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Archive for the ‘Executive Presence’ Category

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

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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

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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

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Sometimes we don’t all have time to read a lot of materials, so here’s Kuhnke Communication’s cheat-sheet on how to communicate with impact.

When You Speak

 Make your language vivid and descriptive

 Be clear, complete and precise.

 Repeat your points for emphasis, confirmation and clarification. Be creative in your phrasing.

 Confirm that your listener understands.

When You Listen

 Give your complete attention

 Listen with an open mind. Refrain from judging what is being said and shutting down.

 Listen for and reflect on both the words and the feelings behind the spoken words.

 Ask opened questions: who, what, where, when, and how. Avoid asking why. It will lead to a vague, unspecific response and may sound condemning.

 Pause to process what you have heard before responding.

 Avoid responding with but, yet and however. If you disagree, do so diplomatically.

 Let the speaker you know you respect them and value their thoughts and opinions – especially when they differ from yours.

 Confirm meaning. Clarify important points.

Nonverbal Communication

Use positive body language

– When speaking: well supported posture; look at your listener and use comfortable eye contact; varied volume, rhythm, pitch and pace; expressive facial and hand gestures.

– When listening: alert body; face the speaker; comfortable eye contact; receptive gestures.

– Be Aware of Cultural Differences in Nonverbal Communication
 

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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The ability to motivate a team as well as yourself is key to achieving good management skills.

 One of the challenges facing CEOs and managing directors is how to keep motivating the people who are supposed to motivate others in the organisation.

 The question has several different dimensions. Too often senior managers – the people whose responsibility is to provide leadership in an organisation – don’t realise the impact (or lack thereof) of what they say. It is this impact that either fires up managers and employees, or sets the stage for indifference and malaise. It does not have to be that way.

 Seldom are senior managers prepared to take the time to find out what managers and employees hear when they are on the receiving end of motivational speeches.

The reality is in most cases, that the recipients of the message are actually hearing something other than what is intended. 

This is not simply because the speaker says the wrong words; it is often because of the way in which the words are said.

Once a CEO is aware of how managers and employees are receiving his messages, he needs to begin to work on building creative tension into his presentations. Creative tension is a way in which you can conv ince people to get together to achieve a goal.

An excellent example is the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech given by Dr Martin Luther King in l963 in Washington, DC. King’s challenge was to motivate people to change the way some Americans viewed the Civil Rights movement in that country. His speech captured the imagination and commitment of people by using creative tension.

In using this technique to motivate people in an organisation, a speaker first paints a picture of the way things are in the organisation (the current reality), and then paints a picture of what could be (the desired future) for the organisation. By doing this, the speaker established a gap between what is and what could be.

Then, by building the case for changing from the current reality to the desired future and how to get there, listeners are able to clearly understand the challenge they face and why they need to accept the challenge.

By both making the case  for closing the gap and walking the listeners through the steps to get there, the speaker is able to show why it is better to close the gap by moving the current reality closer and closer to be desired future instead of just weakening the desire to achieve something better.

In medieval times, there was a philosopher named William of Occam, who stated: ‘One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything’.   This belief is known as Occam’s Razor, and it means that there is no value in doing more than needs to be done. This includes talking things over before a decision needs to be made.

Getting things done requires discussion and input but only if the discussion and input are focused on the real issues the company is facing; and only if a decision comes out of them.

Discussion – good discussion that is – requires that you explain the situation you are facing the things that complicate the situation, and then offer an option that will resolve the situation. It doesn’t require ramblings about other issues or other agendas.

Good discussion also requires good listening. And good listening means that you not only hear the words being said, but hear what is behind the words.  

Think of why that person has that view. Talk about which options make the most sense. 

Which options will provide the greatest leverage with the least prolonged effort? Which options will provide the greatest return on investment? And which options will have the least negative unintended consequences? Then make a decision.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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Although it’s hard for colleagues to quarrel, as their mutual friend and workmate, it’s pretty rough for you too. But here’s how to stay sane (and supportive) while being pulled two ways.

What sort of issues most commonly cause colleagues to fall out?

  1.  Workplace gossip – the ‘he said she said’ scenario – leads to nothing but trouble at the workplace.  Simple rule:  don’t gossip.
  2. Workplace affairs.  If one person is having an affair or sexual relationship with a colleague it can lead to jealousy, especially if your other friend is on their own.  You could offer to go out to lunch/dinner with your friend so she/he doesn’t feel left out in the cold.
  3.  Promotions and bonuses.  When one person is rewarded and the other one isn’t, jealousy can rear its ugly head.
  4.  Not pulling his/her weight at work/laziness/time wasting.  We all have jobs to do.  If your friend is spending more time at the water cooler, out of the office having her nails done, surfing the net, or any other activity that impacts negatively on her work, others in the office may become resentful.
  5.  Feeling unappreciated.  See #3
  6.  Stress / seeing one another as rivals.

What is difficult about the situation that their other colleagues now find themselves in?

Once you were all friends, now there’s a spanner in the works.  Through no fault of your own the dynamics of the friendship has changed and you’re stuck in the middle or left out in the cold.  Having no control over what’s happening between the other two, you’re in an awkward situation because there’s nothing you can do to put things back where they were.  Your life has changed and you must decide how you’re going to proceed.  This may mean that you have to see them individually, rather than as the group of friends you were before they fell out.  Let each one know you care about both of them and that you’re not going to gossip or talk in any way about the other.  Then stick to that promise!

What is the best course of action for anybody who is working with two colleagues who have fallen out?

Should you try and mediate? Or keep well out of it?

  1.  If you care about each person you could offer to facilitate a conversation between them.  Only do this if you are able to remain neutral, non-judgemental and have experience in facilitating or providing feedback.
  2.  If you’re uncomfortable facilitating, tell each one that you care about them both and that it’s up to them to solve their problems between themselves.
  3. Sometimes people will try to use you as a ‘middle man’ like the corner of a triangle where two lines meet.  I call this the Triangulation Approach.  Do NOT get sucked into this trap.  You’ll end up being part of the problem (“Judy said that you said….”).  If they have a problem, let them work it out between themselves without getting you involved, unless you’re able to facilitate.

Should you ask how things are between them? Or just ignore it?

Stay clear.  Let them know at the beginning of their fall out that you care about them both and hope they can work out their problem.  Then stay away.  Asking how things are only pulls you into the problem.

How should you avoid getting drawn into taking sides?

Tell yourself that you’re not going to get drawn in and then live up to your word.  Taking sides does no one any good and exasperates the problem.  It can be tempting to become involved.  You may want to ‘help’ or be part of what’s going on (rather like people stopping to stare at a road accident). Other people’s lives can seem exciting – the truth is, they’re simply exhausting.  Too much interest in other people’s lives leaves you little time to pay attention to what’s going on in your own life.  Getting drawn in and taking sides doesn’t do you or anyone else any favours.  Don’t fan the flames.  The less attention you the sooner it will die out.  If the upset is causing problems at work, it’s up to the manager to deal with it professionally.

Finally,

  • Demonstrate respect.  You’re not Ms Fix-It.  Act like a friend to both by respecting their privacy and emotions.  Treat them like adults, not quarrelling children.
  • Show your friends that you trust they’re adults and capable of solving their own problems.  Be trustworthy in all you say and do.  Don’t gossip about their fall out with anyone.  If/when they kiss and make up, don’t rehash what happened.  Let by-gones be by-gones and move on.  If they don’t make up, don’t discuss what happened.  Let each one know you care about them individually and that you’re not taking sides.  Stay neutral.
  • Stay out of it.  You’ve got enough to deal with in your own life.

 For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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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


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