The Bookend Process of Engagement
The Personal Power of Influence means to be influential in identifying our goals and achieving them, being able to influence others to support us in our goals, and to become a force of influence in the world in which we live.
Where we most get hung up is in being able to influence others. Let me share with you one technique that puts the wand of influence into your merry hands quickly and easily: Bookends.
When I think of bookends I could think about the lovely carved wooden ones that hold my leadership books, or the two stone link golden retrievers that keep my business books from battling it out, but what instantly comes to mind is the technique I share with my clients that lends itself to more effective communication.
Wouldn't you agree that it is hard to influence others without a tool bag of good communication skills? Think of bookends as your best all in one screwdriver.
When we start a conversation, we usually like to get to the heart of the matter. We make observations, share requests, give feedback or simply complain or whine. Sometimes you get what you want from the other person; on average, you get some compliance. If you took a moment to provide a bookend, both at the start and at the end of your conversation, you will greatly improve your ability to influence and engage the other person.
So what is a bookend and how do you use it?
A bookend is 17 seconds of positive regard. Psychological studies indicate that if you can engage with positive interaction for 17 seconds, the rest of your conversation, irregardless of subject matter will fly by easily. Start by book ending your conversation with something positive about the other person, commenting on their work, their fortitude, their presence, their dedication, whatever suits the situation. Then dig into your conversation (and do not start with a "BUT"). Once you have shared your request, observation or feedback, simply book end it again with another positive regard. This ending technique puts the bow on effective communication. "Joe, I am confident you can meet that deadline. It was great conversing with you; I always learn something when I am with you. I am glad that you are part of my team, I know we can get this done."
Try a bookend or two today, let me know how it goes!