Have you ever found yourself saying to a colleague, something like ‘please read this report’ when what you really want to say is, ‘just read the (damn) report!’
You added the ‘please’ because you’re trying to find that balance between politeness and authority, but it still sounds like a request when you’d rather it was an instruction.
Adding the word please certainly keeps you in the polite zone, but it may not succinctly influence the receiver or truly enhance the effectiveness of your communication.
So how can you remain polite while sounding more authoritative?
Here are three quick wins for maximising face-to-face influence:
- Breathing from the diaphragm instantly makes you sound more confident by lower your vocal pitch.
- Ensure each message ends in a commanding downward inflection
- Use clear, illustrative gestures that mimic the request
Combine these to stack the odds of your influence, in your favour. And add this gem which quite literally has you minding your Ps and Qs by replacing ‘could you please read this report’ with ‘could you read this report (pause) thank you’.
By adding a ‘thank you’ at the end of that request, you’ve already got them thinking about having completed the polite request! Saying ‘thank you’ is a mind trick that suggests to the listening ear, completion is a certainty.
Top tip! It’s a playground out there, have fun experimenting with these skills for more effective communication!