Category Archives: Syntax

Who Wins? Influencing for Mutual Benefit

It could have happened to anyone. I was on a rare visit to a mega shopping mall to exchange a Christmas gift. There in the middle of the shoppers, displays, and kiosks, I had a moment of uncertainty about where to find my destination.  Immediately I was approached by a young woman from a kiosk. She asked me a question and I didn’t catch what she was saying at first, so I turned to hear her.
 
By that time, we were discussing whether I knew about collagen and she was offering me free samples. Enough rapport had been created for me to come over to her booth and sit while she applied lotion to one side of my face!
 
Both she and her manager then exerted some fine influencing skills with the goal of making a sale. At first, it was a sale of several hundred dollars worth of products that would last me a year. The deal was actually not outrageous at all. By the time I left, I was being offered a $59 deal, due to my very good fortune of being there when the manager just happened to stop by.


I was on my way to a particular store with one errand in mind, and a desire to get home soon. The fact that I even considered the purchase is a testament to their selling skills.
 
Applying a SYNTAX Influence filter, I observe that they definitely know their goal. They also adjust it based on their assessment of the situation. We move from a full line of products to “which one do you like the best?” The attractive young woman built rapport, first enough to draw me in, then enough to discuss where she is from, my own family background, our ages and skin, and how wonderful the product is.
 
I accepted the offer of having the stuff put on me (though I would have been happier if they did both sides of my face!). They did their best to lead me to the next goal. I made the counteroffer that I would take their contact information and think about it. Because I was clear on my goals, I could engage with them and still decline their offer.
 
I laughed when someone else working for the same company approached me at the next corner. I told her I already had the product on one side of my face. She began to use several of the closing strategies they had used–how lucky I was that she could make an exception for me and give me the best price.
 
She didn’t have much hope of building the rapport this time, as I was no longer in a moment of unclear destination and I already knew the scoop. She did help me locate the store I wanted to find. I received the benefit I needed and was soon enough on my way home.
 
Was there anything they could have done to get me to their outcome? Maybe not. That’s the benefit of keeping my goals in mind.
 
Did they achieve part of their goal? Yes, I am attracted to their products and might actually plan to purchase one item from them in the future. I will have had time for my own decision strategy to work. I don’t usually decide on an unplanned purchase without sleeping on it. For sure, I know more about their product than I did before.
 
At another time or context, if I were less grounded, unclear on my goal or if I didn’t feel as free to decline the offer, the outcome might have been different. 
 
To be truly masterful in a relationship-based sale, they would have detected my decision strategy and worked with it; as it was, they were in a transactional sale where they either ring the cash register or they don’t. 
 
If they interact with enough people, I imagine they make enough sales to do well. Retail is tough, especially out in the mall corridor. I speculate that this particular group, from a culture where bargaining is much more direct than in most of the US, has much more freedom and range to use selling skills than, say, a midwestern US native. 
 
When we are influencing others, our flexibility is a big factor in who wins, i.e. whether we get the outcome we are after.  Short term, the most flexibility wins the day.  I believe that to be truly influential you have to take the other person’s outcome into account. In longer term relationships, nobody wins if both don’t win.
 
The best influencing skills are those that find a way for all parties’ needs to be met. If it weren’t for my moment of disorientation in the mall, I wouldn’t have engaged with the sellers in the first place.
 
When I choose to enter a conversation or negotiation, it is in part because of a desire for mutual benefit. 
 
My interaction with the skincare ladies was mutually beneficial – it went just as far as it served both of us. I had fun and I hope they did too!
 
 

How to (Almost) Read Minds: Teleseminar replay

How valuable would it be to know how to tailor your communication so it makes the most sense to the other person? 
To be persuasive to them?


How to (Almost) Read Minds
with Lucy Freedman
Join me for a 45-minute tour of your sphere of influence. Learn how to tune in to what is important to your customers, co-workers, anyone you want to influence to get things done. 


Email syntaxoffice@syntx.com for the link to the replay.

Being Influential

Do you have good ideas? Are you sometimes frustrated when they go nowhere? What do you do when you run up against resistance or just can’t seem to get a response?

For problems to get solved, for innovation to occur, for collaboration to grow out of conflict; new ideas and solutions are needed.
And yet, it may be difficult to dislodge the status quo or even get a hearing for a new idea. Organizational decision-making can be complex or unclear. A lack of confidence in yourself, your ideas, or your standing may hold you back.

Alternatively, when you do succeed in making a difference, you feel good, and valued, and that your work is worthwhile. Things may not be perfect where you work but they are moving in a good direction. Influence is a motivator.

Being influential is not merely a result of position power. Influence is a set of skills that can be learned and that need to be honed as you grow in your career. SYNTAX is the result of modeling and distilling the crucial ways of acting and being that create influence. It exists to help people with good ideas get them across and acted upon.

Take something that you would like to have happen in your workplace, an idea you would like considered, a solution you can offer. What are the first thoughts that come to mind? Here are the seeds of your own personal syntax, the kernel of how you organize for influence. Starting from there, SYNTAX helps you bring your contribution to others so that they can get on board, make decisions, and take action.

As a launch pad, answer these questions about your idea.

What do I want to happen?

What will that get me / you / us?

How will we know – what specific evidence will tell us – when this is done?

Outstanding influencers can answer these questions for themselves and for the people they want to reach. Knowing everyone’s intention, motivation, and evidence creates the needed focus for forward motion. This comes from Plan, one of the five SYNTAX skill sets.

When you can answer these three questions for any idea you want to bring forward, your influence is guaranteed to increase. Your ability to influence increases exponentially when you add in the other four skill sets. Your personal syntax becomes supercharged for influence.

We’re here to provide tools and guidance for you to create your unique roadmap with your own personal syntax as a starting point. That’s the purpose of the Messenger, and the purpose of SYNTAX courses, coaching, and consulting.
Join the influential people who have found out how much more of a difference they can make when they put SYNTAX to work for them. And today, enjoy the benefit of asking yourself “the three questions” for something you care about.

How to Break the Communication Barrier

Is there someone with whom you have built up a barrier to communication?

Perhaps you reached an impasse years ago and still work with this person. Perhaps you know what you want to say and do not feel you can say it, or maybe you are not clear at all. For whatever reason, there’s a wall between you.

It’s hard to talk with him or her, and it’s different from the many work relationships where you and others get along fine.

If you would prefer that the wall weren’t there, here are some steps to take.

First, what are your assumptions? We commonly assume that the correct solutions are obvious, the other person’s position is unchangeable, that they are not rational, and that we have no responsibility for the breakdown.

Recognizing and questioning those assumptions can open the door for dialogue.

The next important step is to be careful NOT to jump in and give a good explanation of where you are coming from. Invite a conversation and then listen.

Listening through what the other person has to say may be difficult. Listen without interrupting, and with empathy.

If you find you are not able to listen through, take time to reflect. Maybe take out a piece of paper and write out your thoughts. Speak with a friend or communication coach to sort out what’s in the way and to build the skill of listening well.

If you can do this, there are few barriers to communication that will stand.

Keeping Up Our Idealism

The first of the year inspires us to reach toward our hopes and dreams. Where will we be a year from now – what will be accomplished, what will have changed, how satisfied will we be that we have lived as we want to?

Idealism provides motivation. It is a great asset, a source of energy for day-to-day activities. Healthy idealists can let go and shift focus when outcomes differ from expectations, finding other ways to move forward.

A strategy I use to maintain idealism and motivation is to make little, ongoing choices that add up to better life balance. Our mindsets are held in place by our habits of thought and expression. When we consciously adjust our “syntax” we are applying our personal power to move toward our more idealistic worldview.

Today I caught myself writing an email reply that answered more than was asked. I didn’t need to volunteer more information. One word would do the job. Making similar choices this year will save me time and extraneous stress.
It was an adjustment in my personal “anticipate and solve every problem” syntax.

When my coaching clients try out a slight change and hear the difference, such as changing “but” to “and,” or practicing a gracious way to say no to a request, the positive results offer immediate reinforcement.

We can keep depositing credits into our “change the world”: account, sometimes with little noticeable effect, sometimes turning a whole negative situation into a positive one.

I’ll still set audacious goals and aim for new frontiers of improving communication on a larger scale. When I can see, hear, and feel results today, I am motivated to stay on course.

As you head toward your goals and ideals for 2011, what communication practices do you want to embed in your personal syntax? What specific action can you take today to move forward on that path?

What Can Communication Coaching Do For You?

Especially at work, what we communicate is who we are. As leaders and co-workers, we enhance or detract from the success of our enterprise with the communication competence we demonstrate. This is a skill set that has to grow to keep pace with complexity.
Working with a communication coach is a high-leverage way to accomplish several objectives at once:
-dedicating time and focus to this crucial area of your work life
-learning new skills tailored to your style and your goals
-and, perhaps most important, having an observer who can give you feedback and a place to test your thinking.

Many well-known C-level executives and other leaders rely on coaches, particularly to prepare for communication situations. If you want to reduce the stress and optimize your traction in communicating, it is likely that your HR folks or your department’s budget can provide funds for coaching.

No longer seen as remedial, communication coaching is fuel for career advancement and business success. For entrepreneurs, the return on investment is easy to measure through direct results.

Some criteria for selecting a communication coach:
– they make a clear contract for a number of sessions and / or a measurable outcome
– they do not have a conflicting relationship with you, i.e. they are not your boss or your best friend
– they are able to explain their approach, the communication models or assessments they use, and how this is applicable to your goals
-they will have an introductory conversation with you to determine best fit.

One of the criteria for choosing a coach is what you can learn from him or her. Coaches who are skilled with communication models help you put them into practice on a daily basis.

We all have blind spots, or simply preferences that don’t match up with those of co-workers or customers. Coaching can help prevent breakdowns or help us learn from them. An extra benefit is getting a reality check from a trusted advisor. Priceless.

We live in an amazingly complex world and an information-rich environment. The more intelligence you bring to it, the more you gain. Communication coaching helps you focus on what matters most to reach your goals. If you’re ready, let’s talk!

What is Syntax About and What’s On Our Website

Our Premise is that…

our ability to communicate effectively with one other is the most crucial priority in today’s global workplace.

By observing the behavior of successful individuals, teams, and organizations, we recognize habits and behavior patterns that constitute the SYNTAX, or structure, of success.
These are organized into five skill areas in a framework that serves as a common language, an organizational foundation for reaching goals and bridging differences.

The purpose of Syntax is to spread understanding and behavioral skill in the foundations of effective communication in efficient, easily learnable ways. To do this, we offer services and educational products to large and small enterprises and to facilitators, coaches, and consultants.

The sources on which Syntax is based include
Neurolinguistic Programming,
Fernando Flores’ work on conversations and action,
Transactional Analysis,
Appreciative Inquiry,
Human Performance Technology,
and over twenty years of introducing Syntax to professionals in organizations.

Many of our assumptions are explained and demonstrated throughout our website at www.syntx.com. Feel free to browse for yourself, and come back often to catch handy hints and good ideas.