With Christmas looming and the end of the business year in sight, a lot of us might be looking forward to or dreading the festive season and the starting up of another year.
I hope you are looking forward to a great holiday time and the chance to kick off 2017 with a powerful pack of positivity. However, if you aren’t so lucky maybe I can help.
A few years back I met an interesting Pom who now lives in Canada called Nicholas Boothman, who presented at a conference, which was based on his book How to Make Someone Love You Forever in 90 Minutes or Less.
After a 25-year career in fashion and advertising photography, Boothman switched careers and became a licensed practitioner of neurolinguistic programming (NLP).
Science types call NLP a pseudoscience and it looks like it, but it doesn't mean it’s wrong but it can’t prove that it’s right. That said, a lot of these observational ‘sciences’ often can give people struggling with life methods that are worth trying on the hope it helps turn a bad situation into a better one.
His first book was How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less and when I asked him why it takes 90 minutes to make someone love you, he simply said making someone love you is harder than making them like you!
Nicholas says science calculates that “55% of face-to-face communication comes from what you see, 38% comes from the tone of voice, and only 7% comes from the words you use.”
A Harvard study found students worked out whether they liked someone within two seconds and the results matched, nearly exactly, those of a class that had spent a semester with the same teachers!
When you like someone he argues you tend to see the best in them and vice versa. “If I like someone he’s enthusiastic but if I don’t like him he is overbearing. If I like someone she’s kind but if I don’t like her she’s weak.”
Boothman says we are constantly processing words we hear and things we see and we convert these into words for ourselves to help our understandings and for communicating with others, and all of this shapes our attitude.
It’s all wrapped up in our body language and your attitude determines how your message is received. If you are open, you breed trust and again vice versa.
Nicholas shared a story about the neighbouring property where he lives, which breeds beautiful horses. The nags are so attractive that buses stop so tourists can see and take shots of the horses.
Unfortunately the caring tourists try to feed the horses but invariably they give the wrong type of food. This resulted in vermin being attracted to the leftovers and so the owners put up a sign, which read: “Don’t feed the horses!”
However, to their surprise the food left behind actually increased. Flabbergasted, the owners turned to Nicholas to see why the sign did not work.
He suggested that people’s brains are well-wired for the word “don’t” and suggested the sign should read: “We only eat apples and carrots.”
The problem was solved!
This story underlined what we hear and what was said can be two different things and it shows us that if you want to influence someone – an employee, a child, a partner or even a potential lover – you need to become a professional communicator.
There are two sides to making someone love you. The first involves changing you and the other is about changing your target so they see you in a light that makes you irresistible.
Boothman has a three-step plan to changing you.
Step one: get ready and come to know who you are through honest self-assessment, and then to know what type of person is your matched opposite ie., the person who completes you.
Step two: the heart of the program, is working seriously on interpersonal skills on how to be charming, not alarming; flirt with confidence; synchronise body and voice to create trust and chemistry; keep enthusiasm high; even how to cast a wide social net and dress for a first meeting.
Step three: is about accelerating the kind of intimacy that leads to love, by finding “Me too!” triggers and mastering the art of incidental touch. His book shows you how to learn to tap into key emotions through low-, medium-, and high-risk disclosures and how to intensify the non-verbal signals that turn sparks into a flame. All the while you'll establish a solid romantic foundation to convert this magic 90 minutes into a lifetime of love and commitment.
Well, that’s what his blurbs all say. I’m not sure that his formula always works but I think the critical reason for me writing about this is to argue that if you want a win at anything, you need to get good advice, objective feedback and a game plan that increases the chances of turning unsuccessful behaviour into winning behaviour.
What annoys me about life is what you think is a perfectly sensible way of communicating with someone to get them to change their behavior often simply doesn't work!
Jack Zenger, the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership company, writing for Forbes asked the question: “Ever tried to change anyone’s behavior at work?”
He told us what we all know that “it can be extremely frustrating” because “so often the effort produces an opposite result: rupturing the relationship, diminishing job performance, or causing the person to dig in their heels”.
Zenger reviewed a dataset of 2852 direct reports of 559 leaders. This is what his analysis concluded: “Sorry, but nice guys finish last in the change game. It might be easier if all it took to bring about change was to have a warm, positive relationship with others. But that isn’t the case.”
Giving others incessant requests, suggestions, and advice also failed as a person-changing tactic being seen as akin to nagging!
The research found seven things work and here they are from least to most impactful.
1. Inspiring others is OK but pull works better than push. The former involves “working with the individual to set an aspirational goal, exploring alternative avenues to reach an objective, and seeking other’s ideas for the best methods to use going forward”.
2. Encouraging all employees to notice problems, but more importantly, be charged with the responsibility to be a problem solver. When you ask someone to take on such a role you are asking them to step up and it can be an important self-development incentive.
3. Getting a collective commitment to a common goal can have a significant impact on those who are loners or basically interested in themselves.
4. Creating a culture where sacred cows are challenged prepares a group to be open for change. “Leaders who excel at driving change will challenge even the rules that seem carved in stone,” Zenger insists.
5. Building trust in your judgment is critical to be able to initiate change in anyone. “This is both about actually improving your judgment, and improving others’ perceptions of it,” Zenger explains. “Good leaders make decisions carefully after collecting data from multiple sources and seeking opinions from those whom they know will have differing views. They recognise that asking others for advice is evidence of their confidence and strength, not a sign of weakness.”
6. Aristotle said, “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” If you can’t get out of your comfort zone, well how are you going to encourage someone else to do it?
7. As with most great ideas in life, they have to be acted upon because if they are not they will remain nothing more than great ideas.
Making change a top priority is critical and the most important determinant of your success in getting someone to change.
The bottom line is that leaders are the change agents who help their followers grow and become better employees and people. And what is the best example any leader can give someone, who the leader wants to change?
That’s simple. If change is to be for the positive it has to be all about self-improvement and the great leaders I have interviewed and analysed over 30 years have a common characteristic – they are totally committed to self-improvement.
As Gandhi told us: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I reckon if you are a leader deeply addicted to self-improvement you will have a queue of people lining up to love you. And the ones not on the line will either be already happily taken or people not worth loving!