants – is to mix with new people. This is sometimes known as the DBM or Dominant Buying Motive.
When marketing and selling your business you need to consider the emotional and hidden benefits of your product or service, and communicate them to the potential customer. The customer can then make a decision based on their DBM.
Excerpt from How to Make Sales When You Don’t Like Selling
The multi million pound cosmetics industry is acutely aware of the value of packaging. You’ll know this it you’ve ever bought anything from those ladies whose counters are always just inside the front door of Department stores.
However, every so often we are presented with surveys about the creams we rub on our bodies which take years off our age, and make our skin as soft as a baby’s bottie.
The surveys tell us “Buy the cheap stuff or the own label one from the supermarket, ‘cause they’re all the same”. But do we? Of course we don’t!
Human beings are driven by emotions not logic, and never more so when spending their money.
People buy with their eyes, we love packaging. The marketing and merchandising experts have it down to a fine art and know the colours and shapes that we’re most likely to buy. They then design their packaging accordingly, and make sure it grabs our attention.
The product in the packaging has to do what it says it’ll do, however if it looks like it can do the business, then we’re more likely to believe it can.
Whether we like it or not, people are likely to make judgements about us by the way we are packaged. They will decide whether they like us, whether they’ll give us a job, or even just believe what we say.
This seems to be so obvious. Yet I’ve seen speakers with scuffed shoes, business leaders with outdated suits, and politicians wearing clothes that don’t fit them or suit their shape.
A few months ago I attended a function where an accountant was invited to speak about his business. He told the assembled audience how efficient his business was and about their attention to detail. However his tie was undone and his shirt looked like he was breaking it in for a smaller friend. His suit, though probably expensive, wasn’t the right colour for him, and merely due attention to the fact that its wearer liked his food. All of what he was saying was totally contradicted by how he was packaged.
It’s not just your external customers and clients you have to consider, what about your colleagues and your boss? They will all make decisions about the quality of your work, and your promotion prospects by your dress and image.
There is the famous story about the 1960’s pre-election television debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. These debates were also heard on radio, which was much more popular at that time. After the debates a poll was taken of how TV and radio audiences had reacted to the two participants. The radio audience voted for Nixon, however the TV audience voted overwhelmingly voted for Kennedy. The TV audience liked the look of Kennedy better than Nixon; they liked the packaging.
We also tend to make decisions very quickly about people we come into contact with. Psychologists have established that we subconsciously make around eleven decisions about other people within the first six seconds of meeting them. Personnel managers have admitted in surveys to making a decision about a job applicant within the first thirty seconds of an interview, these decisions being made primarily on how the people looked and carried themselves. How we look will confirm or contradict what we say.
Okay, so we can’t all have the perfect looks or the perfect body, what ever that is. However it doesn’t matter what shape you are, but it does matter how you package that shape, if you want to make an impact on other people.
How you package yourself can also make a huge difference to your self-confidence. Have you ever noticed how confident and self-assured you feel when you dress in something you feel good in? Particularly when someone genuinely compliments you. How you dress can have a huge impact on how you carry yourself and project to other people.
So there you have it. You may have a lot more to offer than a jar of anti wrinkle cream or a packet of cornflakes; however no one is going to pick you off the shelf if they don’t like your packaging.
To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please click this link.
The winner’s a loser
Posted in Books, Living by Rrishi on 25 December 2010
The last passenger into the plane had a large carry-on bag — large enough that there was no space left for it. An airhostess trotted up to ask him to let the staff put it in the hold instead. The passenger looked like an office-goer in his late thirties. He took the standard recourse of the thwarted Indian: milking his status. He looked down at her and spoke loudly, demanding to know why the check-in staff had not told him about this, and how inconvenient it was to be held up at arrival by having to wait for his luggage at the carousel.
The airhostess was unable to deflect the tantrum. So along came backup, in the form of a tall, uniformed member of the ground staff. Looking down at the passenger he said, sir, we don’t have any choice, yes sir, the fault is entirely ours, we should have told you, yes, it’s totally our mistake, you’re right, I’ll put your bag in the hold myself, sir, I’ll personally make sure you get it back in Delhi, sir — never mind that he wasn’t going to be there. He didn’t stop speaking or apologising. The passenger buckled, and after a last splutter (“You better make sure”) he let the bag go. Off to the hold it went, borne aloft by the victor.
Textbook angry-customer management, you might say — except for the look of amused superiority on the staffer’s face, and the unmistakeable closing equation of winner-loser. Conveying the impression of servile implacability was probably part of the steward’s winning combination, but to me the whole incident felt ugly.
I forgot about it, though, until this week a pile of 10 review copies of self-help books landed on my desk, all from Rupa Publications. Sorting them, I put the “how to make a fortune” titles in one pile, the spirituality and “how to pay less for more” titles in another pile (amounts to the same thing: the beatitude of the adept consumer), and then set aside the last three to enjoy.
First was Corporate Grooming and Etiquette by Sarvesh Gulati, one of only two titles by an Indian (the other was How to Make a Fortune on the Internet). Gulati, says the cover, has held senior-sounding posts in IT companies (that I’ve never heard of). The book is slim but compulsive. It’s full of advice on how to dress, speak, behave at parties and meetings and in the office loo, how to shake hands, sit, stand, use forks and knives and other tricky table implements, how to introduce yourself and other people, deal with travel (“Be Patient”), and so on. It’s amusing and revelatory, but peculiarly mixed period-wise: yes to tips on cellphone etiquette, but no to cutlery tips on seven-course haute-cuisine dinners.
Second was How to Succeed at Interviews, by “Dr” Rob Yeung, a ruthlessly practical guide to pulling one over on your interviewers. Dr Yeung helps companies design interviews; here he plays “gamekeeper turned poacher” and explains all the tricks. The point, per Dr Yeung, is to get the job at almost any cost to your morals. “You may be tempted to lie about your grades in future job applications,” he writes. “But be extremely careful as such facts are very easily checked by employers.” Not “Don’t lie,” but “Don’t get caught.” I loved it. Dr Yeung has an impressively broad cranium.
Last was nicest: How to Manage Difficult People, by Alan Fairweather. Fairweather explains that anyone can be difficult, and often the cause is yourself. I loved that he kept the focus on the reader, in a wholesome way. Rather than pretending to be something to “win” something, he says what works is actually being better and happier. This happens when you pay attention to your reactions, and when you have a multifaceted life. Swim, he says, read, learn to dance.
In India, we’re still stuck between two etiquette systems — the one our parents grew up with, linked to language, caste and place, and the one that is involved in doing business with the West. The result is that we master neither. Both the first two books, and especially the first, say we must convey an impression of sophistication and restraint — but only so as to get what we want. The steward on the aeroplane followed, superficially, the rules of managing difficult people. He did not put the passenger’s back up, and got him to give up his carry-on luggage. But the truth is in the bitter aftertaste — I win, you lose, sir.
In order to get what you want out of life, to be happier, to have better relationships and the ability to manage difficult people, you need to be better at persuasion. Interactions with other people are the most important factors in your life.
Even if you wanted to, you would probably find it difficult, not to have to deal with other people. You possibly want to live with another person, to get married, to have children, to have friends and to work with other people. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule; some people prefer to live on their own, work on their own, and have as little contact with other people as possible. However for the majority of us, it is vitally important to have positive relationships with other people.
If you ever find yourself on a deserted beach somewhere, and other people show up, I bet they come and sit beside you.
These relationships, as well as giving a great deal of happiness, can also cause unhappiness and negative stress. You find yourself having to persuade other people to accept your point of view, to accept your product or service, to accept your proposal of marriage, or to accept your ideas and beliefs.
The challenge is; other people don’t always wish to be persuaded by you. It may even be wrong, to attempt to persuade them. How many times have people been persuaded against their will or better judgement, to do something that they later regret?
I believe, that it is vital to be better at persuasion. After all, think of the instances when your power of persuasion is in the other person’s interest. It could be far better for the other person when you persuade them to:
” Give you a job
” Stop smoking
” Eat their vegetables
” Take a holiday
” Buy your product or service
” Marry you
” Lend you money (think of the interest they’ll earn)
There are many situations where your power of persuasion has benefits for the other person as well as you. In any persuasion process you’re looking for a win-win outcome. This is where you benefit as much as the other person. If this is not the case and it’s a win-lose situation, then instead of the word persuasion, you may be talking about manipulation, control or coercion.
However, as any good salesperson or negotiator knows, a win-win outcome is what you should always be aiming for.
Not brute force but only persuasion and faith are the kings of this world.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)