Avoid connection crushers
“Stick and stones can break my bones,
but words can break my heart.”
When verbal garbage gets dumped, it causes a cesspool of negative reactions. Put-downs, sarcasm, accusations, and other verbal barbs stir up energy as egos jockey for respect. Verbal attacks usually deploy self-defense mechanisms and obliterate positive connections.
Certain words or phrases block connections cold, and make us steamed simultaneously! (They kick up a whirlwind of emotion, just like in weather patterns, when cold and warm conditions combine to form a tornado!) Connection crushing communication usually brings out the beast, rather than the best in others. This includes: (From the book, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere … 8 keys to creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers … even kids” by Arnold Sanow and Sandra Strauss, www.getalongwithanyone.com
· Blaming and accusations
“If you hadn’t screwed up, we wouldn’t be in this mess!”
“How could you ever . . .?”
· Sarcastic remarks
· Discriminatory remarks or insults about age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation
· Denial statements
· “It can’t be that terrible!”
· “You’re telling a bunch of lies!”
· “You shouldn’t say those things.”
· “You’re wrong!”
· “That’s not true.”
· “I don’t believe you.”
· Name-calling, put-downs and anything that makes someone else feel inferior or stupid:
· “I told you so!”
· “How many times have I told you (or gone over this)?”
· “What an absolutely stupid thing to say!”
· “I can’t believe how unprofessional you looked!”
· “What an idiot! How could you do such a thing?”
· “Can’t you ever do anything right?”
· Ultimatums and threats
“If you don’t, then . . .”
“You better or else!“
· “Do it now!”
· “Do as I say!”
· “That’s the end of it. I don’t want to hear another word!”
· Gross generalizations and exaggerations
“You never do what I ask! “
“You always say that!“
“Everything is always such a crisis with you.”
“All you ever do is complain!”
“You’re always late!
“I’ve told you a million times to clean up your room!
“Why don’t you ever . . .?”
· Emotionally loaded responses
“Here we go again!”
“Oh, brother, I can’t believe you!”
“I know exactly what you’re thinking!”
“That’s not how it happened!”
· Impatient remarks
“Keep it short.”
· Especially for parents: Unfortunately like verbal DNA, the least favorite phrases of childhood are often passed down to the next generation, only to get on the nerves of their offspring. This cycle continues, as they in turn, repeat the same unproductive and disempowering statements. Here’s a sampling:
“How many times do I have to tell you . . .?”
“If you do that one more time, I’m going to . . .”
“What did I just say?”
“When I was your age, I always . . . “ (Beware! If you use this phrase, just watch their eyes roll!)
Most of these responses invite escalation or discourage communication—they cause resistance, resentment, and reactivity. Although it might be very tempting to litter your language with “zappers,” it’s better to refrain from engaging in any verbal artillery. Verbal blows cause massive damage to relationships and crush your chances for keeping quality connections. To create good connections, make a commitment to consistently choose your words wisely.
Avoid going to extremes
Using extreme statements (never, always, everyone, all, everything) are exaggerations and bound to trigger some extreme reactions; they’re unfair and accusatory. The attacked instantly begin scrolling through their experiences, recalling when their actions proved otherwise, and hurl back the facts in self-defense. Unfair judgments generally fire up defenses!
Focus on the desired action by requesting information, “When can I expect the final report?” Ask questions, i.e. “What needs to happen on Tuesday evenings?” instead of blasting accusations, i.e. “You never remember to take the trash out!” Nudging with a simple one-word reminder, “Trash” also makes the point. Nudge rather than nag!
When inflammatory, extreme remarks are unfairly lobbed your way, reverse them with a question that refutes their unfair claim. Let’s say, you’ve been accused of never being on time. You know that statement is simply not true. It’s fair to repeat the statement as a means of discounting its validity, “I’m never on time?” Spoken in a dubious tone, with facial expressions to match your disbelief, makes the point. This repositions you in a fair light and demonstrates that you do indeed act responsibly; your actions speak louder than words.
Denial is more than a river in Egypt.
I recently had the occasion to speak to a man who coaches business leaders with ADD.
My results were startling… I fit many of the parameters of impaired executive function associated with ADD syndrome.
It was frighteningly clear that some of my tendencies are associated with ADHD… here are a few…
- Activation… organizing tasks and materials, estimating time,, prioritizing tasks and getting started on work tasks. I have experienced difficulty with excessive procrastination.
- Focusing… sustaining focus and shifting focus to tasks. I have difficulty in sustaining focus as I get distracted easily by things around and by internal thinking in my mind. Reading also is a chore as retention and understanding are a challenge for me.
- Effort… regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and processing speed. I’m great at the short-term project, but have great difficulty in sustaining effort over longer periods of time. It’s tough to be a complete a task.
- Emotion… managing frustration and modulating emotions. I discover challenges in managing frustration, anger, worry ,fear, disappointment, desire, and more. When these takeover, it is very difficult to get these emotions in perspective and get my mind back on track and do the really important things.
- Memory…utilizing memory and assessing a recall. I’ve discovered great difficulty in being able to remember many many things… including names, situations, circumstances, and other memories of those around me describe what these. I find it difficult to access memory information at the moment I need it. Was it the teen drugs or my 9 kids that did this?
- Action…monitoring and regulating function. Distraction, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are tendencies which I need to watch. Whether an action, word, or in my thinking these become a danger. When I failed to notice what is happening I can easily jump to inaccurate conclusions and I have difficulty in regulating the pace of my actions and slowing or speeding up as needed for specific tasks.
So these are the big wake-up call for me… now I need to figure out how to regulate and leverage these tendencies in my life.
One area is procrastination: I see now the need to activate my brain for at least 30 minutes a day to write and blog.
It’s easy for me to be faithful. Once I’m intentional.
Now i need to leverage my tendencies in these areas!…
Experimentation has shown that two different sides are hemispheres of the brain responsible for different manners of thinking.
Most individuals have distinct preference for one of these two styles of thinking.
Some however are whole brained, and equally adept at both .
In general, schools tend to favor left brain modes of thinking while downplaying the right brained ones.
Left brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy.
Right brained subjects on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.
Left brain thinking focuses on the following:
- looks at parts
Right brain thinking focuses on the following:
- looks at the whole picture/creative
In order to be more whole brained,we need to give equal weight to the arts, creativity and the skills of imagination in the synthesis.
Educators must form and develop new forms of assessment that honor right brained talents and skills as well.
We are all wired differently and possess different gifts in life. We simply need to honor our differences better than we do now.
Our value system is certainly tipped toward left brain thinking… what you doing today to be more whole brained in your approach?
- Find an appropriate and interesting speech topic… this is the most difficult part of running a speech. Try something fun, relevant, and even popular.
- Set realistic goals… set your sights on changing the mind of your audience in small increments. It’s likely you will not change long-held ingrained opinions on issues
- Know your audience well… to be persuasive, you must identify with your audience and help your audience identify with you.
- Use examples, they can relate to… to help the audience identify with your topic is local examples they can relate to. Things that are unique to your own culture, geography, or community.
- Use excellent evidence… do your research and utilize judiciously, credible statistics, fax, quotes, and emotional examples.
- Represent the other side accurately… when discussing the other side’s point of view, make sure you are accurate. You need to accurately represent their motives and their point of view.
- Tell stories… we all have them, because we all live in them. People relate to stories more than anything. Learn to tell yours in a compelling way.
- Use a compelling storyline… just like in the movies. A protagonist, a challenge, a letdown , a failure, a battle, a victory, and a resolution with lessons learned in the process.
- Ask the audience to take action…. make them do something. have a call to action. To some change, activity, or behavioral adjustment.
- Show the audience you care very much about your topic… if you don’t care why should they? You must really own your content on an emotional level. If you do not,it will show and your credibility will suffer as a speaker.
- Be present and in the moment, as you deliver your talk… nothing is more powerful than one you are on stage, know your content thoroughly, and are able to relate it in a compelling way. As you are present, and in the moment, and having fun!
To make sure we understand what “rudeness” means, here’s a list of the Top 10 acts of rudeness according to Joel H Neuman from the State University of New York.
- Talking about someone behind his/her back.
- Interrupting others when they are speaking or working.
- Flaunting status or authority; acting in a condescending manner.
- Belittling someone’s opinion to others.
- Failing to return phone calls or respond to memos.
- Giving others the silent treatment
- Insults, yelling and shouting
- Verbal forms of sexual harassment
- Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact.
- Intentionally damning with faint praise
Once we understand these we need to eliminate them from our behavior.
Thanks, Arnold Sanow.
MOTIVATING OTHERS, NOT. INSPIRING OTHERS, YES
Motivating others, this you cannot do because people motivate themselves. But if you are a manager of employees, you must have motivated people on your team.
As a manager it’s your main job to turn raw talent into performance that’s aligned with your mission and the vision of where you want to go. By the way, this is the same job as that of a football coach.
But how do you make it possible for the motivation that lies fast asleep, deep in the hearts of the people you manage, to spring forth? You do that by telling a good story—an inspirational story that encourages people to saddle up and take all forms of the most appropriate action possible. For while it is true that you cannot motivate another person, you can inspire them, this you can certainly do.
Inspire well and your people will motivate themselves.
Have you read any of J. K. Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books or seen the movies? Is Harry Potter a real person? Are any of those stories true? No. But people love them anyway, don’t they. Harry Potter doesn’t exist, none of the people in the stories exist, the whole story is made up, yet we want to believe, so we buy the books and go to the movies. The story is wonderful. The story gets us to take action.
Thousands of people of all ages camped all night outside bookstores everywhere waiting to buy the final Potter book last week. 10 million copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” were sold in the first 24 hours. That’s 6,944 books per minute. And that book is 600 pages long. Very big time motivation brought on by big time inspiration.
Turns out that those who manage people most successfully, better than anyone else, do not actually talk about or demonstrate the benefits that will accrue to those who do their bidding. That’s not what they do. Instead, they tell a story. Employees demand that you do just that, they insist that you paint vivid story pictures that they want to believe. This is their chief demand of you.
Storytelling, of course, is one of the oldest, most powerful modes of communication. President Ronald Reagan was a masterful storyteller, and many other politicians have used stories to gain votes and win elections. Savvy people are now adding storytelling to their toolkits to “sell” anything from organizational goals and priorities to employees, to goods, products and services to customers.
Researchers have found that storytelling is far more convincing to an audience than rational arguments, statistics, or facts. In her book “Corporate Legends and Lore: The Power of Storytelling as a Management Tool,” Peg Neuhauser outlines the results of a study with MBA students that demonstrate the power of a story. MBA students are very much orientated by statistics. Neuhauser divided her statistically oriented students into three groups. The first group was given only statistics related to the potential success of a new winery. The second group was given statistics and a story. The third group received only the story. The story ended with: “And my father would be so proud to sip this wine.” A majority of students in the third group believed that the winery would be successful, while in the other two groups the skeptics predominated. The story, not the statistics, sold the winery.
Next time you hear someone say, “Let me tell you a story,” watch out. You may be about to support an idea, enlist in a cause, or buy something.
It’s a simple concept. A story makes a topic much more real to the audience, more so than the most rational persuasion, because it reframes the argument being put forth by the story teller in an easy-to-grasp format anyone can relate to. When it becomes necessary to influence people, a story frame is always more effective than a rational, linear argument, provided the story answers the audience’s question, “What’s in this for me?”
Great stories overcome resistance to change, to try new things, or to buy.
Managers and football coaches make taking action more palatable by telling stories that celebrate the past while simultaneously demonstrating the need for change. Stories help people understand the need to follow directions and to do things in the right way. And even failure makes a good story when it is positioned to focus on the learning experience derived from it.
Now you may not be able to inspire your employees like J. K. Rowling inspired her readers and movie goers or like Vince Lombardi or Bill Walsh inspired their football players. But you can inspire your audience. And your inspirational activities can result in the sudden appearance of motivation on the part of your audience members. Then they’ll do all they can to take appropriate action that benefits both them and you too.
Like football coaches to their players, your good stories will bridge the gap between what you want people to do for you—and what, because they discover their own motivation—they will do for you.
So what exactly is a really good story? What characteristics must a story have in order to inspire and encourage the emergence and manifestation of motivation in other people?
Here’s what we know. A good story is interesting, it’s compelling and hard to ignore, it’s fascinating to some degree, it promises something people want to believe, it’s about things people can relate to their personal experiences and/or to their hopes and wishes, and it may offer hope of a better future. And truly great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to emotions and senses.
Most of all, great stories agree with our world view. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and that makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure as it reminds them of how right they were in the first place.
Threats don’t work for long. Bribes don’t work for long either. Only a good story brings people to the place of self-motivation for the long haul and that’s what you need, long term motivation and the loyalty that comes with it.
Your story ought to lay out a vision of a desirable future, ought to talk about goals and communicate how together your team will reach them. Your story ought to educate and mobilize people to go with you into the future better place.
Want to manage your people better? Tell better stories. And tell them often. Neat huh!
There’s a simple big true fact about influence. When you ask people to something, you’ll be more successful at getting them to comply, if you provide a reason. People like having reasons for what they do.
For example, you’re at the grocery store checkout line with only a few items and several people are in front of you. You don’t want to wait. So, you say, “Excuse me, I only have a few things, may I go ahead of you?” People look at you and often times, nothing happens, they don’t budge, and with frustration, and maybe a little embarrassment, you have to wait your turn.
But—if you change the words of your request just a bit, to, “Excuse me, may I go ahead of you, because—I only have a few things?” This simple change in your request will produce a much different reaction. And now, many people will indeed wave you ahead of them.
What’s the difference? In the second request, you gave the people in line ahead of you a reason to let you move ahead. You said, “because—I only have a few things.” And this worked.
This technique has been thoroughly tested and it really does work. The most fascinating part about this is—that it doesn’t matter what reason you give. You could say, “Excuse me, may I go ahead of you, because—I’m in a hurry?” Or even, “because—I want to.” Still works.
In one study done in a line of people waiting to use a copy machine, even this worked. “Excuse me, may I go ahead of you, because—I have to make some copies?” Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, but people are much more likely to comply when you give them a reason to comply. And virtually any reason will work a whole lot better than no reason at all.
Obviously a reason with a value or benefit for the person you from whom you are requesting something is most powerful. “I’d like you to advertise on my radio program because that will make both of us more money.” That’s great.
Next time you leave your name and number on someone’s answering machine, try this. “This is [your name]. I would be grateful if you would call me sometime today or tomorrow, because—I’d like to talk to you.” Works like a charm.
Here’s the whole thing. To influence someone’s behavior with the Request-Plus-Reason Technique, you ask for something, using the word “because” followed by a reason, virtually any reason. This triggers an automatic compliance response and Click, Whirr, presto, they’ll go on autopilot, and do what you ask. Neat and simple too huh!
Try this. See what you can do.
This is a true story of our beloved son, Gabriel.
It all started with the ultrasound at Mad River Community Hospital. The ultrasound revealed the possibility of Down syndrome. Gabe had a 1 in 3 chance of having Down .
That question haunted us until Gabe’s birth.
My wife Joni was assigned a month’s bed rest and then gave birth to a mostly-healthy
baby boy. They were then flown overnight to UC Davis Medical Center in
Sacramento, where Gabriel was to have surgery to correct an intestinal blockage. After the surgery, both mother and son were fine!
The two dollar question was, did Gabriel have Down syndrome?
Meeting with the doctor, she assured us that he did have Down syndrome…and that we had less than one year left in our marriage. Her point was that parents of special needs kids have marital challenges. She was not very delicate. What a great nugget to drop on a couple in a vulnerable time!
The proceeding questions, heartbreak, prayer, and walks around the UC Davis campus crying out to God will always be etched in my memory.
I decided to dedicate Gabriel (and our raising him) to the Lord, and trust that, although he
would never be a football hero or a brain surgeon, his life would be both personally fulfilling and enriching to those around him. We were ready to move on and raise our son no matter!
The shame, embarrassment, and guilt that parents of children with special needs
children share is one of life’s dirty little secrets. Although not
rational, logical, or reasonable, these feelings are very tangible.
The feelings of sadness and gloom often come at unexpected and strange times.
Perception is reality. The pain is real.
The times of denial, reality hitting home, and the Costco gawkers staring at our Gabe, only serve to remind us at times of our frustration, pain, and anguish.
Every so often, the reality check of Gabriel’s special needs of
autism and Down syndrome come crashing in on us. Gabe’s episodes of dysfunction or meltdowns pull us out of our times of denial, where we have to admit, acknowledge, and again decide to go forward as parents.
We have learned to be honest with our feelings and with reality. We’ve chosen to redeem gain from all the pain as a couple and as a family to love regardless of “return on investment”.
· Some of the lessons learned include:
1. There is no one-time fix.
2. This is a long-term issue, challenge, battle, and journey requiring a long term mentality and approach.
3. A positive mental attitude and my positive confessions are not enough to get me through.
4. There is no “Bible bullet “or quick fix that is adequate to address my pain.
5. Whereas Gabriel may have retardation of his intellect, there is none of the spirit.
6. His worth has very little to do with his intellect or ability to contribute to society.
7. Societal worth is indeed a relativistic concept.
8. We’ve learned to give without expecting anything in return
The lessons learned have to do with my deciding to have the right perspective, attitude, actions, and behaviors.
The decision to love unconditionally is mine alone.
This unconditional love, stemming from the decision to love Gabriel, has transferred some of my pain into a long term perspective which is surprising, refreshing, and very interesting. He has taught us many lessons.
I’m learning to love freely regardless of the payback.
I’m learning to value all people.
I know that everyone has special needs.
Some of us just hide them better!
This unconditional love is a decision that begins in the seat of my will.
I must decide daily how and whom we will love.
My commitment as a father begins with loving my son and resourcing him
in every way to maximize his potential. I also need to maximize my
potential to love, accept, understand, and help Gabriel where
possible. My commitment is also to help my family to love Gabriel, to
be patient with him, and to see past his challenges to his many positive attributes.
My Mission Statement is this: “To personally and practically love, accept, and
go forward in raising my son to his fullest potential with God’s help”.
As I do this, I know that Gabriel has the potential to teach us to look for the things in life that are truly important. May I be as good a student as he is a teacher.
Scott Hammond is a professional speaker, trainer, writer, and father of 9 kids. He lives in McKinleyville (Humboldt County), California, with his wonderful wife, Joni. Scott can be contacted at scott@BecomeaBetterFather.com or 707-616-7665.
10 Steps to Mastering Any Negotiation
More negotiations break down because of animosity between parties or objections about the situation, rather than differences over issues. Based on the book, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere … 8 keys to creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers … even kids” by Arnold Sanow and Sandra Strauss here are some tips that will help cultivate a positive environment for reaching agreements to keep negotiations on a productive and hopefully civil level.
- Help people define how people see the situation. Show them what’s in it for them and the value they’ll receive from your proposed solution.
- Demonstrate your desire to find acceptable solutions and that your intentions are honorable.
- Set the stage for success. Establish your interest up front for productive negotiations. Demonstrating goodwill minimizes defensiveness: “I know we’ll be able to reach a workable solution.” This creates a more relaxed atmosphere, puts people at ease, and minimizes stressful interactions
- Anticipate objections in advance, if possible, and formulate options
- Reflect shared values and areas of common interest. Use language that reflects their values and what’s important to them.
- If some change will be required, make it easier for them to accept by showing how the modifications will extend or expand their personal interests or self – image.
- Highlight undesirable outcomes or alternatives as a contrast to more viable options: “We could choose to do it that way, but then you wouldn’t be able to …
- Focus on mutual interests, not fixed positions. Stay flexible, focusing on reaching mutually acceptable agreements about what’s really at stake. For instance, is it about taking a particular training course at a busy time of year, or gaining important skills at a more convenient time? Is it about negotiating for an increased budget for your department, or about doing your best job for the company?
- If there’s any confusion about which option to choose, offer two choices to help generate a decision
- If an impasse is reached, restate your interests in a different way. Know in advance about your “walk-away” options — your bottom line
When you know what you want and learn more about what others want, work towards win-win solutions. Negotiate for what you want and be fair and reasonable with others too.
Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP is a speaker, seminar leader, facilitator and author of 5 books to include, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere … 8 keys to creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers … even kids”. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.arnoldsanow.com or 703-255-3133
The following is an outline of my award-winning Toastmasters International Speech Contest presentation.
It is an outline showing the process of what I work from as I develop a contest speech.
These are only highlight points and I color in the rest with the pertinent stories.
I Hope this might help someone developing a speech and or competing in a speaking contest…
Gabriel’s Story…THE UP SIDE OF DOWN SYNDROME
RING….and it all started with the ultrasound at Mad River Community Hospital. The ultrasound revealed the possibility of Down syndrome. Gabe had a 1 in 3 chance of having Down.
RING…That $1M question was ringing in our minds until Gabe’s birth…We knew little of Down or disabilities…
This is a true story of our beloved 7th son Gabriel. (TELL3)
Ring…My wife Joni SUPERWOMAN …
· 30 days in bed rest…Gave a birth…stress of her child’s state…Up all night..3am flight…up all the next day..
RING…Joni called…get a clue and get to Sacramento NOW! Mother and child were now recovering well.
The $1M question REMAINED did Gabe have Down?
Meeting with the doctor, she assured us that Gabe did have Down syndrome…Our marriage would be in Jeopardy and our family was in trouble… She was not very delicate… What nuggets to drop on a couple…WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED? DID I HEAR THAT RIGHT? THIS WAS MORE THAN I COULD BEAR!!
The proceeding questions, prayer, and walks around the UC Davis campus crying out to God will always be etched in my memory. How could he allow this to happen to us?
We simply did not have a road map for Gabe and wanted to be careful, successful, and help Gabe…WALKS,TEARS, PRAYER, THINKING, AND THEN…..RING…..I HAD IT!!
I decided to dedicate Gabriel (and our raising him) to the Lord, and trust that, although he might never be a football hero or a brain surgeon, his life would be both personally fulfilling and enriching to those around him. We were ready to move on and raise our son no matter!
We have learned to be honest with our feelings and with reality. Some of the lessons learned include:
1. There is no one-time fix. This is a long-term issue, challenge, battle, and journey requiring a long term mentality and approach.
2. A positive mental attitude and my positive confessions are not enough to get me through.
There is no “Bible bullet “or quick fix that is adequate to address my parental challenges.
3. Whereas Gabriel may have special needs of his intellect, there is none of the spirit. He is Really Special
4. Therapists are now part of our Extended Family forever
The lessons learned have to do with my deciding to have the right perspective, attitude, actions, and behaviors.
The decision to love unconditionally…
Gabe has taught us many lessons. RING…
1. To slow down. To love and live in the moment….be here now…TO ENJOY LIFE AND GABE.
2. To appreciate and celebrate accomplishments: Potty.
3. To be patient and to look outside the box and value all God has created.
I’m learning to choose to love freely regardless of the payback. I’m learning to value all people. I know that everyone has special needs. Some of us just hide them better!
My commitment as a father begins with loving my son and also to help my family to love Gabriel, to be patient with him, and to see past his challenges to his many positive attributes….and to love, accept, understand, and help Gabriel. He just needs a little extra help in life!!
Gabriel has the potential to teach us to look for the things in life that are truly important. May I be as good a student as he is a teacher. I’ll end with a story…
· 3 YEAR OLD…ALL BOY…HAVING A VERY BAD TIME
· NORMAL KID HAVING A TANTRUM
· PUBLIC HUMILIATION, ANNOYING, IRRITATING,
· GABE HAVING A SPECIAL NEEDS MOMENT….RING!!