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Pearls of Life

(16) Pearls of Life

 Why Trust Is Worth It

PL16

Be Worth It

There are lots of things you might want-lots of reasons you may have picked up these texts - and many of them have nothing to do with work. A lot of them do though, and of those the most frequent ambitions people tell me about are getting pay raises and promotions. Indeed, even if it’s not top of your own personal list, you probably wouldn’t say no if a raise or promotion was in the offing.

I’ll tell you where most people go wrong, too. There’s a kind of assumption that if you’re doing a good job and you’ve been there a long time, you somehow deserve it. Wrong. Listen, times are hard.

Your boss can’t give you an upgrade of any kind without a damn good reason. So you’d better give her one.

This is a perfect example of not only working hard but also working at the right things. You are only going to get that raise or promotion if you can demonstrate that you are giving your company more value than they expected when you started the job, or last had a raise. That means you have to show them how you’re doing one of these things:

You are exceeding the targets that were set.

You are earning, or saving, the organization significantly more money than it expected.

You are more valuable because you’ve gained qualifications or experience.

You have additional responsibilities that weren’t in your job description before.

You give as much (or greater) value than other employees who earn more than you.

That’s what gives your boss the excuse to increase your recognition from the company. Hard work on its own is no more than you were originally contracted to provide. But demonstrating increased value gives you a strong case.

Help Them to Say Yes

The more you can help someone say yes to you, the less you actually have to ask for what you want, in so many words. You know that some people are easy to say yes to, for all sorts of reasons. Maybe the request is straightforward, maybe it doesn’t require much effort from you, perhaps they’ve asked at just the right moment, or in a particularly charming way, or maybe you owe them a favor, or perhaps you just like them and want to help.

Whether you feel comfortable asking directly or whether you want to find an indirect way to get what you want, the easier you can make it for the other person to help you, the more likely you are to get what you want. And the key to all that is to put yourself in their shoes and see it from their perspective. So that’s what we’ll do next.

 Make Sure You’re Getting Through to Them

 No one is going to give you what you want if they don’t know what it is-not on purpose anyway. And some people just don’t listen properly. You may be asking for something big from them, or they may just be giving you a bit of help along the way, but either way you need to make sure they’ve taken on board what it is you need.

 Make Sure You’re Getting Through to Them

You know the people in your life who never listen properly, and then like as not blame you for the communication problem: “You never said….” Right.

We’re going to make absolutely sure they hear this time. So the first thing to do is to work out exactly what you want to say, and find the most succinct way you can of expressing it. Practice it if need be, so you’ll get it right. “I’m looking for cover on Thursday afternoon. Are you free?”

If there’s any complication repeat it in different words, maybe even ask them to say it back to you, “just so I know I’m making sense.” (Just be careful not to do it in a way that gets their back up or belittles them-you really have to judge this in the situation, I can’t actually be there with you.) This can help to fix it in their mind. Then summarize again at the end of the conversation.

If you feel the other person doesn’t fully grasp that you have a problem that needs solving, ask him questions: “How would you go about getting the customer to agree to a delayed delivery date? Bearing in mind that they have clients shouting at them already….”

Listen, if it’s that important to you that you free up this time, or get onto this course, or meet this deadline, or achieve that target, you can’t overestimate the importance of getting the right information through to the people you need on your side.

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(17) Pearls of Life

Music To Inspire Positive Thinking

PL17

And Make Sure They’re Getting Through to You

So that last point was about people who don’t listen properly. But what about the people who don’t express themselves clearly? If you need information or help from them, you need to hear what they’re telling you.

I had a colleague who spoke in a strong, categorical way, with a forceful personality. (That doesn’t sound amiable but actually she was-enthusiastic and selfassured.)

Anyway, after I’d been working with her a while, I noticed that I wasn’t always clear about what she’d been talking about. I obviously hadn’t been concentrating properly. I must try harder. A week or two later I came away from another discussion with her…only to realize I hadn’t actually grasped what she wanted from me. I smacked myself on the wrist again and, apologizing for my vagueness, mentioned it to someone else, who said, “Do you know, I thought it was me. I have the same problem.” In fact, although her manner seemed clear, it had been masking her serious inability to clearly express herself.

The way to overcome this is to ask questions-specifically closed questions that invite yes, no, or one-word answers: “Will you be here for Tuesday’s meeting?” “Can we be confident of selling more than 2,000 of these in the first month?” or “Are you happy to babysit for me if I babysit for you?” Don’t stop until you’re sure you have the information you want.

 Think About Why They’d Say No

Now, we know that some people find it easier to say no than others, but almost everyone would prefer to say yes if they can. Not at any cost of course, but why not be helpful when you can? Even the most cynical people can see the advantage in being owed a favor. So if they say no, there will be a reason for it. Some people will say no for a minor reason; others will help if they conceivably can; but there’s always a reason why they might say no.

 Think About Why They’d Say No

 So what’s it likely to be? If you can second guess their objections, you can put yourself into a much better position. So think through the reasons why they might be going to say no:

 It’s a lot of work.

It will cost them.

It will give you a competitive edge over them.

They’ll never get it past their boss/partner/friend.

It entails dealing with someone difficult.

They haven’t got time.

It will show up a weakness or mistake of theirs.

It will be cold/uncomfortable/dirty/messy.

That’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.

Sometimes the reason might be that they don’t like/trust/feel confident in you, but we’ve already made sure that won’t be the case so I’ve left it off the list.

You’re much better placed than me to work out their objection, and for goodness sake don’t forget that there may be more than one objection, and you need.

 Show You Understand

 Your job now is to make sure you let the other person know that you have grasped the problems involved. Not just their own, but the things in the system that might conflict with what you want.

When people see that you understand the issues, they’re much more likely to listen to you. Stands to reason. Why would they take you seriously if you clearly haven’t a clue what’s going on, or are ignorant of the facts, or haven’t come to grips with the prevailing mood among the workforce? If, on the other hand, you’re thoroughly versed in the nuances and subtleties of the situation, then your opinion is going to be worth having, and your advice on how to play things will be valuable.

It’s never enough just to work out for yourself the complications or ramifications or subtext. You have to think them through, and then make sure the other person knows that you know. It will give your case far more authority.

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(18) Pearls of Life

  Finding Truth, the Correct Questions, Be Objective, Look at ALL Sides

 PL18

Be Objective

Your credibility is vital. No one is going to come around to your way of thinking if they don’t trust your judgment. They won’t agree to drop the asking price, or move up the launch date, or invest in a new sports arena, or send you to a training course, just because you want it. They need to believe that it’s actually the right thing to do.

This means that you must avoid giving subjective judgments. Don’t say something is “great” or “best.” Be specific about it: It’s the most accurate this or the cheapest that or the fastest something or other. And it’s not “incredibly fast,” its “capable of speeds up to 95mph.” These are objective measures that you should be able to back up. They’re not just your opinion. That gives them clout.

So when you approach someone to talk about giving you what you want, make sure you have with you all the data you could need to back up these objective claims of yours. Don’t wait to be asked. Show you’ve done your research and volunteer the results. Demonstrate clearly why the asking price is too high, or sales will benefit from a March launch, or schools with modern sports facilities are more successful than those without,  or how people with this training can contribute to their organizations.

Now you look like a real expert on the subject, instead of someone with a personal motive.

 Give Them an Excuse to Make an Exception

Sometimes you need someone to give you something that goes against their normal actions, or risks undermining a principle of theirs, or may set a precedent they wouldn’t want set. When this happens you need to help them find an excuse to say yes to you and still say no at other times that suit them. They might come up with their own excuse of course, but why bother? For them it’s as easy to say no. You’re the one with the vested interest here, so you’d better do the hard work.

Give Them an Excuse to Make an Exception

Maybe your mother feels that if she comes on vacation with you to help with the kids she’ll have to do the same for both your siblings, and that’s too much of a commitment. Perhaps management has already stipulated that it won’t take on any new staff. You need to help it change its minds-and what it needs is an excuse for making an exception in this case.

Try telling your mother, “I realize it’s a lot of your time, and we could always cope fine when we had two children, same as Jack and Rachel cope with theirs. But now that we have the twins as well it’s more than double the work….” There’s a justification she can use if Jack or Rachel asks why she doesn’t come on their vacations as an unpaid babysitter.

When it comes to your proposal to management, explain that you agree staffing levels should be kept to a minimum. But this case is different. Two extra, experienced staff to work with the new software can free up four people to sell full time, so the increase will pay for itself in the first three months.

If you can think of a reason for making you the exception to the rule, and one that they can then use on anybody else who asks for the same thing, you’re in the best possible place for them to say yes to you.

 Solve Their Problems

 So now you’ve worked out what might stop them saying yes, you need to come up with a  plan to counteract their objection. This isn’t difficult; although you might need to get creative. Suppose your neighbor might say no to babysit regularly so you can go to an evening class. What’s her reason, do you reckon? She doesn’t want to commit that much time? Well, how about you offer to do something for her to compensate-if you mowed her lawn every weekend she’d get back the time she gave you. Or you could promise to have the kids in bed before she arrives, so she can use the time to get on with her own stuff.

Why would your boss say no to send you to a particular course? Maybe she can’t justify the cost in the current economic climate. Or perhaps she’d have to clear it with her boss, and she knows that will be a pain. So you need to work out how the company will get its money back through the increase in your value. And perhaps for good measure you should put together a well-researched written report on the benefits, so your boss can pass it straight on to her manager. Then it’s down to your powers of persuasion and she doesn’t have to argue the case herself.

Getting the picture? Listen; if you want this thing enough you can be creative about removing the other person’s objections to helping you. Then how are they going to say no?

 Next: Read the Clues

 

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(19) Pearls of Life

The Power of Words

PL19

Read the Clues

Some people will give you an unequivocal answer straight off. But some people won’t.

Maybe they don’t want to seem rude, or perhaps they really want to help but can’t, or maybe they’re still undecided. Then again, you may well not actually have asked in so many words, so they don’t feel they have to give an answer.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t drop clues though. Hints even. And you need to listen for them. Especially if you’re trying to gets what you want without actually having to ask. And there are plenty of clues to listen out for. Let me give you a few examples so that you can see what I’m driving at:

“Hmmm. I wonder whether Ali might help you...” tells you that this person wants to help, and might be prepared to approach Ali on your behalf.

“I don’t know if I can manage a Thursday…” tell you that if you can change the night, they may be able to help.

“It’s going to be tricky persuading the finance director…” means that this person is probably on your side but you need to furnish them with convincing figures.

I’ve been meaning to do something about shedding a bit of weight myself…” indicates that this person might join you on your diet-which may give you a better chance of success.

After you have the clues you can get on with finding ways to remove the obstacles that might stop you getting what you’re after.

Learn What Gets Them Going

I had a boss once who was convinced that anyone would do whatever you wanted if you offered them enough money. Anytime anyone needed motivating he’d tempt them with the possibility of a pay raise, or the promise of an additional bonus, or the suggestion of a promotion. Funny thing was, there were only a couple of people on his team who ever worked harder for all his attempts to motivate them. He couldn’t understand it. What’s more, there was plenty of unmotivated staff moaning that they never got any thanks for all their hard work.

Not everyone is motivated by money. Sure, if it makes no waves we’d all rather have more of it please, even if not for ourselves. But that doesn’t mean it’s what really drives us, what excites us, what makes us feel good, what makes all the effort worthwhile. People are motivated by all kinds of different things. Think about your kids if you have them, or your best friends. Most of them want status more than money, or we want recognition, or power, or responsibility, or job satisfaction, or challenge, or just a simple thank you.

After you’ve identified what drives people that’s when you can really start to get what you want, by making sure you trade it for what they really want.

Use the Right Words

It’s important, if you want someone to say yes, that you talk about what you want-whether you’re actually asking-in terms that will make it sound appealing. And they may not be attracted by the same things as you. In the same way that you need to know what drives people, you also need to know which words give them a positive feeling-and which don’t.

If you were trying to describe a park ghost train ride to a typical teenage boy, you might tell them, “Come on-you’ll love it! It’s really fast and scary!”

That would do the trick with a lot of teenagers I know. But it certainly wouldn’t work on some of their grandparents. You’d need to tell them, “It’s completely safe, and it’s so safe it’s funny.” Same ride, different words.

When you get to know people well-your boss or your family or your kids or your friends-you discover that they all have words that turn them on or off. Some people are a sucker for anything “exciting,” or “funny,” or “quirky.” I used to have a manager who would agree to anything so long as she was convinced it was “reliable” or “proven.” She liked words that sounded safe. It’s always worth listening to the kind of language they use themselves-that can give you clues as to what kind of words will work best on them. If you want someone to support you, work out which words they like to hear, and then use those words to convince them to do it.

Get the Timing Right

Getting what you want can be a long-term plan. I know someone who has just spent five years restoring a classic boat, while living on it in the cold and wet, and now finally (and deservedly) has a fabulous and comfortable home that is, at last, sufficiently watertight to float.

He knew from the start that what he wanted would take five years, and it did. You may have some minor wants that can be satisfied quickly and easily, but most of the big plans and dreams take longer.

So you know well in advance that you’re going to need things from other people. When you think through how you’re going to go about achieving this, think about when you’re going to approach them. Your partner may always go through a period of stress at a particular time of year when several contracts come up for renewal-so that’s not going to be the best time to ask for extra support.

Similarly, don’t approach your boss for a pay raise the month after a salary review, or when the last quarter’s figures have just come in and are particularly depressing-even if you’re the only one keeping them afloat. Much better to ask in the days or weeks after you clinch a lucrative deal.

You make it far easier for people to support you if you approach them when the time suits them, and not just you. So consider things from their perspective, and fit your schedule around them as far as you can.

Anya Serdyuk

 

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(20) Pearls of Life

The Power of Words

PL20

Tell Them What You Want Without Asking

So now you’ve worked out what might stop them saying yes, you need to come up with a plan to counteract their objection. This isn’t difficult; although you might need to get creative.

Suppose your neighbor might say no to babysit regularly so you can go to an evening class. What’s her reason, do you reckon? She doesn’t want to commit that much time? Well, how about you offer to do something for her to compensate-if you mowed her lawn every weekend she’d get back the time she gave you. Or you could promise to have the kids in bed before she arrives, so she can use the time to get on with her own stuff.

Why would your boss say no to send you to a particular course? Maybe she can’t justify the cost in the current economic climate. Or perhaps she’d have to clear it with her boss, and she knows that will be a pain. So you need to work out how the company will get its money back through the increase in your value. And perhaps for good measure you should put together a well-researched written report on the benefits, so your boss can pass it straight on to her manager. Then it’s down to your powers of persuasion and she doesn’t have to argue the case herself.

Getting the picture? Listen; if you want this thing enough you can be creative about removing the other person’s objections to helping you. Then how are they going to say no?

Read the Clues

Some people will give you an unequivocal answer straight off. But some people won’t. Maybe they don’t want to seem rude, or perhaps they really want to help but can’t, or maybe they’re still undecided. Then again, you may well not actually have asked in so many words, so they don’t feel they have to give an answer.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t drop clues though. Hints even. And you need to listen for them. Especially if you’re trying to get what you want without actually having to ask. And there are plenty of clues to listen out for. Let me give you a few examples so that you can see what I’m driving at:

“Hmmm. I wonder whether Ali might help you...” tells you that this person wants to help, and might be prepared to approach Ali on your behalf.

“I don’t know if I can manage a Thursday…” tell you that if you can change the night, they may be able to help.

“It’s going to be tricky persuading the finance director…” means that this person is probably on your side but you need to furnish them with convincing figures.

“I’ve been meaning to do something about shedding a bit of weight myself…” indicates that this person might join you on your diet-which may give you a better chance of success.

After you have the clues you can get on with finding ways to remove the obstacles that might stop you getting what you’re after.

Learn What Gets Them Going

I had a boss once who was convinced that anyone would do whatever you wanted if you offered them enough money. Anytime anyone needed motivating he’d tempt them with the possibility of a pay raise, or the promise of an additional bonus, or the suggestion of a promotion. Funny thing was, there were only a couple of people on his team who ever worked harder for all his attempts to motivate them. He couldn’t understand it. What’s more, there was plenty of unmotivated staff moaning that they never got any thanks for all their hard work. Not everyone is motivated by money. Sure, if it makes no waves we’d all rather have more of it please, even if not for ourselves. But that doesn’t mean it’s what really drives us, what excites us, what makes us feel good, what makes all the effort worthwhile. People are motivated by all kinds of different things. Think about your kids if you have them, or your best friends. Most of them want status more than money, or we want recognition, or power, or responsibility, or job satisfaction, or challenge, or just a simple thank you. After you’ve identified what drives people that’s when you can really start to get what you want, by making sure you trade it for what they really want.

Use the Right Words

It’s important, if you want someone to say yes, that you talk about what you want-whether you’re actually asking-in terms that will make it sound appealing. And they may not be attracted by the same things as you. In the same way that you need to know what drives people, you also need to know which words give them a positive feeling-and which don’t.

If you were trying to describe a park ghost train ride to a typical teenage boy, you might tell them, “Come on-you’ll love it! It’s really fast and scary!” That would do the trick with a lot of teenagers I know. But it certainly wouldn’t work on some of their grandparents. You’d need to tell them, “It’s completely safe, and it’s so safe it’s funny.” Same ride, different words.

When you get to know people well-your boss or your family or your kids or your friends-you discover that they all have words that turn them on or off. Some people are a sucker for anything “exciting,” or “funny,” or “quirky.” I used to have a manager who would agree to anything so long as she was convinced it was “reliable” or “proven.”

She liked words that sounded safe. It’s always worth listening to the kind of language they use themselves-that can give you clues as to what kind of words will work best on them. If you want someone to support you, work out which words they like to hear, and then use those words to convince them to do it.

 

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