Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Archive for August 2011

Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer is a great story of how to influence others to do the work you are supposed to do.

The metaphor of getting someone else to paint your fence is one of life’s dreams in business.

Influencing is a key competence for all managers.   The dictionary definition says to influence is to ‘cause something without any direct or apparent effort’ and ‘a cognitive factor that tends to have an effect on what you do’

So, to use the stick method or the carrot method?   Carrot works best.   This is because once you begin to use the stick; you need to continue to use it and that simply leads to a disgruntled workforce.   The carrot works better but only if you understand what motivates your people.

In order to understand what it is that motivates them, make sure you fully connect with your people

Getting up each day knowing that the company (and your boss) value you and your work, can be very motivating and lead to great results.

Connecting with your people – understanding what their issues are; understanding what they need; what you can do to assist them

Talk to the people who report to you.  Ask them what you can do to make their work lives easier.

Help your people understand why you have asked them to do whatever you have asked them to do.

Helping the employee see how his or her contributions will make a difference is a good response to the ‘why’ question.

You will have to believe it first.  Employees who contribute do make a difference.

Be willing to celebrate personal and team contributions.   Appreciate.

The best part of being a good influencer is when you ask for employee input on how to make work better.

Staff contributions are valued.

Be out there with them

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

Elizabeth Kuhnke’s ‘Persuasion and Influence for Dummies’ will be released in October and is available for pre-order now http://www.amazon.co.uk/Persuasion-Influence-Dummies-Lifestyles-Paperback/dp/0470747374/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314173018&sr=8-1


Tip: Learning how and when to break rapport, without giving offence, is an essential rapport skill.

 Surprisingly, you don’t need rapport all the time. You also don’t need to worry about building rapport when you already have it with someone. For the most part, you need to learn how to get rapport when you don’t have it or the ensuing poor communication will cause trouble. When you get good at practising rapport skills, you’ll probably find that your natural ability to be in rapport with yourself and others greatly increases.

When could using rapport be a waste of time

There are times when breaking rapport is crucial. Some people get so good at creating rapport with others that conversation flows too fluently and they forget how to bring it to a close. So they end up listening to story after story, or hearing more detailed information than they ever needed to know. Either they are afraid to offend by disengaging or they don’t know how to finish an interaction gracefully. Time gets wasted. Appointments or meetings over-run. Work doesn’t get done. Irritation and boredom step in. Then people risk having to break off quite abruptly, which causes bad feelings.

The ability to break rapport by using simple skills of mismatching can be a lifesaver. You can elegantly give people nonverbal signals that it’s time to move on, finish the appointment and bring things to a close, without ever saying any words to that effect.

Avoid buyer’s remorse

Until you’ve practised matching and developed expertise at building rapport, you may not fully appreciate just how powerful this is. However, the subtleties will be familiar to those who are involved with sales. In a good sales interaction, there will be high levels of rapport, ideally with the sales person facilitating a good match between the buyer’s needs and his product. But it is most important to break this rapport at the crucial moment!

Because the buyer may feel such rapport with the sales person, it is vital to break this rapport before signing the contract. Why? There’s a danger that the buyer might sign without having fully thought the whole process through. They may feel that they got carried away by the good feelings generated by the sales person. Afterwards, when the buyer has time to think about it, they may suffer buyer’s remorse. By simply breaking rapport and giving the buyer some space to make their own decision, you can achieve more mutually satisfactory sales.

Elegant mismatching to break rapport

The ability to break rapport can be as useful as knowing how to create it. Particularly if you are the type of person that everyone enjoys talking to, learning to mismatch can save you time and help you handle people elegantly.

Tip: If people like to bring you their problems and leave their monkeys on your desk, you need to learn how to use mismatching.

 Bringing a conversation to a natural close, disengaging from a hot topic, finishing an interaction, ending a meeting and saying goodbye can all be done very gracefully by mismatching.

It is simple. All you have to do is reverse all the nonverbal behaviours that led to achieving rapport. The more subtly you do this, the more unobtrusive and elegant it will seem. Sensitive people will pick up the first few signals. With oblivious people, you may need to run through the whole list.

Seven ways to mismatch

1. Break eye contact

Look away more often, while maintaining the conversation. Stop nodding your head in agreement.

2. Turn slowly away from the person

Start with one foot, then gradually turn the leg, and then your whole body towards the door you want to exit from. Step back subtly to increase the distance between you and the other person. Alternatively, if you are seated, lean back and turn your gaze to the papers on your desk or glance at something that will give an unconscious message that there’s something you need to be getting on with.

3. Stop matching

Stop matching both movements and conversation flow. Answer more abruptly, without giving the other person conversation cues (uh huh, yes, oh really) and don’t ask any further questions that require them to respond.

4. Close the papers

Close your folder or computer – whatever you may have been working on together – and put things away in your briefcase. Clear the table. Throw away debris. Put out a visual signal that the meeting has come to an end.

5. Suggest looking at diaries

Begin to look at possible dates for the next meeting.

6. Stand up or move

Stand up, if you are seated, or move your chair back in a definitive manner. Physically move your body and take a small step towards the door, if you are standing.

7. Apologise

Apologise for having to end the meeting and give an excuse about another pressing commitment. Show them the door!

When you use these mismatching behaviours, most people will pick up the clues quickly and realise it’s time to close. That gives them the signal to wind up. This avoids those awkward situations where one person is still talking animatedly and the other abruptly finishes the conversation. No one loses face and there’s no risk of delivering the unconscious message that you are not interested in what they are saying. It also saves time and avoids long, unnecessary conversations that lead to irritation and boredom.


Mismatch to break rapport

If the sceptical part of your mind can’t believe that matching really works, try this out as an experiment with someone who you know will forgive you. When you experience the power of mismatching, you’ll appreciate the subtle power of matching more.

  1. Sit down and ask a friend or colleague to tell you about their favourite holiday. As they start talking, at first match them with physiology, gestures, breathing and ‘uh huhs’, to get them going. Create a good, warm, friendly atmosphere.
  2. Then cross your legs and pick up your foot to look at the bottom of your shoe. Regardless of what’s there, become totally fascinated with your shoe, maintaining full eye contact with your shoe and fiddling with it non-stop. If the person questions you about what you are doing, just keep saying ‘I’m listening, do carry on’. An alternative to fiddling with your shoe would be to examine your fingernails – care must be taken to focus eye contact completely on your hands – again, fiddling with them helps. A typical office scenario version would be to have them keep talking while you turn all your attention to your computer and start reading your emails.
  3. What usually happens is that the person finds it increasingly difficult to continue to tell their story. You appear so uninterested that they think you are being extremely rude and may feel quite upset.

If you wish to preserve and repair this relationship, you may wish to apologise; tell them about the experiment, and give them your full attention to finish the story.

 For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

If you’re looking for a simple formula for success here you go:  Understanding is the key to effective communication. Effective communication is the key to success. The more you understand about yourself and others the more success you can have in your communication.  So, how can you understand yourself and others better than you currently do?  Read on. 
In 1955 the American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Inhgam developed a simple and useful model to demonstrate and enhance self-awareness and mutual understanding between individuals working in groups.  They cleverly named their model Johari, after combining their first names, Joe and Harry. The model emphasizes ‘soft’ skills, including behaviour, empathy, and cooperation.

Two key concepts underpin this tool:

  1. Building trust with other people through self-disclosure.
  2. Giving and accepting feedback in order to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and others.  

So, what is the Johari Window?
The Johari Window communication model consists of a four square grid which represents the individual and is intended to help people understand the way they communicate and build relationships.  Soliciting feedback from others is an integral part of the instrument. Take a look at the model below:





Behaviour, attitude, feelings,
knowledge skills etc

Ignorance about oneself,
issues in which one is deluded etc


Information, feelings, fears,
hidden agendas, secrets etc

Feelings, behaviours,
capabilities, aptitudes etc

Quadrant 1 – Open area.  What you know about yourself and others know, too. In this space you find information about you that both you and others know, from the colour of your eyes, your height, the way you hold your knife and fork any other information you’re willing to share. The more open you can be with others about who you are, the more effective and productive both you and the group can become. 

Quadrant 2 – Blind spot.  What you don’t know about yourself and others do including behaviours and habits you’re not aware of, like nervous laughter or revealing facial expressions.  You can decrease this area – thus increasing your open area – by soliciting feedback from others and taking on board what they say.  Avoid hanging out in your blind spot because it’s neither an effective nor a productive place to be.  Ignorance and delusion don’t lead to success. 

Quadrant 3 – Hidden area.  What you know about yourself that others don’t. Information you keep here could include fears, feelings, hidden agendas, secrets and sensitivities – anything you know about yourself that you choose not to reveal.  It’s natural, and often appropriate, to keep certain personal information under wraps, as long as the information has no bearing on the health, safety or productivity of others.  If what you’re hiding could benefit others and enhance relationships, I encourage that you share this information in an amount and manner others can comfortably digest. 

Quadrant 4 – Unknown area.  What neither you nor others know about you.The issues tucked inside here take a variety of forms from feelings, attitudes, behaviours and aptitudes.  They can lie deep down inside you or right up at the surface and influence your actions from major to minor degrees, including unexpected emotional outbursts.  People lacking in experience or self-belief tend to have a fairly large quadrant 4.


An advanced understanding of yourself and others leads to improved communication and relationships. 

The process of self-disclosure and seeking feedback can be filled with landmines.  Beware of your own limits and sensitivities.  The extent and depth you want to go into understanding yourself must always be your own choice and not foisted upon you by an overzealous champion or conspirator as you may discover traits, feelings, and characteristics you’re unable to cope with on your own. 

Brush up on your active and empathic listening skills to make the exercise successful. Differences within teams, when communicated properly, create greater depth of competence.  

Learn more around the relevance of trust, respect and clear communication to drive team effectiveness take a look at the study compiled by the Korn/Ferry Institute


Some cultures have a very open view on receiving feedback, some less so. Take care in how you give feedback – slow, sensitive and steady are the golden rules.  Only provide feedback when it has been asked for.  

Using the Johari Window framework results in a stronger and happier, creative, communicative and cohesive team.  

 For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

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