Speak the language of influence

First-rate negotiators are adroit influencers. They know how to subtly guide their counterparts’ thinking by making smart linguistic choices. These are word choices that prime a listener to give a positive reaction. Think about the most influential people you know. I bet they’re skilled in the art of priming. They keep others on-side by framing their messages in positive and collaborative language. This means they get ‘yes’ responses more frequently.

 

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Beware the difference between collaboration and capitulation next time you negotiate

When you think of win-win negotiation, what comes to mind? Obviously, a key tenet of the win-win approach is the idea of winning together, or mutual gain. But in practical terms, what exactly does this mean? For inexperienced negotiators, striving too hard to show a co-operative approach can blur the line between collaboration and capitulation. What’s the difference? And why does it matter?

 

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Make your message stick

Want people to listen to you? Then you need to present a compelling message. Here are three ways to make a message take hold.

Speak their language

picPeople listen to what makes sense to them. This means you need to frame your message from their perspective. For example, there’s a big difference between the following two statements. Which would you be most likely to listen to?

  • Today I’m going to describe how the new computer program will streamline customer service processes in the business
  • Do you want a better way to close sales? The new program will help you do it!

 

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Get your point across

When people won’t listen, you need to focus their attention. Use the Broken Record technique to do this.

This technique involves repeating your message until it is heard. The name ‘Broken Record’ refers to what happens when old fashioned vinyl records are scratched – the needle of a record player loops over the same section of the recording indefinitely. There are six steps involved in using Broken Record.

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What to do about abusive callers

Are your customers much nastier on the phone than face to face? Here’s how to put a stop to their behaviour.

Be clear about your company’s policy

Your employer has a duty of care. You should be protected from being bullied or harassed. This means having a policy on how abusive customers are handled. A good policy should outline how you can respond to abuse, when you should transfer a caller to someone more senior and how to end a call if abuse is unreasonable. Make sure you’re familiar with your company’s policy. If they don’t have one, draft one and propose it to management.

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Handling irate customers

Nobody likes dealing with angry customers. But if you work in customer service, it’s part of your job.

Here are four tips that make talking to angry customers easier.

Remember that customers aren’t always right

No. The old saying isn’t true – customers aren’t always right. But they are always customers. Without them, you wouldn’t be in business. So treat all customers respectfully, even when they’re wrong. Never say “you’re wrong,” “that’s wrong” or “you’ve made a mistake.” Words like this trigger a shame reaction – which many customers deal with by becoming angry. Instead say “I’m sorry you got that impression,” “I’ll talk you through what happened” or “I’d like to clarify something.” Quickly move on to solving the problem, rather than dwelling on what caused it.

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How to ‘call’ bad behaviour

Psychologists recommend ‘calling out’ passive aggressive people on their tactics. How can you do this without creating conflict?

There are four steps involved in calling out poor behaviour assertively and calmly.

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How to convince a critical audience

Mina was nervous. She was presenting a change plan to a team of auditors. She knew the change wouldn’t be popular. And she was facing a highly critical audience.

Here’s how we’d help Mina deal with this problem. You can use the same strategies to sell your ideas to resistant audiences – whether you’re presenting at a meeting, giving a formal speech or seeking to change one person’s mind.

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Ancient wisdom for modern presenters

Aristotle developed a theory of persuasive speech writing in 320 B.C. His theory is still used by master speech writers today.

You, too, can tap into Aristotle’s wisdom by using the three forms of ‘rhetoric’ he described. These were ethos, logos and pathos.

Ethos

Ethos means ‘character.’ If you’re speaking to people who value expertise, ethos is your key to success. Your ethos builds even before you walk on stage. For example, when your photo is included in promotional material, it starts to build ethos. Invest in a professional head shot if you present a lot. The way you’re introduced also impacts on your ethos. Don’t leave your introduction to chance – prepare an introductory spiel for the MC. Make sure this highlights your qualifications, achievements and current job title.

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Sorting out team conflict

Kym had made an informal complaint about Antony ‘bullying’ her. Now Michael, their supervisor, had to sort out the situation. Michael had done the right thing by taking Kym’s complaint seriously. But he wasn’t quite sure what to do next. He called me for advice. Here’s what I explained about taking on a mediation role when you’re a manager.

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