I was talking to a neighbour this morning. Josh is a physical
therapist. Last week he took on a new client, a rock star – one of
the biggest names of the 1980`s.
Anyway, Josh has not been paid yet and after listening to the story
it became clear how he created that result. Yes, he created this
problem, it didn`t just happen. And there is a big lesson for all
of us in what happened.
1. Be Strong, Be Definite
When Josh scheduled the appointments he was indecisive and vague
about the price he was charging for his services. That rock star
aura must have confused him! This is how he set up the problem
which has now happened.
We all need to be strong and definite when it comes to both
personal and business dealings that involve key issues. If you are
getting your car fixed you need to be firm and persistent about
establishing the price and the work involved BEFORE you hand over
the car keys.
Whenever you are vague people will tend to do what they like.
You`ll be kept waiting, be ignored and often feel like a second
class citizen. Never fail to be definite and firm in expressing
what you want and what you expect from others.
2. Be Assertive, Be Gentle
Josh procrastinated and failed to set clear parameters about what
work he would do and how much charged and when he expected
payment. He was being a nice guy and left all the details take care
Unfortunately the details will not take care of themselves! We need
to be assertive and take charge when it comes to important matters
in our personal and business life. Waiting until later to discuss
these issues allows small problems to get out of hand until we
don`t know if we can even solve them.
I suggest asserting yourself in a gentle manner – smile, speak
clearly and softly, and, pause for effect. Listen carefully to the other
person and remain calm and centred. The way of gentleness is the
way of power! If you stay calm and speak gently yet firmly it is very
difficult for others to push you around.
3. Be Clear About Your Intentions
Josh had been watching videos of this rock star on YouTube. He
showed me some of the videos. Understandably he was excited about
meeting this guy let alone taking him on as a client. However this
left him confused when it came to charging for his work. Maybe
having someone famous as a client was good enough.
In important discussions at home or at work we need to be crystal
clear about what we want to achieve. We must then stay focused and
keep the conversation on track regardless of distractions or
efforts by other people to change the topic of conversation.
Let`s say you are running out of time to schedule vacation time and
a trip overseas. Hold in mind your ultimate goal. The goal for the
conversation could be to mark off mutually agreed dates on the
kitchen calendar. Now, that is a highly specific goal that you can
aim for and achieve.
Avoid Getting Sidetracked
What often happens though is we get side tracked and end up talking
about vacation destinations, travel sites and insurance options.
Before you know it you`ve had a lively chat but no agreement on
Be very clear about your intentions for important discussions and
you`ll see how quickly you can wrap up all that needs to be said.
Clarity is essential. This focus gives you a definiteness of
purpose that gives your words more power and authority. This in
turn causes people to pay much more attention to you and so it is
much easier to get agreement and finalise plans.
Whether you deal with rock stars or not, these three points are the
key to talking in way that causes people to take you seriously when
you need to be heard, when you need to say what needs to be said
and get people to respond.