Who’s Influencing Whom? And How?

Who’s Influencing Whom? And How?

I’m recovering from surgery. If all went according to plan, I have a couple of newly realigned vertebrae, with pins to keep them where they belong as they heal. Fortunately, I also have meds to keep me from crawling the walls while that healing happens. Spinal surgery is a little scary. It’s been four years since my last experience with post-surgical rehab and my observations about how easily we can catch each other’s moods, for better or worse. And emotional states are contagious You know how you’ll see someone yawn and right away yawn yourself? The same thing goes on with facial expressions, even quick, subtle ones. Postures, gestures, and tones of voice can have similar impact.

Don’t Talk to Strangers? Maybe We Should.

Don’t Talk to Strangers? Maybe We Should.

People assigned to talk with a stranger enjoy themselves more than those who keep themselves to themselves. Yes, even self-described introverts tended to have a better time than they would have predicted when they break the ice and start a conversation. When it comes to these ordinary interactions in our daily lives, in general, folks underestimate how much they’ll enjoy longer talks. They underestimate how much they’ll enjoy deeper exchanges. And they underestimate how much they’ll like the person they’re talking to. And get this. People even underestimated how positive a compliment would make the other person feel.

Your Work: Growing, Flowing, or …

Your Work: Growing, Flowing, or …

How do you think about your business or your career right now? Are you relaunching after a pandemic slowdown? Cultivating new leads? Building back better? If you were part of the Great Resignation, you might be looking for your next gig. Is it a job search? Or a hunt for the perfect position? Do you want to climb the corporate ladder? Or strike out on an entrepreneurial path of your own? Have you been on the fast track or stuck in neutral? The metaphors we use speak volumes about our attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. And they often have a big impact on the outcomes we achieve.

The People You Serve

The People You Serve

What problem do your clients or customers have?

If they’re like most of us, they have plenty of problems.

You likely solve one specific problem for them, though. What is that problem? The one that nags at them. The one they know they need to solve if they’re going to succeed. The one that practically begs for your expertise. Listening to business owners who are looking to launch or grow their companies lately, I’ve noticed how many of them struggle with “What problem do your customers have?” Their responses are surprisingly mushy, hesitant … they seem to be talking around the issue, feeling their way toward an acceptable answer. No wonder they’re running into roadblocks as they seek funding or other support … or clients. It’s hard to get a handle on what they do … and for whom. Much less on why anyone would want it.

Becoming More of Who You Are

Becoming More of Who You Are

Ever wish you could be a little bit different? Who doesn’t, right? “If only I had that skill.” “How come I can’t do that?“ “Too bad I don’t have the innate talent my colleague seems to have for …” well, for whatever they’re especially good at. A thousand times I’ve looked at someone who is well-organized, focused, and strategic—and fervently wished to be more like them. Sadly, those just aren’t my gifts. Except here’s the thing. It’s not really sad at all.

Put the Power of Three to Work for You

Put the Power of Three to Work for You

When was the last time you called to touch base with a friend for no reason at all? Or you sent a text with no mission in mind other than to let someone know you were thinking of them? Or you shot off a quick email, just to say hi? You might guess those random contacts would be unwelcome interruptions in their busy day. Who has time to respond to a quick hello, a remark about the weather, or a waving emoji? Turns out if that’s your assumption, you’re mistaken. (And I was right there with you.)

Remember Your First Work Friend?

Remember Your First Work Friend?

When was the last time you called to touch base with a friend for no reason at all? Or you sent a text with no mission in mind other than to let someone know you were thinking of them? Or you shot off a quick email, just to say hi? You might guess those random contacts would be unwelcome interruptions in their busy day. Who has time to respond to a quick hello, a remark about the weather, or a waving emoji? Turns out if that’s your assumption, you’re mistaken. (And I was right there with you.)

Go Ahead … Pick Up that Phone

Go Ahead … Pick Up that Phone

When was the last time you called to touch base with a friend for no reason at all? Or you sent a text with no mission in mind other than to let someone know you were thinking of them? Or you shot off a quick email, just to say hi? You might guess those random contacts would be unwelcome interruptions in their busy day. Who has time to respond to a quick hello, a remark about the weather, or a waving emoji? Turns out if that’s your assumption, you’re mistaken. (And I was right there with you.)

When Communication Caves In …

When Communication Caves In …

Communication breaks down. There’s so much free-floating irritation these days, so many reasons to be peeved—and even outraged. I know they say, “feel your feelings.” I’m just not sure those feelings are that good for any of us. So, I offer my experience with the alderman’s assistant as a sort of template. When a conversation gets heated, we can realize we don’t know what’s been going on in the other person’s world. Here are some useful things we can all do …

Two Big Take-Aways for You

Two Big Take-Aways for You

They call it “retail politics”—reach more people, talk directly with voters, interacting with supporters, skipping the filter of the media, social and otherwise. It’s going out of fashion in some quarters, but in local campaigns, you still see candidates attending small gatherings, greeting people at commuter stations and grocery stores, even ringing doorbells for a chat on the front porch. In our own businesses, not unlike in politics, we look for faster, easier ways to reach more people in less time. And yet. That direct contact with customers, prospects, and referral sources is so valuable. When we do it well …