Adele Scheele, the career and work psychologist, says that one of the best ways to become comfortable in business social situations is to think of someone else’s comfort before your own. “In social situations, people tend to behave either as hosts or guests.”  Think about it.  What do guests generally do at a social gathering?  They wait for someone to take their coats.  They wait for someone to introduce them.  They wait to be offered a drink or something to eat.  And what do hosts usually do? Hosts tend to have gracious manners.  They greet people, make them feel welcome and introduce them to others.  They make sure their guests’ needs are met.  They’re concerned with the comfort of others.The bottom line is that hosts do and guests do nothing 

So, how do we go from guest behavior to host behavior, when everything in us is screaming, “I’m a guest, I’m a guest!”  I’ll tell you what Teddy Roosevelt did.  He always had difficulty talking about himself, so he made it a point at social occasions to spend the first fifteen minutes getting to know the person nearest him.  He did this by asking people all sorts of questions that gave them an opportunity to talk about themselves.  This way he didn’t have to talk about himself, he’d get comfortable meanwhile, and others found him to be a simply fabulous conversationalist.  (He played host!).  So, if you truly want to build relationship, I would add this to Scheele’s advice:  Not only do good things for others, but be genuinely interested in others.  Practicing this is one of the secrets of life.  

Ginny Pulos is president of Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc., a speech and media consultancy, and adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is an expert in presentation, storytelling and persuasion in corporate environments.r (www.ginnypulos.com). 

For more tips on speaking with confidence check our other blog posts. We welcome you to subscribe to our posts and the Ginny Pulos Communications Facebook page.

Just think about this: The defense team in the George Zimmerman trial so hammered the image of Trayvon Martin being on top of George Zimmerman, that the prosecution actually accepted that image because they had not created a story for themselves! Only once in their summation did they hint for the first time that this might have been a scared boy being followed by car and on foot by an unknown man. Even the prosecution was persuaded by the defense’s story.

Herman Ebbinghaus, a pioneer researcher on the psychology of human memory found that a typical listener forgets 40% of what (s)he hears during a presentation within half an hour. By then end of the day, listeners only remember about 40%. After a week? Listeners remember only 10% of what you say!

So to impact these facts, here are a few tips.

• Repeat an important point at least three times in a presentation.
• Create pictures for your audience, because they are far more likely to remember them.
• And, tell true stories because they create emotional contact, and therefore impact.

Let me give you another example:

When C. Evertt Coop, the former US Surgeon General wanted to impact the number of deaths in this country caused by smoking-related diseases, he worked with the Amercian Lung Association. They had a powerful number to impress upon the public: EVERY DAY, NEARLY 1,000 PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY DIE OF SMOKING-RELATED DISEASES. Now, this is disturbing, but it’s just a number and easy to forget. But, if we add that number over a period of a year, we have 320,000 people who die each year from smoking-related diseases. It’s mentally harder to exclude ourselves from that group, but we can still do it. So to give this number power, they related it to a powerful visual image.

• “That’s like Shea Stadium filled five times over,” or,
• “That’s like two fully-loaded jumbo jets colliding over your hometown every day and everyone aboard dying. People would do something about such disasters, right?”
Then, they linked that to their smoking issue by saying “the same is true about smoking.”

These images so impressed the former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop that he used them in all his talks about smoking.

So, what’s your takeaway? If you have a boring fact, an important point or a process you want to impact with persuasion, remember:

• Repeat an important point at least three times in a presentation or conversation.
• Create pictures for your audience, so they will remember them.
• And, tell true stories because they create emotional contact and impact.

Ginny Pulos is president of Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc., a speech and media consultancy, and adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is an expert in presentation, storytelling and persuasion in corporate environments.r (www.ginnypulos.com). 

For more tips on speaking with confidence check our other blog posts. We welcome you to subscribe to our posts and the Ginny Pulos Communications Facebook page.

Social situations present us with opportunities for making new friendships and opening doors to possibilities. “Possibilities” may include uncomfortable situations because someone is either insensitive, or tries to get to know us too deeply, too fast. Before others delve seriously into prying, save the situation by trying these!

SWITCH THE SUBJECT

Bridge: Bring up a topic that was mentioned earlier or one that you know you have in common. “You said you’d be spending a month in Japan. I have friends…”

Redirect: Express appreciation for present topic, then shift. “I’m impressed you know so much about politics. I was wondering, though, what you think about…”

Switch tracks: Pick up a key word or phrase that someone is saying then offer a question or comment that leads away. “Speaking of balmy weather, did I tell you I’m going to Spain in May?”

Roadblock: Be direct, be polite, but show lack of interest. “You know, I’m not really into fishing. Do you mind if we change topics?” Or, “We’ve about exhausted this subject, do you mind if we talk about…?”

IF THEY PERSIST:

Make a polite refusal: “I know a lot of people don’t mind talking about (their sex life, the amount of money they make, their latest family dysfunction), but I guess I’m old fashioned.”

Use humor: “I can’t tell you all my secrets.”

Exaggerate: “I have $3 billion to invest, doesn’t everyone?”

Offer the close relative excuse: ”Even my wife doesn’t know whether my book is autobiographical.”

Confess embarrassment: “To be honest, I’m embarrassed by your question.”

Throw the question back: “I won’t tell you how I’m voting, but anyone who knows me could guess.”

Question the question: “I really have to wonder why anyone would ask such a question.”

Be vague: “How much do I make? Never enough!”

Use a barrier: “I plead the fifth.”

Or, if at the company holiday party, someone corners you about company gossip, try one of these to slip loose from being put on the spot this way.

SLIP LOOSE

For instance, you’ve been sworn to secrecy regarding a situation — the “don’t tell anyone, swear” situation?

Someone corners you and says, “Did you hear that Barney, the Retail Manager, was offered a Directorship at the JP Morgan?”.

DON’T:

Lie
• Break your promise and goad others to insist you tell

• Play games — “maybe I do and maybe I don’t”

• Say you don’t remember — not believable

• Say you can’ t answer that question — tantamount to “yes

DO:

• Change the subject enthusiastically.

Evade by offering a comment that invites a response or shifts the conversation to a different topic. Enthusiasm distracts or disconcerts the questioner so that the person’s not sure you intentionally circumvented the question.

“If it’s true, it’s a great opportunity for Barney. But, can you believe this election? What a mess! How do you think this will all play out?”

Or, try a complete switch.

“Listen, I’m worried about our Third Quarter. What do you think?”

Or, insist on a new topic if your questioner seems to catch on.

He or she will think that Barney bores you or that you’re in some mood, etc., or, that you’re graciously and simply not going to discuss that topic. You’ll be off the hook with your integrity intact.

These techniques are easier than you think. Just practice. Unless you’re on the witness stand, maneuver!

Ginny Pulos is president of Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc., a speech and media consultancy, and adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is an expert in presentation, storytelling and persuasion in corporate environments.r (www.ginnypulos.com). 

For more tips on speaking with confidence check our other blog posts. We welcome you to subscribe to our posts and the Ginny Pulos Communications Facebook page.

Learn True Leadership From The Remarkable Nelson Mandela.

 

We will never again in our lifetime see such powerful leadership.  From behind prison walls, Mandela won freedom for a people and immediately lead a nation’s healing through the example of his epic life and actions. In his 1994 inaugural speech, the inspirational leader urged people to heal its wounds by these words from Marianne Williamson’s book,  A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.  They are not just great words by which to lead, they are great words by which to live.  Read them to yourself and your team daily, until they become your part of your practice and your life.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.  Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.  There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so others won’t feel insecure. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us: it’s in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Ginny Pulos is president of Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc., a speech and media consultancy, and adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is an expert in presentation, storytelling and persuasion in corporate environments.r (www.ginnypulos.com). 

For more tips on speaking with confidence check our other blog posts. We welcome you to subscribe to our posts and the Ginny Pulos Communications Facebook page.

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