Archive for October, 2007
I may seem to be leaning a lot on Lifehack.org lately. I don’t mean to. It’s just that there’s a really good reason why they’re one of the top blogs on Internet. Anyway…
In Your Brain is Not Your Friend and its followup, Three More Reasons Why Your Brain is Not Your Friend, Lifehack.org author Dustin Wax describes how easily fooled our brains are, and how seemingly determined they are to stay that way:
Whether because of the brain’s internal structure or the way social and cultural pressures cause our minds to develop and function, in the end the result is the same: minds that are not only easily deceived and frequently deceptive in their own right, but when caught out, refuse to accept and address their errors. If you have a mind — or even half a mind — you might be best off losing it entirely.
It’s long been my opinion that the greatest driving force of a human being is not the desire for survival, but the desire to be right. (People will die for their beliefs, but they rarely believe they are going to die. Or something like that.) Mr. Wax’s articles reinforce my opinion, so I’ll agree with him… thus perpetuating the cycle.
Nick Kemp is hosting Doug O’Brien on December 1 & 2, 2008 in Leeds, UK. From one of Doug’s pages, Sleight of Mouth is:
…a persuasion skill, a vehicle for the reframing of beliefs. It is a system of 14 different patterns of response to a stated belief. A system that, once mastered, can allow you to always have a response that will effectively elucidate your position and help you to persuade rather than be persuaded. Simply put, it will help you win any argument, be verbally powerful and powerfully verbal.
See Nick’s site for more details and sign up!
Jonathan Altfeld is in Los Angeles, California, USA on January 11 through January 13, 2008 with his most popular course, Linguistic Wizardry. I’d love to be able to describe this training, as I’ve taken it several times myself, but all I can really say is that it defies description. The training is so intense that it brings forward everything you’ve learned and ties it all together. And the “Village Council” exercise at the end of the last day is worth the price of admission.
Jonathan Altfeld is offering his Knowledge Engineering training in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on December 1 through December 3, 2007.
This is our most advanced material on Modeling. For those who want to learn to visually unpack beliefs, belief systems, decision sequences, values, and human reasoning heuristics. Awesome for coaches.
I have the home-study course and have taken “Belief Craft” with Jonathan and Doug O’Brien, and I can say it’s excellent.
Like all good Web 2.0 tools, it’s advertised as “beta”, and Tony Buzan wouldn’t recognize its output as a Mind Map, but it looks really handy anyway.
I love today’s Dilbert comic. It contains a wonderful set of instructions for emptying one’s mind.
Another article I wrote for Persuasion 101, this one from 2003:
Sometimes you’ll be faced with the task of persuading someone who is being, shall we say, unreasonable. Their emotions have gotten the best of them, perhaps, or maybe they just don’t like what you represent to them for whatever reason. I know what it’s like to be there. I work in a hospital and spend most of my “persuasion time” in either the locked Psychiatric Unit or the Emergency Department. You don’t get more “unreasonable” than some of the patients I’ve seen.
I’m a lazy persuader. I tend to realize that most of what people know about communicating is intuitive and natural, so I have learned to pay attention to my own other-than-conscious signals and trust them. Your unconscious can keep track of much more information than you think.
The psych nurses called me to help them with a man who was very angry with them for reasons that only he knew. When I got there, he was sitting (which is a good thing, generally speaking, for an angry person to be doing when you’re in front of them) and ranting to himself. The charge nurse stood aside and waited for me to say some magic words. (She’d seen me work before.) I listened for a bit and then opened my mouth to say something I thought was particularly persuasive, and I received a little nudge from the back of my mind. It went something like this here:
SHUT UP AND LISTEN!
So I did.
I listened for a little while longer, got some more information, thought to myself, OK, it’s time to talk now, opened my mouth to say something I thought would be even more persuasive than the first thing, and there was that, um, still, calm, gentle voice again:
SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!
OK, OK, so I shut up and listened some more while he ranted. Then he gave me what I thought was a truly important bit of information, and I was glad I had paid attention to my unconscious urgings to be quiet. With that key information, I again went to open my mouth to say something powerfully persuasive, and you’ll never guess…
SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!!
Now, I consider myself an intelligent fellow, and I can take a subtle hint. So I shut up for good. I sat and listened, just as I had before, making the little facial expressions and nods and grunts that demonstrated I was honestly listening to what he had to say. And within a minute or so he calmed down. And then he realized he was out of line.
The truth is, that’s all he needed. Someone to hear him out, to take in what he was saying without trying to convince him he was mistaken. The more he talked, them more I listened, the more he talked himself out of what he was saying. And I didn’t have to say a thing.
Because, you see, inside every “unreasonable” person, there’s a calm and peaceful person who’d rather be in charge.
I’d never heard of Rico Clusters before reading this great article on lifehack.org. it appears to be a great way to brainstorm and organize one’s thoughts, and with far less effort than Mind Mapping.
What is a Rico Cluster? Author Dustin Wax writes:
Rico clustering is a brainstorming tool that emphasizes the connection between left-brain openness and connection-making and right-brain verbalization and ordering. Although it is intended primarily as a writing tool, it can also be applied to teaching — and [Dr. Gabrielle] Rico herself has written about its use as a therapeutic tool, as well.
It looks interesting. I’ll have to try it on.
This lifehack.org article should be required reading for every person trying out for American Idol. It would certainly save Simon Cowell a lot of grief. Did you ever ask yourself, while watching the first few episodes of each season, why in the name of all that is holy doesn’t that guy know he sucks?! Scott H. Young suggests:
Most people won’t tell you what they think of you. And if they do want to slide you some honesty, it is usually wrapped in a sugar coating.
In other words, they lie to spare the wannabe next-American-Idol some hurt feelings.
And when you’re asking your friends and loved ones for feedback, guess what they’re doing.
Probably never occurred to you. 🙂
My favorite idea from the whole batch of sixteen:
Say Thanks – Some companies pay consultants millions of dollars to come by and show them how they are doing a bad job. At least some people will do it for free. Thank them so you don’t have to pay heavy consultant bills later.
I have to tell you, I’m already really good at responding to
abuse criticism, but this article came just in time to reinforce things for me. I read it just before going to work yesterday, and at work I took an undeserved load of crap from a doctor who thought I was the person he needed to be mad at.
Some time back, I wrote this article for the Persuasion 101 newsletter. I’d like to re-post it here, as it hits on one of the key points in NLP the way I apply it to my life and work. It refers to a study I read in the Gallup Management Journal. The article follows:
Back in the day, serving a customer meant making the best product and delivering it on time. If you built a better mousetrap, they said, the world would beat a path to your door. But according to Gallup’s research, customers now assume “product parity”. In plain English, that means that if I need a widget, and if I’m no expert in widgets, I’m going to go to the widget store believing that no matter what brand of widget I buy, it will do what a widget is supposed to do. When it comes to serving the customer, giving them what they want when you say you’ll give it to them doesn’t score any points anymore. It only keeps us from losing the points they assume we already have.
Now, if I make widgets, this complicates my life. It means that no matter how good my widgets are — even if they’re the best widgets on the planet — customers won’t see that as a reason to buy mine.
OK… NOW what do we do?
Fortunately for us, there are businesses that know what to do, and we can learn from them. Gallup reports that the businesses that are able to persuade people to buy their products are doing two more things.
These super-salespeople are partnering with their customers to help them to solve their current problems. For example: People who develop medicine work on a scale too small to see with the unaided eye. When it comes time for them to explain what they’re doing, they can’t exactly point to it. So they start verbally describing it, and most people just glaze over. A friend of mine, who is a physician, a computer geek, and an artist, saw this problem and decided to solve it by creating a company which does beautiful, medically-accurate animation for biotechnologists. Now, when someone says to a biotech scientist, “Gee, can you draw me a picture?”, that scientist can call Animedix.
These super-salespeople are also educating their customers to help them grow and thrive. The founder of National Cash Register, for example, when it was still a brand-new company, used to help prospective customers with cash registers from competing companies. He’d teach them how to use and repair his competitors’ products. When someone asked him why he did this, he told them that it made the whole pie bigger, and when the pie got bigger, his piece of it naturally got bigger as a result.
Although we aren’t professional salespeople, we can learn a lot from these attitudes. We can’t get by on just being a good husband or good wife or good employee anymore, because everyone assumes “product parity”. If they aren’t happy with you, they’ll find another one. It’s time to look at our relationships with those we love and care about and, within our relationships to them, help them to solve their problems and help them learn and grow and thrive.
Think of it. I’m sure there’s at least one thing you’d rather not do. And I’m equally sure that there’s at least one person in your life for whom you would do it if they just asked. What is it about that person? What do they do for you that you would do that for them? And wouldn’t you like to be that kind of person for the significant people in your life?
How many ways can you develop to help those you love to solve their problems and grow and thrive? Have fun with it.