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Finally, man felt frustrated, because he failed to understand point of lawyer’s questions, so he blurted, “You’re a lawyer. Ask me useful questions about my lousy marriage?”
So, lawyer asked, “Why do you want to divorce?” The man replied, “Because we can’t communicate!”
This story shows, in extreme fashion, that many conversations actually are two simultaneous monologues. To make a great impression, listen well using these tactics: Paraphrase or repeat ideas person said 1. Ask questions 2. Take notes
5th Technique: Artful Vagueness
Prospective clients, who wanted to use my consulting, told me their business problems. Using my expertise with similar problems, I gave my recommendation. They kept telling me they did not like my recommendation. But I knew my recommendation would solve their business problems. The more I said I was right and they were wrong, more they defended their viewpoint. Suddenly, I realized I did not make them feel comfortable enough. But, I could not agree with them, since they were wrong. So, I listened again to their ideas. Then I said, “I’ve listened carefully to how you want to do this project. That’s an idea.”
At same time, I thought to myself – but did not say it – “That’s a stupid idea.”
What did they think? They apparently interpreted “That’s an idea” as me agreeing with them, although I had not. Actually, anything anyone says is “an idea.” This technique is called artful vagueness. You can get out of uncomfortable jams using these artfully vague phrases: “That’s an idea.” “You’ve got a point.” “You may be right.”
6th Technique: Use Everyone’s Favorite Word Imagine a time you heard someone shout your name. I bet you spun around to see who called your name. We are drawn to people who say our names. My research comparing high-achievers and underachievers revealed high-achievers used name of person they spoke to one or more time in each conversation. In contrast, underachievers used name of person they encountered less than half time. This means high-achievers use name of people they talk with much more than underachievers. You can do what high-achievers do.
7th Technique: Compliments
While studying high-achievers and underachievers, I discovered an amazing difference. High-achievers gave an average of three compliments per day. However, underachievers seldom gave compliments. What an intriguing difference you can use to your advantage!
Some people say these seven charm school techniques are “selling out.” But, a French saying puts it in perspective: “A car can go as far on square wheels as it can go on round wheels. The difference is that on round wheels ride is much smoother.” Go through your life on round wheels!
© Copyright 2005 Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a conference speaker and consultant with The Mercer Group, Inc. in Barrington, Illinois. Dr. Mercer created the widely used “Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™” pre-employment tests, you can view at http://www.MercerSystems.com He authored 5 books, including “Hire the Best -- & Avoid the Rest™”. You can subscribe to Dr. Mercer’s free e-Newsletter at http://www.DrMercer.com You can call him at (847) 382-0690.