Kay white power up speak up- be heard

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Kay white power up speak up- be heard

  1. 1. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit Say What Needs To Be Said; Be Confident and Clear. It’s All About Being Heard. Power Up; Speak Up; Be Heard wayforwardsolutions.com
  2. 2. The author and publisher of the accompanying materials have used their best efforts in preparing this material. The author and publisher make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness or completeness of the contents of this material. The information contained in this material is strictly for educational purposes. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in this material, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. Every effort has been made to accurately represent this product and its potential. There is no guarantee, express or implied, that you will earn any money using the techniques and ideas in these materials. Examples in these materials are not to be interpreted as a promise or guarantee of earnings. Earnings potential is entirely dependent on the efforts and skills of the person applying all or part of the concepts, ideas and strategies contained in our course materials. Any case studies presented in our materials can be verified upon request. These are for illustrative purposes only and should not be interpreted as example of what consumers can generally expect from our course. Your level of success in attaining the results claimed in our materials depends on the time you devote to the programme, ideas and techniques mentioned; your finances, knowledge and various skills. Since these factors differ according to individuals, we cannot guarantee your success or income level. Nor are we responsible for your actions. The author and publisher disclaim any warranties (expressed or implied), merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. The author and publisher shall in no event be held liable to any party for any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of this material, which is provided ‘as is’ and without warranties. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying or transmission electronically to any computer, without the prior written consent of the author. The information contained in this document is proprietary to Way Forward Solutions Ltd and may not be used or disclosed except as expressly authorized, in writing, by Way Forward Solutions Ltd. Way Forward Solutions Ltd assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions that may appear in this publication. While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. Company names and product names mentioned in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies and are hereby acknowledged. Way Forward Solutions Ltd reserves the right to change this publication at any time, without notice. As always, the advice of a competent legal, tax, accounting or other professional should be sought. The author and publisher do not warrant the performance, effectiveness or applicability of any sites listed or linked to in this report. All links are for information purposes only and are not warranted for content, accuracy or any other implied or explicit purpose. Disclaimer & Copyright (The Legal Smallprint) The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 2
  3. 3. “If you’re making yourself understood, you’re always speaking well”. —moliere The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 3
  4. 4. About the Author. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 About your eBook. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1 Being Assertive: Staking Your Claim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2 Being Seen: Showing Up And Staying On The Radar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 3 Difficult Conversations: They Don’t Have To Be Difficult. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 4 Influencing Skills: Your Jedi Mastery…When Your Rubber Meets the Road. . . . . 69 5 Persuasive Language: The Difference Between “Yes” And “Whatever”. . . . . . 94 bonus resources Q is for Questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 One of the most powerful chapter’s from Kay’s # 1 best-selling book. Use these powerfully and you’ll never be stuck or lost for words again. Magical, Mystical, Masterful Mindgame. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Use this set of carefully-crafted questions, set out in a specific order, to guide you through decisions when you’re stuck. The layout, the exact wording will help unlock indecision and help you move from stuck to find your way forward. Contents The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 4
  5. 5. So who is Kay White? Known as the “Savvy and Influential Communication Expert” Kay is the author of the international number 1 bestseller The A to Z of Being Understood, contributing author to the bestselling books Smart Women Live Their Why and Turning Points. As Mentor to hundreds of ambitious professional women (and a few smart, savvy men) Kay is CEO of her own company, Way Forward Solutions Ltd. Living just outside London in the UK with her husband and their 3 rescue hounds, Kay works worldwide with clients, both in person and virtually. She offers 1 to 1 mentorships and popular group trainings— all focused on enabling her clients to Speak Up and Be Heard using savvy, influential communication secrets. Why does she do what she does? Kay’s passion is to help ambitious and often frustrated professionals get seen and heard and noticed (for the right reasons) and then position themselves with power and influence for the success they want and deserve—all by using subtle and instantly effective communication secrets. You can’t do it About Kay White The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 5
  6. 6. on your own—you always need other people’s help and input. You have to communicate what you want clearly and be heard so that other people take action, rather than tune you out or ignore you. You need to be heard. You can work your little tail off and still be overlooked, undervalued and it’s such a waste of your talent and a waste of your time. Well, enough already. People need to notice you for you to get ahead and be rewarded. That’s Kay’s mission. As she says herself “small changes in the way you communicate make a GIANT impact on the way you’re seen, heard and understood”. What happens for people once they’ve worked with Kay? Her work is often described as “Jedi” in that after working with Kay her clients get the promotion they were looking for, they earn more money and people who used to tune them out, suddenly sit up and listen to what they say. They also notice that it’s easy—all that Kay shares can be adapted to your own style. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 6
  7. 7. If you’re a business owner just as if you’re working in an organisation—you need to grab and keep people’s attention so you can get your work done and get the praise, recognition, and rewards you deserve. How does she work with people? Kay offers: • in-person workshops and trainings • popular Virtual Live Trainings and Teleclasses (Skype Livestream & telephone) • VIP one-to-one mentoring, in-person and virtually • Regular interviews on radio and TV shows and iTunes podcasts What’s Kay’s background? With over 20 years of corporate experience working in the City of London to Director level, Kay negotiated and marketed multi-million dollar insurance contracts working for the top international insurance broker, Willis. Always being able to express herself clearly and persuasively both in person and The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 7
  8. 8. in writing, Kay designed ‘blueprints’ for her team to design effective presentations, sales letters, and events. Working for 6 months in Paris as liaison between the two offices, Kay travelled on business and as a Director, Kay became the ‘Go To’ person to design, craft and present information to underwriters, clients and investors, in French and in English! When Kay was promoted to Divisional Director, interestingly she was told “oh, I thought you already were a Director”. What she learned in that moment is that the way you carry yourself, how you put yourself together and come across plays a huge part in how people perceive you. Kay now brings these distinctions to her clients too. As she herself says “People have to ‘see’ you in the role, ‘see’ you as capable and how you present yourself, really present you, is crucial to your success”. Married for 10 years, Kay and her husband live close enough to London for a bit of ‘bright lights, big City’ when they want it and far enough away for long countryside walks with their 3 rescue hounds. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 8
  9. 9. “Well done” and “good for you”. Learning how to get noticed, how to connect with people all day and everyday is one of the best investments you’ll ever make in yourself and in your business life. Knowing how to say what needs to be said, how to say it in a way that’s both assertive and still respectful is one of the BIGGEST challenges for people in both their careers, their businesses and—let’s be honest—in their day-to- day personal lives. It’s often why people are ignored and overlooked. Their intention is good, they have great things to share…they just don’t know how to express themselves so they’re heard. (Oh, and pssst—a savvy, secret aside to you—by grabbing this eBook and using the tools and tips in here, you’ll start to notice that they work just as well at home as they do at work! Children, partners, parents, friends, family. About Your eBook The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 9
  10. 10. My intention in designing this eBook for you is: • For it to be easy to use, each chapter being useful for you in and of itself. • It’s a place to start. By reading and absorbing these helpful, succinct chapters and using the tips and nuggets in each one, you’ll start to notice places to use these tips…everywhere! It’s a meal in and of itself but rather than a main menu, it’s a sample platter. Simple dishes served up for you in bite-sized chunks. • By dividing it into 5 key areas, you’ll always know where you are and there are exercises and “To Do” points for you in most chapters to get you into action. • There is also a “Notes” page for you at the end of each chapter for your scribbles and reminders. Stop struggling and banging your head against the wall and start to be heard—feel more comfortable, powerful and confident as you go about your business. Have your say. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 10
  11. 11. It’s time for you to take yourself off ‘mute’ and express yourself and power up your communication. I mean, if not now—when? Go and connect more comfortably with the people around you and get the praise and recognition for it you deserve. It’s time people noticed you for the right reasons. Warmly to you, The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 11
  12. 12. Assertive is a word worth defining. Many people confuse ‘being assertive’ with ‘being aggressive’ and there’s a huge difference and I want to put this out there for you before we go any further. Assertive is defined as “having or showing a confident and forceful personality”—other words close to ‘Assertive’ are: self-confident • bold • decisive • assured • self-assured • self-possessed • forthright • firm • emphatic • authoritative • strong-willed • forceful • insistent • determined • feisty I define it as knowing you have a natural right to have a say, to have a voice and—quite frankly—to not be pushed around or brushed off. Aggressive on the other hand: belligerent • bellicose • antagonistic • truculent • pugnacious • combative • two-fisted • violent • macho • confrontational • quarrelsome • argumentative You can tell the difference clearly now and it’s the difference that makes the difference in your ‘come from’, how you think about how you communicate. Go and be assertive, people will respect you and listen to you…they may not always like what you say but, hey, that’s being alive for you! 1 Being Assertive Staking Your Claim The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 12
  13. 13. How and Why It’s Good To Be Direct Do you go around the houses or beat about the bush? It’s important to be able to be direct. There are times when it’s crucial to be direct. There you are, I’m being direct with you. It’s got your attention, you know what I’m saying and it’s a key piece to being a clear, confident communicator. We’ll start with the ‘Why’ of being direct first. I’ll be direct with you. I promise—and before we start, being direct is very different from being rude. That’s the key. So many people struggle with saying what has to be said. They ‘beat about the bush’ as we say, chatting about everything else but what they actually want to say. We can feel they’re struggling, they can, and the longer it goes on the harder it is for them to say what has to be said. They put all sorts of waffle in and dilute the message…do you know what I mean (that’s a question and an example!) Expressions like “Well, without being funny” and “I know you might struggle with this but…” The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 13
  14. 14. If you think about it, more often than not, when someone’s direct with you, it’s actually a relief. You know and understand what they’re saying, you’re able to decide whether to take the information or their opinion on board and you can keep moving. I believe the struggle with being direct is two-fold. Firstly it stems from, ultimately, fear. It’s a primal fear of rejection at the root of being unable to be direct. Putting an opinion or instruction out and either hurting someone’s feelings or being seen to be ‘wrong’ is scary. The struggle is both about fear and it’s about thinking that you have to please everyone all the time. The trick is to be able to respect the other person’s position or point of view and still be able to put across yours. (Oh, and as we all know, we always fail if we try to please everyone. It’s impossible.) ‘This is going off-track. We have to get those expenses down otherwise all the budgets will be blown’. This two-sentence, direct opinion has given us everything we need to understand that something’s going wrong, there’s a direct action and the consequence is laid out for us if we leave things. We may not like the message, it may not be strictly true but at least we know what the other person’s thinking. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 14
  15. 15. You can imagine that these two, direct sentences could have gone like this and, in many meetings I’ve sat through, they have: ‘Well, we’ve got to be careful to understand how exactly the numbers are all adding up at the moment. We’ve said it before and it’s time to say it again. If we aren’t very strict with ourselves and what we’re spending then the whole project could be jeopardised and then we might all be at risk of being told the budgets have been blown and then who knows where we’ll be’. Phew, we got there. It was painful and ‘clunky’ or bumpy to get there and—if they held our attention to the end of it—the importance of the message has been severely diluted. Can you see in the second version, that as well as diluting the message, there’s also a real danger of both confusing and, crucially, boring your audience. Be it a listener, a reader, a crowd—your audience is the person or people you’re communicating with. You want their attention not for them to start tuning you out. Personally, I resent spending my precious time listening to or being made to read something that’s rambling, jumbled and woolly. My brain has enough vying for attention and so does yours. It’s a relief when someone tells you what’s what. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 15
  16. 16. Most people will love you for it. They actually want your opinion and they can then choose whether they take your opinion on, or not. Just as you can choose whether you take someone else’s opinion too. There’s a handy formula—and here it is for you—to make it easier (and more comfortable) for you to be direct. Your opinion + Your reason + Offer a solution.  That colour is a bit drab on you. (opinion) You look lovely in blue. (solution) It brings out the colour of your eyes (reason). This is going off-track. (opinion) We have to get those expenses down (solution) otherwise all the budgets will be blown. (reason) It’s less about the order you express yourself and more about having these 3 key components in there. Opinion + Reason + Solution = Usefully Direct. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 16
  17. 17. What to Say When All You Want To Say is “No, I can’t” Assert yourself (and stay positive and helpful) You can hear yourself, can’t you? You’re asked a question or someone’s asking you to do something and all you can hear in your head is “no I can’t” or “no, not another thing” or “no way mate!” It’s so natural to be answering the question directly as it’s being asked, instead of taking a second to re-position your response. It’s about saying what you can do, what you’re able to do, what’s possible without actually saying no. There are a myriad of ways to do this and too many to list here for you but it’s very much part of the secret sauce of being a more savvy communicator— being able to say “no” effectively without saying it. One of the ways you can immediately take and use, is the “What Can I Do” principle. Think about this scenario for a second—you’re at your desk, the phone rings and suddenly, as the phrase goes “someone’s urgency becomes your emergency”. Or does it have to? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 17
  18. 18. Of course it’s all about context and recognizing a true jump-to-it moment but a lot of the time the person making the request will be happy with you saying “Ok, of course I can get that to you and I’ll send it across by 4pm” for example. You’re acknowledging the request, you’re being helpful and you’re saying what you can do. You don’t have to list all the things you’re doing and all the “reasons” why you can’t do it, you just cut to the chase and say “Yes, of course, I’ll do that for you by XYZ o’clock”. They can always come back and tell you if that’s too long or too late but what you’ve told them by your first response is “yes, and I’m making space for your request a bit later”. So many people immediately say “oh, no—I’m right in the middle of XYZ and up to my eyes in things, I can’t possibly do that too” or “Oh, ok then” and drop what they’re in the middle of, what they’re already concentrating on, and rush off to attend to this request. Interestingly, it will take you even longer to complete your own piece of work because you’ve broken off and started something else. It takes at least 5 or 6 minutes to get your brain back in tune with something you’re concentrating on after you break off. That’s why constantly checking emails, always The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 18
  19. 19. answering your phone because it rings means that—as well as the physical distraction—the mental distraction makes it take even longer for you too. So, what will you decide to do, now? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 19
  20. 20. 7 Words To Raise Your Game How using assertive language raises your visibility There are so many ways to say something and every way means something different to your listener as you say it. Imagine you’re in a meeting and someone asks if anyone is able to take on a new project or put some figures together. You think to yourself, ‘I could probably do that’ but you may sit on that thought and say nothing and wait for someone else to offer or you may put yourself forward. The trick here is, if you do decide to step up and offer, it’s how you put yourself forward. To use assertive, positive language when you’re going about your business sends a message, very clearly, to those around you that you’re someone who gets on with things and who can be trusted to do things. A lot of people struggle with the difference between coming across as aggressive instead of assertive. Assertive is ‘self-confident, self-assured, firm’ and aggressive ‘hostile, belligerent, forceful’ and there’s a different energy about the two, of course there is. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 20
  21. 21. As a savvy communicator, you’re going to be far more effective if you come across as clear, firm and self-confident as you go about your business, rather than belligerent or, almost worse, wishy-washy using indecisive language. It casts doubt. You could offer to help on this new project in so many ways and depending on how you say it, your message lands differently: • ‘I suppose I could do it’—I suppose meaning I might be able to, if pushed. I could meaning I can, but I’m not saying I will. • ‘I might have some capacity to do it’—I might doesn’t mean to say I will • ‘I’ve got enough on my plate’—unhelpful, defensive • ‘I’ll try to do it’—I might be able to do it but I’m not really sure I’ll be able to • ‘Leave it with me. I’ll do it’—I’m able to do it and I will do it. We all know which one of those simple phrases gives the most reassurance, give the most credibility and which one you’d want to hear if you were asking for help. There’s a completely different energy about the last phrase—you can feel that the person saying it is capable and certain. Being more assertive as you respond positions you with other people as someone who’s confident of The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 21
  22. 22. their abilities, someone who can get things done, put forward for interesting projects, promotions, and then gets promoted or appointed with the business. Those 7 words ‘Leave it with me. I’ll do it’ will raise your game. Hedging your bets with wishy-washy expressions ‘might be able to’ will only dilute how powerful you sound and put doubt in other people’s minds about whether you will or won’t and whether you’re capable in the first place. When you put yourself forward to do things you become someone who offers time, help and input, and to make it most effective for you use assertive, positive language. Leave as little doubt in people’s minds as possible. I’ll leave that with you. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 22
  23. 23. Being Assertive Notes The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 23
  24. 24. Again, being seen, before we go any further—it’s worth defining what being seen is really about. It’s about coming up—and then staying on—people’s radar. It’s not about sitting back and waiting to be asked to do things, to be involved in things—it’s about coming forward and offering your input, your help, your services. So many people tell me that they feel like they’re waiting for permission…waiting to be asked. Well you might wait a very long time. You need to come forward, to push yourself forward, to be seen. You can do this in a way that feels comfortable and easy—never pushy—if you get into the mindset that it’s actually a disservice to hold yourself back and keep things to yourself. You’ve got value to add, ideas to share, input to offer—you could even say you’re being selfish keeping it to yourself! A client once told me on our first meeting together that he wanted to work with me on ‘being able to have more impact in meetings’. He said he felt as if he was invisible and that, by and large, he may as well be back at his desk for all the interest others showed to him. 2 Being Seen Showing Up on Their Radar The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 24
  25. 25. Hmm—I told him “we need to get more specific. You can have more impact in meetings by dropping your trousers!” Truly, I know I’m being cheeky here with you but (it got your attention!) and you can drop your trousers. You and I both know that what you really want is to be on the radar…to be valued, to be “a mover and shaker” rather than a “wallflower”. By understanding what ‘being seen’ or ‘having impact’ really means to you, then you can actually make your moves, do what you need to so that you get noticed in a way that makes sense to you. I describe ‘being seen’ as: • someone who is remembered, who’s ‘around’ • who’s on people’s minds when opportunities arise, • when people are wanting someone who takes part, someone who adds value • when they come to you for your opinion and advice…you give it freely, succinctly and confidently…you become the ‘go to’ person for certain things. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 25
  26. 26. For this to happen, I promise, you don’t have to act the clown. You do, however, have to come forward, you do have to help people remember you so you get noticed for the right reasons. What are you waiting for—permission to shine? Go and give yourself permission to shine. If not now, when? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 26
  27. 27. The 5 P’s to ‘Positioning’ and Owning Your Value Attract People, Business and Opportunity To You The word ‘positioning’ is one that we hear a lot and that, when push-comes- to-shove, few people really are able to define. I define ‘positioning’, in everyday language, as putting things in the right place for other people. In a place that’s useful for them and, at the same time, is useful and helpful for you. If you think about positioning a picture at home, for example, you’re placing it where it’s accessible and can be seen, it looks good in the light and yet it fits with the décor of the room. You think about the angles and you position it accordingly. Positioning your skills, what they do and your value, it’s the same principle. People need to understand what you’re going to be able to do for them, find a use for it in their world (not just in yours) and these 5 P words will make positioning yourself, your skills and your value easy for you: 1. Partner—your thinking comes from the angle of partnering with your client, your colleague, your boss. How you can help and support them The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 27
  28. 28. with what they’re trying to achieve. An easy question to ask to get this clear for yourself is ‘what’s your biggest challenge at the moment?’ You, as their partner, helping to solve or master this immediately positions you as someone on their side and not just someone ‘out to get ahead’. Using words like ‘we, together, our, your’ positions you in a partnership role and using their language, their abbreviations, their interests as examples, you become their partner. Subtle and simple. 2. Powers—from the word go, you’ve thought about your own particular skill set. Of course you have. What it is you do naturally and easily and you’ve asked other people about it—literally, that question. ‘What is it that I seem to do naturally and easily?’ and then you own those skills. They’re part of your power. Your ‘Jedi skills’ if you will. Once you’ve jotted down some of your natural skills you then make them super-powerful. Look at those skills and ask yourself ‘What do those skills do for other people?’ For example a skill is “I’m great with numbers”. Well, whoopy do. What does that do? Positioning that as valuable is being able to then say, for example “I can see angles where clients are losing money and help them stop it and save The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 28
  29. 29. thousands per month”. Same thing, good with numbers, huge difference in positioning the value. 3. Possible—if you’re positioning your skills, always come from the angle of what’s possible. Not, as so many people do, what’s impossible. “Well, I can do XYZ but I can’t do ABC” or “well I only learnt that recently so I can’t do it very well”. Of course you don’t over blow what you can do but what you do is really hone in and focus on what you can do and—if you’ve got gaps— focus on what you can do about them “and I can learn that” or “and we can immediately bring in someone to fix that”—always angling your nose to the ‘what’s possible’ with what you’re offering, what you’re able to do. Let people ask you questions, avoid laying it all out there with your fears about your gaps. You can fill them or find out how to. 4. Poise—that quiet, inner composure that gives people a sense of you without you ‘hosing them down’ with facts, compliments and information. It’s something we all strive for at times. When you’re seeking to attract business, clients, an employer—to make an impression, to be remembered and understood and to do it in a way that means you’re engaging too, is The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 29
  30. 30. to hold yourself upright, to offer a firm handshake, to smile and connect and, at the same time, know that if what you’re offering isn’t a fit in this instance, it will be somewhere else. That inner composure, inner resolve gives you poise. Just like in the dating game, the subtle dance isn’t about being proposed to on the first date, it’s more about a drink, a chat and then deciding if you both want to have dinner… 5. Present—listen and keep listening, bounce back what you’ve heard, question what you’ve heard in a curious way. Stay present. That voice—the one we all have—that’s saying things like “oh, what are you going to say now?” or “whoopee, I can fix that”—a powerful way you can quieten that voice is by repeating what the person is saying to you in your head. What you find is you have to stay present with them and as you do you’ll naturally find, when the gap’s there, you’re able to fit what you want to say about your own skills, thoughts, offer right in. Rather than racing off to ‘fix’, you stay in their world—so rather than ‘pick me, pick me’ it becomes more ‘hmm, I hear you, I think we could come up with something together. How about…’ The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 30
  31. 31. If you use that word ‘position’ as you prepare for your meetings, interviews, presentations you’ll always be more valuable and interesting than the ‘gung- ho’, seat-of-my-pants kind of person who goes in thinking all about what they want, what’s going on with them and ‘what’s in it for me?’ and tries to ram that home. Good luck! John Kotter, a Professor at Harvard Business School and prolific author, says it perfectly (another P word): “Great communicators have an appreciation for positioning. They understand the people they’re trying to reach and what they can and can’t hear. They send their message in through an open door rather than trying to push it through a wall”. That’s my position too; over to you for yours now. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 31
  32. 32. How to Manage Your Emails and Enjoy Your Holiday Too part 1 It’s often the last thing on your mind and the final thing you do (if you do it at all). The holiday time can be a frenetic build up to the last day in the office and suddenly it’s handover time. It’s really easy to either leave this important piece completely and ‘hope for the best’ or to do it in 30 seconds and think it’ll be good enough. The ‘important piece’ I’m referring to is this. How you decide (or if you decide) to manage your emails and inbox whilst you’re on holiday. You’ll notice I said ‘how you decide’ because it is a decision you make and it’s one that affects the quality of your holiday and the ease of your ‘re-entry’ after your holiday. If you’re travelling on business it’s different. Keeping in touch via your phone/remote email is easy enough now and a gap in timezones is usually manageable. There are still some steps you can take to make that easier and The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 32
  33. 33. these are steps which buy you a huge amount of credit from those who are emailing you. If I ask you “What happens when you’re on your holiday, spending time with friends and family and your emails just keep coming?” You’re most likely to tell me one of these three responses: • They just go into my inbox and just pile up until I return • I keep opening them and responding to them whilst I’m away • I go away and leave an email bounce-back for people Well, as a savvy and influential communicator, managing your profile, your clients, your energy whilst you’re ‘Out of the Office’ plays a big part in how effective the holiday time is for you and how connected—or disconnected— you feel towards your holiday companions whilst you’re away. Let’s think about the effects of making any one of these three decisions: “They just go into my inbox and just pile up until I return” The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 33
  34. 34. It’s great to leave the office and go and refresh and reboot yourself. The thing about just leaving your inbox and walking away is the effect it has on you whilst you’re away as you anticipate the return to “Inbox Full” or lots of repeat messages from people wondering if you got their original message. You can use a lot of energy even though you’re lying on a sun-bed or swimming in the sea as you wonder about things from a distance. “Just walk away” has great merits and it also has a price. Your clients, customers and colleagues wonder about your commitment to them and, if they experience you being away while leaving them ‘hanging’ until your return, it says a lot about how you are as a person to do business with. The essence of the thinking here is that other people follow your fortunes and are relying on you for information, action or input. Keeping them informed and updated buys you crucial credit from those people who may have to wait for something because you’re away. A simple, clear bounce-back solves this and tells the person you’ve thought about them and catered for them whilst you’re away. The trick is what that bounce-back says… The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 34
  35. 35. “I keep opening them and responding to them whilst I’m away” Whether you’re a business owner yourself or whether you work within a business, this is so easy to do and has as many benefits as it does drawbacks. Obvious Benefits: you keep your email box under control; you keep in touch; you tell people what they need and want from you; you stay in the loop; you return from holiday and you’re up-to-date, you can ‘hit the ground running’. Obvious Drawbacks: your mind and energy kept focusing on work-related ‘stuff’; your attention was divided a lot of the time between relaxing and responding to your emails; people around you got less of your down-time self; a lot of the time you could have been in the office as you notice less of your holiday surroundings; if anything, you got irritated with your surroundings as they distracted you. This is a tricky one to balance. Keeping in touch and then switching off. When you keep focusing on work and what’s going on with it, you drastically reduce the amount of energy you rebuild whilst you’re on holiday. We all know that changes of pace, of scenery and of thinking are the measure by which most The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 35
  36. 36. of us gauge our holiday. Why do you think it is so many people save up their reading from holiday to holiday? They crave that time and space to throw themselves into their books, hobbies, sandcastle-building…whatever it is. If you do decide to keep opening and responding to your emails whilst you’re away, put some structure in. Use that bounce-back and agree with yourself, your colleagues, your family how and when you’ll read your messages. The structure you put in will give you the freedom to enjoy the time out. Without it you can end up being ‘business as usual’. “I go away and leave an email bounce-back for people?” My response to clients here is always ‘great’ and then my next question is ‘tell me what your bounce-back says and what’s the point of it?’ I’ve seen some ‘corkers’ in my time—both received them from people and also been shown them by clients: • “I’m out of the office for 2 weeks”—no idea when you went, when you’re coming back, what I should do whilst you’re away… The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 36
  37. 37. • “I’m on holiday, please call Ann Smith if it’s urgent”—no idea for how long, no idea who Ann Smith is and no email or phone number for Ann Smith (whoever she is)… • “I’m away from the office until 1st July 2011, I’ll be in touch again then”—at least we know how long you’re away but what do we do in the meantime? You can get here that if you’re using the bounce-back, make it helpful, think about who will receive it and what you want them to think about you when they do! As far as what I would recommend—that’s your decision. Only you know what your holiday is for and about, what’s going on in your business and what the point is of reading your emails whilst you’re away. A combination of 1, 2 and 3 is powerful. I’ll set out some structure for you to slot your bounce-backs into in the next chapter, plus how to position what you decide to do about this with your holiday companions and work colleagues. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 37
  38. 38. How In Touch Should You Be On Your Holiday? Managing being “Out of the Office” and Your Inbox part 2 It’s the dilemma that’s so common now—when you’re “Out of the Office”, how “Out” of the office are you? Following on from Part 1 and the importance of putting some helpful structure to your email ‘out of office’ bounceback, a simple-to-follow formula of Acknowledge/Inform/Guide is useful and hits the spot. It’s also the safest bet to show your clients, customers and colleagues how professional, helpful and thoughtful you are. Depending on how you’ve decided to handle being away by doing one of the following: • Read your emails regularly whilst you’re away, twice per day for example • Have someone read them and then sort out the ones you need to read when you return or • Read them all but only when you return. You can just slot your information in and then lean into enjoying your holiday. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 38
  39. 39. Here are a few simple samples to slot your words into: Reading your emails regularly whilst you’re away • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X. • Inform: I will be reading and responding to my emails in the meantime and will do this twice per day.  • Guide: If your message is urgent and you need immediate assistance, please email John Smith, Title, who will help you. You can email him at — or call him on 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.  Someone reads them, sorting out the ones you need to read on your return • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 39
  40. 40. • Inform: My colleague, Jim Smith, Title will be accessing my emails during my absence and will make sure any which need immediate attention are handled.  • Guide: If you want to speak to Jim Smith or call him direct whilst I’m away, he can be contacted at —– or you can call him on 123 456 7890  Read them all but only when you return Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m out-of-the-office at the moment. Inform: I will return to the office again on August X and in the meantime I have no access to my emails Guide: If you require immediate assistance, please contact Jane Smith, Title, who will be happy to help you. You can email Jane: ——- or call her direct on: 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name. There’s always a balance to achieve and to weigh up how your emails impact on your time away is a decision you have to make yourself. There’s always a rub. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 40
  41. 41. If you decide to read them and respond to them whilst you’re away, agree you’ll read them and respond to them for a certain period of time, say an hour, every day at the same time. Plans can then be made around that and you can tell people when you’ll get back to them. Managing their and your holiday companions expectations too! Helping yourself by discussing this first with everyone makes it easy for them to understand and let you get on with it. Trying to do it between trips or between meals just becomes stressful. You may, or may not agree but this quote sums up the point here: “Time for work—yet take much holiday, for art’s and friendship’s sake”. George de Wilde Putting a bit of structure in place will set you free and anyway, everyone needs some down-time, some time to reboot, so lean into a successful holiday, a managed inbox and your art and friendships too. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 41
  42. 42. If I Were 5 Years Old, What’s Going On (and could you even tell me)? A quick question to get to the heart of what’s going on. This was one of a few key questions I asked a group of CEOs and senior directors I worked with recently as we focussed on communicating with influence. This question, as basic as it sounds, really helps people boil down what’s actually going on and separate it from the “stuff”. It’s one of the secrets of great communication—keeping things simple. It took quite a bit of head-scratching (and a few laughs too) to translate some of the expressions below into a 5 year old’s language. Confusion and unease—not to mention boredom—is often the main result of rambling on using a combination of too much detail AND corporate “gobbledeegook”. Listeners/readers tune out, switch off and often miss vital bits of information as it’s wrapped up in “blah” language—which actually confuses the person saying/writing it too! The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 42
  43. 43. We worked with the KISS principle—Keep It Simple and Straightforward. Leonardo de Vinci himself said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and it’s true. Anyone you think of as a great speaker or inspiring leader communicates in simple, clear, accessible language as much as possible. Translating the “blah” language when they can. Encouraging clients to use clearer and more “down-to-earth” language, as part of their day-to-day emails/presentations/meeting messages is just as important. This is one of the questions I often ask to get clients to the nub of what’s going on. You build it up from there but it gets you to the core of the message. If you don’t have a 5 year old in your life to use as a reference, remember you were a 5-year old yourself! We worked on the following expressions together and we came up with a variety of translations for a 5 year old to understand: • Key Performance Indicators (ways of being able to tell how you’re getting on) • Optimisation (making the best of things) • Strategic implementation (doing things we’ve said we will do in our plan) • Blue-sky thinking (having big, different ideas) The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 43
  44. 44. Once you’ve boiled the message down to this 5 year old sort of language you can then start building it up a bit BUT still keep the essence in there. The group all agreed that the corporate “lingo” is necessary at times—legal language, corporate messages that are already being used—but to use the “if I were 5, what’s going on?” or “if I were 5, what are we talking about?” with your colleagues, team—even clients is a really powerful question. Trust me. I asked this question to a recently-promoted Director when he was gradually going cross-eyed trying to explain the twists and turns in a story about his team. Along the lines of “the KPIs are all being missed because no-one’s interacting in a strategic way and we’re out of alignment because there’s unrest amongst the troops”. Crikey. “Excuse me, Uncle David, if I were 5 years old, what’s going on?” I actually said that. After looking at me with a combination of shock and bemusement, he had to sit for a while to be able to boil this down. I said “I don’t understand KPIs, strategy, corporate stuff Uncle David ’cos I’m only 5”. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 44
  45. 45. Finally, after quite a lot of head-scratching, we knew what was going on. He told me “some naughty people are playing some nasty games ‘cos they think we’re going to take their toys away”. Try this question. Try it on yourself if no-one else and, I dare you, Try it with your colleagues/team/clients You’ll help yourself AND your colleagues to get to the core of what’s going on, and you can start to understand together from the same place. If you need any more encouragement, try some from Albert Einstein “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 45
  46. 46. What Do You Want People to Say About You, When You’ve Left the Room? How to be confident and clear when talking about yourself and the sort of person you are. Working with a group of senior executives—all of whom were either re- applying for their posts or going for a promotion following a management restructure—this was a BIG question they were struggling with. It’s expected now, when being interviewed, for everything from college and University entrance to Board memberships to prepare a personal statement of some form or another. We have to get across the sort of person we are, the way we think and the things we know about ourselves. Rarely is it enough these days to list our “Responsibilities and Achievements” like a role call. Organisations from the solo-entrepreneur to the multi-national FTSE/Fortune companies want to know and understand more about you, how you tick and what you’re about. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 46
  47. 47. It’s a big part of getting your message across in an interview (even, if you think about it, on a date which is often an interview-with-dinner!) Ask yourself “when I leave the room after a meeting, what do I want the people still in the room to say about me?” Jot down your thoughts—at least 5 points. Then, if you really want to get clearer and more useful input for where you are at the moment, ask 5 other people. It’s good to ask people from different areas in your life—family, friends and of course colleagues, past and present. Pose them the question “when I leave the room, what do you think people say about me and the sort of person I am?” Clients often do this via email to make it easy. Tell your 5 people that it will really help you and then capture what they say and compare it with what you’ve said yourself. 5 things I guarantee you: • You’ll be surprised • You’ll learn something about yourself • You’ll have some different expressions/language to use The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 47
  48. 48. • You’ll tell the person you ask you value their opinion • You’ll be able to describe yourself more confidently and easily. Right, I’m leaving the room now. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 48
  49. 49. Being Seen Notes The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 49
  50. 50. When we hear the word ‘Difficult’ we automatically say to ourselves ‘uh oh, watch out’ and it slows us down. As a self-confessed WordNerd I really encourage you to get under, over, around some of the words you use, hear and react to every day. ‘Difficult’ is one of them and let’s translate it so you can Power Up and Be Heard when having conversations like this. ‘Difficult’ is described as: hard • strenuous • arduous • laborious • tough • onerous • burdensome • demanding • punishing • grueling • back-breaking • exhausting • tiring • fatiguing • wearisome • informal hellish • killing • archaic toilsome Instead of ‘Difficult’ I use the word ‘tricky’. Tricky has a different sense, a different energy about it…look at the Thesaurus and you can tell the difference. ‘Tricky’ is described as: awkward • problematic • delicate • ticklish • sensitive • embarrassing • touchy • risky • uncertain • precarious • touch-and-go • thorny • knotty • complex • complicated • informal sticky • hairy • dicey 3 Difficult Conversations They Don’t Have to Be Difficult The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 50
  51. 51. You can handle ‘tricky’ things far more creatively and with far more confidence because you immediately—just by using this word—encourage yourself to be sensitive, to think and plan, to unravel what might be complex. Tricky has a ‘canny, be savvy’ feel about it. Difficult conversations is the everyday way, the ‘management’ speak of handling tricky, sensitive, delicate conversations. They’re easier because now you have the energy and angle to approach them. Difficult = hard. It isn’t. With a bit of thought, it’s actually often really easy. What’s hard is avoiding tricky conversations. It just slows you down. You have to have tricky, ticklish, delicate conversations all the time—just power up and move through them. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 51
  52. 52. Discover The Power of This Secret Website Address How to easily tell someone what you really want to say­­— without upsetting them So often we either ask someone else—or say to ourselves –“How can I tell them that what they’re doing really needs to be better?” or “I wish I could tell them what I really want / think, without upsetting them”. Well, it’s easy to do just that and— like most things that may seem a bit tricky at first—it takes a bit of practice. Once you’ve tried it a few times and got great results; it becomes part of your toolkit. Assuming you have a range of tools in your toolkit? As I’ve heard said many times “if the only tool you have in your toolbox is a hammer, then you’re going to treat everything like a nail”. Communicating and connecting with people to get our work done, to have people take notice of us and to keep things moving, we need a range of tools—everything from a hammer sometimes, to a ruler, to a feather duster (and everything in between.) The tool I’m offering you to use is a ‘made up’ website address (so no point “Googling” it): www.ebi.ok? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 52
  53. 53. It’s simple to remember; easy to use; and as a way of giving feedback it’s both natural and easy-to-take on board. www.ebi.ok • www. = What Went Well • ebi. = Even Better If • ok = OK? Checking in. How does this work and why is it useful? Well try this scenario for size. Your colleague has just handed you an email they’ve drafted to send out to one of your clients. You read it and immediately you want to say “no, you’ve missed the point” or “it’s OK but you’ve left out the bit about XYZ”. Put your possible response through the www.ebi.ok tool instead: • www: “well, it reads well and you’ve got the main points we discussed in there,” • ebi: “and if you can bring out the part about XYZ then it’ll be spot on”. • ok: “Does that makes sense?” The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 53
  54. 54. Can you see, when you read it back, we’ve brought out what’s good about it first and we’ve checked in to make sure they’ve understood. We haven’t just gone headlong in to “point out” what’s wrong. It’s a very subtle and natural way to say “and even better if XYZ”—you’re saying it’s already good and then giving specific guidance to make it ‘even better’ (without diving in and trampling all over the other person’s feelings). That approach so often just closes the other person down—and what’s the point of doing that, if you want the other person to work with you and alongside you? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 54
  55. 55. How to Slow Down to Speed Things Up Save yourself time, money and energy now People often say “it’s as if time stood still”, well, even though we both know it doesn’t, you can make it slow down for you. I put it to you that you can slow down to speed things up. Yes, I know—it’s a dichotomy (I had to look it up—a polar opposite, a contrariety) to say you have to slow down to speed things up. Well, it’s true. So often we think we have to decide on the spot; say “yes” or “no” in the moment and know all the answers to all the questions we’re asked. Especially if we’re having a tricky conversation, where it’s so often the case that people feel they have to fly through and ‘get out’ as quickly as possible. Well, we actually make things harder for ourselves and harder on ourselves if we believe that to be true.  One thing I’ve learned is that we think faster than we think. It’s worth saying again to remind us both—“we think faster than we think”. Our brain processes the question; the decision; the issue in front of us quickly. What we do is The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 55
  56. 56. assume that we have to always be thinking on the spot and just because we’re asked a question we have to know the answer; respond straight away or act immediately. Well, we don’t. Even if we do know the answer, we don’t have to commit ourselves straight away. We can buy ourselves time and we can make the other person wait—even if it’s for just a few seconds. Clients say that one of the big struggles they have when they’re promoted or as they start up their own business and take on more responsibility is the feeling of fear of having to know all the answers; of “making the right decision on the spot”. Well, “hello”- firstly who does know all the answers? Secondly, who knows what the right decision is? Only time tells us that. We make decisions taking into account what’s going on at the time; the information, insight and instinct we have and then, we wait to find out how it pans out. It’s liberating—certainly it is for me—to know that you don’t have to know all the answers and you don’t have to do everything or decide everything “now”—even if it would suit others if you did. People waste huge amounts of time, money and energy—our three most precious resources—by rushing in to decisions; responding to emails in a The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 56
  57. 57. “shooting from the fingertip” mode; diving in to tricky conversations or situations and by being asked questions and—without a second’s thought - blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Clearing up or back-tracking from rushed decisions or responses just slows us down. Here’s just 3 of the many ways to slow things down to speed things up for yourself when you’re asked a question: 1. Repeat the question. Say it back to the person in a way that sounds thoughtful (it is) so you and your brain can process it. It also has the added bonus of making sure the person asking the question is actually asking what they want. (This is a great tip for interviews by the way) “Hmmm, what do I think about XYZ. Now that’s a good question. Well…” Can you see how you’ve bought yourself at least 5 seconds to slow down and think about what you’ll say—if you’ll say anything in fact. This is so easy it’s embarrassing and we don’t do it more! Well you will now, it buys you this precious time to think. 2. Ask the person asking what they think first. You can literally say “hmm, now just before I tell you what I think, I’m intrigued…what do you The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 57
  58. 58. think?” This is especially powerful for someone working or reporting to you—why not make them do the thinking first? What also happens here is that you’ve told them that you will tell them ie you’ve put their minds at rest but you want their thinking before you do. Another great one is “OK, let’s pretend I’m on holiday and this comes up…tell me what you’d do?” By asking this question, you’re telling them that you know they know they’d do something…you just want to know what it is. 3. Ask another question. It sounds so elementary doesn’t it? Rather than answer what you’ve been asked; ask a few more questions about the background to the question to get clearer and, again, to buy you and your brain a few more seconds before—and if—you decide to answer. So “OK, well before I answer that, just tell me a little bit more about that: or “hmm, let’s see—before I give you my thoughts, tell me a bit more about…” Now that’s something to think about, isn’t it? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 58
  59. 59. Are You Saying What You Mean (or just what they think you mean)? Try this revealing (and fun) exercise to show you how easy it is to confuse what we think we’re saying with what others actually hear. Sitting in a circle, everyone looked a bit apprehensively at each other and I could virtually hear them saying to themselves “oh here we go, I’m going to have to say something about myself and ‘share’ when I don’t want to etc”. You know the drill. The point of doing what we were about to do was to show why it’s so crucial to check in with your client/customer/colleague/spouse/friend to make sure what you think you’ve said means, (to them) what you actually said. I asked everyone to write the word “dog” on the top of a piece of paper and then to take 30 seconds to write as many words that sprang to mind when they heard the word dog! The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 59
  60. 60. Everyone partnered up to compare notes and, without exception, we all had many different takes on the word “dog”, ranging from “tooth check”, “hound- dog”, “scary”, “man’s best friend”, “commitment”, “furry”, “poo-bags”. Now if all those differing associations came from such a simple, everyday word just think of the room for confusion when people use jargon-y, overblown, words-for-words sake. These days, as we’re working around the world and in quick-fire style, on email/text/twitter etc it’s even more important to check what you mean to say is clear—“by that I mean” or “in other words” or “you could say” are useful little phrases to pop in. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 60
  61. 61. Why “Why?” Can Trip You Up…Tread Carefully Do you want to close the door before you’re ready? ‘Why’ is such a small and yet powerful word to notice, understand and be aware of as you use it. Really, why? Well, it does two things very quickly, immediately in fact. Two things you want to avoid. One, it sends people straight to the word “because” which is justifying their actions/decisions and Two, it closes down your information-gathering opportunity in the request for “the reason”. Let me explain. As Big Bird from Sesame Street tells us “Questions are a great way of finding things out” and questions are crucial to us digging deeper, connecting with people, understanding what’s going on. The trick about “why” is the effect it has on us and, more importantly, the effect it has on those we ask the question. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 61
  62. 62. When children are growing up (and yes, we probably did it too) it’s seen as quite cute when they ask “why?” and then you answer and then they ask “why?” again and again and, often again. As you answer them you’ll probably say “because” and “because” etc until eventually “because I say so!”. Day to day, we’re constantly asking questions (well I hope you are, based on Big Bird’s philosophy!) to find out what’s happening, what progress there is on things, how people are, where things are etc. Notice the difference in this situation. Imagine I was with you and asked you what you’re up to this weekend? You tell me “oh, I’m off shopping with friends and then on to the cinema” for example. Then I say “Oh, why are you going to the cinema?”. You’ll say, “because XYZ film’s out and I want to see it”. It’s an innocent enough question with, in this case, no further agenda. And yet, you’ve justified to me “why” you’re going to the cinema. Because…and then you’ve gone inside and thought about the reason you decided to go to the cinema. If I ask you the same question and when you tell me you’re off to the cinema with friends I say to you “aah, what are you going to see?” or “who are you The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 62
  63. 63. going with” are much less on-the-spot questions. They seek information not justification and when we justify ourselves we’re on the defensive, we’re explaining the reasons as opposed to giving information, however innocent the scenario. It’s also quite irritating to have to explain why—and here’s why. Because we have to take a position and the question implies some judgment behind it. Now this is the powerful bit. Take this scenario to the workplace, or to a home life discussion about something that has some emotion attached to it, “why did you do that?”, “why haven’t you done that?” “why are you going there?” and you’re immediately putting the other person on the back foot, defending their decision or their position. That’s the moment when you close the door on more information, often before you’re ready. It’s one of the many small words that make a BIG difference in our day-to-day conversations and directly affect the reactions and responses we get. Working with a Board of Directors recently discussing this very word, they all had an “aha” moment and something useful and simple to take and use straight away. The trick is we don’t know until we know, do we? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 63
  64. 64. Try it out with someone as an experiment and get his or her feedback from the experience. They’ll tell you why they prefer one question to the other, because you’ve asked for a bit more information as opposed to put them “on guard”. By the way, you’ll be able to read more about this in the Bonus Resource section. The chapter from my book “Q is for Questions” gives you the great questions to ask and which ones to use and when. ‘It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question’. —Decouvertes (the Romanian who became a famous French playwright) The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 64
  65. 65. Whose Glasses Are You Wearing? And Do They Suit You? “Oh, it’s so obvious, what you want to do is, blah blah”. “Well, what you should do is xyz”. We’ve all done it, said it and been told it, haven’t we? ”What you need to do is” or “What you should do is” etc. Well, in fact, what we should do most of the time is ask a question vs tell our friends/colleagues/family what it is they should do. Hmm—not always easy I know. Time is short and it seems quickest to just tell as opposed to ask but just think about when someone last said to you “now, it’s obvious, what you should do is xyz” and I bet you there was a part of you that was thinking “grrr, how do you know what I should do?” Imagine if you went to the Optician and explained that you’re finding it a strain to read close work these days or that you can’t see the bus even when it’s at the stop—bus, what bus? After listening to you for a couple of moments, the Optician says “aha, you should try these” and takes off their glasses and hands them to you saying “now then, these work a treat for me, really great. Use these and you’ll see much better. I know I do”. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 65
  66. 66. Steven Covey uses this example in his brilliant book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and in the chapter entitled “Seek First to Understand” he poses the question—Whose Glasses Are You Wearing? It’s good to question yourself before you decide if the advice you’re given, however well-meaning, fits for you—especially if the advice-giver is less than a great example of a success in this area themselves! Hmm, sound familiar? Good old questions generally help people so much more than dishing out advice ”tell me a bit more about that” or “what else have you noticed?” or “when did it start?” etc. This is also a nicer way of being in the world rather than being a Quick Fixer” or—even worse—an Out-Trumper ”well if you think you’ve got a problem, try this for size”—someone who tries to out-trump you with their problems! Crikey, no thank you. There’s always a rub, though. At a party recently, after asking a chap (who shall remain nameless but let’s just call him Hugh R Dull) a number of questions about himself and his connection to the host, his career etc—after about 20 minutes of centre-stage droning on about himself and telling me what I ‘should’ do, I finally asked him “so Hugh, what would you like know about The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 66
  67. 67. me?”—he was, momentarily, stumped. Result. Not for long however but long enough for me to say—“oh, and Hugh, is that the time? I must go and top up my glass”. The lesson here for us is, for us to be heard, we must think of a conversation a bit like a tennis match. Back and forth over the net. Not just like one of those tennis machines that fires balls at a player…there has to be interaction. If you find yourself trapped with a Hugh R Dull-type, when there’s a slight pause, say the word “So”—so is a natural ‘bridge’ to something else. It will tell the other person that you’re shifting gears. “So, I’m sure you’ll want to chat with other people here so I’ll leave you to it and it’s been great meeting you and now it’s time to meet other people too”. This is a truly easy, respectful and comfortable way of saying “I’ve been here long enough, I’m exiting now”. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 67
  68. 68. Difficult Conversations Notes The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 68
  69. 69. To be able to ‘influence’ things is to be able to have an effect, to make something happen—and the secret here is that more often than not, it’s making something happen without directly telling someone to do it. This is a big chunk of your eBook, the biggest in fact. When you understand and use your influence to get things done (as opposed to your force) it’s as if the sun comes out. This is where the ‘Jedi’ piece comes in. It’s almost magical. We all know that if someone tells “what you should do is…” or “do this and then do that” we feel a form of resistance. We all like to do things because we want to do them—not because someone else told us to. Again, to get behind the word ‘Influence’ is to understand that it means ‘the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself’. The capacity to have an effect. Hmmm—this is where the savvy part comes in. You don’t necessarily have to do anything or say anything specific, you just have to give other people what they need to either act—or stop—and they’ll 4 Influencing Skills Your Jedi Mastery… When Your Rubber Meets the Road The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 69
  70. 70. do it themselves—more easily, more quickly and, most importantly, because they want to. A lot of people come to me saying ‘I want to be more influential’—and just like the word ‘impact’—you have to understand the actual word, its energy, the ‘what are you doing when you’re being influential’ part. You’re having an effect. You’re making things happen and being part of things but you’re not always banging the drum and telling people. The first thing I encourage clients to do when we start working together is for them to read Influence: The Science of Persuasion by Dr Robert Cialdini. We then work together on precise ways to apply these principles in your language, your emails, your day-to-day conversations. As a Starter Kit eBook, here are the principles for you and the chapters following lay out a few examples of how these principles play out. Do buy Dr Cialdini’s book as well. It’s a game-changer. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 70
  71. 71. Dr Cialdini lays out clearly the 6 principles of influence which, once you really get them, you’ll notice everywhere. You’ll start to notice how you’re influenced by them and how you can start to use this way of thinking to get people into action and listen to you. To give you a flavour—and I do encourage you to grab the book and dive into it—Robert lays out these 6 key principles which inspire or ‘influence’ people to do—or not do—things. All the time. 1. Reciprocation 2. Consistency & Commitment 3. Liking 4. Authority 5. Social Proof 6. Scarcity Whilst I encourage you to grab a copy of the book, here are the long and short of the principles for you: The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 71
  72. 72. Reciprocation—when someone has either done something or given you something (time, attention, money…something physical) you are compelled to want to reciprocate in some way. You want to do the same for them, to help them in some way. The essence being that if you want someone to do something for you, do something for them first. Offer to help, first. Consistency & Commitment—people like to do what they say they’ll do. If you can get someone to commit to saying they’ll do something—you need to wait for them to say it. “So what will you do now?” then wait. More power and influence if they tell you what will happen than if you tell them what you think they’ll do. Liking—People are naturally drawn to people they like. We’re all more likely to help someone who we like or someone we know likes us. Who are you most likely to recommend to someone—someone you like of course, someone you respect or who you know likes you. The liking part also plays out in that we like people like us. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 72
  73. 73. People who are like us, who have things in common with us, they also influence us because we work out that they have similar circumstances and choice—they have children like us or they have dogs like we do or they work where we do, they drive the same car as us, they know people we like—well these all influence us in how we choose. Authority—We’re naturally influenced, drawn to, respectful of people in positions of authority. Now the authority may be that they’re seen as an expert in something, it may be that they wear a uniform and represent ‘authority’ eg a Policeman, Doctor, Judge or have a title such as Professor, Lord, Your Highness! We are naturally respectful and give them authority, a sense of “if they say it, it must be true” if you will. Authority can work in the celebrity world too—if, say, Madonna or Brad Pitt go to a place on holiday, wear a certain brand of something, exercise in a certain way—we assume that they can vouch for, recommend, this because they have so much choice and opportunity and ‘if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me’. Think how powerful that is for advertisers to know. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 73
  74. 74. We buy (or they’ll think we’ll buy) or do (or not do) because the ‘Authority’ person is recommending it. Social Proof—such a powerful principle. When you see or notice someone doing something, buying something, looking at something—especially if it’s more than one person, let alone a crowd—then you’re influenced to do the same. Look, buy, do, whatever. It’s the ‘power of the crowd’ effect. That’s why if we come around the corner and a group of people are looking up in the air, we will. “What do they know that I don’t?” “What am I missing that they know about?” It’s so powerful and it affects us every day. Scarcity—“This is the last principle for you”. “There aren’t any more after this one”. “Grab it while you can, we’re running out”. Can you get just how powerful limiters are? Limiters (or scarcity factors) are made up of either • time (last few days, last 24 hours, for one week only, today’s price) or • opportunity (last seat, only 2 spots remaining, the last ever time on tour, never at this price again) The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 74
  75. 75. You’ll see these signs and words everywhere. It’s one of the most used and time-tested ways to bring you to a decision. We’ll be influenced by these 6 principles today, tomorrow, forever. It’s OK, we just need to know about them. Then we get to choose whether we allow them to influence us—and how we influence other people with them. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 75
  76. 76. Are You “Should-ing” All Over Everyone? 3 Easy Ways for People to Take On Your Advice “Now, what you should do is…” “Well, it’s obvious, you should do this, then you should do that and then you should tell them you’ve done it”. Should do. What you should do and what you want to and actually do are often very different things entirely. Even if the advice we’ve been given is spot on, the fact that we’ve been told we ‘should’ do it is often the very reason we don’t. So if that’s the reaction we have, it’s the reaction that others will have when we ‘should’ all over them. There’s something innately irritating to be told we should be doing something. It implies—this is the subtle, savvy part to understand—it implies that we’re not doing something and that the other person is wiser that we are. It’s implicit that we’ve missed a trick and they haven’t. That they know better exactly what will work for us. Well, in reality, we know best—better than anyone—what works for us and as we all know, making a decision ourselves and then sticking to it is always more powerful than carrying out The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 76
  77. 77. other people’s advice or instructions. We own the outcome and, as such, are responsible for the result. (Or, in this case, response-able). Oneofthebigpiecesofbeinganinfluentialcommunicatorasyouworkisputting acrossyourideas,suggestions,oradviceandlettingtheotherpersondecidefor themselveshow,andif,itwillworkforthem.Itthenbecomestheirdecision,their action.Thisprincipleappliesjustaseffectively,ifnotmoreso,athomewithourfamilies andfriends—andofcourse,includingthosetrickiestofcustomers,yourchildren! So, how do you get across your idea, suggestion, advice without saying “what you should do is” or “I think you should…”? Here are 3 quick and easy ways which work, for you to try out: Start with “I’ve got an idea for you”—this way you’re putting out that it’s only an idea and it’s for you to contemplate and understand if and how it will work. By saying “I’ve got” you’re telling the other person “OK, I’m ready with something that I think you’ll want but it’s up to you what you do with it”. Say “Can I make a suggestion here?”—again, you’re putting across that you have something to offer and you want to get their buy-in before you The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 77
  78. 78. just throw it at them. 9 times out of 10, if you’ve read the situation and your relationship correctly, the other person will say “yes please”.  Think aloud—“hmmm, that’s tricky, now I wonder if…”—you can hear (and feel) that you’re firstly empathising that they have an issue or something tricky going on ie, they’re not an idiot—and saying “I wonder if” is a pensive, non- confrontational way of offering your thought or suggestion. As with all of the 3 ideas above, avoiding the ‘should’ word once you start with these phrases is crucial. Remember, by offering your thoughts in a less fixed way, you leave the other person open to taking on what you think but without your judgement (intentional or otherwise) behind it. So, can I make a suggestion here? Try these phrases on for size the next time you feel yourself about to say “well, you should” or “oh, it’s obvious, what you should do is…” You’ll notice the difference in how easily the other person/s take on what you think and if they ignore you then at least they know you contributed your thoughts. As is always the case—they have two choices. Take it. Or leave it. I bet they’ll take it more often than not, if you don’t ‘should’ on them. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 78
  79. 79. Do You Know How Valuable You Are? Owning the value of the difference you make. That expression ‘talk is cheap’ is a powerful one. The idea that words mean less than actions was the intention of this expression but in actual fact, talk can be expensive, it can be valuable, it can be discounted and it can also be cheap. It depends on the words you use and the value you attach to yourself, your subject and the value you attach to what you do, as you talk about it. It’s one of the big dilemmas people face when asking for a salary raise, telling a client the investment to work with you, going for a promotion, preparing for an interview. Understanding and owning their value. That word value: ‘the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance or preciousness of something’. How do you describe the ‘importance or preciousness’ of what you do when you’re discussing your role or what you actually do in your business? Do you talk about your day-to-day actions for example, how many people you contact, how many calls you make, how many emails you send? Or, do you The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 79
  80. 80. talk about the difference you make, the importance or preciousness of what you do and—crucially—what ‘what you do’ does? That’s where the magic is. That’s where the value is. It’s not about what you do—the value is found in the outcome, the result of what you do. OK, so here are a few quick and dirty examples of the difference between what you do and what it does—it’s easy to spot where the value is: • Do you “manage a team of 30 people in an energy company” or do you “lead a team of 30 people who save £/$ millions in wasted energy for our customers”? • Do you “make hundreds of calls a week trying to attract new customers” or do you “save our company £/$ thousands in marketing by speaking to potential customers and making sure they’re a fit for our business”? • Do you “make sure all our clients get updated information about what we do” or do you “build relationships with our clients which mean they keep doing business with us”? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 80
  81. 81. • Do you “own a consultancy business servicing the insurance industry” or do you “save the insurance industry £/$ hundreds of thousands by taking on their risk servicing needs”? • Do you “do all the admin needs of busy entrepreneurs” or do you “enable busy entrepreneurs to focus on the business of their businesses whilst I cover all their day-to-day admin needs”? And, it’s the difference that makes the difference if you’re promoting yourself, your business, your work—it’s about the value or worth attached to what you actually do. So let’s make sure we talk about it—talk is valuable. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 81
  82. 82. How to Get Your Emails Opened Grab them by the eyeballs! Which email would you rather open first ‘More Bad News’ or ‘Quick Update on XYZ for You’? What about ‘Tax Time Again’ or ‘Ways to Save You Money’? Which is more persuasive, more influential? You know of course. So do I. Emailing. It’s such a key piece in our day-to-day lives. We fire a quick email response off or “shoot from the fingertip” and it’s so easy to forget that we’re not top of the list for the person receiving it. They, like us, have loads of things clamouring for their attention. So how do we stay on their radar—how do we help them to help us by opening our messages and acting on them? First off, by grabbing them ‘by the eyeballs’ and making our email title interesting and compelling. ‘Quick question’ is a great one. If it is a quick question, say it is. Put it in the title. Another one is ‘You’ll know the answer to this one’. People love to know that you think they’ll know and, in general, we all like to help each other. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 82
  83. 83. ‘Just found this out’—if you have, say it in the title. New information is always interesting and if you have some, say so. ‘Only 2 days to go’—if there’s a time constraint or deadline you’re all working on, put it out there in the title. ‘An opportunity for you’—again, if it is, say so. You know yourself you’re more likely to open this one than if it was titled ‘Learning and Development Plans’. Blah. Working with clients on how to be more engaging, how to grab and keep attention, this is such a key piece. You may have the hottest news, the greatest opportunity, the most important instruction but if your email is scanned along with the hundreds of others and left until later—or never—then, so what? Some people don’t even put a title in the subject line and that’s close to asking to be ignored. So how do you decide on the title? By stopping for a second and considering what will compel or attract the person on the receiving end of your message. Consider what your reader wants or what they want to avoid. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 83
  84. 84. Email is an amazing tool, so useful, simple and helps us keep in touch, get information across the world in a second. It’s also a great way to really upset and confuse people. The language you use, the layout, the sign off, all these pieces are key to getting your message across in a way that works for you, that helps you to be understood and gets you the response or reaction you want. The first step is to get your email opened. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 84
  85. 85. How to—and How Not To—Connect and Compel As You Write Think about how you write. Think about how you think about other people as you write—if you think about other people as you write? It’s one of the easiest things to do—just quickly type or write what you ‘think’ needs to be said and give a ‘tip of your fingertip’ response and assume that the other person/s will work it out. Well they may—and they may also get confused, upset, hurt or just ignore your message. As successful business people, everyday we’re writing—emails / promotional material / website updates / reports / executive summaries / slides / letters. I’ve noticed something that really jumps out and it’s something you can easily take notice of as you write. People think that because they’re writing something it has to be written in a more formal, often ‘wooden’ style just because it’s in writing. Well it does—and it doesn’t. If you want to be persuasive, to get people to respond to you and your message, you need to ‘speak’ to the reader in your writing. It’s about getting inside their heads in fact. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 85
  86. 86. Context is everything—most of the things we send out day-to-day can be written in a style closer to how you speak. Now you may speak in a “To Whom It May Concern” and “Notwithstanding the aforementioned” kind-of way. Well good luck if you do. I also understand that we still need to be respectful and make sure all the ‘meaty’ information is in there. Most of the time, if you write letters, emails, website and marketing documents in this style then you’ve lost the reader at ‘Hello—or, if that’s your style, then you’ve lost them at “To Whom It May Concern”. Something happens when someone starts to write, that often sends them in to using ‘you are’ instead of ‘you’re” and ‘we’re’ becomes ‘we are’—it becomes more formal and less compelling because of it. Also, the crucial connecting words of you, your, our, suddenly turn into me, my, I, us and ‘we’. The readers feel excluded or talked-down-to or bored (or all three!) I put it to you, if you can hold a conversation, if you can get your point across as you speak, chat—then you can write in the same way, there’s a style you have that’s yours and that’s how you can write. It is far more compelling to your reader than all the ‘stuffy’ stuff. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 86
  87. 87. How can you do this easily? Here’s how: The great investor Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway is renowned (apart from his billions of dollars) for putting together Annual Reports for his company investors which are easy to read and easy to understand. As he says himself, there has to be a formal layout in certain sections but in the parts where he tells the reader about developments, he writes as if he’s speaking to his sisters. He says they’re intelligent but are no experts in finance or accounting—“I don’t need to be Shakespeare; I must, though, have a sincere desire to inform”. • Who can you use in your head to speak to as you write? A client you know well, a friend of yours who’s interested in what you do, your partner or sibling? Just write it out as if you were chatting to them so you get it out of your head, then you can tweak and adjust to make sure you’ve got your point across. The key is to get it out of your head in a conversational way first. • Think about what you’d want to read and the way you’d like to read it as if you were on the receiving end—what’s the difference? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 87
  88. 88. • Watch out for too many I, I, me, my—notice how you can flip them and make them your, you, you’re, our. It’s far more engaging to read and it helps you get into that crucial groove of thinking about the other person and what it is they want. Less about you, more about them. • Notice how you’re drawn in to certain people’s writing or companies’ websites and the effects they have on you; writing more like you speak and less like a competitor for the Formal Writing Trials, will mean more people read and connect with what you write and, the crucial bit, respond to you and what you write. Write on. RSVP, the French expression, Repondez s’il vous plait, meaning “Reply if you please”. Well, to get someone to respond is to get them engaged and to get them engaged is to speak to them about themselves. Remember, there’s WII FM, that radio station—What’s In it For Me? The wavelength everyone’s naturally tuned in to. Tune in to that and then write as you’d speak. Over and out! The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 88
  89. 89. What’s Your “Unfair” Advantage? (and do you even know about it, let alone, are you letting it help you?) Talking about turning lemons into lemonade, this was a great question asked by my American friend and colleague, Star Ladin, of www.starmarketingmedia. com. As a branding expert Star is always looking for, and thinking about, your special edge/gift/angle for your business and then how this links with you, your business and product. Working with people who want to be seen and heard at work, this is one of the first places I start with them—“what is it about you or what has happened in your life that you’ve struggled with?” The reason I ask this question is that it’s often exactly these sorts of things that actually make us who we are and— if we recognise them—become an “unfair” advantage to us. People want to know a bit about you, the personal side of you. You connect so much quicker if you’re prepared to share a bit and to have your ‘Unfair’ Advantage clear As soon as I read it Star’s question, I knew what my “unfair” advantage is. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 89
  90. 90. Being 6ft tall since I was 14. Growing up I was often teased and asked “what’s the weather like up there Lurch?” and “is there enough oxygen up there for you?” oh, and one of the best ones can still be “Ooooh, aren’t you tall?”—I’d often (and still do) say “oh, thank you for telling me, I hadn’t noticed!” In my teens, I used to get to parties and immediately take my shoes off saying my feet hurt. In reality, I wanted to be smaller, to blend in more. Now I recognise being tall means I’m noticed, I’m remembered and often when growing up, was assumed to be either older or wiser (or both!) than I was. My height gives me a natural presence, which, in business just as in life, helps. I had no choice; I was—and still am—6ft and the choice was always how I deal with it—what I make it mean to me. It could have been easy to have slouched, to have tried to hide it by wearing flat shoes all the time but actually, I really like being tall and wear high heels when I want to—oh, and I’m married to someone a fair bit shorter than me. So what? It’s all about your perception and how you perceive your “unfair” advantage. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 90
  91. 91. I’ve asked a few other people recently, just off the cuff, what they’ve struggled with and now could be their “unfair” advantage. They’ve all been able to tell me what theirs is. • One friend—“Being Scottish—I’m remembered, I’m different and people like my accent”. • Another—“My dyslexia’s made me be so much more creative”. • My husband, Snowy—“My dad dying when I was so young helped me know how to look after myself and appreciate how hard my Mum worked”. Think about your “unfair” advantage. What is it that’s shaped you and how do you allow it to positively influence your life? If it doesn’t, how could it? What could you make it mean? A great way to find out if you don’t instinctively know is to ask 3 different people who know you well. Literally ask them “what do you think is my unfair advantage” and just stop and listen to what they say. Often they’ll all come up with the same thing, my friends all did. Others often see—and appreciate— things in us, or about us, that we don’t. The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 91
  92. 92. When you become clearer about this, recognising if and how you allow it to be your “secret sauce” is a BIG part of communicating who—and how—you are, everywhere, you are. As we all know, how you put yourself across is a key part in how others respond to you and what you’re noticed/known and remembered for. Be prepared to be personal. It’s less about ‘moaning’ about what happened in the past and more about embracing the challenges you’ve faced and using the learning and strength you have to help you get your message across. It works. I know it does. So, just so you go and think about it—what’s your unfair advantage, your ‘secret sauce’ if you will, and where will you sprinkle it now? The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 92
  93. 93. Influencing Skills Notes The Savvy & Influential Communicator’s Starter Kit   © 2006–2011 Kay White | wayforwardsolutions.com 93

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