Give a Person a Reputation to Live Up To

You Rock!

“I have found that the best way to get another to acquire a virtue, is to impute it to him” – Winston Churchill

Do you want to get your husband to lose weight? Do you want your mechanic to do the best repair job possible on your car and for the best price? Do you want your employees to work extra hard to try and please you? One simple technique can accomplish this. It is the technique of giving the other person a reputation to live up to. Let me share with you a story and some examples:

 California Adventure Story

A number of years ago I took my family on a trip to California to visit my relatives and see some of the sights. Sorry to say, our car had other plans. When we arrived at my aunt’s house the car began overheating. Steam was pouring out from under the hood.

My aunt knew what to do. You see, she was a master at the technique I’m about to teach you today. She told us she had a mechanic that would take care of us. Unfortunately it was a Saturday and her mechanic shop was closed. Somehow she got the mechanic’s home phone number and called him. I remember very clearly how she talked with her mechanic. She talked about what a fantastic mechanic he was and how he had never let her down and how she loved to take her business to him because of his great service. Somehow, someway, she ended up persuading him to meet us at his shop to take a look at our car.

We went to the shop and she again talked with her mechanic like she had before, but did it in front of me and my wife. Then, in front of the mechanic, she told me and my wife what a great mechanic he was and that he will for sure take care of us and that he always charges a fair price. She went on and on about it.

I was amazed to watch this mechanic bend over backwards for us after that. He dropped his Saturday plans and went to work on our car. He found that our car needed a new radiator. So he made several phone calls and got one delivered right away. He worked very hard to install it and got our car running again. It was truly amazing how this all happened.

If my aunt had used the usual approach, the mechanic would have simply told us they were closed on Saturday and to bring the car in on Monday and they would look at it then. Instead, my aunt persuaded her mechanic in a positive way by using the technique of giving him a reputation to live up to.

 Example 1:

Let’s suppose you are the head of the software development department of your company and the company president has an important project he wants done. You decide you will assign your employee Bob to handle the project. However, you’re worried that Bob may not do the best job possible. So you decide to use this great persuasion technique.

You arrange a meeting with the company president where you and Bob go over the details of the project with him. As the meeting is about to conclude you say to the company president, “You don’t have to worry about a thing. There is nobody better than Bob at being able to take on a challenge like this. He’s one of my best programmers and I know he will be able to complete this project quickly and efficiently.” You go on and on with the company president about what a great programmer Bob is.

Now, do think for one minute that Bob is going to mess up on this project? Here he was praised and built up right in front of the company president. If this is how his boss thinks of him there is no way he is going to let him down. He now has a reputation to live up to, and he will!

 Example 2:

Let’s explore dealing with your children. Suppose your son is being mean to his sister and you need to correct him. Instead of beating him up verbally and telling him what a bad person he is, try this:

“Son, I just don’t understand it. You are normally one of the kindest boys I’ve known. It’s just not like you to act this way. I’m so surprised. I’m sure you won’t do this again because you’re just not that way.”

So now your son thinks, “Wow, my dad thinks that about me and now look what I’ve done, I’ve let him down.” He’s going to try extra hard to not let you down in the future because now you’ve given him a reputation to live up to.

 Example 3:

Let’s suppose that your husband has gained a little weight and he isn’t in quite the shape that you know he could be. You could say:

“Gee honey, you’ve put on a few pounds lately. Maybe you shouldn’t eat so much. You know you really ought to get out and get some exercise.”

How is that going to make him feel? Is it going to make him want to go right out and start exercising and eating right? Not hardly. It’s going to make him feel horrible! First of all he is going to justify why he is the way he is. And then he’s going to fight against it. It’s human nature.

Or you could use the other approach of giving him a reputation to live up to. When he comes home from work you give him a big hug and say:

“Gosh, you look so good today! Have you lost weight? You’ve been working out, haven’t you? I’m so glad you’re not like all my friend’s husbands. They just let themselves go and are so huge. Thanks for working so hard at keeping yourself fit and trim.”

Now, I’m not advocating lying. What I’m advocating is looking for the positive and accentuating it.

 Try it!

You can imagine which approach you would prefer if you were on the receiving end? Which would motivate you more to change? As you can see, giving the other person a reputation to live up to is an excellent tool for positive persuasion. I challenge you to try this technique over the next week and see what results you get.

Let me know how it goes by sharing your comments below.

How to Get Total Cooperation from Others

Cooperation

Have you ever needed someone’s help only to find that getting it was like pulling teeth? Maybe you were going about it all wrong. Suppose there was another way to solicit help from others that would almost guarantee their total cooperation. If you are interested, then read on.

Try This Test

Try this test the next time you want someone to help you with something. It doesn’t really matter what you need help with. It can be shoveling snow, painting a fence or solving a computer problem.

Test 1: For the first test, simply ask someone to help you. Say, “Will you help me do this?” Tell them exactly what you want them to do and how to do it. You can even offer to pay them, but make it clear that all you are paying them to do is just what you want them to do. Now note what kind of cooperation you get.

Test 2: For this second test don’t just ask the other person to help you “do” something. Approach them by asking them to help you think about the job that needs to be done. Tell them you have a problem and would like their help in resolving it. Ask them what they think about the problem. Ask them for their opinion about how you are going about it. Again, note what level of cooperation you get.  

Inevitably, you will find that although you will get some level of cooperation with the first method, you will almost always get total cooperation with the second method.

A Basic Law of Human Nature

Why is it that if you are out in your yard painting your fence and you ask your neighbor, “Hey John, can you come over and help me paint my fence?” he will tell you to go take a hike?

But if you say, “John, I’m trying to paint my fence and I just don’t know if I’m doing it right. I just can’t seem to get the paint to go on very smooth. Do you have any ideas of what I’m doing wrong?” John will more than likely come over, take the paint brush out of your hand and say, “Here, let me show you how it’s done.”

The reason is simple. There is a basic law of human nature that says we are much more interested in our own problems than the problems of others. When you ask John to help you paint your fence, it is your problem. But when you ask for his advice about painting the fence, you give him a challenge to solve a problem and thus the problem becomes his.

We Need to Be Needed

Another factor involved here is the human need to feel important. By asking John for advice you gave him the feeling of importance, the feeling of being needed. We are much more willing to give of ourselves when we are being looked up to and sought out for our knowledge and skills. It is much easier to engage the brawn when the brain is involved.

This works with painting fences or running billion-dollar corporations. The next time you would like someone to do something, rather than tell them to do it, engage their brain. Let them contribute their ideas and become part of the solution to the problem and you will find them bending over backwards to help you. It’s human nature and it works every time.

The Most Powerful Word in the English Language

whyI want to talk today about the most powerful word in the English language. It has only three letters. It is the word why.

Often when we are in a situation where we need to influence and persuade someone to see our point of view or to carry out some task, the other person will have objections. It is human nature for us to immediately want to argue the point with them using logic and reason. The problem with this method is that nobody likes to be proven wrong. Even when people know they are wrong they hate to admit it. You push against them and they tend to push back.

Instead of hitting them with a direct frontal assault by arguing with them about their objections, there is a better way.  This is where we use our most powerful word.

When the other person raises an objection, ask the question “Why?” and let them talk. When they have explained their objection, then ask again “Why?” and let them talk some more. Keep them talking by using the words “Why” or “Why not.” Nine times out of ten they will come to realize the folly of their own position and talk themselves out of it. Many times they come to find out that their reasons just don’t add up.

The key is to use your ears instead of your tongue. There is no argument that you could use that will be half as effective as their own words.

I challenge you to try this method of positive persuasion. The next time you need to get someone to do something, use the most powerful word in the English language – Why. Let us know how it went. We would love to hear from you.

6 Tips to Develop Self-Confidence with Others

Self-Condidence

Are you the kind of person who struggles in social settings? Are you shy and tend to stand in the background? Do you run from social situations because they are scary and uncomfortable for you?

You may have seen other people that seem to project self-confidence. They appear to have no problem in any social situation. They make friends easily and seem to be able to connect with others. How do they do it?

Today I’m going to share 6 ways to help you develop confidence with others. If you follow these six simple tips you will begin to feel more confident with yourself and more comfortable in social settings. There is no magic here, just six simple tips. Here they are:

Tip Number 1: Be a Front-Row-Seater

When you attend any function such as a meeting, seminar, or class where there is a large group of people, what is the first row of seats that fill up? The back row! It seems like most everyone wants to be in the back, out of the way, unobtrusive, and unnoticed. They want to just slide into the back unobserved. You need to change that attitude. You need to be a front-row-seater.

Let’s face it; outgoing, confident people don’t sit on the back row. You will find those people sitting on the front row and that’s where you should be also. It’s a signal of your willingness to jump in and be a part of the situation. Sitting on the front row may be uncomfortable at first but it puts you right up there with the important people. Another benefit isthat you are better able to contribute to the meeting or discussion than if you are sitting in the back. So that’s my first suggestion is to be a front-row-seater.

Tip Number 2: Make eye contact

Have you noticed that shy people rarely look you in the eye? When you walk past them they tend to avoid you and look the other way. It’s very uncomfortable for them to look you in the eye. This usually happens because they are afraid to engage you, meaning if they acknowledge you in any way then they may have to actually say something to you. It’s easier and safer to pretend they don’t see you.

Maybe you are that kind of person and have that same problem. Maybe you don’t even notice it. Pay attention to how you react when you pass someone on the sidewalk or in the hallway at work. Do you look the other person in the eye and make eye contact? If not then you have some work to do.

If you want to convey the message that you are a self-assured and confident person then you need to practice looking others in the eye. Don’t be afraid of the other person. Acknowledge that you see they are there. I’m not saying you should stare them down or that it should be some sort of confrontation, but that it should be a friendly gaze into the other person’s eye.

Tip Number 3: Walk 25% faster

I’ve noticed that there are some people who walk extremely slow. It’s amazing how slow some people walk. I don’t even know how they can walk so slowly. My body doesn’t even go that slow. They just sort of plod along as if they were pulling a 200 pound weight behind them, dragging from one place to the next. It’s frustrating sometimes to get stuck behind slow moving people! When a snail has to tell you to get out of road, then you know you’re going too slow!

When you see someone like this, what are your thoughts? I don’t know about you but I have a hard time not thinking of them in negative terms, like they are aimlessly going nowhere. I’m ashamed to admit that the term “loser” crosses my mind a time or two.

But when you see someone walking briskly with their shoulders straight, their head up and they are moving forward as if nothing is going to stop them, you get the impression that they are a person that has confidence in themselves and are going places in life.

So my tip is to walk 25% faster than you normally walk. When I say 25% faster, I don’t mean that you should get a pedometer and measure exactly your walking speed and then increase it by 25 %. What I mean is for you to make sure you walk briskly with confidence, like you have somewhere important to be. Walk like you have meaning and direction in your life.

Tip Number 4: Speak Up!

You may not be aware of it but many times when we speak to each other we speak in barely audible tones. Have you noticed that people who are confident and seem to be going somewhere speak up, speak clearly and speak loudly? Again it’s a message of confidence. It’s a message of “I’m not afraid to speak up. I have a healthy self-image. I have something important to say and I’m not just going to mumble it or say something under my breath, but I’m going to speak up and be heard!” So speak up!

Tip Number 5: Smile and smile big

There are some people who seem to carry the whole world on their shoulders. They have a perpetual cloud over their head and a sour expression on their face. They make you wonder what kind of sad, miserable life they live.

Then there are those who go around with a permanent smile on their face. They are friendly and confident and cheerful. They look you in the eye and say “Hello!”

Think about which kind of people you like to be around. Are they the ones that always have a grim look on their face or those that have a smile? Let’s face it, who wants to hang around a grump? We would much rather be around those that are happy and cheerful. It’s normal and natural.

So smile and smile big! Show others that you are happy and that you are glad to see them. Show them that you are pleased with who you are and where you are going in life.

Tip Number 6: Call the other person by name

It’s been said many times that the sweetest word in the English language is a person’s own name. People love it when somebody uses their name.

Let’s be honest. When someone takes the time to learn your name and remembers it the next time they meet you, aren’t you impressed? Don’t you instantly like that person? And when someone who should know your name can’t seem to recall it, doesn’t your opinion of them drop by about 1000 percent? The non-verbal message is that you are not important enough for them to learn your name. We are all human and have a need to feel important. When someone remembers your name you feel more important than when someone can’t remember your name.

We can have impact and power with other people when we take the trouble to learn their name and use it then next time we see them.

So that’s my message for today. If you want to develop more confidence with others and feel more comfortable in social settings, follow these 6 simple tips.

The Magic of a Smile

The magic of a smile
Photo by Arvind

You have with you at all times a tool that takes very little effort to use and yet has a magical effect on the people around you. It is your smile.

Who would you rather deal with?

Think for a moment about the people you deal with on a daily basis such as your family, your co-workers or your friends. Which are the ones you enjoy being with the most? Isn’t it generally those people who approach you with a smile on their face, who are cheerful and seem to be in a good mood?

Now think for a moment about those people with whom you must deal with who rarely smile. I’m talking about those people who always seem to have a scowl on their face. It’s not a pleasant experience to be with them, is it? Their mood rubs off on you. By nature you tend to resist these kinds of people. We don’t want to be around them.

Now the big question: Which kind of person are you? When you walk into a room does the room become brighter because of your glowing, cheerful smile? Or do you bring with you a dark cloud of gloom that overshadows everyone else?

How is your smile?

You may not even realize which kind of person you are. You may think you have a pleasant, cheerful countenance and have just the opposite. I found this out the hard way about me! We had just returned from a family vacation and were watching our home videos of it. I was surprised that in nearly every shot of me I had what looked like a scowl on my face. I remember thinking to myself, “Is that how I normally look to other people?” I have been working since then to consciously smile more.

I read this little verse recently and thought I would share it with you. It goes like this:

The Smile

It costs nothing, but creates much.
It enriches those who receive
without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash,
and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it,
and none are so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home,
fosters goodwill in a business,
and is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary,
daylight to the discouraged,
sunshine to the sad,
and nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen,
for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone
until it is given away.
And if in the course of the day some of your friends
should be too tired to give you a smile,
why don’t you give them one of yours?
For nobody needs a smile so much
as those who have none left to give!
– Author Unknown

What is the power of a smile?

A genuine smile has the power to put others at ease. It can cheer their day and lighten their burdens. It can help you connect with others. A smile can be contagious and change the whole feeling and mood of a room full of people. A smile not only benefits the recipient but also the originator. A smile simply makes you look better. It is an instant facelift. A great smile automatically draws people to you. There is truth in the saying:

“A smile is a little curve that sets a lot of things straight.”

I challenge you to be more conscious of your smile. When you are having a good time, be sure to tell your face! Your smile is your welcome mat. Make sure it is inviting. Use the magic power of your smile.

Are You a Conversation Hijacker?

Conversation Hijacker

A hijacker is someone who seizes control of a plane or a car or even a conversation. Are you one of them?

I spotted a hijacker recently. It was at a social gathering of neighbors and friends. It was interesting for me to observe the people there and how they interacted with each other. I noticed one woman in particular, a neighbor of mine. You could never tell by looking at her, but by golly, she was a hijacker!

I have spoken with her in the past and she has expressed her frustrations at making friends. She says no one is interested in her, that nobody cares about her. And she doesn’t understand why.

The problem is that every time you are with her she immediately begins to talk about herself, and it’s nearly always about her health problems. You barely get past “hello” and she will immediately dive right in and start describing her last doctor’s appointment and explain it all in great detail – much more detail than most people want to hear. She’ll go on and on. Frankly, I don’t understand most of what she’s saying. She uses medical terms and concepts that I have no clue what they mean. I try to be a polite person and a good listener and I’ll nod my head and say “really” and “my goodness” once in a while. I wish I really understood what she was saying but I don’t! And honestly it’s very tedious to listen to her and very difficult to get out of the conversation.

The social gathering was a casual dinner at my neighbor’s home. I arrived a little later than most people and as I walked into the dining area I passed this woman. There she was talking to a lady about her latest medical problems. And with her, that’s pretty much the way it always is.

Several weeks ago I was out working in my yard. I had dug a big hole to repair some sprinkler valves. I enjoy that kind of work. It’s kind of fun to work with my hands and get some dirt under my nails. I’m a “fix-it” kind of a guy. So there I was working on my sprinklers when this neighbor walked up to me and began to talk. I didn’t really mind because I could work while she talked. I would nod my head and say “uh-huh” once in a while as she went on.

Well, she talked the whole time I was there working on my sprinklers, which was a good 2 ½ to 3 hours. It really didn’t bother me because I was getting something done, so she could talk all she wanted. She just kept going on and on and on telling me her whole medical history in microscopic detail. I just let her go at it. I knew it would make her feel better and she appreciated having somebody to listen to her.

After talking all this time something interesting happened. She suddenly stopped talking and was silent for a few moments. I think for the first time in a long time she actually ran out of things to say. Then she looked at me and said, “What are you doing there anyway?” I said, “I’m fixing these sprinkler valves.” She then asked me what was wrong with the sprinklers and I told her. For the next few moments she was actually interested in me and what I was doing.

Frankly, it was a remarkable event. It was the first time in all the time that I’ve known her that she has ever asked something about me and was interested in something I was doing. It was so refreshing. What a different feeling it was for me to have her actually interested in me.

Maybe you know somebody like that. Maybe you are somebody like that. Perhaps you are and you don’t even know it! I honestly think this neighbor of mine has no idea how she comes across to people. Maybe someday I will take her aside and we’ll have a little chat and I’ll explain to her the concept that if you want friends and you want people to be interested in you, you have to be interested in them. You’ve got to ask and talk about the other person. That’s the sign of a quality relationship when it’s a two-way conversation.

I encourage you to examine your interactions with others to determine if you are unintentionally hijacking the conversation. If the other person is glancing at their watch or their eyes are glazing over, you might have a problem. Make people glad they talked with you. Be interested in them and attentive to what they have to say. Those are the markings of a healthy, positive conversation.