Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Three Dialogs

Did you know that there are three dialogs flowing between us all the time? Whether you like it or not, the people you interact with are continually reading you on three levels? Wouldn't it be helpful to know what they are thinking? How can you improve the way you are being perceived by others?

At any given time, people are subconsciously asking three questions about you:

(1) WHAT are you about?
...or rather, what purpose and objectives are driving you?

(2) WHO are you?
...or rather, do I like you? ...and can I trust you?

(3) HOW are you doing it?
...or rather, is your style compatible with the way I like to do things?

Whatever we do, we put these three on public display all the time; 1) purpose, 2) trust and 3) style. Purpose, trust and style each communicate between the lines, but they say much more than the words we use. What does your purpose, trust and style communicate about you? Did you ever think about that? (You better ;-)

These three (subconscious) dialogs are not randomly listed. They are listed in order of relative importance.

WHAT are you about?
The first question people ask about you tells them something about your POSITION. It has the greatest bearing on your influential power. With a poor position everything else becomes equally less effective.

WHO are you?
The second question people ask about you tells them something about their RELATIONSHIP with you. It's how they feel about you. Feelings blur and diminish everything else. Words are a function of feelings.

HOW are you doing it?
The third question people ask about you tells them about your TACTICS. If you misbehave, and there are numerous ways to do so, you'll be judged by that same measure.

Did you think that words are important? Sure they are. They're just not as important as you probably thought. Next time you need to be persuasive, ask yourself: How much do clever words help to convince that other person? Then maybe you'll consider more important aspects of persuasion? By focusing on what really matters in communication, words receive less attention. We begin to focus on position, relationship and tactics, and then, ironically what happens is... words begin to have more meaning and effect.

p.s. On Thursday you can hear all about this at Ibsenhuset, when my book is formally published. See http://3E.no for more information.

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