He was “everyone’s favorite rumpled television detective”, writes historian David Fantle about Peter Falk, the star of the 1970’s series Columbo. Falk plays Lieutenant Columbo and the beauty of Columbo was watching how he unraveled the mysteries and crimes.
He asks insightful questions in a humble manner.
Relevance to you
A client said to me the other day, “Karen, I use the Columbo Method to negotiate, sell, and diffuse any situation.”
I commented, “I remember Peter Falk wearing his wrinkled raincoat in Columbo and always liked him.”
He said, “Exactly! He solved the crime, and got people to tell him everything. Even the bad guys trusted him… until they lost the game.”
My client explained, “Columbo got the job done by asking three strategic questions. And I use those same questions to diffuse anger, get agreement, get the sale, talk to my teenage daughter …whatever.”
Columbo’s 3 question method
1️⃣ What did you mean by that? (Allows the other person to further explain the situation) 2️⃣ How did you come to that conclusion? Or – What makes you think that way? (This allows you to really get inside the other person’s head) 3️⃣ Have you ever considered __________ Or – Another way to look at this is ___________ and you fill in this blank with your alternative solution.
Ask these 3 questions to get what you want. Good luck in solving your next crime or negotiating your next deal with your board, team or teenage kid.
Let’s say you face a crummy medical diagnosis. How do you decide on a medical doctor?
The way you make that decision utilizes the same steps you’d embrace to hire anyone that’s critical for your business. Vice versa – the same factors apply to anyone hiring you.
In a NYT article “A Doctor’s Guide to a Good Appointment”, Danielle Ofri, M.D. writes, “These days it’s easier to pick out a blender than a doctor.” There are far more online accurate comparisons for a kitchen appliance!
3 Tips to Choosing a Good Doctor
Dr. Ofri suggests using these tips to choose a good doctor:
A doctor who takes his or her time talking with you, as opposed to making you feel like you’re at a drive-through fast-food joint.
A doctor who engages his or her patients in decision-making, as opposed to simply rattling off a to-do list.
A doctor who you can get in touch with on the phone or through secure email.
3 Tips to Get Hired
Dr. Ofri’s tips apply to you – whether you pitch a product/service OR your business hires a new VP/partner/board member.
Take time and listen. Do you diminish others by not making them feel like the only one in the room? How often do you rush the conversation, monopolize the discourse, or make the other person feel like a Big Mac hamburger rolling along the conveyor belt?
Engage and Include. On a Top Ten List on how to motivate your team “getting paid” takes 4th place. Yes – your employees work to get paid to do their lives. But in our Great Resignation period of time (and beyond) employ Tip #1 and Tip #2: Engage. And include your teams in decision-making.
Be Approachable. I asked a new client during our pitch call, “What questions do you have?” He asked a few and then I said, there’s one more, “Does Karen disappear in-between meetings?” I answered my own question 😎 with, “You can always text, call or email if you have comments and questions.”
Just like with your favorite physician – you want to be known as a company that listens, engages, includes, and responds. Quid pro quo – to get hired follow these same principles.
Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and just bought a new blender.
Stop. Before you click ‘delete’ while thinking “enough” about the Royal Couple’s drama, read these actionable approaches used by The Venerable Interviewer about how you can conduct your own critical interviews and conversations.
Give it some time. Oprah’s almost 2-hours with Meghan and Harry “really showed the power of the long-format interview, which is almost totally gone from TV nowadays,” THR’s Alex Weprin commented.
Your current paradox – while your attention span has shrunk even more during the pandemic, crucial conversations take time. Tighter segmentation of your schedules could be a detriment to all concerned. Your challenge – prioritizing your schedule to allow for time elasticity around critical issues.
Go three-deep on questions. “Oprah best displayed her interviewing chops by relentlessly circling back to emotional or news making comments like a heat-seeking missile,” WaPo’s Margaret Sullivan wrote.
When you lead/facilitate discussions go three-deep, like Oprah did. Ask your first question, then follow up with another and then one more. Your net gain – deeper and more complex understanding. Example:
Q – Dentist asks, “How do you feel about doing this dental implant?”
A – “I have some concerns.”
Q – “What are your concerns?”
A – “The pain involved.”
Q – “Have you had some negative prior experiences with pain caused by dentistry?”
A – “Yes – vivid childhood memories …”
Follow-up questions make all the difference.
Provide a hook. Winfrey announced at the end of the broadcast that additional clips would air the following day at “CBS This Morning”. There’s more to come!
When you give a presentation give your audience a reason to want to continue to listen to you in the future. When you have crucial conversations, it’s not so much a hook… rather it’s an open door. You never know how you might want to revisit issues down the road. Either way, presentation or conversation, give yourself the option to provide next steps, give direction, create momentum.
Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 2 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, #AlbertEinstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.
i24 News, an Israeli international 24-hour news and current affairs television program, interviewed me last week about personal stories regarding Albert Einstein, a family cousin. This particular show airs in French.
Good news: We pre-discussed the questions she would ask.
Cautionary news: During the taping, the host of the show remained unseen on my zoom screen and I was unprepared for this! YOU will see Valerie Perez, the bright and upbeat host and me on the video; but, during the taping, the screen just showed a black box with the name of someone else in that box! Try spotting my initial confusion.
5 Tips to Ace a TV or any type of Interview:
1. Know the time limit. 2. Get the questions ahead of time (this is so helpful and especially so with language translations going on for each question). 3. Ask the host, ahead of the event, what would make this interview of great value to them – and do what they want! 4. Get there early whether it’s virtual or in-person. 5. Do your homework on their format and their audience.
1 Mistake NOT to Make:
Find out the exact production parameters. Ask these type of questions ahead of time!
Take aways for you: do your homework on what you will be asked, provide value for them, and figure out how their production team will film the taping.
You’ll enjoy this interview if you speak and understand French! But do click on it to find out how to ace an interview (watch the host) and mistakes not to make (watch me… especially at the start).
“Can you describe your favorite client?” asked a prospect who just hired my company to do some executive communication coaching.
We get questions from potential clients about these aspects of our business: the What, How and How Much. But I’ve never been asked this question before. I was stumped!
She continued, “We want to know what types of clients you love to work with. That way, we can strive to be that type of client as we work together with you.”
Makes total sense.
As you deal with your teams, current clients and potential new relationships, answer that question: “What makes for a favorite client?” Have your SVPs do this with their groups as well.
When you describe your favorite client you have a better chance of attracting just that type of business.
Back to the prospect that asked this question. I replied, “Great question. You’ve thought about this, so let me turn that around and ask you.” (Note: you can’t do this maneuver all the time but it does buy you a few moments to think about what YOU want to say.)
They said, “First, we love clients who pay us on time, of course. Beyond that, we want to work with people who are decisive. We value clients who respect our creative process ….”
I then shared some characteristics of a desired client who would work with either one of our Speak For Yourself® Associates or me. Email me and I’ll share my list.
Not a surprise, this prospect turned into one of my all-time favorite clients.