Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

The 5 Golden Rules of Interviewing:

• Get your predetermined message across.

• Let nothing go by default.

• Keep off other people’s business.

• Only answer the question asked.

• Avoid sounding defensive or that you’ve been ‘got’.

Though the ‘media monster’ may bare its teeth every once in a while, you can actually enjoy going into the fray, have your say and leave them wowed and yourself intact!

Giving simple straight forward answers is not enough. The good TV or radio interviewers are looking to create something that is both entertaining and informative. It is essential therefore to understand what makes for a good interview and will keep the audience’s attention.

Afterwards, encourage those around you to tell you the things you did well. Very few of us make progress by being told what was wrong with our presentation. When we’re up in front of an audience we all have very fragile egos.

Finally, someone once asked Dan Rather what he’d learned in 30+ years of broadcasting. He replied, “Don’t eat spinach before you go on the air.” Good advice. During those 15 minutes of fame no one wants to be remembered as the person with a green glob on their teeth.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

To sign up to our monthly newsletter click here

Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

My team know how to persuade me to complete tasks when I’m prevaricating, postponing, and procrastinating. They already have established a common ground and an emotion connection with me. They know how to make their cases compelling by appealing to my values, including my desire to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. They offer help and gear their approach to my decision-making style. And when all else fails, they direct their efforts to what drives me in combination with my needs and desires. While my latest book Persuasion & Influence For Dummies (P&IFD) is filled with useful techniques and insights into how to persuade people to do what you want them to do, here I share a few simple thoughts and tips that can lead to a big difference.

Get to know what matters to people. The more you know, the more able you are to affect their behaviour. When you know what inspires people and what they can’t live without you’ve got a guide for persuading them to follow your plan. How can you do this? Pay attention when they talk about what’s important to them. Listen not only to the words they say, notice how they speak and move. What’s their tone of voice? What words and phrases do they use to express their thoughts and feelings? What is their posture like and how are they gesturing? If the other person is speaking quickly and talking about feelings, and you’re speaking slowly and discussing thoughts, chances are your attempts at persuasion won’t fly. The most successful persuaders are those who communicate in a similar way to the people they want to persuade. P&IFD as well as Body Language For Dummies (now out in its 2nd edition), have many tips for communicating with people in a similar way.

The most successful persuaders are those who can render sound judgment at appropriate times. When your judgements are condemnatory, self-righteous, or constantly critical of another person’s beliefs and behaviours, don’t be surprised if s/he disregards your demands. The ability to stand outside of a situation and look at it clearly in an unbiased manner is one of your greatest tools for persuading others to do your bidding. If you force your agenda on people whom you want to persuade, without taking into account their situation, your chances of persuading them to do what you want are slim.

The cornerstone of persuasion is credibility. Credible people are trustworthy. You can believe what they tell you and you can trust them to listen. Fundamental to establishing your credibility are integrity, consistency and the ability to resist radical mood swings. If you lack sufficient credibility, don’t expect to be able to persuade others to take on board your suggestions. The good news is, you can develop and nurture your credibility. For more about building your credibility, pick up a copy of Persuasion & Influence For Dummies.

Remember: Support, encouragement and trust are fundamental to influencing people who want to make a difference. For these people, the work and the opportunity to make a difference is more rewarding than money, prestige and incentives.

Warning: When you’re persuading someone to do what you want them to do, don’t deliberately make them feel anxious or ashamed. While both approaches may yield temporary gains, someone who’s been shamed won’t want anything to do with you in the future and will be disinclined to speak positively about you.

Anecdote: I recently had to terminate the services of a supplier. I wrote to her that while I value her efforts, results and our working relationship, my business model has changed and I no longer require her services. I finished by saying that I would happily recommend her and her company to others. Her response? Expressions including “I have to say that I’m very disappointed that you have chosen to end our relationship in this way…”, “would have been more appropriate”, and “you did not have the courtesy to…” peppered her reply. While I appreciate that she may be worried about her business, I did not appreciate her approach to persuade me to change my mind. As for recommending her services in the future? I’m less inclined to do so now.

Tip: Rather than trying to talk someone into doing what you think is the right thing to do, persuade them by appealing to their personal beliefs and values.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

To sign up to our monthly newsletter click here

Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

 

Whether you’re speaking or not, you’re always communicating. Research consistently suggests that over 90% of a person’s thoughts, feelings and intentions are conveyed through non-verbal channels, including the voice and body language.

Through careful observation you can gain insights into a person’s state of mind, emotions and attitude. A person’s pitch, pace and tone of voice, movements, gestures, and expressions, as well as posture, dress, and spatial distance communicate even when no words are being spoken. By observing and responding to others’ non-verbal behaviours you can influence their thinking and persuade them to agree with your suggestions.

Because many people have learned how to put a mask on to hide their true feelings, if you sense that someone’s face is concealing what’s going on inside, observe the whole body. Legs, feet, arms, shoulders, hands and fingers give valuable indications of consistency and authenticity, or a lack thereof.

Through astute observation you can figure out what’s being communicated even when the verbal output is turned off. Questions to ask yourself when observing others include:

• Are the messages coming from the spoken words consistent with the messages coming from the non-verbal behaviours?

• Is the person being consistent in displaying non-verbal behaviours?

 _____________________________________

Technical Stuff: Individuals cannot control normal eye dilation. When you are looking at something that pleases or arouses you, you your eyes measurably dilate; when you see something that you don’t like or that threatens you, your eyes constrict.

Regardless of what a presenter is saying, if he looks at his audience as he speaks, his listeners will perceive him favourably and view him as confident, credible, qualified, and honest.

If someone speaking doesn’t want to be interrupted, she will glance away and continue talking. If she wants someone else to speak, she will pause and make direct eye contact with that person.

If, while you’re speaking, someone is checking his BlackBerry, texting on his iPhone or looking at his watch, he may be indicating that it’s time for a break or that you’re boring him.

Tip: Words are accentuated and punctuated by movements, gestures, and facial expressions. When there is a lack of congruency between the verbal and nonverbal message, people believe what their eyes and ears tell you, not what the speaker is saying.

Warning: While certain gestures and expressions – such as a genuine smile in which the eyes as well as the mouth are engaged, or a clenched fist slamming down on a table top – convey specific messages, interpret them carefully in the context of the situation that is occurring at the time. Because observing non-verbal behaviour is open to interpretation, practice your observation skills and when appropriate ask the people involved to verify your observations and interpretations.

Anecdote: I recently ran a session for a global corporation on the Body Language of Leaders. During my presentation I noticed that while most of the women in the room were smiling and nodding as I spoke, several of the men had serious expressions on their faces, which I initially interpreted as unconvinced or doubtful. In order to gain rapport with these individuals (see Body Language For Dummies and Persuasion & Influence For Dummies on how to establish rapport) I reflected back their expressions as I directed my comments to them. What I observed was that the men relaxed and engaged with me as I mirrored back what I observed them doing.

Remember: No single non-verbal sign is a reliable indicator of mood, attitude, or intention. To support a particular conclusion, observe and interpret several consistent signals.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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

Quick Tips from Kuhnke Communication on How to Present Yourself with Confidence:

1.Claim your space. You have the right to be heard and the right to speak. People ask you to speak because they’re interested in getting to know you and hearing what you have to say.

2. Move with purpose. No fiddling with your clothes or fussing with your hair. When you move, make sure your gestures and expressions support and illustrate your message, not detract from it.

3. Connect with your listeners. Before you speak find out about them: their interests, needs, concerns. The more you know about your audience the better able you are to gear your remarks to them.

4. Articulate. No matter how smart you are, how powerful your message, and how compelling your story, if you can’t be understood you might as well send a memo. Warm up your vocal mechanism by going into the ladies room before you speak and do a few horse blows, hums, and tongue twisters to loosen up your vocal mechanism.

5. Resonate. Make sure your message touches your audience and calls them to action. No matter what your subject, leave your listeners thinking about what they’re going to do next. If your speech is about politics, encourage your audience to vote and volunteer. If your speech is about cooking, encourage your listener’s to host a dinner party. Etc.

6. Tell stories and anecdotes. Include examples. Use vivid language, including metaphors and similes.

7. Structure your content. Have a clear introduction (10% of your presentation) no more than 3 main points (The Rule of Three. 70%) and your summary (20%)

8. Speak only when you are looking at your audience. Have your opening and closing remarks memorised. If you need to refer to your notes, pause, look at them, then look up at your audience and speak. They want you to do well. No one wants to see a speaker fail.

9. Breathe from your boots. When you’re nervous the tendency is to breathe from your upper chest, causing you to be top heavy and unbalanced. Stand with your feet placed squarely beneath your hips and shoulders to give you a solid foundation from which to speak.

10. Before you speak, visualise yourself presenting as you want to. Make the picture real. Hear your voice – strong and resonate. See your audience looking at you with pleasure and interest. Feel the energy in your body focused and flowing easily as you make your point. Feel yourself smiling and enjoying the experience. Create the reality you want to achieve.

11. Have fun. If you enjoy what you’re doing, so will your audience.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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

When my mother died, she willed me one of her charm bracelets. On this bracelet is a charm that says: Live, Love, Laugh. When I think of my mother, these are the words that come to mind.

My mother died 3 ½ years ago after a 7 year battle with cancer. She was 83 and lived her life with dignity, courage and determination. In addition to cancer, my mother suffered from schizophrenia throughout her life.

I recently came across one of my mother’s journals written in the 1970s in which she documented her breakdowns and feelings about her mental illness. Without complaining or playing for pity, Mom spoke of her life with gratitude. In spite of her condition, she felt fortunate to have been financially astute so that she could provide for her daughters and afford treatment for her disease. (Mom and my father divorced when I was nine, and she raised my sister and me mostly on her own.)

In contrast to her mental frailty, Mom was physically fit. A club champion golfer, tennis player and swimmer and the first woman to be invited to join the USA Olympic Equestrian Team, she excelled at sport. Only in terms of her sense of self was she a fragile flower who struggled with life’s challenges. Friends and family would step in when Mom’s illness rendered her incapable, filling our house with love and laughter during times of stress and sadness. The tough times didn’t last long, and although Mom would come out of an episode feeling weak and embarrassed by her behaviour, she was able to laugh at her antics and express thanks for the love in her life. Frank Sinatra’s song, Nancy With the Laughing Face, could have been written for Mom.

Several days before my mother died she asked me to publicise her mental illness in order to enlighten people about what continues to be a taboo topic. This, in spite of mental illness – in its varying forms – affecting millions of families across the globe. I have yet to speak with anyone who doesn’t have some form of mental illness in their DNA. My current aim – in honour of my mother – is to build awareness and eliminate fear and prejudice around the subject. If I can contribute to ridding the world of mental disease, so much the better.

I leave you with this final thought: My mother exemplified fortitude, faith and fun. She would often say, “I know that if I can laugh at it I can live with it.” She did. I wish you a life filled with love and laughter.

________________________________________

 

Remember: There’s a lot of sadness, loss and strife floating in the universe. Counterbalance the negative effects by bringing love and laughter to your life and those of others. Find the beauty. Seek the good. You’ll feel better for doing so as will the people whose lives you touch.

Tip: When all else fails, find the humour in life. A bit of verve and vivacity goes a long way in helping you tackle life’s challenges.

Remember: If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.

Anecdote: Shortly before my mother died we invited a group of her friends to the house for chocolates, champagne and conversation. At a time when most people in her position would have preferred to be alone, Mom wanted to surround herself with people she cared about and who cared about her. At one point during the evening, Mom, who was seated in her easy chair with her friends surrounding her said, “It’s so nice to be at my own wake!” and burst into laughter, in which her friends joined. Mom could find happiness in the most unlikely events. As one of her friends wrote to me, shortly after she died, “Your mother laughed like she meant it and loved her friends and family. She lived her life with bonhomie and good will and people left her company feeling upbeat and good about themselves.” Another friend said, “You mother always made me feel welcomed and valued. I valued her enormously..”

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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

Several weeks ago at a Sunday lunch with friends and family I embarrassed my son. I embarrass him on a regular basis, as doing so is part of a mother’s job. This particular day I went a step too far and Max demonstrated a degree of self-control that made me sit up and notice. While he didn’t say a word, his body tightened and he wrapped his arms around his torso as if keeping his emotion in check. His jaw locked and his lips puckered in disapproval. Add to that, his eyes became steely as he glared at me, suggesting that I might want to stop what I was doing. And I did.

Your body’s speaking and people are noticing. How you’re holding your body, focusing your gaze and what your feet and fingers are doing tells a tale of your inner state.

Below is a snap shot of gestures and the emotions they’re conveying. Before I go any further, remember that no one gesture tells the entire story. In order to interpret what the body’s saying, you must reflect on the whole picture of the person.

Fiddling fingers, bouncing feet and sideways glances reveal feelings of doubtfulness, rejection or suspicion. A combination of picking at fingernails, pinching the fleshy part of the hand, rubbing or caressing a personal object (ring, cufflinks, watch, for example) or chewing on an object, such as a pencil or pen translates into insecurity.

To spot enthusiasm, look for smiles in which both the lips and eyes are engaged. People who are enthusiastic move with a bounce in their step. Their posture is erect, their hands are open and they frequently extend their arms in the direction of their interest.

Negative emotions such as secrecy or nervousness tend to manifest themselves through minimal or no eye contact, throat clearing and covering the mouth while speaking. Boredom reveals itself through drumming fingers, swing feet, picking at clothes and jingling keys and coins.

People demonstrating superiority and authority come across as both relaxed and expansive in their gestures. They steeple their fingers, are comfortable putting their feet up or on their desk. You often see them leaning back with their fingers laced behind their head with their chin lifted upward.

When you notice someone with their hands on their hips or sitting forward at the edge of a chair, you’re right in thinking that they’re ready to go. As you may be by now.

For more about how body language reveals attitudes, emotions and feelings, buy a copy of Body Language For Dummies. You might want to wait to the end of January 2012, when the 2nd edition hits the stands with more photographs and expanded content. Until then, pick up an app to get you started.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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

Kuhnke Communication’s Top Tips for How to Get What You Want at Work

1. Understand your listener. Does she seek detail or is she a big picture thinker? Analytical or more of a drama queen? Does she like a bit of social chit chat or does she prefer to get down to business. By knowing her preferred style of communicating you’re able to adapt yours to match hers.

2. Treat your listener with respect. Aim to understand her issues so that you can position your request in a way that supports her and her goals.

3. Find out what matters to the person in charge. When you give someone what she wants, she relaxes and comes on board with you.

4. Know what you want. Often people know what they don’t want and when it comes to asking for what they DO want they struggle. If you struggle, the person holding the power or authority for granting you your wishes will struggle to know what you want, too. If you find it hard to figure out what you want, write down your thoughts. If you can identify what you don’t want, flip the coin and say what you want instead. For example, if you don’t want tension between colleagues rephrase your wording to something like, “I want a buzzy, productive environment where people value and respect one another’s efforts.” Saying what you want focuses your attention and gives you something to aim for. Once you know what you want, you can figure out the necessary steps to get there.

5. Call in favours. People are more inclined to help you if you’ve done something for them. Develop a network of obligation you can call on.

6. Find points of agreement. Listen to what really matters to the person who holds the power. If he’s rejecting your request, find out what lies behind his objection. Emphasise all points of agreement before suggesting a solution that meets their needs and satisfies your own.

7. Find common ground. People who have things in common with you are inclined to grant your request. Find out as much as you can about someone you’re negotiating with so you can establish personal links before making your request.

8. Establish your credibility. You are more likely to get others to respond positively to your requests if they think you’re an expert in your field.

9. Commit to what you want. If you know that you want to work flexible hours, for example, and your company doesn’t have a policy in place, offer to run a feasibility study and report your findings. No one ever said getting what you want would be easy! And if you want something badly enough, then you’ll let nothing, or nobody, get in your way.

10. Prove your worth. If you want to be taken seriously, behave in a serious fashion. Showing up late, handing in sloppy work or spending more time gossiping than being productive makes people think twice before granting your requests.

11. Point out the pain. Research shows that people are more influenced by the idea of losing something than by the idea of gaining the same thing. When you’re making your proposal, point out what the company has to lose if it doesn’t grant your request.

12. Claim your space. If you come across all humble and apologetic, no one’s going to feel inclined to give you what you want. There’s nothing wrong with asserting what you want. Avoid arrogance and apologies and aim for assertiveness.

13. Move with purpose. Pussy footing around, shuffling your feet and playing with your pen endears you to no one. When you’re asking for what you want, look the other person in the eye, tell him what you want and give him time to respond.

14. Be prepared. Have your arguments in place for supporting your request. If you want a raise, for example, be prepared to demonstrate how your efforts have improved the bottom line. “As a result of my efforts implementing the marketing plan, we are 30% up on last year’s sales figures.”

15. Give yourself positive messages. If you’re all worried that you’re not going to get what you want, if you think that you or your requests are going to be rejected, if you fail to believe in your worth, you’re never going to get what you want. Fill yourself with positive messages. Treat yourself as if you were your best friend. Remind yourself of your strengths and what you’re good at and the reasons you deserve to get what you want. (Cage the Parrot!)

16. Develop self-awareness. The more you know about yourself – your values, beliefs, motivators and attitudes – and how these and your behaviour impacts on others, the more able you are to present yourself in a way that is true to who you are in a way that appeals to your listener (see 1. Above)

17. Negotiate in increments. Because people tend to avoid change and taking risks, find ways of breaking down the process into small steps. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Address her issues and plot a course which can what you want – if not immediately, then in the future.

18. Frame your proposal. For example, if you want to work in a different part of the organisation from where you currently are, make the case that what you’d learn there will make you more proficient in your current job. As long as you’re doing what you were hired to do, few managers will complain when you want to take on extra work in another part of the company. Once you’ve gotten into the area where you want to be, volunteer to join task forces or take on projects others might not have time to handle. Be prepared to explain to your current boss how the activities relate to the job you have now. When the chance for you to make the transfer comes up, you’ll be ready and the idea won’t be such a shock for your boss.

19. Show willingness. Go the extra mile. Put in the time and effort. Demonstrate that you’re reliable, dependable and worthy of your request.

In today’s work environment urgency rules the roost, more is being done by fewer, and resources are guarded. Knowing what you want and going out and getting it is vital if you want to get ahead. Colleagues and competitors are biting at your heels, waiting for you to slip and stumble, and are prepared to pick up the baton and run with it, leaving you in their dust. By knowing what you want and having the courage to go for it, you gain credibility and enhance your career prospects.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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