“You have a superpower that you might not know about: the power to make another person glow,” reports Stephanie Harrison, happiness and well-being expert, in a study she conducted.
Her study finds that we underestimate how happy someone feels after recognition.
3 phrases that pack a positive punch
“You are making a difference.”
Don’t think, “That’s cheesy.”
Do ask yourself, “How can I encourage others in micro or macro ways?”
“Did you see how that team leader proudly walked out with a huge smile? You are making a difference.”
“The money you raised at our silent auction will help fund our museum awareness campaign. You are making a difference.”
“You inspire me.”
Ask yourself, “Who has inspired me lately?”
Harrison provides this helpful script:
“You inspire me …”
Then add the reason why: “… in the way you show up for your team…”
Finally, share the impact it has had: “… and it’s made me think about how I can be more collaborative.”
Barbara Franklin’s Art Show
“Barbara, you inspire me. You’ve embraced your passion as an artist and now you’re exhibiting at art shows. It makes me think about how I can continue to sharpen and share my passion for speaking.”
“Tell me more about that.”
Disclaimer: It’s one of my favorite phrases that I’ve blogged about before. Saying these words make you a better listener which makes you a better communicator.
Harrison adds, “Being listened to helps people feel safe, supported and acknowledged. One thing that’s guaranteed to make someone’s day: asking them to tell you more about their interests, feelings and experiences.”
To create space for others to open up Harrison suggests:
Find out what is important to them: “What do you do that’s meaningful to you?
Ask them to elaborate on their experience: “What did it feel like when you heard you’d won the deal?”
Invite them to go deeper: “Tell me more about how you interpreted that feedback.”
Emerging from the pandemic might create socially awkward moments. Use these phrases to ease your anxiety and increase your authentic conversational good will with others.
Harrison shows, “There’s a bonus in store for you: It doesn’t just make the other person glow; it ends up making you glow, too.”
The trailblazer of interviewing, who won 12 Emmy awards over a 5-decade career, teaches us 3 master lessons on how to leverage any conversation to your advantage.
“Barbara Walters’s superpower was fairness”, writes Matt Zoller Seitz (critic & writer for Vulture and New York). He continues, “Her subjects trusted her to give them as fair a shake as she could, even if she disapproved of what they did, said, or stood for.”
She exemplified an open mind and the ability to listen to the nuance of any situation.
“Barbara Walters, in my estimation, really has the quality of reaching through to the person,” Mike Wallace said. “She will put the person sufficiently at ease and it’s a remarkable gift.”
Looking at her interviews from every U.S. president and first lady from the Nixons to the Obamas to a wide range of celebrities and sports figures she creates rapport through her content and delivery.
They said yes to her when they wouldn’t say yes to anyone else because they liked the atmosphere Walters created onscreen.
Trust requires these three components working together: trust in yourself, trust in the process, and do your homework.
Walters nails this triad. And THEN she goes after the tough questions!
Excerpt from a Walters’ interview, “You’re a New York Times best-selling author, you’re an accomplished and celebrated concert pianist, and a three-time Academy Award–winning actor. Why the porn?’”
Ok – she also plays into the subject’s ego. She usually gave three compliments, and then went in for the kill.
Barbara Walters, who died recently at the age of 93, left a legacy about how to set the stage for a meaningful dialogue.
You’re about to celebrate the holiday season. That means you may be in conversation with your extended family for several days.
Potential landmines: You notice someone else (not you) is wearing a family heirloom you thought you were getting. You have a political divide at the table as deep as the turkey breast is dry. Your second cousin asks you for the fifth year why you aren’t married.
Your Speak For Yourself® Holiday Communication Playbook!
Know the score. You know I preach that you must know the background of your audience BEFORE you get on stage, or do your pitch, or have your strategy meeting. Why is Family Time any different? Figure out ahead of time what the tough subjects might be, who will be at the event(s), what’s the pulse of the group.
Don’t engage. That’s right. DON’T engage. Read #1. IF there are issues, and you cannot solve them, then don’t get involved. (I’ll try to adhere to this.)
Listen. Always a winner! In business and in your personal life, listen more than you talk. (I’ll try to adhere to this…) Information talks, and wisdom listens.
Ask questions. Going along with #3, the way you will strengthen your listening skills is to ask questions and really hear what your family members are saying. Let them do the talking.
Empower others. Even when you want to kill that second cousin for commenting once again on your marital status, can you find something nice to say about them? You like their watch. You think they did a good job on the pecan pie. You love their kid. Find something to compliment! This works. It’s only manipulative if you’re lying. So don’t lie. But still find something to praise about the other.
Drink scotch. Enough said. (But then don’t over do it & don’t drive.)
Remember your own strengths. Give yourself a break. My mom, of blessed memory, always said, “Karen, know who you are and where you come from”. Enter into these gatherings knowing your own good stuff. That positive self-awareness is the perfect antidote for snarky crazy stuff.
Even before the pandemic the emphasis has been on digital communication. During the pandemic you may have experienced minimal conversation especially in person.
Now you might be feeling the pain of resuming small talk back in the office.
Jim and I meet in-person with our financial advisor group after two years of periodic virtual meetings. I find myself saying, just seconds after sitting down, “Ok, what’s our plan? Do we need to review, reframe, revisit…?”
Tommy replies with a smile, “First… how are you? What’s going on with your work and family?”
Oh… that’s right … I forget the chatting part of our visit.
What is the value of small talk?
According to Fast Company, “From the polite chitchat among coworkers that eases the start of a stressful meeting to building powerful bridges at networking events, small talk has always been an important ‘social lubricator’ that builds trust and relationships across cultures—even more so for early-career professionals after graduation.”
Is small talk a waste of time?
You might say “yes”. Covid created a time warp. Namely – 30 minutes is the new hour. You’re busy, stressed and want results… now. You only have so much Attention Economy.
Small talk is not a waste of time.
Think about an interaction you’ve had with a barista. Smiling, making eye contact and exchanging a few sentences while ordering your Venti Chai has been found to boost happiness and feelings of belonging.
A quick chat with someone you barely know can uplift your mood or avert feelings of loneliness.
A few brief interactions help gauge the mood of a room and the tone of a discussion.
Professionally, small talk presents opportunities to get to know and hear your clients. You may learn something new about the customer that you can then use in later conversation, or one interaction may turn into someone signing a deal with your company.
Most of all … according to psychologist Susan Pinker, social interaction (including small talk) is the #1 secret to living a longer life.
So, how are you? What’s going on with your family and friends these days?
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.
About a decade ago my husband, Jimmy, said, “Sweetheart, I want to fulfill my dream of owning land in the country.”
What’s missing in that declaration?
This urban girl, aka moi, loves the city, especially “my” city – Dallas. It isn’t the most scenic or unique locale; but, I’ve got roots here. It’s in the center of the U.S. – it’s easy to travel anywhere. We’ve got good museums, good hospitals, and good food. And, yes, good shopping.
How did I end up on a ranch?
All relationships – whether professional or personal – survive or die on your ability to solve issues.
When it came to buying a ranch – we had an issue. He wanted it and I did not. In fact, I thought he was joking. We knew nothing about owning a ranch – he’s a dentist and I run a communication consulting company!
Problem solving suggestions
Listen: First I had to really listen to what he wanted.
Rearrange: Then I had to rearrange my perception of the situation. Did I want to live with an unhappy partner? NO. I then realized this was going to happen and I was either going to be part of the process, or NOT part of the process.
Compromise: Finally we compromised. We found a place close enough to Dallas so that we could be weekend ranchers, still having our urban lives.
Luck: And then there’s just plain luck. (Or maybe it’s a function of timing.) We found Star Ranch, a place we could afford from someone desperate to sell.
So, how did I end up with longhorns? I don’t even own a dog or cat.
The seller left them! We inherited 5 longhorns. We signed the papers, returned the next weekend to spend our first night at the ranch and NOW THERE WERE SIX COWS. We had our first baby! I didn’t even know the cow was female, let alone pregnant.
Here’s your trivia for the day: all longhorns have, well, long horns. Males and females.
The best thing I never wanted
Jimmy was so happy that I was happy that he said, “You name our longhorn baby.” “Ok,” I replied, “Her name is Bliss”. He responded, “You can’t name a cow Bliss. Maybe ‘Chuck’ or ‘Filet’ but not ‘Bliss'”. But we did. And, that’s exactly what this place has become: a place of bliss. A respite to clear your head and add more to your soul.
We solved our issue by listening, shifting, and compromising.
And that makes me lucky, grateful, and blissed out.