Quote of the month: "Whether you think you can or think you canít,
you are right" Henry Ford
A Guide to People Skills
Briefings ideas that work
Whether youíre a manager or an employee, youíll find much practical interpersonal
communication advice in The
Complete Guide to People Skills, by Sue Bishop. Examples:
- Tell whomever is speaking to you what you want to hear by stressing
certain words you use to reply to their comments. Example: A
speaker says "I see advantages and disadvantages." In a questioning
tone, you say "Advantages and disadvantages?" If you stress "advantages",
youíre telling the speaker you want to hear more about benefits. Stressing
"disadvantages" means just the opposite. Stressing "and" signals you
want to hear about both.
- Soften "why" questions with a prefacing phrase. Example:
Instead of saying, "Why do you think it will fail?" say something such
as, "Thatís interesting. Why do you think it will fail?"
- Use voice inflection to question generalizations that speakers
usually preface with flag words such as "never," always" and every."
For example, a speaker says "Beth always turns her reports in
late." repeat the flag word to the speaker with a rising inflection:
- Learn to question "fat" words such as "good," which has many
meanings in different contexts, by asking "Good in what way, specifically?"
Also question "canít." When people say they "canít" do something, ask
them what would happen if they did do it. By doing so, you may help
them see things more clearly in a positive rather than a negative way.
- Find out if youíre dealing with a "past," "present" or "future"
person when selling your ideas. "Past" people are influenced by any
interaction theyíve had with you, so remind them of the good points
of your relationship. "Present" people treat every transaction as new
and judge it on its merit. So you must make your case as though itís
the first time youíve ever met, even if it isnít. Be ready to answer
lots of "What will happen if?..." questions from "future" people. They
thrive on forecasts and planned improvements and will want to know how
your proposal will affect things positively in the long run.
Complete Guide to People Skills, Sue Bishop, Gower Publishing Ltd.,
Gower House, Croft Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 3HR, England