Do you know Alexa, the virtual AI assistant (small electronic hub that talks to you) bringing lightning-fast connection between you and the internet? The protocol for this type of interaction is simple – YOU have to speak AI language, articulating precisely what you want, then you get instant results.
“Alexa, what is the time?”
“Alexa, play relaxing music”
“Alexa, what is the weather forecast for London, tomorrow?”
Does this level of word precision sound familiar?
Reminds me of our NLP work where we look at structures of communication and learn to use precise communication to get precise results. That clears up misunderstanding when ‘meaning’ can get distorted, confusing the message.
So, what happens when someone doesn’t speak AI and tries to communicate on their terms …
Angry Ally got mad with Alexa who repeated “I’m sorry, I don’t understand that.” Ally blamed Alexa’s lousy programming for not delivering the result he wanted, and the AI was swiftly dispatched to the bin.
Nice Nanna’s attempts of asking “Alexa please, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like you to play X” left her feeling depressed and useless because the receiver got confused with all those words and zoned out. Even “please would you stop playing that now, Alexa” got no result.
Because AI speaks in code and signals, following a programme and there are no routes for making assumptions or ‘trying’ to deliver.
Smart Sam was curious about which verbal requests worked best and soon found the precise results he wanted. By adapting to the receiver’s programme, he soon got to discover more benefits of this new relationship. That put him in firmly in charge.
Unfortunately, Ally refused to adapt and remained in battle mode on a mission to prove he was right, while Nanna felt a failure by the thought that she was wrong. Both stuck to their own kind of music, both making their own misery by rubbishing another or pitying self.
You see, when the language of engagement is precise, look out for lightning-fast results. Learn how to tune in to the language codes of your friends and colleagues and make life smoother, easier, and happier. Wait – you did know that we all speak through different codes, didn’t you? Of course, you know your kind of language for sure, but there’s always room for improvement …
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!
September always feels to me like a fresh start, a throwback to new socks, shoes and pencil cases and a renewed enthusiasm for structure after the carefree summer holidays, do you know what I mean?
This September I found a renewed enthusiasm for social media and a decision to do less, yet be more precise, with a clearer purpose of why I want to be engaging with strangers. But that world is a mire! A maelstrom of emotions driving each platform’s algorithms! And an omnipresent pressure to be popular (school day thinking again) through dramas, chaos, and vanity posts. It’s got me wondering about the challenges to stay in integrity and post with clear purpose.
Purpose is a word I like to add to my daily life anyway and encourage my clients to do the same. Great questions soon habituate such as ‘what’s the purpose of that post’?
- You want to be liked and have lots of (virtual) friends?
- You like the feel-good sense of validation when people (often strangers) agree with you?
- You are focused on driving a sales funnel?
- You get to be that ‘popular’ person?
I ask my clients:
“Who are you trying to influence and why?”
“Who is trying to influence you, and why?”
I like making new connections through social media. The world is full of interesting people doing fascinating things, but I loathe the mindless blitz of inbox pitches that arrive seconds after each new connection, especially on the business platforms.
Mostly I ignore the inbox bombardment but earlier in the month I ‘actually’ responded to an unsolicited pitch. Why? Because that person and I had previously established a business rapport through another social group that clarified our respective interests which for me, co-created permission to attempt to influence each other on said topic.
But, being connected or ‘friends’ is not a free pass and I’m staggered by the number of ‘marketing experts’ who bombard by scattergun … thus selling themselves (to me at least) as a brand of little integrity. Worse still so many blanket offers don’t even fit my world, playing some law of averages in that game ‘you’ll do’ ….
Our social media personas define our brands, and whether we like it or not, we live in a marketing web. I’m looking for authenticity and integrity, are you?
In NLP for Business, John La Valle (President of the Society of NLP) calls out ‘earning the right to influence’ and that works for me – have I earned the right to try to influence this person/these people – are we on an agreeable wavelength? Are we in rapport?’
In our Work Well model, we coach Clarity of rational thought and conscious decisions that drive the rest of the brain (emotions and actions).
So, this month’s Clarity Tip is to contemplate this key question: What are you trying to convince the world of, and are you pushing on an open door?