Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ 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

To sign up to our monthly newsletter click here

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

 

Having a wonderful vision of what you want to do in life is not enough. You need to know how to turn that vision into a reality. And in order for that to happen you need to support your dreams and goals with knowledge and skill. Only then can you create a coherent and solid foundation for the future you want.

Some people seem to have a natural ability to achieve their goals. Others struggle. The good news is that achieving one’s vision is an ability that is available to anyone who can model excellence.

Achieving your vision encompasses more than what you want to achieve in your life now. There’s a part that has to do with what you want to leave behind – your legacy. Being clear about your legacy will focus your attention on what you need to be doing now to achieve a future goal.

Exploring what we want to achieve and leave behind is more than making a list and prioritising. It is about looking deep within and discovering what really matters. The effect on ones behaviour, once having connected with these highest values, is extraordinarily powerful and influential.

• Make your dream manageable and achievable

• Identify specific beliefs and strategies to create a vision and bring it to fruition.

• Clarify your legacy and build its foundations

• Know the space between Vision and Action is Hesitation

• Learn how to deal with natural doubts and concerns

• Model success

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com 

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

 

I used to believe that in order to make a difference one had to make a grand gesture. With time I have come to understand that the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact. Little deeds can make a major difference

Since my mother’s death, I have been sorting through her documents and papers. As I’ve been trawling through years of bank statements and receipts I have been overwhelmed by her lifelong consistency in supporting charities and aid organisations.

My mother was raised to give to those in need. As a child she would put 10 cents – 1/5 of her weekly allowance – into the collection plate at church. As she grew older, she continued donating to her church, the Red Cross and the United Way, as well as a scattering of local museums and arts organisations. Most of the organisations my mother contributed to weren’t ‘high profile’ and all contributions made a significant difference to the balance sheet.

Not a wealthy woman, Mom managed her finances with care. While many of her friends gave thousands of dollars to support their chosen charities, ensuring them a place at the top table, autographed photographs of world leaders, and their names emblazoned in gold on donors’ plaques, Mom would send cheques for $10 and $20 which earned her pads of paper and gummed labels with her name and address on them. (I treasure those pads of paper and think of my mother whenever I write myself a note.) For Mom, it wasn’t about the recognition. Or even the tax deduction. My mother contributed what she could because she wanted to make a difference to people in need.

Remember: A small contribution is better than none at all.

Tip: Making a difference can take many forms. Fix a meal for someone who’s feeling poorly. Help a child with homework. Take the garbage out. Say a kind word to your partner or child before going to sleep. Smile.

Anecdote: A few years ago I had an operation and had to stay in bed for several weeks. One day my friends Belinda and Nicky came to visit. While Nicky helped me bathe and put on a fresh nightgown, Belinda replaced the rumpled sheets on my bed with freshly laundered linens and laid out a picnic lunch for the three of us to enjoy. I felt loved and nurtured. Belinda and Nicky continue to make a difference in my life.

Try This: The next time you notice someone in need, consider how you could make a difference to that person’s life and act upon your thought.

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

1. Deal in Specifics not generalities

2. Nothing is ever all bad. Look for the positives.

3. How have you coped in the past?

4. What can I do to make things better?

5. Focus on outcomes

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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

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

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

 

If you remember nothing else from this blog, remember this:  ‘No’ is not a naughty word.  It’s not a ‘four letter word’ nor is it one to be ashamed of saying.  People struggle with saying ‘no’ because of feelings of guilt. While it’s flattering to be offered opportunities – going on vacation together, being a God parent – they may not be what you want.  If you put yourself first by saying ‘no’ to some requests you can serve your friends and family better in other ways.  

Remember too, look at your reasons for saying ‘no.’ If you’re rejecting an opportunity to stretch yourself a bit – for example, refusing to speak at your best friend’s wedding because you doubt your abilities to do a good job – reconsider. Sometimes people say ‘no’ because they’re afraid to take themselves out of their comfort zones.

When you do say ‘no’ – mean it. Saying ‘no’ while nodding your head and smiling gives mixed messages. Speak like you mean what you’re saying. That doesn’t mean you have to be harsh – just clear, concise and committed to what you’re saying.

This blog addresses how to say No to common requests from good friends – not unreasonable, but ones which will cause you a great deal of time, anxiety etc, that you can’t afford, such as public speaking. We have chosen a few common situations to guide you through saying no.

1. Will you be my child’s godparent?  Before saying ‘no’ allow the person making the offer to ask and define what being a God parent entails. What commitments are involved?  Once you’ve given them time to speak tell them that while you’re flattered by their request and that you look forward to being part of the child’s life, you’re not in a position to accept the invitation.  You don’t need to give further explanation (Not religious, can’t meet the expectations, etc) Show your appreciation in your tone of voice and body language. A flip ‘thanks but no thanks’ can come off a bit gruff.

2. Will you be best man/woman? (You hate public speaking,)  If the only reason you say ‘no’ is because you hate public speaking, get over it.  Before saying ‘no’ outright, find out what the job entails.  If the expectations are beyond your capabilities , thank the person for the opportunity and suggest an alternative choice.  If the person is a good enough friend, you can find the resources to accept the offer even if it takes up time.

3. Shall we all go on holiday together? (You want a relaxing time with your own family) Tell them exactly that.  That another time you’d enjoy going on holiday together, this time you want to be relaxing alone with your family.  You don’t need to say a lot to get your point across clearly and concisely.

4. Can I come and stay after a marital row? (You’re busy/don’t have room/ don’t want to take sides)  Let her speak so she feels valued and cared for.  Then tell her that while you care for her the best thing she can do is rely on herself to work out the problem.  Unless  your friend is in physical danger – in which case you definitely don’t take her in , referring her instead to an abuse agency (Refuge, for example)– you’re not doing her any favours by treating her like a helpless child.

5. Can I borrow some money?  The answers below are perfectly acceptable reasons for saying ‘no’. The second response – don’t trust them to pay back – could sound a bit harsh.  You could frame your response in terms of ‘I wouldn’t want to put you in the difficult position of having to pay me back.’   Even Shakespeare knew not to mix funds and friendship (‘Never a borrower nor a lender be’ – Hamlet)
(You don’t believe in mixing friends & cash/ don’t trust them to pay it back)

6. Can you have my (difficult) teenager to stay while we go away for the weekend?  Express your happiness for them that they’re getting away together.  Empathetically, tell them that you have plans for the w/e that and are not able to help them out this time.  You don’t need to go into any great explanation.  As my grandmother used to say, ‘never complain, never explain.’
(Too much responsibility & you don’t want to row with him/her about drinking, lifts, etc.)

For those for whom ‘being liked’ is important, it’s hard to say no because it feels/sounds/looks like rejection.  If you change your viewpoint and see saying ‘no’ as a way of empowering others to come up with their own solutions without relying on others to solve their problems, you’re giving them a gift.

We find it hard to say ‘no’ because we’re taught to be nice to others, to behave in a generous manner, to serve others, and to pay back for favours done.  We also find it hard to say ‘no’ when the person asking is similar to us – be it background, beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviours, culture, religion, etc.  Similarities create bonds.  If you owe someone a favour it’s also hard to say no to them.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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

 


Twitter Updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 42 other followers