Sticking Your O.A.R.S. In

A gentle steering vs. a harsh kicking

TrentonOldfield

Trenton Oldfield, the protestor who jumped into the River Thames disrupting the annual Oxford/Cambridge race in 2012, must have been extremely grateful for the skillful steering of the boat and the beady eye of the cox, that helped him to maintain his head, even though his brains had obviously sunk somewhere deep into the River Thames. 

This clever negotiation of obstacles appears in Motivational Interviewing, which is based on the skill of using O.A.R.S.,  that look slightly different to the ones that negotiated their way around Trenton’s head.  O.A.R.S. stand for:

Open Questions, Affirmative Responses, Reflective Listening and Summarising.

Motivational Interviewing (M.I.) is not so much a zip in a power boat but more a gentle steering to get someone to change their behaviour, or as, in Trenton’s case, keep his head.

There are times are times when a sharper kick may be called for as in a ship-building yard for an oil company: “Get your hard hat on!” is best delivered as a curt reminder than woven into a half-hour feedback session.

Getting a colleague to be more ‘team spirited’ may need a lighter hand. More recently, I was told to help a director in IT consultancy to be more available to his staff. Tricky business, commanding people when you have to keep rapport, so here are the fundamentals of M.I., a management skill that can help you gently transform behaviour.

Note that the elements that make up M.I. can be used in any order.

The Elements of Motivational Interviewing (M.I.)

Open Questions

Closed questions can be useful and open ones, which provoke answers fuller than one word responses, build momentum and help to explore change more fully.  For example, ‘Do you feel you deserve the promotion?’, will provoke a different level of answer than ‘What makes you feel that it’s time for a new role?’

Advantages:

  • Uncovers hidden agendas
  • Discloses blocks

Examples of Open Questions:

  1. What’s been happening since we last met?
  2. ‘What triggered this meeting today?
  3. How can you help yourself with…?


Affirming Responses

These are statements and gestures that recognize a person’s strengths and acknowledge the desired behaviours or moves towards those behaviours, no matter how big or small.  By emphasising the positive attributes, you build up the individual’s confidence to change.

Advantages of Affirming Responses:

  • Affirming Responses can help build trust. If you are trusted, you are more likely to get to the bottom of issues and tackle the oft-underlying issues that lurk between the surface and are the foundation for the ‘stated’ reasons.
  • Such responses can make are encouraging and show recognition of a person and their abilities and/or efforts. If you’re trying to change behaviour.
  • The use of ‘Affirming Responses’, will be more likely to create that transformation.

Examples of Affirming Responses are:

  1. You’ve clearly made a lot of effort.
  2. I appreciate you were willing to share that with us.
  3. If I were in your shoes, I don’t know if I could have managed nearly so well.
  4. You’ve tried very hard to make things happen.
  5. I’m really impressed by the way….


Reflective Listening

At its simplest, Reflective Listening simply means repeating key points or phrases.  You may think that parrotting back what’s just been said could sound a bit moronic but, unless you overuse this method, it will rarely seem so because it prompts the speaker to either reconsider what they’ve just said or elaborate on it.

Rephrasing, paraphrasing and reflecting back feeling, are also forms of Reflective Listening.

Advantages of Reflective Listening:

  • Builds up empathy in the conversation by showing understanding
  • Ensures you don’t react to something that you’ve misinterpreted but getting clarification
  • By demonstrating recognition of the current situation, you’ll be helping the other to commit to change.

Examples of Reflective Listening are:

  1. So you feel…
  2. It sounds like you…
  3. That must be…/What a….!

Summary Statements

You reinforce what has been said, and prepare the conversation to move on to another subject.

Advantages of Summary Statements:

  • Verify your facts or get agreement to action.

Examples of Summary Statements:

  1. This is what I’ve heard. Tell me if I’ve missed anything.
  2. So if we look back at what’s been happening so far, would it be fair to say…
  3. You mentioned…and how…have I got this right?

Sealing the Commitment to Change

The statements below are examples of ‘change talk’, where the person knows that a change is necesssary:

  • It can’t go on like this.
  • I wish things were different.
  • I really need to look at how we’re going to reach those targets.

If you hear this kind of talk you can use:

Methods for Evoking Change Talk:

* Asking evocative questions
“What worries you about your current situation?”

* Using the importance ruler (also use regarding client’s confidence to change)
“On a scale of 1 to 10, if 1 is unimportant and 10 extremely, how important would you say it is for you to_____?

* Exploring the decisional balance
“What do you like about your present pattern?” “What concerns you about it?”

* Elaborating
“What else?” Ask for clarification, an example, or to describe the last time this occurred.

* Questioning extremes
“What concerns you most about? What are the best results you could imagine if you made a
change?”

* Looking back
What were things like before?”

* Looking forward
How could you improve the way things are?

* Exploring goals and values
“What things are most important to you?”

Ultimately, instead of going in for the kill with advice, or threats (thinking of an ex-boss here!), the other person will have been directed to ‘own’ their solution. We’re more likely to change if see, feel and state that need rather than if someone tells us. Encouraging that dynamic, can be draining for managers: it sets up the interaction of disciplinary parent to their naughty child. Put the time in on your O.A.R.S. for the boat to gain it’s own momentum and allow you to get on with other things.

 

Kicking Open the Door

Dealing with Objections

doorWhat happens when someone raises an objection and you know there’s a way round it…if only you knew those magic tactics to turn a ‘no’ or ‘not interested’ into at least a ‘you’ve got something there: let’s talk’, or even a ‘yes’.

The Pause-Align-Deflect technique was just one of a bundle that I gave to client who need to know how to handle objections.

This technique comes in three stages:

1. Pause

Why? Because it gives you time to think. If you’re given an objection such as ‘We don’t have enough money for your service’ and then dive in, you may sound a bit desperate. You need to be regarded as a solution finder to your potential customer’s problem.

2. Align

This is where you agree with the gist of a statement, rather than the content. So in the example above you’d be asking something like ‘It’s important that you allocate money to your priorities, isn’t it?’. They’ll nod in agreement, which opens the door for you to…

3. Deflect

This is usually in the form of a question and will help you keep the door open with your clients e.g. ‘What are your priorities at the moment then?’ You may find that you can help them with those priorities! Alternatively, you maybe able to indirectly do so by referring a contact. This will gain trust and a sense of partnership so that you’ll be near the top of the list when they do need you.

Here are a few more examples that could be just a relevant to professional services as charities:

Client: “Your company’s too big”
You: “Receiving the proper attention and care is important.”
Deflect with a question:
You: “So what do you look for in a relationship? What are your expectations?”

Client: You’re no different from anyone else!
You: It’s a minefield selecting a xxxxxx, isn’t it, especially with so many in this area. Can you talk me through your selection process?

Client: I’m not actually sure we need your product.
You: It’s really vital that you select the right resources when you’re growing. What are the main areas of your service you’d like to develop.

Client: Our budget has been cut.
You: Allocating funds to the right product is vital now. Where are your priorities at the moment?
Client: That won’t be a solution.
You: We don’t want to waste time and effort on something that won’t work. What would we need to do to make it work?

You may find that the your client/potential client isn’t ready to bite yet, for example in the last dialogue.
However, your question can perhaps uncover opportunities thay you haven’t yet considered or give you an idea of when the time is right.

What you might realise as you read this is just how applicable this technique is to discussing next steps, performance appraisals, brainstorming and more. You can deal with disagreement and keep the door open to solutions.

 

What specific objections do you find it difficult dealing with?  Let me know below and I’ll see if I can help you

 

Is your language holding you back?

A few years ago, I was coaching a senior Banker in creative thinking.  I had some music on my laptop and turned my back on him to switch the sound off. Before doing so, I said ‘sorry’, at which point he asked, “Why are you saying ‘sorry’?”

“Because it’s rude not to, when you’re turning your back on someone,” I replied,

“But you didn’t do anything wrong. Say ‘excuse me’. Why apologise?”

I nodded in agreement whilst pondering on his pedantic nature.

Firstly, he was in Banking, which has a very specific culture. Secondly as a South African male in Banking he was even more direct than many of the people I know in the same sector in the UK. When I was thinking ‘excuse me’, he heard ‘grovel, grovel, please forgive me.’

 

The Language Trap

Knowing how our language is interpreted in ways that we hadn’t intended was the subject of a study by Dr. Judith Baxter, Senior Lecturer of Applied Linguistics at Aston University.

She observed and recorded board meetings in 7 FTSE 500 businesses and analysed how women who have reached the top communicate and interact with their colleagues.

What she discovered is a key skill that women need to learn if they are to survive and be successful at the top. However, it’s not only women. I’ve sat in on a few meetings where men have also fallen into the same verbal trap.

The trap, as Dr. Baxter defines it, is called ‘double-voiced discourse’ (DvD). Women tend to use this more when they’re in a meeting dominated by men, mainly at a more senior level.

DvD is a type of linguistic second guessing, where possible negative reactions to colleagues are dealt with by using pre-emptive self put-downs. The message the listener gets is that of insecurity.

For example, Dr. Baxter noted that in one example a senior woman said, ‘I realise I’m talking too much, I better shut up’. She had only spoken twice in the board meeting.

Some examples of double-voiced discourse taken from the data are as follows:

  • To pre-empt criticism about a new policy, a senior woman to her team:
    ‘I know what’s going through your minds, so let me just say what I think first…’
  • In case she didn’t hear an important point in the discussion:
    ‘Correct me if I have missed something here, but it seems to me that…’
  • To soften a forceful statement if a senior women feels she is seen as threatening:
    ‘At the risk of sounding assertive, I just think…..’
  • To heighten authority if a woman feels she is not being taken seriously:
    ‘OK, guys, give me a break, you’re not listening to my point…’

I’ve found that one has to also be careful with the use of words such as ‘actually’ as in:

‘Actually, I have something to add to this’

Some may interpret that as:

‘Ooh, what a surprise! I can, in fact, add to this point!’

There’s also ‘just’ as in:

‘I just need to ask you whether we’re meeting tomorrow’

That sentence with the word ‘just’ and either softens it or can come across as almost apologetic.

‘So sorry to take up your time but can I ask, er…is it OK…to know what time we’re meeting tomorrow.’

This self-deprecating language can express a charming humility. On the other hand, there are certain national cultures and working contexts in which such forms of expression can hold you back.

(By the way, thanks to Kim Catcheside from Champollion for passing me her press release from Dr Baxter’s research.)

What specific language do YOU observe puts the speaker down?

Punchy Persuasion in a Tick!

 

Forget the money!  Show me your PROEP!

Forget the money! Show me your PROEP!

Question:

I’ve got to persuade my boss to follow a strategy in a meeting that’s coming up.  How can I persuade him quickly that what we need to do is a good idea?

Answer:

Go for the PROEP Model of persuasion

Proposal (Outline):  We need to bring in more Sales people alongside the Tech teams for Calypso.

Reasons (3 max!):  We’ll have easier access to a large market.

Objections (inc. cost, time, effort.  Remember to build in a way of countering those objections):  I understand that the upfront costs may seem off-putting.  Although many of our teams are great on-site, they’re not up-selling and cross-selling at the rate we’d like.  We’d get more business with less hassle with a specialist or two.  

I know that many Sales people brush the IT teams up the wrong way but with someone who’s got a proven record at winning business in our sector and sells our skills accurately, we’d see profits without the pain.  I can get in touch with xxxx Recruitment that could find just the right people for us.

Evidence: [Our Competitor] has had a dedicated team just selling Murex services to the finance sector.  Although they started 8 months ago, they’ve seen xxxx% profit in the last 6 months.

Proposal: So, in my view, taking on more Business Development expertise could potentially double our profits within half a year.

Just a note about ‘Evidence’:  This depends on how any one individual tends to be persuaded.  Consider that any of the following points could be evidence:

  1. Something similar you’ve achieved before;
  2. Something someone else has achieved before;
  3. Statistics: projected or otherwise.
  4. The sight of something – a picture/walkabout etc
  5. Pointing out what can be avoided or what can be gained by following a particular course of action.

There are more but this will cover most persuasive arguments.

Making a suggestion which shows recognition of any objections and how you could counter them will fend off much of the hesitation to proceed and allow you to put a plan into action quicker.

Do you have any specific objections to a proposal, which you can’t think how to counter? 

Let me see if I can help you. 

Just add the query (or comment) below…

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Just LISTEN, will you!?

Listening

 Just LISTEN, will you!?

There are times when you think you’re better off talking to a brick wall and times when…actually you are e.g. teleconferences where the ‘listeners’ have pressed the mute button.

Whether it’s at work or in other areas of your life, wouldn’t it be great to be able to use a few simple techniques that:

1.  can pour water on the fire of potential conflict,
2.  help you to discover hidden agendas
3.  or, simply, to get people on your side

Verbal Techniques for Effective Listening

1. Empathy

Although we all empathise at least sometimes, some show empathy more naturally than others and will tend to vocalise it. This is particularly important on the telephone but is also vital in face-to-face conversations as it builds rapport.

Benefits:

  • You encourage the person to disclose more information!
  • People feel understood

Examples:

  1. That’s (interesting)…..
  2. How (dangerous)!
  3. What (a pain)!
  4. I can see how that could make things difficult/dangerous/ Yes, that’s how I see it/feel
  5. It sounds like that to me too

2. Reflect Back

Benefits:

  • Mitigates the chance of conflict based on misunderstanding
  • Clarifies statements and a stance on an expressed opinion
  • Helps the speaker to formulate their intentions
  • Buys you time before reacting (helping you to control your own emotions)
  • Reassures the speaker that you’ve understood them
  • Aids memory through repetition of details

Examples:

  1. Let me see if I understand this correctly…
  2. If I can just go back a little
  3. Let’s step back for a moment…
  4. To recap…
  5. What I got from that was…
  6. Would it be correct to say…

3. Vocalise

Benefits:

  • Buys you time before reacting
  • Encourages the speaker to continue
  • Shows empathy through intonation

Examples:

  1. ‘uh’, ‘ah’, ‘umm’ etc.

4. Pausing

Get comfortable with pauses! Nodding, vocalising and your facial expressions can fill a pause as can writing if you’re sitting at a table. Looking away in thought, can take away any intensity during the silence and give the impression that what has been said is worth considering.

Benefits: helps reflection on what’s been said provides time for the listener to formulate a response allows statements to sink in makes you look more confident

If you want to get someone to stop talking, listen to them!

This may seem a little counter-productive but I shall bite the bullet and put in print what I’ve been saying in my Management and Communication workshops for years….

There’s a gender difference in how we listen.

Men will tend to want to ‘fix’ a problem and give advice. A woman will want to tell the ‘story’ because it feels better. Cut in too quickly with your ‘fix it or shut it’ approach and you’re dinner. If you want to move the conversation on and away, just show some empathy. I’m not saying men aren’t empathetic but it’s a matter of showing empathy, partly through matching body language and vocal tone, but also through a verbal indication that you understand (see above). Often women know the solution: they just want to feel that they’ve been understood. Believe me, knowing this can make or break a relationship! (P.S. The body language is different as well e.g. men use less head movements such as nodding, when listening and this is particularly noticeable the higher up the ladder you go so watch out for this one!).

And here’s the biology behind it…

Men have twice as much serotonin as women, whereas women have twice as much dopamine as men. Hence, when a man tumbles through the door after a long day, he may well feel happy and relaxed (serotonin) but tired, unfocussed and uninterested (lack of dopamine).

Women on the other hand, may trudge glumly through the house (lack of serotonin) but focussed and interested enough to complete tasks and chores.

So when a man doesn’t feel like doing the washing up he can blame his Dopamine Depletion. When a woman wants to have a good ‘ole moan and grumble, it’s our Divine Right.

This is either an argument for gay marriage or the use of Empathy. Take your pick…

 

Words that flick the Turn Off Switch

During meetings, whether they’re one-to-one or group gatherings, there are certain words or phrases that make you want to switch off.

If you want to keep your audience switched ON, here are the words/phrases to avoid

turnoff
1. ‘Presentation’
Unless you’re talking about, say, how to do a presentation, the word ‘presentation’ as in “In this presentation, I shall tell you about…” is a bit of a dampener. Your audience will be preparing themselves for being talked at and bombarded with slides.

2. ‘I’m going to sell you…’
Good selling makes the customer feel like they’ve bought, not that they’ve been sold too. You will rarely think you’ve bought because of a selling technique but of your perceived choice to buy.

3.  ‘I’m going to convince you’
As soon as you say that, your audience is already thinking, ‘No, you’re not!’ Anyway, what convincing do you have to do? Your case should be self-evident or, at least, your belief should shine through.

4. ‘hopefully’
As in, ‘Hopefully, by the end of this, you’ll realise how little these changes will trouble you.’ So, you’re living in hope? Giving the impression of being convinced and convincing is a vital ingredient to winning your audience over. So, drop the ‘hopefully’: it sounds like you’ve got your fingers crossed behind your back!

5. Things/stuff/nice/cool
Even if you are presenting to an audience who have their jeans around their bum cheeks, articulacy is always admired. Other words for ‘things’, for example, can be ‘facets’, ‘elements’, ‘possessions’. ‘Cool’ can be ‘smart’, ‘impressive’, ‘sleek’ or ‘fresh and clean-looking’. Don’t get me started with ‘stuff’ and ‘nice’….just find one of thousands of words that can replace these. (There’s 600,00 words in English so you’ve plenty to choose from…)

6. ‘Myself’ and ‘Yourself’ etc
You use ‘myself’ if: you wash yourself; you go by yourself; you do the work yourself. This is called the ‘reflexive pronoun’.

You do not use it here:
A: How are you?
B: Fine. And yourself?Actually, it’s ‘And you?’

This over-politeness in the English language is a recent tick of the tongue and has manifested in the last decade. Not only is it grammatically wrong but results in stilted, non-conversational language and is on a par with other annoying phrases such as:

7.   ‘Going forward’
Where? Into a black hole?

8.  ‘Thinking out the box’
Usually said by the most ‘in-the-box’ people

9.  Pushing the envelope
Does this mean taking risks? Making the work more challenging? Improving skills? It’s too unspecific to have any real meaning.

10.   ‘But’
I’m not saying that you have to avoid this but…..I was in a meeting and we were introduced to a new manager after a calamitous takeover. The room was bristling with dissatisfaction. He stood up (in a corner) and introduced himself, adding ‘I’m very understanding and I’m here if you need to talk but…(cue: guffaw from the audience)…but if anyone takes the mickey, there’ll be trouble.’ cue: heckles. Could this not have been reworded to ‘…of course, everyone has limits and I know that as a conscientious team, you won’t breach them.’? Use the word ‘but’ judiciously because it tends to weigh more on what comes after it than before in certain situations.

A presentation is a dialogue with one person speaking – at least, most of the time. Just like in a conversation, you need to be aware of the tone of your words, and, as in a conversation, give equal value to sounding natural and articulate (if you need to choose between those two, opt for the second one – just because you can!)

‘Why Aren’t They Listening To Me?’

notlisteningPicture this: you’re in a meeting and make, what you think, is a great suggestion. Everyone carries on talking. So, you repeat yourself. No response.

Twenty minutes later someone echoes your own suggestion and everyone stops as if they’ve heard the Divine Word and praises the speaker, leaving you totally flummoxed.

‘Why aren’t they listening to ME!’ cries your inner voice.

Here are a few tips to grab and maintain the attention of others: use in meetings, when managing up, down or sideways…

Use gesture

Vocal emphasis is key to speaking with enthusiasm and conviction.
Once you learn to use emphasis, your speaking will:


*look more engaging
*sound more interesting
*feel more comfortable


In order to emphasise effectively….

  1. use gesture in tandem with vocal emphasis
  2. vary vocal pitch and pause to underline important words/phrases
  3. maintain eye contact to the end of the sentence

Levels of information

Sometimes people go right for the detail when the listener wants the big picture or headlines. When there’s a mismatch in the level and quantity of information required, it can be a cause of communication frustration and is enough to flick the ‘off’ switch.

If you get too much detail, try phrases such as:

  1. ‘So, what you’re saying is…’
  2. ‘From what you’re saying, the main points are that…’
  3. ‘Right. Essentially, what I need to do is…’


If you need more information than you’re getting, use any of the following phrases:

  1. ‘Could you give me an example?’
  2. ‘Could you tell me more about……?’
  3. ‘What exactly would that be like…?’

 

‘BUT HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE’S ATTENTION IN THE FIRST PLACE?’

 

 

I think the easiest way to answer this is to think about why we wouldn’t want to listen to someone before they even open their mouths.  Here’s a list of considerations:

  1. You don’t trust or like that person: you’re basing your opinion/feelings on previous contact.
  2. They physically cower, dominate, seem aggressive or passive aggressive or don’t look ‘genuine’:  how are they sitting/standing?  is there a false smile, slightly tightened jaw line or narrowed eyes?  Is there a ‘hard’ facial expression – that look in the eyes?  Does the person inappropriately mismatch the tone of the gathering, either physically or vocally?  Note, mismatching can be appropriate.  For example, if you want to energise a slumping group, you wouldn’t get very far if you slumped along with them!
  3. And…while I’m on mismatching…the pace of movement or speech seems to bother the listener.  Is it too fast and making you feel nervous?  Too slow and you feel frustrated?
  4. Vocally, they’re difficult to listen to: from the moment they open their mouths, you can’t understand the accent, hear the speech or the vocal tone is gruff or grating in some way.
  5. There’s inappropriate dress e.g. the probation officer giving a presentation as her top continued to ride up over her pregnant belly.  This slightly detracted from a serious message… or, and shall I be blunt here…?  Yes, why not…poor hygiene.  If someone has a strong personal smell, listening may be rather challenging since your sinuses are being coated with acidic aromas.
  6. You have external influences:  these could include too much noise from elsewhere distracting you; limited time; other priorities that you need to consider such as a deadlines, debt or darlings.  Or whatever – you get the picture!
  7. Physiological needs:  lack of sleep, needing the toilet or food, being too hot or cold could override anything going on around you, no matter how attention-grabbing the speaker may be.  In that case, deferring a conversation, allowing comfort breaks, breaking in food etc. will help immensely.
  8. From the speaker’s point of view belief and conviction in your message go a long way.  No matter about your posture, eye contact or voice, it’s the belief and conviction that you’ll project before you open your mouth and that can go a long way to drawing people in.

 

Let me tell you a story!

How to Spin a Good Yarn

Ever tried to get someone to change their beliefs or behaviour?  Often, the more we try, the more frustrating it can be.  This is where stories can be so effective as they depersonalise the personal: meaning and consequence ring out with a well chosen anecodote. You can pluck into a story with a pitch, presentation or when giving an appraisal.  In fact, stories generally enrich communication.

To come up with a tale to tell that strikes a chord, firstly, think why you’re telling your tale.   Here are some reasons:

If you’re thinking “Nope, still got no stories related to any of these!”   Then, just steal them: attribute them to someone else (and be careful to change details if you need to keep confidentiality).

Stephen Denning, author of the ‘The Springboard: How storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organisations’, told a short and powerful anecdote as Head of Knowledge Management at the World Bank.   He’d been banging his head up against a brick wall, trying to influence the spread of knowledge and know-how of the World Bank to create global change.   It’s only when he dumped the data, pie charts and graphs to tell a short personal story about a health worker in Kamana, Zambia that he started to create the change he needed in The World Bank.  The health worker was struggling to find a solution for treating malaria.   In this tiny and remote rural town the health worker logged on to the website of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and found an answer.

‘This true story happened, not, as if in a fantasy, in 2015, but in June 1995…..but the most striking aspect of this picture is this: [The World Bank] doesn’t have its know-how and expertise organised so that someone like the health worker in Zambia can have access to it.   But just imagine if it did!’

And all the hard facts and PowerPoint pie charts couldn’t beat the impact of that tale that sparked the beginning of the journey into global knowledge management in the World Bank. And that’s the power of a good yarn

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Want to comment on something?  Feel free to say what you think below…

Words That Win

Words that Win

Finding it hard to grab attention and keep it throughout a presentation? Do you need to be more persuasive?

If so, then try out these tips to draw people into what you’re saying and keep them there.

Jo, a Sales Director, was offered a great opportunity: to give an after-dinner speech at an awards ceremony for a professional association. It was her chance to shine in front of her industry peers.

Then she went into a panic…

“Everytime I’ve been to one of those events, everyone’s gassing away, knocking back the Chablis. After dinner speakers are just the background noise.”

That’s often because they’re not doing at least one of two actions:

1) using Power Words

2) taking the reins

1) Using Power Words

Harvard University held a survey of the most powerful words in English. It came up with 12 and these are:

You, Easy, Guarantee, Health, Love, Money, New, Proven,

Results, Safety, Save, Discover

Use 3 of those in the first minute of any presentation or communication and I can guarantee that you’ll discover how quickly people will listen.

So I used 3 there. Any more of those and I’d have sounded like Victor Kiam. Actually, I’d add one more: FREE. That’s a good one. There are other attention grabbing words but they might not be so socially acceptable so I’d stick to the Harvard ones if I were you…

2) Taking the Reins

I recently saw a speaker, who hushed the audience with the word ‘you’ scattered throughout the first minute and he immediately had everyone’s attention. However, after another couple of minutes, the noise started up again, “If you don’t be quiet, I’ll {now in slow motion} speeeek veeeerrry veeeeeery slooooly and the whole speech will take twice as long.” So the audience immediately hushed. Whenever it got too rowdy, he just spoke in slow motion for a couple of words and everyone was silenced again.

Now Taking the Reins is for particularly noisy audiences but Power Words were enough for Jo who had the audience in her hands with a scattering of ‘you’s’ as well as a sprinkling of more from the list throughout her speech.

Even in a one-to-one, you’ll find Power Words useful – they’re persuasive and direct.

Notice how you grab attention quickly next time you need to have someone listen to what you say: and I’m guessing that moment might be sooner rather than later .

Remember that it’s not how much you say but the content that counts:

‘What is required is not a lot of words, but effectual ones.’ (Seneca)

 

Power words are as effective in email as they are face to face.  Put them into practice and let me know what happens in the comments.  See you there!