Category Archives: How To Persuade

Stop shooting from the lip

How to zip-it and give yourself breathing space

This is a tricky one for so many of us. Wait. Pause. Think a bit. Choose if you’re going to act; to respond. To ‘Zip it’ is such a useful little phrase and it’s easy to remember.

It’s so easy to assume we have to respond, to fire back after receiving a message, a phone call, and an email and just respond – straight away. Either ‘shooting from the lip’ or, when writing, ‘shooting from the fingertip’.

So, instead of the flaming arrow you might send which can end up costing a lot of time and money in confusion and back-tracking, why not try a bit of ‘Masterful inactivity’, which is zipping it in action, or really in chosen and considered inaction. One of my clients named it that and it’s perfect as a mindset. Masterful inactivity in action.

There’s a difference you see. Ignoring things has no energy to it. It’s passive. Whereas ‘Masterful inactivity’, has some energy about it. It’s a decision to wait; to pause; to Zip-It; sometimes to just wait and see how things pan out before responding or acting. Other times just to breathe or to sleep on it. Other times to just let it be and let the other person go or certainly let their ‘vibe’ quieten down.

Instead of responding to those flaming-arrow types of email or urgently urgent phone calls, wait. We have to recognise an emergency and act on it, of course, but most of the time others’ urgencies don’t have to become our emergencies, do they?

Often the person sending the message will either chase you up or – more often than not – call you to follow up or apologise. They often sort out the thing that they pounced on you to do and, if they don’t, then you now have a choice. By waiting, pausing – even if it’s just for 5 minutes – you also give yourself time to breathe. Take time to consider and you often take the energy, frustration and heat out of your own response.

When someone says something to you and you feel the ‘arrrgghh’ of frustration rise up or, often worse, the sarcastic voice which is so easy to use for your response, instead of going with it, wait. Pause. Sometimes you don’t even have to comment and it’s often far more powerful if you don’t. You remember to breathe and you wait. It’s like letting the air go out of it!

If you decide in that moment that you will adopt a bit of ‘masterful inactivity’ then you’ve made a decision as opposed to reacted. Different. The other person will often be surprised by your silence. Also as their own heat dissipates, they may re-think their decision or opinion. You, on the other hand, decided to just park it for a while.

3 tips to take on and try

  1. Be on the lookout for opportunities to adopt masterful inactivity today. When you open an email, read it and then maybe put it into a file you create called ‘Masterful Inactivity’. You can then keep an easy eye on when and how you respond, and it’s easy to keep track of any you decide to file here.
  2. Decide if you’re going to respond to someone or something. Notice how you decide. Are you thinking things through? Are you reacting to someone else’s crisis or demand at the price of your own concentration, your own flow? You may just decide to zip it.
  3. Notice other people and how they react or respond. You’ll realise that a lot of people do zip it and watch, wait and see. Watch how they do it and, depending on how you feel, ask them about it.

Not a new idea I know but it’s one that works. Seneca, the Roman philosopher (5BC – 65AD) said “It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.”

Enough said.

 

Are You “Should-ing” All Over Everyone?

3 Easier Ways for People to Take On Your Advice

“Now, what you should do is…” “Well, it’s obvious, you should do this, then you should do that and then you should tell them you’ve done it”.

Should do. What you should do and what you want to and actually do are often very different things. Even if the advice we’ve been given is spot on, the fact that we’ve been told we ‘should’ do it is often the very reason we don’t. So if that’s the reaction we have, it’s the reaction that others will have when we ‘should’ all over them. Hmmm.

There’s something innately irritating to be told we should be doing something. It implies – this is the subtle, savvy part to understand – it implies that we’re not doing something and that the other person is wiser that we are. It’s implicit that we’ve missed a trick and they haven’t. That they know better exactly what will work for us. Well, in reality, we know best – better than anyone – what works for us and as we all know, making a decision ourselves and then sticking to it is always more powerful than carrying out other people’s advice. We own the outcome and, as such, are responsible for the result. (Or, in this case, response-able).

One of the big pieces of being an influential communicator as you work is to put across your ideas, suggestions, or advice (still need to do this!) and, at the same time, allow the other person to decide for themselves how, and if, it will work for them. It then becomes their decision, their action. This principle applies just as effectively, if not more so, at home with our families and friends – and those trickiest of customers, your children.

So, how do you get across your idea, suggestion, advice without saying “what you should do is” or “I think you should…”?

Here are 3 quick and easy ways which work, for you to try out:

  • Start with “I’ve got an idea for you..” – this way you’re putting out that it’s only an idea and it’s for you to contemplate and understand if and how it will work. By saying “I’ve got” you’re telling the other person “OK, I’m ready with something that I think you’ll want but it’s up to you what you do with it”.
  • Say “I’m going to make a suggestion here” – again, you’re putting across that you have something to offer and you want to get their buy-in before you just throw it at them. 9 times out of 10, if you’ve read the situation and your relationship correctly, the other person will be more open.
  • Think aloud – “hmmm, that’s tricky, now I wonder if…” – you can hear (and feel) that you’re firstly empathising that they have an issue or something tricky going on ie, they’re not an idiot – and saying “I wonder if” is a pensive, non-confrontational way of offering your thought or suggestion.

As with all of the 3 ideas above, avoiding the ‘should’ word once you start with these phrases is crucial. Remember, by offering your thoughts in a less fixed way, you leave the other person open to taking on what you think but without your judgement (intentional or otherwise) behind it.

So, I’m going to make a suggestion here. Try these phrases on for size the next time you feel yourself about to say “well, you should” or “oh, it’s obvious, what you should do is…” You’ll notice the difference in how easily the other person/s take on what you think and if they ignore you then at least they know you contributed your thoughts.

As I always say at dinner time to my husband, “There are two choices for dinner. Take it. Or leave it.” I bet, like he does, they’ll take it more often than not.

How To Get Your Message Across with a Story

A Simple Question to Ask Yourself

Think of any film you’ve seen that grabbed you. What about a TV series you follow, or a book you read and re-read or share? They’ll all have grabbed your attention and kept it with a story. The story that’s threaded and woven throughout any attention-grabbing book or film is what we remember, long after the titles and credits.

Stories have the power to move us and make us act. We all tell stories – to ourselves, to our friends and families and to our clients, customers and colleagues. That phrase “so what’s the story on that?” – we want to know the story. The facts are just that, basically a list of details or information. The story is what makes the difference, how the facts are all pulled together and the ‘meaning’. It sways people and is often the turning point as to if – and how – they take on and accept your message.

When you work with clients, customers or colleagues, or when you’re simply chatting with friends we’re always looking for stories to be able to use to convey a message.

Here’s a key question to ask yourself which helps pull out a story to use. ‘If you had to compare your message to something you’ve done in life, what’s it like?’ An analogy – ‘a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification’ is a great way to start to build a story. Always ask yourself “what’s this like?” and up will come the potential for your story.

3 quick examples for you:

  • A career – it’s like a journey – if you know where you’re going when you start out, it’s easier to get there. If you just set off in any-old-direction, who knows where you’ll end up?
  • Running a business – it’s like bringing up a child – it’s a creation of your very own and you invest passion and love, boundaries and rules into the relationship. You nurture it and want it to flourish and yet be independent of it sometimes too.
  • Preparing a presentation – it’s like putting on a show – a clear message and a purpose must be brought out quickly, the audience needs to be attracted to that message and know what’s in it for them and they want to be entertained by you.

Using stories to describe a message, to help people understand is one of the most time-tested ways of engaging others. The facts stick and become more powerful when they’re used in a story. If you think about the audience and what you know about them, then express yourself with the “it’s like when you….” using something you know they do or experience, then you’re always going to be more engaging, memorable and influential than the person who lists a load of facts.

Think how as children we loved being told stories, ‘read me a story’ ‘tell me a story please’ – if you have children they probably ask you that now and remembering being a child, you’ll have loved hearing, reading and learning stories. Why stop? In truth, if you think about it, we still love being told a story and so does everyone else too.

What’s your “unfair” advantage (and do you even know about it)?

Working with career women keen to raise their visibility and influence at work, this is one of the first places I start with them. “Let’s find your unfair advantage or your Secret Sauce” I say. I start with this question.

“What is it about you or what has happened in your life that you’ve struggled with?” The reason I ask this question is that it’s often exactly these sorts of things that actually make us who we are and – if we recognise them – become an “unfair” advantage to us.

When I asked myself question, I knew what my “unfair” advantage is.

Being 6ft tall since I was 14. Growing up I was often teased and asked “what’s the weather like up there Lurch?” and “is there enough oxygen up there for you?” oh, and one of the best ones can still be “Ooooh, aren’t you tall?” – I’d often (and still do) say “oh, thank you for telling me, I hadn’t noticed!” In my teens, I used to get to parties and immediately take my shoes off saying my feet hurt. In reality, I wanted to be smaller, to blend in more.

Now I recognise being tall means I’m noticed, I’m remembered and often when growing up, was assumed to be either older or wiser (or both) than I was. My height gives me a natural presence, which, in business just as in life, helps. I had no choice; I was – and still am – 6ft and the choice was always how I deal with it – what I make it mean to me.

It could have been easy to have slouched, to have tried to hide it by wearing flat shoes all the time but actually, I really like being tall and wear high heels as and when I want to – oh, and I’m married to someone a fair bit shorter than me. So what? It’s all about your perception and how you perceive your “unfair” advantage.

I’ve asked a few other people recently, just off the cuff, what they’ve struggled with and now could be their “unfair” advantage. They’ve all been able to tell me what theirs is.

  • One friend – “Being Scottish – I’m remembered, I’m different and people like my accent”.
  • Another – “My dyslexia’s made me be so much more creative”.
  • My husband, Snowy – “My dad dying when I was so young helped me know how to look after myself and appreciate how hard my Mum worked and the value of relationships”.

Think about your “unfair” advantage. What is it that’s shaped you and how do you allow it to positively influence your life? If it doesn’t, how could it? What could you make it mean?

A great way to find out if you don’t instinctively know is to ask 3 different people who know you well. Literally ask them “what do you think is my unfair advantage” and just stop and listen to what they say.

Often they’ll all come up with the same thing, my friends all did. Others often see – and appreciate – things in us, or about us, that we don’t.

When you become clearer about this, recognising if and how you allow it to be your “secret sauce” is a BIG part of communicating who – and how – you are, everywhere, you are.

As we all know, how you put yourself across is a key part in how others connect and respond to you and what you’re noticed/known and remembered for. Instead of hiding your secret sauce, celebrate it, embrace it, own it and work it in a way which works for you. It gives you unshakeable confidence in yourself because only you really know the path you’ve walked and the lessons you’ve learned. Only. You.

Zip It And Assertively Wait

Masterful Inactivity Isn’t Passive….it’s a choice

How to zip-it and give yourself breathing space. How to respond and how to avoid just reacting.

This is a tricky one for so many of us. Wait. Pause. Think a bit. Choose if you’re going to act; to respond. To ‘Zip it’ is such a useful little phrase and it’s easy to remember. It’s an active choice rather than a passive stance.

It’s so easy to assume we have to respond, to fire back after receiving a message, a phone call, and an email and just respond – straight away. Either ‘shooting from the lip’ or, when writing, ‘shooting from the fingertip’.

So, instead of the flaming arrow you might send which can end up costing a lot of time and money in confusion and back-tracking, why not try a bit of ‘Masterful Inactivity’, which is zipping it in action, or really in chosen and considered inaction. One of my clients named it that and it’s perfect as a mindset. Masterful inactivity in action.

There’s a difference you see. Ignoring things has no energy to it. It’s passive. Whereas ‘Masterful inactivity’, has some energy about it. It’s a decision to wait; to pause; to Zip-It; sometimes to just wait and see how things pan out before responding or acting. Other times just to breathe or to sleep on it. Other times to just let it be and let the other person go or certainly let their ‘vibe’ quieten down.

Instead of responding to those flaming-arrow types of email or urgently urgent phone calls, wait. We have to recognise an emergency and act on it, of course, but most of the time others’ urgencies don’t have to become our emergencies, do they?

Often the person sending the message will either chase you up or – more often than not – call you to follow up or apologise. They often sort out the thing that they pounced on you to do and, if they don’t, then you now have a choice. By waiting, pausing – even if it’s just for 5 minutes – you also give yourself time to breathe. Take time to consider and you often take the energy, frustration and heat out of your own response.

When someone says something to you and you feel the ‘arrrgghh’ of frustration rise up or, often worse, the sarcastic voice which is so easy to use for your response, instead of going with it, wait. Pause. Sometimes you don’t even have to comment and it’s often far more powerful if you don’t. You remember to breathe and you wait. It’s like letting the air go out of it!

If you decide in that moment that you will adopt a bit of ‘masterful inactivity’ then you’ve made a decision as opposed to reacted. Different. The other person will often be surprised by your silence. Also as their own heat dissipates, they may re-think their decision or opinion. You, on the other hand, decided to just park it for a while.

This works just as well in our social lives too. Think of all the opportunities you have to Zip it at home – especially at the heightened emotional, excitement of Christmas time.

3 tips to take on and try

  • Be on the lookout for opportunities to adopt masterful inactivity today. When you open an email, read it and then maybe put it into a file you create called ‘Masterful Inactivity’. You can then keep an easy eye on when and how you respond, and it’s easy to keep track of any you decide to file here.
  • Decide if you’re going to respond to someone or something. Notice how you decide. Are you thinking things through? Are you reacting to someone else’s crisis or demand at the price of your own concentration, your own flow? You may just decide to zip it. Stay quiet. Wait. Let go of having to always be involved.
  • Notice other people and how they react or respond. You’ll realise that a lot of people do zip it and watch, wait and see. Watch how they do it and, depending on how you feel, ask them about it.

Not a new idea I know but it’s one that works. Seneca, the Roman philosopher (5BC – 65AD) said “It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.” “It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.” Whilst the year-end break doesn’t necessarily imply silence, sometimes applying that 5 second response rule really makes for a merrier, more peaceful time. Always a blessing.

Enough said Amanda.

This article is extracted from my number 1 best-selling book ‘The A to Z of Being Understood. Z is for Zip-It.

Gratitude: 2 Small Words Change Everything

It’s such a small thing to say ‘thank you’ and these two small words cost you absolutely nothing and yet make a huge difference to if and how people remember you – and respond to you. Thanking people is often the difference that makes the difference as to whether people do what you want, get back to you, take on your opinion and it certainly affects the actual way they do what you ask them to.

To be noticed and remembered for the right reasons, we need to make people feel appreciated. An easy, effective and natural way to make people feel you appreciate them is simply to look for more ways to say ‘Thank You’ to them and to say it more. It’s so simple and it works in so many ways.

Once we start to look for how and where we can be more grateful, more appreciative of what people do and are doing, not just for us but around us, you’ll discover loads more opportunities to say ‘thank you’. And, interestingly, staying open and looking for ways to say ‘thank you’, to be grateful. Even if you don’t always like what’s happened, there’s always a lesson to learn.

  • ‘Thank you for your help’
  • ‘Thank you for letting me know’
  • ‘Thank you for thinking of me’
  • ‘Thanks in advance for doing that by Friday…’

Telling people you know they’ll do something and thanking them before they’ve done it, that’s where commitment and consistency, those powerful influencers, live.

‘Thank you’ also helps even if you don’t like what you’re being told. Try saying “ah, thanks for letting me know” or “hmm, thanks for telling me that, now what about etc.” If you say ‘thank you’ first, it means that the first thing you say isn’t negative and crucially, it buys you some precious time to decide what you do want to say.

Defined in the dictionary as ‘a polite expression used when acknowledging a gift, service or compliment or when accepting or refusing an offer’, saying ‘thank you’ for something you don’t want or don’t want to do is a really key piece in learning how to say ‘no’ without upsetting people. “Thank you for the opportunity and…”

There’s a great knock-on effect from saying ‘Thank You’ more of course. It makes you feel better too. It’s that whole ‘attitude of gratitude’ and it truly works. Simple.

So many people mutter to themselves ‘Well, they’re just doing their job’ ie why should I say ‘thank you?’ or tell me ‘I was so pleased with how they did that’ and yet when I ask the person ‘did you tell them you’re pleased?’ they invariably say the person was either doing what they were supposed to or they just assumed the person knew they were pleased. Uh oh.

A client told me recently that, as a service provider, when a customer phones her and says ‘thank you’ after she’s sorted things out for them, they immediately get better service from her next time they need her help.

As she then said ‘everyone likes to be appreciated, we’ve all got a lot going on’ and as William Arthur Ward, the famous American poet said ‘Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’

There you go, simple and easy.

Are You “Should-ing” All Over Everyone?

3 Easier Ways for People to Take On Your Advice

Now, what you should do is…” “Well, it’s obvious, you should do this, then you should do that and then you should tell them you’ve done it”.

Should do. What you should do and what you want to and actually do are often very different things. Even if the advice we’ve been given is spot on, the fact that we’ve been told we ‘should’ do it is often the very reason we don’t. So if that’s the reaction we have, it’s the reaction that others will have when we ‘should’ all over them. Hmmm.

There’s something innately irritating to be told we should be doing something. It implies – this is the subtle, savvy part to understand – it implies that we’re not doing something and that the other person is wiser that we are. It’s implicit that we’ve missed a trick and they haven’t. That they know better exactly what will work for us. Well, in reality, we know best – better than anyone – what works for us and as we all know, making a decision ourselves and then sticking to it is always more powerful than carrying out other people’s advice. We own the outcome and, as such, are responsible for the result. (Or, in this case, response-able).

One of the big pieces of being an influential communicator as you work is to put across your ideas, suggestions, or advice (still need to do this!) and, at the same time, allow the other person to decide for themselves how, and if, it will work for them. It then becomes their decision, their action. This principle applies just as effectively, if not more so, at home with our families and friends – and those trickiest of customers, your children.

So, how do you get across your idea, suggestion, advice without saying “what you should do is” or “I think you should…”?

Here are 3 quick and easy ways which work, for you to try out:

  • Start with “I’ve got an idea for you..” – this way you’re putting out that it’s only an idea and it’s for you to contemplate and understand if and how it will work. By saying “I’ve got” you’re telling the other person “OK, I’m ready with something that I think you’ll want but it’s up to you what you do with it”.

  • Say “I’m going to make a suggestion here” – again, you’re putting across that you have something to offer and you want to get their buy-in before you just throw it at them. 9 times out of 10, if you’ve read the situation and your relationship correctly, the other person will be more open.

  • Think aloud – “hmmm, that’s tricky, now I wonder if…” – you can hear (and feel) that you’re firstly empathising that they have an issue or something tricky going on ie, they’re not an idiot – and saying “I wonder if” is a pensive, non-confrontational way of offering your thought or suggestion.

As with all of the 3 ideas above, avoiding the ‘should’ word once you start with these phrases is crucial. Remember, by offering your thoughts in a less fixed way, you leave the other person open to taking on what you think but without your judgement (intentional or otherwise) behind it.

So, I’m going to make a suggestion here %$firstname$%. Try these phrases on for size the next time you feel yourself about to say “well, you should” or “oh, it’s obvious, what you should do is…” You’ll notice the difference in how easily the other person/s take on what you think and if they ignore you then at least they know you contributed your thoughts.

As I always say at dinner time to my husband, “There are two choices for dinner. Take it. Or leave it.” I bet, like he does, they’ll take it more often than not.

Take a Pause & Boost Your Presence

Less speed, more grace and ease

Do you barrel from one thing to another at work? Do you find yourself finishing one meeting or phone call and then jumping straight into or onto the next? How about when you arrive at a meeting, do you like to get there early, settle in, suss out the terrain as it were – or do you clatter in and often find you’re wishing you had a couple of minutes to just gather yourself?

Well, if you’ve said “Yup” to any or all of the above, firstly you’re not alone. This is the M.O. as my friend Norman used to call it (modus operandi – way of working – I had to look it up when he told me) of so many women. We think we can fit one more call in or just five more minutes of attention on something before jumping to the next thing.

What’s interesting too is that in our desire to be ‘on it’ and be seen as being busy and in need, if you will, we sacrifice our precious state of mind. Our state.

When you look up ‘State’ in this context in the dictionary it offers “the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time” and when your particular condition is just rush, rush, rush then we miss out on preparing ourselves for the best state of mind to be in for the situation.

If you build in extra time to just prepare your state, to think about what you want to have happen, what you want to say, avoid, include, decide as you move through your day you’ll find you won’t be operating on the back foot. You’ll be ‘at choice’ as I’ve heard it called.

The difference it makes to your energy as you consider how you want to show up, how you want people to perceive you can make the difference between you getting the response you want. Or not.

We both know we pick up on others’ energy. Their breathing, their pausing, their demeanour. Well, they pick up on ours of course. Women tell me they rush from one thing to another and say they’re conscious of their heels being heard clattering down the hallway or stairs. This gives the impression we’re on the back foot. Hurried. Late.

So, as an idea for you if any or all of the above has made you nod, here are a few things to do instead:

Take a breath when you put the phone down. Take just a moment – 30 seconds – to stare into space and consider what just happened. What was agreed. How was that person doing? What you noticed.

Dial in to conference lines 3 minutes before you need to be there. Be the one who’s ready to be ready rather than scrabbling around finding the dial-in details.

Even if you’re late, gather yourself in the lift or in the restrooms before. Just for a moment. Instead of running or bustling to where you’re going, try consciously striding with measured steps. It calms you down.

Choose your state. Tell yourself how you’ll be as you move to your next meeting, call or engagement. Instead of “I hope I’ll get what I want” or “I must make this happen” try to be more specific with yourself. “I’m calm, open and committed” for example. Instead of “I must speak up and be heard at some point” try “I’m prepared and adding value by contributing”. It tells your brain what state you want to be in.

Personal presence is one of those ethereal things. People feel your energy, your gaze, your breathing, your pace and all those ingredients come from your state.

What’s your most effective state to go about your business? If you want any further clues about the importance of planning for your state, here’s a few words from Tony Robbins, the super successful author, motivational speaker.

“Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, “Here is an opportunity for you to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.”

Do you show them what you’re made of?

Remember your brilliance so others can reward you for it.

If you’ve ever heard yourself say any of the following, it gives us a sign you’ve forgotten some of the things that you’re really good at or you’ve forgotten some of the key pieces of your career and life journey.

If you ever think these things and then you don’t speak, you’ll know you’re undervaluing yourself or being undervalued or underselling yourself.

  • “I want to be taken more seriously”
  • “I’m often treated like a secretary rather than a director”
  • “I end up undercutting myself – I give people a price for my services or the salary I want and then I undercut myself and backtrack or apologise”

Are you able to hear one or more things you’ve either said or thought in there? I can promise you I’ve heard these phrases so many times in different formats, in different ways and places. I know just like I’m sure you do, that it’s because that person saying those things doesn’t own or express the value, the importance, the difference that their work makes. So, by definition, other people don’t appreciate it, feel how they value it or how valuable it is. How they think about it is SO key. It also tells me that they don’t recognise it for themselves. And by definition, they don’t recognise or ‘market’ their worth. Aha.

Now, in general, we don’t like to think about marketing ourselves but, let’s be honest – you do need to be offering yourself and putting yourself forward in the workplace. Showing people what you’re about. So, try this.

If you want to think about it in a marketing sense, think about a four-bedroom house an estate agent is selling and one of the bedrooms is being used as a study. If you’re going to try sell the house, you have to turn that study-stylebedroom into a bedroom again because people will look at your house and value it as a three-bedroom house with a study rather than what it is that you’re truly offering which is a four-bedroom house.

They kind of know it on one level, but one of the bedrooms is a study and they’re not seeing it as a four-bedroom house. They have to see it. And an estate agent said to me, “Never underestimate how people need to be shown that fourth bedroom rather than have to imagine it or be told about it.”

It’s the same with you and me.

Never underestimate or assume people get how special and valuable what you do really is. They have to see it or experience it or have it shown to them. Clearly. Don’t assume they can see it for you. They rarely can.

Show them what you’re made of. Consider the impact of your work. Not your ‘To Do’ list.

You owe it to yourself. Why wouldn’t you maximise the opportunities which are so close sometimes you don’t see them? If you help others see your value, they help guide you towards the opportunities too.

My ex-colleague James saw my gifts more clearly than I did and guided me on to the path to where I am now. He asked if I’d heard of coaching back in 2005 when it was virtually unheard of here in the UK. He said I’d always been approachable, smart-thinking, curious and able to connect with people quickly. He guided me to take that first step to what I’m doing now. Pay attention to what people see for you. It’s often pure gold!

 

Gratitude: 2 Small Words Change Everything

It’s such a small thing to say ‘thank you’ and these two small words cost you absolutely nothing and yet make a huge difference to if and how people remember you – and respond to you. Thanking people is often the difference that makes the difference as to whether people do what you want, get back to you, take on your opinion and it certainly affects the actual way they do what you ask them to.

To be noticed and remembered for the right reasons, we need to make people feel appreciated. An easy, effective and natural way to make people feel you appreciate them is simply to look for more ways to say ‘Thank You’ to them and to say it more. It’s so simple and it works in so many ways.

Once we start to look for how and where we can be more grateful, more appreciative of what people do and are doing, not just for us but around us, you’ll discover loads more opportunities to say ‘thank you’.

  • ‘Thank you for your help’
  • ‘Thank you for letting me know’
  • ‘Thank you for thinking of me’
  • ‘Thanks in advance for doing that by Friday…’

Telling people you know they’ll do something and thanking them before they’ve done it, that’s where commitment and consistency, those powerful influencers, live.

‘Thank you’ also helps even if you don’t like what you’re being told. Try saying “ah, thanks for letting me know” or “hmm, thanks for telling me that, now what about etc.” If you say ‘thank you’ first, it means that the first thing you say isn’t negative and crucially, it buys you some precious time to decide what you do want to say.

Defined in the dictionary as ‘a polite expression used when acknowledging a gift, service or compliment or when accepting or refusing an offer’, saying ‘thank you’ for something you don’t want or don’t want to do is a really key piece in learning how to say ‘no’ without upsetting people. “Thank you for the opportunity and…”

There’s a great knock-on effect from saying ‘Thank You’ more of course. It makes you feel better too. It’s that whole ‘attitude of gratitude’ and it truly works. Simple.

So many people mutter to themselves ‘Well, they’re just doing their job’ ie why should I say ‘thank you?’ or tell me ‘I was so pleased with how they did that’ and yet when I ask the person ‘did you tell them you’re pleased?’ they invariably say the person was either doing what they were supposed to or they just assumed the person knew they were pleased. Uh oh.

A client told me recently that, as a service provider, when a customer phones her and says ‘thank you’ after she’s sorted things out for them, they immediately get better service from her next time they need her help.

As she then said ‘everyone likes to be appreciated, we’ve all got a lot going on’ and as William Arthur Ward, the famous American poet said ‘Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’

There you go, simple and easy.