Do you scare people off when you speak? | Show Up & Sparkle Blog

woman talking to crowd featuredHow to inspire instead of being scary

We have all heard someone start a conversation off with “well, the trouble is” or “what worries me is” haven’t we? Or what about the classic “now, our first problem here is” – talk about putting you on your back foot and priming you for ‘trouble ahead’!

Do you know what happens when we hear those sorts of phrases? Our brain immediately asks “uh oh – what’s wrong?” or “oh dear, I need to brace myself for a problem” and so we’re automatically on the look out – or indeed listening out – for a problem.

Ask yourself this. “Is it useful for me and for what I want to say to have people listening out for a problem?” No. We both know it’s actually counter-productive. When we start to scare people off or put them on the alert, we’re telling them that we’re thinking about something as a problem. They may not be. They may actually decide it’s an opportunity or have a spin on the subject that you haven’t thought of. Without meaning to or even realising it you can come across as a worrier or a ‘scaremonger’.

A much more effective and savvy way to draw someone’s attention to something tricky is to present it as a challenge or something to solve and to introduce it that way.
Here are a few quick examples for you to introduce the thing you are a bit concerned about or see as a problem but without labelling it as one at the outset:

  • Now, here’s something I know you’ll have some thoughts on…
  • What ideas do you have about …?
  • How are we going to avoid …?
  • This could be a bit tricky, how will we get around this…?
  • I’ve been thinking about this and know that you will be able to help…

By presenting the information in the form of a challenge or by presuming that the other person will have ideas about it or a solution you do three savvy things, straight away:

  1. You come across to the person as someone open to a challenge and always looking for the solution
  2. You prime the other person to be up for the challenge by presuming they will be able to help and posing them a helpful question rather than presenting them with a problem (What ideas do you have? How can we? What do we do about?)
  3. You avoid that whole scaremonger, doom and gloom way “what I’m afraid of is” and “the worst thing is” by actually planting the suggestion of obstructions or bumps in the road and scaring people off.

So, the next time you hear someone say “well, the trouble is”, presume that they really only need to flip it and think to yourself “well, the trick here is, how do we…?” and then off you go and lead the hunt for the solution.

Let’s make it your time to shine, in your own way. When would now be a better time to go for Promotion, Recognition and Rewards?

For more information and immediately helpful tips on how to connect and be valued and heard in business:

Here’s a helpful, immediate Gift for you. Q is for Questions – A downloadable PDF of a chapter from my # 1 best-selling book The A to Z of Being Understood.

Use the chapter to lead conversations, to be more compelling when you first meet someone and – crucially – connect with colleagues, clients, customers by the power of your confident questions.

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