Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Power Persuasions

A huge majority of us are, to a certain level, hyper-active and lack the ability to focus on things for long. In some ways we resemble a flock of birds chirping away at nothing and for this we can happily blame it on the nature of our creation. In many ways we are affected by the fast changing, constantly chaotic, circumstances which surround us. The bottom-line, though, regardless of whether it is nature or nurture that makes us, is the fact that we are always in a state of flux.

To give positive direction and constructive shape to the change that is constantly happening to us requires that we develop skills to navigate or anchor ourselves at a deeper, primal level closer to our identities and emotions. To give positive direction and constructive shape to change in others we must also develop the skills and abilities to create a shift for them at a deeper and a more emotional level in them…read more

Dr Robert Cialdini, known for his popular book on persuasion and marketing, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion makes claim to six laws that can create a shift in others and these, very quickly, are;

• Reciprocity - People tend to return a favor for a favor. Thus giving the power to one who does the first favor.

• Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment.

• Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing.

• Authority - People will tend to be influenced by authorities and celebrities.

• Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like.

• Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand and therefore give power to the one owning title to the things in demand.

These laws are good and make a lot of social sense. I agree with them absolutely and would add to these facts the current research from the fields on Nuero-psychology. What support and enshrouds all these laws is the fact that deep change occurs at the levels where our emotions and memories reside. It is the images, the sounds and the feelings of past experiences of joy and sorrow which become a powerful driving force behind the choices we make today, behind the actions we take today and destiny that we shape for our tomorrows.

Change at and around the seat of our emotions and past experiences is brought about a careful construction and morphing of the verbal and non-verbal language that we use in our day to day interactions with our family, friends and colleagues. Those that recognize the power of the words we weave have learned the art and science of it over time, through deliberate effort and razor-sharp awareness of their own thoughts, mental processes, ideas and emotional shifts. Those that master these skills and develop intuitive competencies stop being like a bunch of sparrows atop a tree but become soaring eagles in the sky that fly down sharp and swift for a purpose and then fly back into the echelons of personal performances and achievements.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

History Repeats Itself

The other day at the bank, Lisa, my young and attractive bank officer was telling me how her mother had taken a fall, and while waiting for hip replacement, was confined in a hospital in the USA.

While Lisa was talking to me, I was watching her eyebrows and wondering how painful it must be for girls to undergo all that plucking. I was wondering how she would look if she let her eyebrows grow. Coming out of the trance, I looked up and brightly asked her: “Hey how’s your mom? Does she still live in Japan?”

Right! I was hearing her but I hadn’t been listening! I was physically present but spiritually gone. I was hearing her but I wasn’t listening. Listening requires engagement, comprehension, absorption, and processing while hearing is only a function of the ears.

We spend half of our waking time communicating with others and the other half listening. In school we are taught how to read, write, and recite, but have any of us spent time learning to listen fully? If we learned to listen with our heads and hearts, we’d be able to manage our time projects and plans much more efficiently.

Putting our heads and hearts together makes us not just attentive, but also watchful of our own input. Our partners, our customers deserve that and some more from us. Call this behavior “Listening Mindfully.”

Listening Mindfully will benefit you by:

• Making you aware of your own intentions and authenticity.
• Strengthening and improving your relationships with your colleagues, customers and community.
• Giving you the ability to bring about positive and meaningful change in the world.

In all conversations, Listening Mindfully can be achieved by taking these five simple steps:

1. Investigate Intentions. Before entering any conversation, find out what it is that you really want to achieve. An honest appraisal of your intentions will keep you engaged and make your customers feel served well.

2. Increase Awareness. While you are listening, clear your personal, mental clutter. This could be anything from nagging thoughts, to lists of things to do, to plans for the day. Postpone these thoughts, increase awareness, note change in tone, and pitch and pace of speaker. Look for underlying feelings and visualize your mind consciously capturing key ideas.

3. Interact with Interest and Enthusiasm. Listening is also done with your eyes and body. Maintain eye contact and lean towards the speaker. Every now and then blink with approval, nod, and smile or participate gently by uttering words like “uh-uh,” “hmmm,” or “I understand.” Keep this participation genuine and non-intrusive.

4. Inquire and Re-Phrase. All transfer of information, knowledge, or ideas from one mind to another generally leaves a small percentage of the unknown. Clarify and fill that gap as much as possible by making simple, direct, and inoffensive questions. Rephrase ideas or create comparisons to further solidify understanding.

5. Inscribe Impressions. Whenever and wherever possible take quick and colorful notes. You know what they say about remembering, “A blunt pencil is better than a sharp mind.” This will help you put down your impressions and review ideas and perceptions later.

Follow these five simple steps and your customer service experience will jump up several notches. Also, the next time you are in a bank with an attractive bank officer, it will help keep your mind where your body is. History repeats itself only because people do not listen mindfully the first time!

Raju Mandhyan