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Vitaly Golyakov presents Powerphrases! by Meryl Runion

December 17, 2014

Vitaly Golyakov collection
POWERPHRASES!
The Perfect Words to Say It Right
and
Get the Results You Want
Meryl Runion
Power Potentials Publishing
SpeakStrong Inc
®
© 2002, 2003, 2004, revised edition 2005
Power Potentials Publishing
P.O. Box 184
Cascade CO 80809
All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part or
transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author except by
a reviewer who may quote brief passages in review. No part of this book may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any
means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or other without written
permission of the publisher.
PowerPhrases® is a registered trademark of Meryl Runion and SpeakStrong Inc
Runion, Meryl.
PowerPhrases! : the perfect words to say it right and get the results you
want / Meryl Runion ; editor Kristin Porotsky. — 2nd ed.
p. cm.
ISBN: 0-9714437-9-3
1. Business communication. 2. Oral Communication.
I. Porotsky, Kristin. II. Title.
HF5718.R86 2001 658.4’52
QBI01-201211
POWERPHRASES®
3
Table of Contents
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Chapter 1: PowerPhrases Defined–What Is a PowerPhrase Anyway? . . 19
Chapter 2: Poison Phrases and the PowerPhrases to Overcome Them . 29
Chapter 3: PowerPhrases for Saying “No” — “No” IS a Complete
Sentence, But Is It a PowerPhrase? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Chapter 4: PowerPhrases That Transform Conflicts Into
Understanding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Chapter 5: PowerPhrases for Negotiations to Get You
What You Want . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Chapter 6: PowerPhrases That Sell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Chapter 7: Small Talk PowerPhrases to Break the Ice . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Chapter 8: PowerPhrases at Work: Managing Your Boss . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Chapter 9: PowerPhrases at Work: Communicating With Coworkers 181
Chapter 10: PowerPhrases at Work: Magic Phrases for Managers . . . . . 191
Chapter 11: Now It’s Your Turn: Create Your Own PowerPhrases . . . . 211
Chapter 12: Perfect Phrases for Effective Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
POWERPHRASES®
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Table of Contents continued
Chapter 13: The Truth About Truth, Persuasion and PowerPhrases . . 227
Chapter 14: Establish a Code: The Runion Rules of
Responsible Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Chapter 15: Meryl Answers the Most Challenging
Communication Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .247
Chapter 16: PowerPhrases in Action: Success Stories from
A PowerPhrase a Week Subscribers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Chapter 17: Silence Is the Greatest PowerPhrase of All . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
PowerPhrases Quick Reference Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
Communication Tendencies Based on Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .287
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POWERPHRASES®
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NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
It began as a normal editing project, and became a powerful learning experience.
When Meryl Runion first told me about her book idea, I thought she was
on to something. When she asked me to edit it, I had no idea that I would
become indoctrinated into the PowerPhrases phenomenon. Now, everywhere I
turn, I see the need for PowerPhrases. Everyone I see needs the communications
tools contained in these pages. My family, my friends, my neighbors need them
– and I do too. When reading Dr. Seuss to my son I even wanted to teach Power
Phrases to Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose. I want to edit the sequels.
Kristin Porotsky
Editor
A Second Pair of Eyes
Mother of Three
www.asecondpairofeyes.com
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My thanks to those who saw the vision that I saw when I decided to write this
book. I believed that I had a valuable and useful idea from the very beginning,
but the belief of others helped to keep me going.
Thanks to Bill Cowles of SkillPath Publishing. Bill’s belief in the idea kept me
inspired.
Special thanks to my editor, Kristin Porotsky. With three small children in tow,
she took the time to carefully edit and often remembered to tell me that I was
“awesome.”
I take great inspiration from speaker and author Linda Larsen. Her insistence
that this is “not just any book” and that I would have a “huge hit on my hands”
gave me more courage than she will ever know.
The encouragement and advice of author Jay Conrad Levinson also provided
much needed inspiration from a source that I deeply respect.
I must include my thanks to my dear friend Cindi Myers. After she started reading
the manuscript she didn’t stop. Her enthusiasm was an inspiration as well.
And of course, I want to thank my family, who allowed me to be married to my
book for close to a year.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
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POWERPHRASES®
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This book is designed to provide communications information and guidance.
The publisher and the author are not offering legal or other professional services.
Every effort has been made to offer advice that is accurate, sound and useful.
Results vary in different situations. The author and the publisher cannot be held
liable or responsible for any damages caused or allegedly caused directly or indirectly
by the information in this book.
If you do not wish to be bound by the above, you may return this book to the
publisher for a full refund.
DISCLAIMER
10
POWERPHRASES®
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PREFACE
The Simple Truth and the Willingness to Tell It:
How PowerPhrases® Were Born
Truth above polls. What a concept. It is quickly becoming a lost art. Truth above
polls is about asking yourself what is true and having the courage to let truth,
rather than the opinions of others, guide your words.
Summer of 2004, CIA director George Tenet announced he was resigning his
post due to personal reasons. It was only after 15 minutes of speculation by commentators
about why he resigned that one person suggested…“I think he is resigning
for personal reasons.” It is a commentary on our times that we are so accustomed
to spin we don’t even consider the possibility we are being told the truth.
Dishonesty has become so prevalent that we often don’t think anything about it.
Staff tells management what they think they want to hear without a second
thought. We pretend we aren’t bothered by something when we are. Performance
reviews are whitewashes while managers look for an excuse to pass an
under-performer on to another department. All this denial comes at a price. We
must be willing and able to hear the truth and to deal with life realistically.
I haven’t always had the regard for truth that I do now. I once looked for the convenient
answer – the one that would be accepted. I paid an enormous price for
doing so.
In 1985, my husband Mike became ill. He was a big, burly guy, and neither one
of us thought too much about it. When he didn’t get well, I suspected he had
cancer. When I mentioned my concerns, Mike became irate. He told me,
“Damn it Meryl, I don’t have cancer. Don’t talk to me about it again. And don’t
say anything to my mother or anyone else.”
The months that followed were excruciating. I watched my husband fade away
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POWERPHRASES®
and was clearly expected to remain silent about my concerns. May 13th, 1986,
I lost Mike to untreated cancer.
I did not just lose Mike in that experience. I lost myself as well. I hit rock bottom
and was devastated.
Out of the ashes I rebuilt. I was committed to never find myself in a position like
that again. My challenge was to find my voice and the words to use it. I had a 32
year habit of deferring to the authority of others. That habit wasn’t overcome
overnight. It took, and is taking, years of reflection, study and practice to strike a
balance. It also took years of trial and error. I went from bottling my responses to
blowing-up and attacking. I went through self-doubt about my own motives. Yet,
bit-by-bit, I found a balance that has transformed my communication, success
level and relationships.
I know my own experience is not unique. Every week in my newsletter, A
PowerPhrase a Week, (www.speakstrong.com) I review at least one situation
where someone struggles between speaking what is true and speaking what is
convenient. I find when people do not have the words to say, they usually say
nothing at all. Having the words provides the courage to speak.
I don’t want you to have to go through the devastation I did to find your balance.
That is why I collect words and phrases that have impact. They’ll help you speak
when speaking is needed, and they help you speak so people can hear. If you ever
had a time when a situation screamed for comment and the words did not come,
PowerPhrases will keep you from being tongue-tied again. My audiences love
PowerPhrases, and so will you.
I never imagined I would write a book like this one. I was always a “grow from
the inside out” kind of person. PowerPhrases grow you from the outside in. Of
course, what really matters is simply that you keep growing at all.
Will PowerPhrases work every time, solve all your communication problems and
turn your life around? No, no and yes. There will be times when nothing will
work. There will be people who cannot be reached. However, the letters I
receive weekly reinforce my conviction that a commitment to speaking the simple
truth and having the words to do it will, in fact, turn your life around.
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Have you ever needed to express yourself but did not because you could not
find the right words? Have you ever walked away from a situation and thought of
the perfect thing to say AFTER it was too late? Have you ever given long explanations
and wondered—is there a faster, more effective way to communicate?
PowerPhrases! is the answer to these problems and questions. PowerPhrases! provides
a toolbox of the perfect expressions to get your point across clearly and confidently.
This book provides powerful words when you need them the most. You
will learn the exact words to use to:
• Assure common understanding.
• Clear up conflict.
• Establish a connection.
• Get what you want.
• Refuse what you don’t want.
Knowing what to say results in:
• Increased confidence.
• Enhanced self-esteem.
• Refinement and professionalism.
• The ability to slide out of sticky situations with grace and ease.
While many books tell you what approach to take in addressing challenging
situations, PowerPhrases! tells you exactly what to say.
INTRODUCTION
A Toolbox of Perfect Expressions
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14
Power Pointer
Few people understand what true power is. True power is not power over anyone
or anything. True power is the ability to influence and the ability to get things
done. True power in communication is found when the communication gets the
results you seek.
Take a look at the roots of the word communication. It comes from the word
communion. Communication is effective when it builds a bridge between speaker
and listener.
If you are looking for a book to give you power over others, PowerPhrases! is not
it. If you are looking for a book to help you build bridges and dissolve barriers,
this is the book for you. Read on to find the tools you are looking for.
How to Use PowerPhrases!
1. Read through PowerPhrases! cover-to-cover at least once to get an overview of
what a PowerPhrase is. Then read it again to select the PowerPhrases you like
and that are most useful to you. I have highlighted and bulleted the
PowerPhrases so you can find them with ease. Memorize them. Put them on
your fridge, next to your bed and on your bathroom mirror. Practice them
until they become automatic. Better yet, practice using them with a role-play
partner. Have someone play a person you need to address while you practice
your PowerPhrases. You’ll find that the words will come more easily if you
have practiced them in a safe environment.
2. Use PowerPhrases! as a reference when you prepare to face a challenging
situation. Look up the situation and learn the key phrases that make sense to
you.
3. Whenever you have a situation that does not go as well as you want, return
to the book and pick what you wish you had said. The PowerPhrase will be
ready to use the next time.
4. Subscribe to A PowerPhrase a Week, a weekly email newsletter, by visiting
www.SpeakStrong.com. It will develop your use of PowerPhrases one week
at a time.
INTRODUCTION
15
Be Aware Who Speaks When You Open Your Mouth
Have you ever wanted to be nice and nasty at the same time? Have you ever
wanted to simultaneously affirm and affront someone? If so, do you wonder why,
and perhaps even question your own sanity? You are not alone. There is a story
from the Cherokees that helps us understand why this happens.
The Two Wolves
An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life.
He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me... it is a terrible fight and it is
between two wolves.
“One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity,
guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness,
benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and
faith.
“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
The children thought about it for a minute and then one child asked, “Which
wolf will win, Grandfather?”
The old Cherokee simply replied... “The one you feed.”
What Do You Feed?
Every single thought you have can feed one wolf or the other. It is important to
think about how you think to know which wolf you are feeding.
Rather than talk in terms of wolves, I talk about Izzie the lizard and Pippi the
giraffe. Izzie represents the reptilian brain. We all have one. It is the first one to
develop and it is responsible for sensory-motor coordination. It is preverbal and
controls life functioning. Its impulses are instinctual and ritualistic, and it is concerned
with survival. Road rage, checking your appearance, wanting to silence
someone you do not agree with and being judgmental is your Izzie brain functioning.
Izzie works fast, too. Izzie draws conclusions in 200 milliseconds.
You have two higher brains – the mammalian brain which is the emotional
brain, and the neocortex which is the intellectual brain. The neocortex is divided
into left for linear, analytical thought, and the right for seeing the whole picture.
Ideally, all parts of the brain work together to support each other. When that
happens, it is called upshifting. When you have upshifted, I call it being in your
Pippi-thinking-brain. (Pippi is named after Pippi Longstocking from children’s
books.)
Izzie represents the first wolf in the story. Pippi is the second wolf.
Izzie speaks using Poison Phrases. Pippi speaks using PowerPhrases.
Izzie will diminish when you stop feeding fear, anger, envy and the other emotions
of the first wolf. Pippi will grow when you feed joy, peace, love, hope and
the other emotions of the second wolf.
How Do You Feed Pippi?
The Cherokee elder was wise indeed to say that the part of yourself you feed
grows stronger in your life. John Nash discovered that his life went from disaster
to success when he went on a “mental diet” and chose which perceptions to pay
attention to. (A Beautiful Mind). You can enhance Pippi and diminish Izzie by
going on a “mental diet” as well.
To diminish Izzie’s role in your life,
• Observe your Izzie thoughts rather than indulging or fighting them. The
act of detached observation stimulates upshifting.
• Avoid Izzie conversations such as participating in gossip or negativity.
Instead, be a detached observer of Izzie behavior in others. For example,
if you watch reality shows, watch from a perspective of asking whether
contestants are operating from Izzie or Pippi brain functioning.
• Become aware of Poison Phrases and avoid using them.
To feed Pippi,
• Develop a series of statements to repeat to yourself and questions to ask
yourself that cause you to upshift. For example, when going through an
POWERPHRASES®
16
emotionally challenging time that triggered my Izzie, I would ask myself
if I was safe in the moment. Of course, I always was, and this calmed me.
• Listen to uplifting materials and read uplifting books.
• Practice elevating the tone of conversations with PowerPhrases. It reinforces
Pippi when your words cause someone else to upshift.
Diminishing Izzie and feeding Pippi won’t eliminate the desire to be nice and
nasty at the same time. It won’t eliminate the desire to both affirm and affront
someone. Instead, you will be increasingly able to upshift and operate from full
brain functioning. That will make all the difference, not just for those around
you. It will make all the difference for you.
How to Say PowerPhrases
You may be nervous and/or emotional when you first use your PowerPhrases. Do
not let it show in your voice! Sound calm, even if you are not. You can do it, especially
when you see the great results that come when you remain calm.
Power Tip— Here’s a Pointer for Sounding Calm.
Pretend you are asking your listener to pass the butter. Asking for the butter is
not highly emotional, right? Your vocal tone is calm. That’s the tone to use when
you communicate your PowerPhrases.
Be Prepared to Experience Life at a New Level
Whether your habit is to over-express or under-express, be prepared for exciting
changes when you communicate with PowerPhrases. I get emails weekly from
people who have discovered what a difference it makes when they speak up,
speak out and speak well. (Many are available at the end of the book.) Get ready
to experience richness in your relationships. That is a natural result of good communication.
The PowerPhrases in this book are here to help you express more of who you are
in the world. These are the things you would have said all along, if you had only
known how to.
INTRODUCTION
17
POWERPHRASES®
18
PowerPhrases to the Rescue
I coached a “Sandy” through a tough relationship and divorce. Sandy was
intimidated by her domineering spouse. She would be alternately combative
and apologetic with him.
One day she called to tell me about how she had communicated her anger with
her estranged husband because he had cashed a check that was hers, and kept
the money. Sandy was feeling guilty about “hurting” him and about how she
expressed her anger. I was sympathetic when we began the conversation, but
after she told me what she had said, I informed her that her sympathy was misplaced.
Her anger was appropriate and she communicated it responsibly.
Sandy was communicating with a new power that was unfamiliar to her. She
was frightened by her own power. Her desire to apologize was, in fact, a retreat
into a more familiar submissive stance. If you are not used to being your own
advocate, PowerPhrases can seem cruel and harsh. If you are accustomed to
overreacting, PowerPhrases can seem mushy and soft. Either way requires
adjusting to a powerful new way of communicating.
PowerPhrase:
A short, specific
expression that
gets results by
saying what you
mean, meaning
what you say, and
not being mean
when you say it.
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CHAPTER 1
PowerPhrases® Defined:
What Is a PowerPhrase Anyway?
Let’s get some help from the dictionary.
• Power is the ability to get results. Your words have
power when they work for you. Target your words
for the results you want.
• A phrase is a brief, apt, and cogent expression.
That means a PowerPhrase is an expression that is brief,
well-chosen and effective. I describe a PowerPhrase as: a
short, specific expression that is focused on results.
Your results come when you say what you mean, mean
what you say, and are not being mean when you say it.
It really is that simple. A PowerPhrase is: a short, specific,
focused expression that says what you mean and
means what you say without being mean when you say it.
Let’s get a closer look.
A PowerPhrase Is a SHORT Expression.
• Less is more!
Make your point and stop talking! Forget the detailed
explanations that sound like apologies and suggest that
you do not have a right to your position. For example, if
someone asks you to run for club president and you do
not want to, don’t say:
— You know, it is really great that you asked
me to serve, and I want to tell you how much I
appreciate it! This is the first time anyone has
made me an offer like this. Really, ordinarily I
would love to, but under the circumstances…
Instead, use a short PowerPhrase for Saying No, such
as:
• I’m flattered you asked. My decision is to not serve
at this time.
• Thanks for asking. I choose not to serve.
• I would be happy to if I had the time. I make a
policy of not over-scheduling myself, and this
would overload my schedule.
Martin Luther King, Jr. understood the importance of
being brief when he said,
• “I have a dream!”
A longer phrase such as:
— I have some really good ideas that inspire me and
I think you’ll want to listen.
does not carry the impact and is not a PowerPhrase.
PowerPhrases Are Specific Expressions.
Their power is in details. Being specific adds impact.
Imagine you gave a presentation about a project you are
working on. Certainly you would appreciate comments
about how great a job you did. However, the comment
about the subtlety you used to build expectancy before
you detailed your conclusions is the comment you will
appreciate the most. By being specific, they showed they
were really paying attention.
Being specific limits the possibility of misunderstanding.
If I tell you about a dog I see on my hikes, you might
imagine a tiny creature or an enormous animal. If I tell
you about the Golden Receiver I see on my hikes, your
picture is much closer to what I am describing.
PowerPhrases
grab your
attention and
create pictures
in your mind.
POWERPHRASES®
20
PowerPhrases Get RESULTS
Consciously choose what results you want to achieve,
and focus your words to make them happen. Set conscious
goals. If your conscious mind does not set a goal
for the conversation, your unconscious mind will. I am
amazed at how often people speak in a way that alienates
the very person who can help them. Consider these
questions in every conversation you have.
1. How can I get what I want?
2. How do I preserve the relationship while
getting what I want?
Weigh both values and choose words that address both.
PowerPhrases Say What You Mean
It sounds simple enough. But don’t kid yourself. Do you
really say what you mean? Or do you avoid clarity to
avoid a reaction? Perhaps you say:
— That’s okay. Don’t worry about it.
A PowerPhrase for Addressing Conflict would be more
effective. Consider these:
• This is a problem. We need to find a solution.
• This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed.
• I need your help to resolve this.
Do you say what you mean about a problem to everyone
but the person you need to tell the most? You are probably
so accustomed to editing your thoughts, you are not
even aware you do it. Your best PowerPhrases are the
direct expressions of your own heart and your own mind.
Say what is in there.
I get numerous letters from my newsletter subscribers
asking how to communicate in difficult situations.
When I respond, they sometimes think I’m some kind of
If your conscious
mind does not
set a goal for the
conversation,
your unconscious
mind will.
POWERPHRASES® DEFINED
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With PowerPhrases You Mean What You Say!
Your words are only as powerful as your commitment to
them. How about you? Do you mean what you say? Or
do you say:
• I will…(start the meetings on time whether you are
here or not.)
And then when that person is late you wait to begin.
Everyone knows when your deadlines aren’t real.
Everyone knows when your resistance can be overcome.
Everyone knows when you do not intend to follow
through!
Back up your
words with
actions.
POWERPHRASES®
22
genius. I’m not…I find words for them in what they tell
me. Realize that the perfect words are hidden in the last
place you are likely to look…in your own heart. The
authenticity in your heart is your best source of word
power.
Power Pointer— Talk to the Person
That You Have the Issue With
Robert came to me with a concern about how his
supervisor did not back him up on his decisions. I
asked, “What did she say when you talked to her about
it?” He replied, “I haven’t mentioned it to her.” It was
easy to tell him what he needed to do.
There are so few role models of how to communicate
well. Most sitcoms would not have a story if people
would regularly communicate with PowerPhrases. In
my fantasy career I will write for nighttime soap
operas, and put in some good healthy PowerPhrases.
That would present a model of what good communication
can look like.
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In the words of Emerson:
• “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear a
thing you say.”
Do not say something unless you intend to back yourself
up with action.
This can be hard! Have you ever told a coworker what
time you could meet and they pressured you to meet
with them immediately? What did you do? Yield to their
pressure or stand firm with what you said? Back your
words up with actions. If the guilt monster starts whispering
recriminations in your ear, remind yourself that
your needs are important too.
Power Pointer— Mean What You Say
Claudia consistently would tell her boss how important
it was to her to leave work on time, and she told
him what she needed from him in order to complete
her work by the end of her work day. Her boss ignored
her requests and Claudia stayed late to make sure
everything was completed.
Then Claudia had a change in childcare that made it
impossible for her to stay more than fifteen minutes
past the time she was scheduled to leave. Her boss was
upset the first time she left before the work was
complete, but he quickly learned that now Claudia
meant what she said about leaving on time.
Miraculously, now that there was a cost to him of not
getting things to her, he began to get her what she
needed so that she was able to complete her work by
end of the business day.
PowerPhrases
are as powerful
as your
commitment
to them.
POWERPHRASES® DEFINED
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PowerPhrases Avoid Being Mean
Are you being mean in your choice of words? Don’t be
so sure that you’re not. Here are some communication
tactics to watch out for. PowerPhrases (1) avoid sarcasm,
(2) overkill, (3) assumption of guilt and (4) an attempt
to overpower the other person with wit.
1. PowerPhrases Avoid Sarcasm.
— Look who decided to show up…
is NOT a PowerPhrase.
• When you come late it throws my schedule off
for the rest of the day. How can I help you get here
on time?
is a PowerPhrase.
Sarcasm is indirect. PowerPhrases are direct. Sarcasm
mocks the listener. PowerPhrases honor the listener.
One definition of sarcasm is “the tearing of flesh.” Is that
what you really want to do?
2. PowerPhrases Avoid Overkill.
A PowerPhrase is as strong as it needs to be and no
stronger. A PowerPhrase does not shoot a cannon when
a BB would work. For example:
• Absolutely not!
can be a PowerPhrase, but only when a gentler version
such as:
• Not this time. Thanks for asking.
does not work.
I recently had a conversation with a woman who blasted
a coworker for speaking too loudly on a personal conversation.
It didn’t occur to her to simply ask her to
speak more softly. Use the appropriate amount of power.
PowerPhrases
avoid being
mean.
POWERPHRASES®
25
3. PowerPhrases Avoid Assumption of Guilt.
PowerPhrases assume positive intentions unless it is
proven otherwise. Don’t be too quick to judge! The
woman whose coworker was speaking loudly assumed
her coworker was aware of how disturbing it was, and
simply didn’t care. She was incorrect in her assumption.
Avoid the accusative voice of “you” language. Say:
• I am getting angry.
Rather than:
— You make me so mad!
Say:
• I was promised a commission structure six months
ago and I still do not have one. If this is not
resolved I will…
rather than:
— You lied!
4. PowerPhrases Avoid Attempts to Outsmart the
Other Person With Wit.
This can be hard! If the other person is behaving in an
offensive way, it is tempting to attempt to outsmart
them. Avoid the temptation.
If the boss asks “What kind of idiot are you?” you might
be tempted to say:
— The same kind of idiot as the person who hired me.
— You tell me. You are the obvious expert.
Are they clever responses? Yes. Are they PowerPhrases?
No. People who use PowerPhrases speak to obtain powerful
results. Instead, use the PowerPhrase:
• When you ask, “What kind of idiot are you?” I
find it insulting. I prefer you offer solutions when
I make mistakes.
PowerPhrases
avoid the
assumption
of guilt.
POWERPHRASES® DEFINED
Power Tip— Speak up EARLY!
When you express yourself as soon as things become a
problem, you minimize the likelihood that you will
overreact.
Kris and Carol were on a team in a job that required
them to set up displays. Kris thought Carol always
undid any display she arranged and she resented it.
Carol didn’t know there was a problem until the end of
a week of working together when she overheard an
indirect remark Kris made to someone else. She was
surprised to discover what a villain she had become!
Because Kris hadn’t spoken up, what began as a few
rearranged display items became an issue of power and
control. We have all done this. Speak up early!
26
POWERPHRASES®
When you speak
up as soon as
things become a
problem, you
minimize the
likelihood that
you will overreact.
Exercise — The PowerPhrase Questions
Now that you understand the characteristics of PowerPhrases, practice the
exercises below. Then read Chapter 2 to see how PowerPhrases can overcome
Poison Phrases.
PowerPhrase wisdom says, before you speak, ask yourself:
1. Is it short?
2. Is it specific?
3. Is it focused?
4. Does it truly say what I mean?
5. Do I intend to back my words with action?
6. Am I being kind in my choice of words?
List your favorite phrases below.
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Next, apply the above questions to your phrases.
If all of your answers are yes, your phrases are PowerPhrases! If you get any “nos,”
find a better expression in the chapters of this book.
For example, a common phrase among teenagers is “Whatever.”
1. Is it short? Yes!
2. Is it specific? No. It carries little information.
3. Is it focused to get positive results? No. It is likely to create resentment
and resistance.
4. Does it truly say what you mean? It conveys very little information.
5. Do you intend to back the message up with action? The message does
not imply a clear position to back up.
6. Are you being kind in your choice of words? No. Usually this expression
is intended sarcastically.
Eliminate the powerless phrases and fill your vocabulary with PowerPhrases.
Read on to chapter 2 for more tools in recognizing what PowerPhrases are,
by examining what they are not.
POWERPHRASES® DEFINED
27
POWERPHRASES®
28
Learn to recognize a PowerPhrase when you hear it,
and know the difference between PowerPhrases and
Poison Phrases. There are nine types of Poison Phrases.
They are 1) Filler Poison Phrases, 2) Indecisive Poison
Phrases, 3) Deflective Poison Phrases, 4) Negative
Poison Phrases, 5) Absolute Poison Phrases, 6) Victim
Poison Phrases, 7) Vague Hinting Poison Phrases, 8)
Emotional Poison Phrases and, 9) Passive Poison
Phrases.
These phrases weaken your words and rob you of
respect. They need to be eliminated from your vocabulary.
1. Avoid Filler Poison Phrases
Qualifiers, hedges and softener phrases weaken your
message. Anything you say that does not add to your
message makes it weaker. Avoid the following phrases:
— Well...
— Sort of…
— I just…
— I would tend to…
— I guess…
29
There are nine
types of poison
phrases.
CHAPTER 2
Poison Phrases and the PowerPhrases® to Overcome Them
30
— I kind of…
— You know…
— I’m wondering if…
— I’m not sure about this but…
— I could be wrong but…
— This is just my opinion, but…
— Sorry to bother you but…
Tag phrases also weaken your messages. Tag phrases are
expressions that you tack on to the end of what you say
that turn your statement into a question. For example, if
you say:
• This is the best proposal…
and you follow with:
— You know?
— Isn’t it?
— Right?
— Do you see?
you imply that you are not sure and need the other person’s
verification. Other weakening tags are:
— Aren’t you?
— Doesn’t it?
— Won’t you?
If the statement really is a question, follow the statement
with a clear and direct question.
Also, eliminate all words that do not add useful information.
Kind of like… you know?
POWERPHRASES®
Tag phrases
weaken your
messages.
31
Power Pointer— Join Toastmasters International
To eliminate filler words, attend Toastmasters International
meetings. When you speak, someone will count
the number of filler words that you use. Most people
are quite surprised to learn how many ums and uhs
they use. Becoming conscious is the first step in making
a change. Initially people get very self-conscious
about having their filler words counted, but gradually
the habit is broken.
2. Replace Indecisive Poison Phrases With
Decisive PowerPhrases
Speak with certainty and decisiveness. If you cannot be
certain on one position, express what you can be certain
about.
Trust yourself! Speak what you know with confidence. If
your words express doubt, your listener will doubt you
no matter how true your words are.
Speak with
certainty and
decisiveness.
POISON PHRASES AND THE POWERPHRASES® TO OVERCOME THEM
Avoid
I should…
I’ll try…
I might be able to…
I sort of think…
It’s just my opinion…
I would tend to think…
You might want to consider…
Replace with
I will…
I will…
What I can commit to is…
I know…
I believe…
I think…
I recommend…
32
POWERPHRASES®
PowerPhrases to the Rescue
I have an email friendship with a dear old friend who
is quite successful in his career. We agreed that we
wanted to have a phone conversation and he would
tell me “I’ll try to call you next week.” When the phone
call didn’t come I would fill him in on my upcoming
schedule. Once again he would promise to “try” to call
but the call never came. This happened several times.
I was reluctant to confront him about it, because I saw
him as important and busy. I was afraid I might anger
him. When I noticed I felt undervalued I realized I
needed to speak. I said:
• I would rather forget about our having a phone
conversation, than for you to say that you will
try, and then have it not happen. I feel let
down and undervalued, as if our friendship is
not important to you. Let’s not talk about
speaking on the phone until you are able to tell
me what you WILL do rather than what you
will TRY to do.
He responded with an apology and a firm commitment
to a day and time, which he upheld. We had a wonderful
conversation. I was reminded of the power of
asking for what I want—and the power of “I will”
rather than “I’ll try.”
3. Replace Poison Phrases That Deflect Due
Credit and Replace Them With PowerPhrases
That Accept Due Credit
When was the last time you deflected a compliment?
Yesterday? I am not suggesting you brag. Bragging does
not impress anyone–but neither does false modesty.
Learn the power of
“I will” rather
than “I’ll try.”
When you deflect a compliment, you refuse a gift. Accept
their gifts and do not play small.
People who practice positive personal public relations
are the first to get ahead. People who play down their
accomplishments undermine their own success.
Power Pointer— Accept Due Credit
Did you know that women are far more likely to deflect
compliments and credit for their accomplishments
than men are?
I saw this point illustrated when I was receiving cranial
sacral treatment from a husband/wife team.
(Cranial sacral is a type of bodywork.) When I came
for the second treatment, the husband asked what
results I had experienced from the first one. I said it
seemed like it was a good thing to do. He asked if my
shoulder pain was better, and I replied that it was, but
I had thought that was due to not having been on the
computer. He and his wife spoke simultaneously. He
said, “ I think we deserve credit for that.” At the exact
same moment his wife said “Oh, that’s probably it.”
Accept credit when due!
33
Bragging does not
impress anyone—
but neither does
false modesty.
POISON PHRASES AND THE POWERPHRASES® TO OVERCOME THEM
Avoid
I got lucky.
It was nothing…
This old thing?
Anyone could have…
Replace with
I worked hard.
Thanks for noticing.
Thank you.
I’m pleased with the outcome too.
34
POWERPHRASES®
4. Replace Negative Poison Phrases With
Positive PowerPhrases
Be careful of Negative Poison Phrases. You know the
ones. They get you so focused on what you do not want
that that’s all you can think about. That leaves no room
for what you want!
Your mind makes sense of positives more easily than
negatives. Put your focus on what you want, not on what
you do not want. Talk about how you will solve a problem
or what you learned from a mistake more than you
talk about the problem. Draw attention to your
strengths, and take the emphasis off your weaknesses.
Any time you find yourself ready to express a negative,
ask yourself what the upside is and speak from that perspective.
Your mind makes
sense of positives
more easily
than negatives.
Avoid
Everything went wrong…
I’ll have to…
I can’t…
I am spending time…
I’m no good at…
You’ll have to excuse…
If only I had…
This is bad…
I can’t get to this until…
Don’t forget to…(log off of your
computer.)
Replace with
I learned from some setbacks.
I’ll be glad to…
What I can do is…
I am investing time…
I’m getting better at…
Here it is…
Starting now I will…
What good can we get out of this?
I can get to this by…
Be certain to…(log off of your
computer.)
35
Power Thinking— Think in the Positive
One day as I was walking up to address a group in
Amarillo, Texas, I was thinking,
— “Don’t call it armadillo. Don’t call it armadillo.”
When I opened my mouth what came out was,
— “I am delighted to be here in armadillo.”
My subconscious did not register the “don’t,” and
armadillo was imprinted on my brain. Next time I will
remind myself of what I DO want to say.
• It’s Amarillo.
5. Replace Absolute Poison Phrases and Labels
With Accurate PowerPhrases
You lose credibility when you speak in sweeping generalizations
and absolutes. Stick to the facts! “Always” and
“never” are generalizations that are rarely factual.
Support your assertions with specific examples.
You lose
credibility when
you speak in
sweeping
generalizations
and absolutes.
POISON PHRASES AND THE POWERPHRASES® TO OVERCOME THEM
Avoid
You always…
I never…
Everything…
You’re lazy.
You are incompetent.
Replace with
On several occasions you have…
Up until now I have not…
Many things…
Your performance is not up to
standard.
There are several mistakes here
that need to be fixed.
6. Replace Victim Poison Phrases With
PowerPhrases That Place Responsibility and
Emphasis Where It Is Due
You do not score points or gain credit for indicating that
you are someone else’s victim.
— Poor me!
is not a PowerPhrase. Any statement that inappropriately
places responsibility on others is not a PowerPhrase
either. Avoid saying:
— You make me so mad.
— You make me feel wonderful!
Those phrases imply you have no control over your own
emotions. You don’t want to send that message. Avoid
implying that you do not have the ability to choose alternative
thoughts and behaviors.
You may have heard it suggested that you should replace
accusative sounding “you” statements with “I” statements,
such as:
• I feel angry when you…
• I feel wonderful when you…
These statements avoid placing responsibility for the
emotion on the other person. While that is good, there
can be a problem in that they make your feelings the
subject of the communication. If you make your feelings
the subject when the real subject is something else,
you sound immature and childish. If the subject of your
communication is your anger or wonderful feelings, the
above statements are appropriate and accurate
PowerPhrases. If the subject is something else, the above
statements are not PowerPhrases.
If the point you want to make is that Joe’s tardiness causes
you all kinds of problems, do not make Joe or yourself
36
POWERPHRASES®
If you make your
feelings the
subject when the
real subject is
something else,
you sound
immature and
childish.
37
the subject of the communication. Rather than saying:
— You make me mad when you come late.
or:
— I get angry when you are late.
Use a PowerPhrase to Place Responsibility and Emphasis
Where It Is Due, such as:
• Starting late causes serious problems which we
need to address.
Do not say:
— Traffic made me late. (Accusatory. The traffic may
not care, but you do not sound powerful.)
Instead use a PowerPhrase to Place Responsibility and
Emphasis Where It Is Due, such as:
• There was more traffic than I allowed for.
Do not say:
— You are not being clear. (Accusatory)
— I am not following you. (Makes you the subject.)
Instead use a PowerPhrase to Place Responsibility and
Emphasis Where It Is Due, such as:
• Please clarify this point.
• That last point is not clear to me.
Simply ask yourself what you are really talking about,
and make that the subject.
7. Replace Hints and Vague Poison Phrases
With Specific PowerPhrases
It’s unfortunate and true that people cannot read your
mind. Have you ever hinted to someone and then been
upset because they did not take your hint? Be straightforward
and specific about what you want. You have
only yourself to blame if people do not respond to your
vague requests.
Be straightforward
and specific about
what you want.
POISON PHRASES AND THE POWERPHRASES® TO OVERCOME THEM
38
Do you hint at things in order to avoid risking rejection?
If you never clearly ask, you will never be turned down!
Powerful people are willing to risk rejection for the sake
of clarity and effectiveness.
8. Avoid Emotional Poison Phrases in Business
Situations Where Factual Action-Based
PowerPhrases Hold More Power
Your emotions are important. There is power in communicating
your emotions, but not to the exclusion of
facts and outcomes. When you emphasize information
and action phrases, it adds to your credibility.
Know what you feel. Find people to communicate your
frustrations and hurts to. Express your emotions when
relevant. Then accentuate PowerPhrases that are factual
and action-based.
POWERPHRASES®
Stick to
information and
action phrases.
Avoid
I feel great about this proposal.
I don’t like this idea.
I am angry about this delay.
Replace with
This proposal will improve our
bottom line by ___.
There are three serious problems
with this idea. First…
How do you plan to get back on
schedule after this delay?
Avoid
I sure wish someone would…
I’d like to have something like…
You need to do a better job.
Replace with
Will you…
I want ___ by___ because___.
Your performance needs to be
improved. Here are the criteria for
acceptable performance. Number
one...
39
You will develop
perceptiveness for
PowerPhrases that
will work like
radar.
9. Avoid Passive Poison Phrases and Replace
With Active PowerPhrases
What is wrong with the following sentence?
“The acquisition contract was signed by the CFO.”
This statement is in the passive voice. You can tell a passive
sentence by the inclusion of “was,” which is a form
of the verb “to be.” This sentence starts with the contract,
even though the CFO is the one acting and
should be the subject. To be in the active voice, the sentence
needs to begin with the one acting.
The passive voice sounds…well…passive, which weakens
your message.
Overcome Poison Phrases With PowerPhrases
Keep your ears open to hear how the principles of this
chapter are applied everywhere. When you understand
the principles of PowerPhrases and are familiar with the
specific applications in other chapters, your ear will
work like radar. You will immediately recognize the difference
between Poison Phrases and PowerPhrases.
POISON PHRASES AND THE POWERPHRASES® TO OVERCOME THEM
Avoid
The acquisition contract was signed
by the CFO.
The bone was buried by the dog.
Replace with
The CFO signed the acquisition
contract.
The dog buried the bone.
Exercise
Replace the following Poison Phrases with PowerPhrases.
I sort of like this idea.
____________________________________________________________
This is just my opinion, but…
____________________________________________________________
This is great, don’t you think?
____________________________________________________________
I might be able to…
____________________________________________________________
It was no big deal.
____________________________________________________________
Don’t come late.
____________________________________________________________
This will never work.
____________________________________________________________
You hurt my feelings.
____________________________________________________________
I wish I didn’t have to go to the meeting alone.
____________________________________________________________
I’m excited about this account.
____________________________________________________________
The suspect was apprehended.
____________________________________________________________
40
POWERPHRASES®
You’ve just been asked for a loan. Someone needs a day
off and you can’t spare them. Your coworker wants you to
do their work for them. Why can’t you just say a simple…
• “No”?
“No” is so short, so simple, and so powerful. “No” also
can be so frightening. When was the last time you
agreed to something because you were afraid to say no?
According to informal polls I conduct, two-thirds of the
population has trouble with that little two-letter word!
PowerPhrases make saying “no” easier.
Nancy Reagan knew the importance of having the right
words to say when she began an anti-drug campaign
based on the slogan “Just say:
• No!”
to drugs. Other phrases such as:
• “NO is a complete sentence!”
and
• “What part of NO don’t you understand?”
evolved from this campaign.
While powerful, these phrases are flat refusals. Flat
refusals carry risk and are often inappropriate.
A flat refusal can brand you as rude and uncooperative.
41
Two-thirds of the
population has
trouble saying no.
CHAPTER 3
PowerPhrases® for Saying “No”
“No” IS a Complete Sentence – But Is It a PowerPhrase®?
A flat refusal may be interpreted as discrediting the
request or offer. While a flat refusal does say what it
means and mean what it says, it can come across as
being hostile.
PowerPhrases use the amount of power required and no
more. Start your “no” gently and work your way up if
necessary.
There are three steps for saying no.
The Three-Step Process for Saying “No”
When You Refuse a Request, ACT!
1. Acknowledge their request.
Say something to recognize their request. Make a short
comment to let them know that you heard them and
you are considering what they said.
2. Clarify your Circumstance.
Tell them a little bit about your own situation. Be brief.
Mention what it is that keeps you from being able to
honor their request.
3. Transform your refusal into a positive. Suggest
alternatives or make a comment that reaffirms the
relationship such as:
• Some other time.
Put them all together and you have a three-step “no.”
• It sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately I have
other priorities. Perhaps next time I can.
Read on for further options for each of the three steps.
42
POWERPHRASES®
A flat refusal
can brand you
as rude and
uncooperative.
Step 1: Acknowledge — PowerPhrases to
Acknowledge the Request
• I understand this is important.
• Ordinarily I would love to help.
• I appreciate you thinking of me.
• Thanks for asking.
• I wish I could help out here.
• I am aware…
• What a great idea!
• I am flattered you asked.
• I understand your situation. I have been there
myself.
Step 2: Circumstances — PowerPhrases to Explain
Circumstances
• My situation is…
• My policy is…
• I have plans.
• I’m not up to it.
• I’m not the best person for this job.
• I’m not available.
• I have commitments.
• It doesn’t work for me.
• My circumstances make it impossible.
• After realizing the scope…
• I choose not to.
• I will pass on this opportunity.
• I am responsible for…
43
When you refuse a
request, ACT!
POWERPHRASES® FOR SAYING “NO”
44
POWERPHRASES®
Step 3: Transform — PowerPhrases to Transform the
Refusal by Reaffirming the Relationship or Offering
Alternatives
• Perhaps next time.
• Thanks again for asking.
• I hope you can find the help you need.
• I wish I could.
• While I can’t do what you are asking, what I can
do is…
• Here’s an alternative…
• Have you considered…?
• Have you tried asking Judy? (While this might work
for you, it also might not make you very popular with
Judy.)
If you can’t or • I can help you by…
don’t want to give
them what they
want, look for an
alternative that is
acceptable to you.
45
Freedom is being
our own judge
and jury.
POWERPHRASES® FOR SAYING “NO”
Liberated by a Two-Letter Word and Some Good
Healthy Power Thinking
I was on a team with “Mike,” whom I found to be
controlling. It seemed to me that I was constantly giving
in, but I did not worry about it because the issues
were small and I was able to go along. That changed
when Mike expected me to split a bill that was his
responsibility. Although it was only an issue of about
five dollars, I knew that if I paid it, I would not feel
good about myself.
I used the ACT formula and stood my ground. He was
quite used to getting his way, and became visibly upset
when I did not cave in to his pressure. After I “ACTed”
him four times, he paid the bill and we walked down
the hallway in silence. He was bristly and cold, and I
was thinking:
— Oh Meryl, what have you done? Now he will be
impossible to work with. Am I being picky? It’s not
that much money.
Then I heard myself and I said to myself:
• Meryl, you have a habit of being unhappy when
other people are upset with you. Get over it!
In that moment I was free. He was unhappy with meand
I was quite pleased with myself. I see bondage as
being constrained by other people’s opinions of us.
Freedom is being our own judge and jury.
Later that day Mike did something else that I thought
was outrageous, and I “ACTed” once more. Now it was
becoming easier.
Not everyone will appreciate your use of PowerPhrases.
Don’t let that stop you. You will appreciate yourself.
46
POWERPHRASES®
Say“No”
without caving
in and without
losing friends.
ACT Now! Put the Three-Step Process for
Saying “No” Together to Get Complete
PowerPhrases.
Combine one phrase from each of the three categories to
make a complete and effective PowerPhrase for Saying
“No” without caving in and without losing friends.
Acknowledge
I understand this is
important.
Ordinarily I would
love to help.
I appreciate you
thinking of me.
I would if I could.
I wish I could help
out here.
I see you need help.
I’m honored that you
thought of me.
Circumstances
My situation is ...
My policy is ...
I have other plans...
I have other
involvements.
I’m not well-suited to
do what you want.
After looking at my
calendar I see I can’t
give you the help you
need.
After realizing the
scope of the request, I
choose to pass.
Transform
Perhaps next time.
Thanks for asking.
I’m sure you’ll find
the right person you
need.
Have you
considered..?
Here’s an option...
Have you considered
asking ___?
I wish you success.
47
The more details
you give, the
weaker you sound
and the more
inclined they will
be to argue.
POWERPHRASES® FOR SAYING “NO”
Avoid being wordy. Here’s what you don’t want to sound
like:
— Gosh, I am so sorry, I really hate to tell you this
because it sounds like you could use some help
and I would love to help you if I could. If only the
circumstances were different, but I have to take my
daughter to little league and last time I missed a
game I felt just awful because (etc.)…
The more details you give, the weaker you sound and
the more inclined they will be to argue.
Sometimes they will argue even when you are clear and
direct. In these cases, use only two of the three parts to
add strength to your “no.”
Saying “No” in Two Parts
When you say no in two parts, it sounds stronger. Some
people’s sensitivity causes them to hear the slightest hint
of “no” as a personal rejection and they need a softer version.
Use all three steps for them. Others do not take it
as personally, and a two-part no works well.
There are some people that will argue with and attempt
to manipulate anything we say. A two-part no works better
with these.
The Two-Step Process for Saying “No”
Acknowledge
I’d love to.
Thanks for asking.
Sounds interesting.
Circumstances
However, I am busy.
Not this time.
My boss has already
scheduled my time.
I have other
commitments.
I have a 3:00 deadline.
Transform
If you want, you can
ask her.
I wish I could.
48
POWERPHRASES®
People who are
comfortable
saying no are
usually people
who have a clear
idea of what their
priorities are.
Power Thinking to the Rescue
What are you telling yourself that keeps you from
saying “no”? Don’t think:
— If I say no, they may not like me.
— I better be nice.
— I shouldn’t say what I think.
Instead, use Power Thinking. Think:
• What are my true priorities?
• What response best serves my true priorities?
• How can I communicate that as graciously and
effectively as possible?
People who are comfortable saying no are usually people
who have a clear idea of what their priorities are.
Use Power Thinking to remind you of yours.
When a Simple “NO” Is a PowerPhrase
As you recall, a PowerPhrase is as strong as it needs to
be, and no stronger. A PowerPhrase does not shoot a
cannon when a BB would work. In addition, a
PowerPhrase assumes good intentions unless it is proven
otherwise.
The fact is, sometimes people simply do not get the message
on the first communication. Stronger PowerPhrases
can be called for when:
1. The listener is unusually direct,
2. The listener is manipulative or a “taker,” or
3. The listener hears acknowledgement as
uncertainty or as an opening.
For example, Jan is naturally very direct. She expects
and appreciates directness from others. Jan appreciates a
49
A PowerPhrase is
as strong as it
needs to be,
and no stronger.
POWERPHRASES® FOR SAYING “NO”
flat no. She does not want to take the time to hear all the
reasons. “No” is a PowerPhrase for her.
Roberta is a nurse who works in a hospital. She will take
advantage of others when they allow it. None of the staff
enjoy working weekends, but it is a supportive environment
where people pitch in for each other. When
Roberta asked Jan to take her weekend shift, Jan
assumed Roberta had a great need, and agreed. She felt
used when she later discovered that Roberta did not
have anything special happening, she simply did not
want to work weekends. The next time Roberta asked
her to cover her shift, Jan said:
That statement is a PowerPhrase; strong, clear and
direct.
Roberta started having a lot of “emergencies.” Jan used
another approach. She tried to turn the “no” into a
negotiation by saying:
Although Jan was being strong, clear and direct, Roberta
saw it as an opportunity to argue. “Well, I did cover for
you a couple of weekdays in trade for your weekend. I
wanted to cover for you the other weekend, but you
Acknowledge
I am aware you don’t
enjoy working weekends.
Circumstances
My family likes me
home weekends as
well. My policy is to
cover for people only
when they have
emergencies.
Transform
Acknowledge
I understand you
don’t want to work
weekends.
Circumstances
I will be happy to
cover for you again
after you have covered
a weekend for me.
Transform
50
POWERPHRASES®
Sometimes, rather
than completely
refusing a request
or offer, suggest
alternatives.
didn’t want to take that weekend off.” Jan realized that
with Roberta, her PowerPhrase was to just say:
• No.
or
• No, I do not want to.
and to refuse to discuss it any further. Roberta tested
Jan’s no: Jan had to repeat it several times. Eventually
Roberta gave up—and found someone else to take
advantage of. If you have ever tried to assert yourself
with someone who argues with any explanation you
give, you probably already know that with these people
it is best to avoid explanations that give them something
to argue about.
Turning Your NO Into a Negotiation
Sometimes, rather than completely refusing a request or
offer, you can suggest alternatives. For example, when
one assistant was asked to make copies, she said she
would love to but she had a huge stack of orders to file.
Then she used the PowerPhrase:
• I’ll do it if you’ll…(help file orders).
Another assistant’s boss gave her an assignment that
would require her full attention. She said:
Her supervisor answered the phones for her for two
weeks, because it was necessary to get the job done.
Many business people know how to say “no” to their
bosses without ever using the word. When a supervisor
makes a request that conflicts with a previous request,
they will reply:
Acknowledge
I know this project is
top priority.
Circumstances
In order to meet the
deadline I need to
have uninterrupted
time.
Transform
I can do this if you’ll
answer the phones.
51
A chronic
yes–sayer can
overcome the
habit by using
PowerPhrases to
buy time.
POWERPHRASES® FOR SAYING “NO”
PowerPhrases That Buy You Time
If you are a chronic yes-sayer, you can overcome the yes
habit by using a PowerPhrase to delay long enough to
plan your response.
Delay phrases lack the power of a clear refusal, but are
superior to a yes when you do not mean it. Learn the
PowerPhrases for Buying Time.
• Let me get back to you.
• I need to check on a few things before answering
you.
• I need to give this consideration before responding.
• Let me think about it and let you know.
• I’ll see what I can do and tell you tomorrow.
When you use these, be sure to mean what you say.
Check on, consider or think about it, and get back to
them rather than letting the request remain unresolved.
When They Ask, “Will You Do Me a Favor?”
What do you say when someone asks you to agree before
telling you what the request is? Avoid saying:
— Sure.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Getting Clarification
Before Agreeing, such as:
• What do you need?
• I just might! What is it?
Acknowledge
I know this is
important.
Circumstances
I am working on the
XYZ account.
Transform
Which is the priority?
What can I put aside
to make time to
complete this?
52
POWERPHRASES®
• Tell me what and I’ll see.
• I need to know what the favor is before I can
answer you.
PowerPhrases to the Rescue—Before You Agree…
When I train assistants I share a story about a woman
who was an assistant for a VP in her company. At a
convention, the CEO of the company came to her and
said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had hats with the company
logo embroidered on them for all 650 employees
this evening? Please take care of that.”
The CEO had never made a request of this woman
before, so he was not aware of her history of excellence.
Her response was to say, “I have no idea of how I could
possibly do that.” That response had negative repercussions
for her.
At seminars I have my groups explore options. Some
ask for clarification of budget, quality specifications
and if the evening meeting is an absolute deadline.
Others ACT by acknowledging the great idea, explaining
why they believe it might not be possible and suggesting
alternatives. Still others buy time, and say:
• Let me check on a few things and get back to
you.
Learning to say no does not mean that we ignore the
sensitivities of the other person. It does mean that we
also respect our own requirements.
Learning to say no
does not mean
that we ignore the
sensitivities of the
other person.
53
POWERPHRASES® FOR SAYING “NO”
EXERCISES
I. You have been asked to do something that falls outside of your direct line of
work and expertise. How do you refuse the assignment?
Step 1:
Acknowledge the request.
____________________________________________________________
Step 2:
Explain Circumstances.
____________________________________________________________
Step 3:
Transform the refusal into a positive by reaffirming the relationship or suggesting
an alternative.
____________________________________________________________
II. Someone is taking a collection for a birthday gift for an employee you don’t
know. You are on a tight budget. How do you refuse?
Step 1:
Acknowledge the request.
____________________________________________________________
Step 2:
Explain Circumstances.
____________________________________________________________
Step 3:
Transform the refusal into a positive by reaffirming the relationship or suggesting
an alternative.
____________________________________________________________
54
POWERPHRASES®
The Power of NO
The Beatles wrote a song that contains the following lines: “I ain’t no fool and I
don’t take what I don’t want.” Every time you say “yes” to something you don’t
want, you are saying “no” to what you do. As with any habit, overcoming the
“yes” habit will be uncomfortable. Say no anyway! Take a deep breath and use
the “butter” voice that was described in the introduction. Whatever you do, do
not take your words back because you are outside of your comfort zone.
I often meet people who used to say yes, and have since discovered the power of
no. They found it a challenge at first, but incredibly rewarding. They always
smile when they tell me about saying no, because the small and powerful word
helps them take control and sets them free. These PowerPhrases will help YOU
take control and they will set you free.
55
What words come to mind when you think of
conflict? Write four below.
______________________ ______________________
______________________ ______________________
My audiences often pick words like anger, frustration,
shouting, and tension. What do these words have in
common? They are all negative! Can you think of some
positive words that apply to conflict? Write four below.
______________________ ______________________
______________________ ______________________
Was that a bit harder? It usually is. It is challenging to
think of words like breakthrough, understanding, and
resolution. You have to train yourself to think Power
Thoughts and to speak PowerPhrases in conflict.
Negative words and statements that intensify the conflict
come more easily.
It will help if you view conflict as a natural and healthy
aspect of life and relationships. This attitude helps you
become more willing to air your differences at earlier
stages, and that makes resolution much easier.
Train yourself
to think Power
Thoughts and
to speak
PowerPhrases
in conflict.
CHAPTER 4
PowerPhrases® That Transform Conflicts Into Understanding
56
Power Thinking to the Rescue
Pay attention to your thoughts when conflict begins.
Avoid thinking:
— I better avoid this disagreement.
— I can’t handle conflict.
— Who do they think they are?
Instead, choose Power Thoughts, such as:
• There is a solution here.
• Conflict is a normal part of life and we will get
to the other side.
• I can stay calm and express myself gracefully.
• What do I want? What do they want? How can
we resolve this?
About a year ago, I was contracted by the Department
of Defense to do three days of conflict management
training. The entire division was called in for the training
because a few men had had incidences of violence.
None of them wanted to be there. They tried to get the
unions to stop the training. This was the most hostile
group I have ever faced.
I had to be very assertive with myself about my thinking.
I was tempted to think:
— This is going to be awful!
— I want out of here!
— I can’t handle this.
Every time I had a thought like that, I chose to replace
the thought with Power Thoughts such as:
• I am very good at what I do.
• This is an opportunity.
POWERPHRASES®
Think: “There is a
solution here.”
57
When conflicts
arise, make your
CASE.
• They are going to be very glad that this training
was mandatory.
By the end they were glad to have been there. I had
Power Thinking to thank.
Conflict is a very hot topic! Do you want to know how
to get that other person to shape up? Do you want to
know exactly what to say to put others in their place?
This chapter will not tell you either. What it will do is
tell you exactly what to say to keep from being the
source of the problem, and give you concrete steps and
phrases to use to resolve the problems that do occur.
When conflicts arise, you must know how to make your
CASE! That means:
Clarify their position,
Assert your position,
Seek solutions and
Evaluate options and create agreements.
Make your CASE Step 1: Clarifying Their
Position
Do you ever jump to conclusions in conflict situations?
Do you imagine that they are doing awful things on purpose?
Do you think they are out to get you? If so, you are
normal! We all become self-focused, and reach conclusions
before clear evidence is obtained. Develop a habit
of standing in the other person’s shoes. Clarify their perspective
before asserting your own.
Dr. Stephen Covey says to:
• “Seek first to understand and then to be
understood.”
Adopt this motto—with one addition.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
58
POWERPHRASES®
1 Cavett Robert, Founder, National Speakers Association.
• Seek first to understand, and make it clear to them
that you do. Then seek to be understood.
It is not enough that you understand the other person.
They need to feel understood. Remember that:
• No one cares how much you know until they know
how much you care.1
Power Listening to the Rescue
The meeting was getting nowhere. Sheila was on the
defensive. Whatever people said was considered to be a
personal affront.
Finally I said:
• Let’s listen to Sheila and tell her our understanding
of what she is saying until we are certain
and she is certain that we are hearing her.
The suggestion worked like magic. Sheila relaxed and
spoke from a position of being open and vulnerable.
Surprisingly, once she had the floor, she only needed to
speak a short while. Then she was open to hearing
what we had to say.
You will get excellent results when you demonstrate
interest and concern as the first step in managing conflict.
Explore your assumptions by asking questions. Ask
your questions gracefully. Watch out for set-up questions
like:
— Why…?
— Why don’t you ever…?
— Why do you always…?
“Why” questions tend to put the other person on the
defensive.
It is not
enough that you
understand the
other person. They
need to feel
understood.
59
Also avoid accusative, closed-ended questions that result
in defensiveness, such as:
— Did you do that to sabotage me?
— Are you out to get me?
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Ask Clarifying Questions,
such as:
• Help me to understand…
• Let me make sure I understand you clearly…
• Are you aware…? (I LOVE this one!)
• Your intentions are not clear to me. Can you help
me out here?
• What did you mean by…?
Power Pointer— Listen With Your Heart
I believe that to understand all is to forgive all. It is
easy to find the flaw in other people’s thinking. It is
harder to find out how it makes sense to them. Listen
to learn about them. Listen to understand all. As long
as you have judgments, you do not truly understand.
The good news is that you can listen to yourself in the
same way. Listen to yourself and others with your
heart.
If you are judging yourself or others, think:
• There is something I do not understand here.
• There is a reason that they are behaving this
way.
Many of their answers will probably anger or upset you.
Consider their words and explore their position more
thoroughly before asserting your own. Do not let your
reaction stand in the way of managing conflict successfully.
Instead, keep listening to them, and continue to
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
To understand all
is to forgive all.
60
POWERPHRASES®
seek to understand. It won’t help you to say:
— That is a ridiculous idea!
— You are kidding, right?
— How could you possibly think that?
— You’re wrong!
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Acknowledge Without
Agreeing, such as:
• I see. Tell me more.
• This is a big issue for you.
• I might feel that way if I was in your shoes.
• That’s an interesting perspective.
• I did not realize that you felt that way.
• I had not considered that perspective.
• Please continue.
• That may be.
• I appreciate your sharing your experience. What
else do I need to know?
At various intervals, use PowerPhrases to Ask
Questions That Confirm Understanding, such as:
• This is my understanding of what you are saying…
What do I still need to know to understand your
perspective?
• What I hear you saying is… Is my understanding
correct?
Redirect any urge you may have to scream, curse or
throw cold water on them, into effective conflict management.
Continue to use PowerPhrases to Ask
Clarifying Questions, PowerPhrases to Acknowledge
Without Agreeing, and PowerPhrases to Ask
Questions That Confirm Understanding until it is
clear that you understand them, and they know it. Most
people do not make it this far!
It is easy to find
the flaw in other
people’s thinking.
It is harder to find
out how it makes
sense to them.
61
Power Pointer— Pick Your Battles
Always be aware of your chances of success when you
decide what to address.
Following a merger, my client Donna found herself
reporting to a manager who knew far less than she did.
The manager decided to relocate the call center to
another state because “cost would be less.” Donna was
more familiar with the numbers than her supervisor
was. Donna knew that although wages were lower, cost
per dollar ordered was much higher. The decision was
already made, so rather than arguing about something
that could not be changed, Donna set her focus on
what could be affected. She said:
• You are right that wages are lower there.
However, cost per dollar ordered is higher. Let’s
get some trainers in there to increase their efficiency.
Pick battles small enough to win and big enough
to matter.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
Pick battles small
enough to win and
big enough to
matter.
62
PowerPhrases to the Rescue
An assistant at one of my seminars named Marcie was
the representative of a very difficult client. She said
that she had his account because she was the only one
who could tolerate him at all. After learning how to
make her CASE, Marcie prepared a script to request
better treatment from him. She began by saying:
• I believe that I understand how you want to be
treated as my client. May I go through my
understanding to make sure it is correct?
He agreed and she told him of all the things she understood
he wanted from her. When the client agreed that
her understanding was appropriate, Marcie said:
• Now I would like five minutes of your time to
tell you how I would like to be treated as your
representative. Can you offer me that?
He agreed and she went through her lists of requests.
For example, she said:
• I would like you to view me as someone who is
doing what she can to help you.
• I want to be able to clarify my understandings.
When she finished, the client was quiet for several
moments. Then he said, “You deserve a raise and a promotion,
and I’m going to get you one.” He did! He
talked to her boss and the result was that she got a
raise and a promotion.
When you listen first, people are much more willing to
listen to you.
POWERPHRASES®
When you
listen first,
people are much
more willing to
listen to you.
63
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
Make Your CASE Step 2: Assert Your Own
Position
When the other person agrees that you understand their
position, they will be more open to your explanations.
Before you speak, elicit a commitment from them to
listen and consider your ideas. Use a PowerPhrase for
Requesting Uninterrupted Time to Express Yourself,
such as:
• You acknowledge that I understand your position.
Will you give me five minutes of uninterrupted
time to explain mine?
• You have made some valid points that make a lot
of sense from where you stand. Please hear me out
as I describe how it looks to me.
• Are you ready to hear how I see it?
There are three steps to asserting your position in conflict.
(A) Describe the problem, (B) communicate the
impact, and (C) request a new behavior.
A. Describe the Problem
Open with a description of what happens or what they
do in behavioral terms. This means be neutral and leave
out all judgment. Think of yourself as an attorney.
Attorneys cannot say:
— You are out to get me.
— Obviously, my assignments are of a low priority
to you.
— You micromanage.
— You never respond to me.
— I think you were raised in a barn.
Attorneys must state facts as facts, and leave out opinions
(or be subtle about it when they do not). You need to
speak with the same integrity.
When the other
person agrees that
you understand
their position,
they will be more
open to your
explanations.
64
POWERPHRASES®
Use PowerPhrases for Describing the Negative
Behavior, such as:
• When…
• I notice…
• The other day…
• When I… you…
Filled in, these sentence stems can sound like the following:
• When… the time for the meeting regarding the
Smith account was changed…
• I notice that… the assignment I gave you was
moved to the bottom of your project sign-in sheet.
• The other day… you checked my work 14 times.
• When I spoke… you did not respond.
Power Thinking to the Rescue
Do you ever doubt your own perception when someone
disagrees with it? Do not let anyone talk you out of
your own experience. Certainly you do want to consider
their perspective, but do not let their perspective become
more important than your own. It won’t help you to say:
— I must be crazy.
— They must be crazy.
— I shouldn’t be thinking and feeling this way.
Instead, use Power Thinking, such as:
• I am the authority on my view of the situation.
• They are the authority on their view of the situation.
• They have a right to their opinion, and I have a
right to mine.
• I have a right to express my opinion.
Do not let
anyone talk you
out of your own
experience.
65
B. Communicate the Impact
After describing the offending behavior, express the
impact, and your thoughts and feelings about it. Watch
out for words like:
— It messes everything up. (Too vague)
— I think you don’t trust me. (Blaming)
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Expressing the Impact
of a Behavior, such as:
• What happens is…
• The impact is…
• I think…
• I feel… (Consider the cautions for “I think” and “I
feel” in Chapter 2 before using them.)
• The effect is…
Filled in these can sound like:
• What happens is… I feel alienated from the team.
• The impact is… I do not receive my work on time
and I do not present well at the meeting.
• I think… I’m not trusted.
• I feel… uncomfortable.
• The effect is… I get confused and make more mistakes.
C. Request a New Behavior
Once the impact is clear, tell them what you want them
to do. Avoid saying:
— Do this… (Sounds dictatorial)
— Don’t do that… (Talk about what you WANT, not
what you do not want.)
— You need to… (Be very careful of sentences that
start with “you.” It can sound controlling.)
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
Once they
understand the
impact of their
actions, tell them
what you want
them to do.
66
POWERPHRASES®
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Requesting a New
Behavior, such as:
• I need…
• I want…
• What I want to see happen is…
• I prefer…
• What would work better is…
• What needs to happen is…
• I need… to be advised of changes as they occur.
• I want… us to work out a standard system for
prioritizing work.
• I prefer… to work on my own, checking in at
regularly scheduled intervals.
Put the above steps together and you get the three-step
Clearly request process for asserting your position.
the new
behavior you
desire.
67
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
Assert your own
position without
intensifying the
conflict.
Three-Step Process for Asserting Your Own Position
Without Intensifying the Conflict
Problem
I sent three inquiries
without receiving a
response.
My situation is that I
have been here for
three months and I
still do not have a
workstation of my
own.
When you sell
products that were
designed for my
department…
When I speak, I
notice you are reading
the paper.
The other day you
spoke with my staff
about turnaround
times.
Impact: Thoughts/
Feelings/Effect
I think I am being
ignored.
I feel frustrated. What
happens is I have to
carry my materials to
wherever I can find a
station, and it takes
quite a while to sort
them out.
The effect is that my
claims of exclusivity
to my clients are
invalidated and they
lose trust in me.
I believe that you
cannot listen to me
and read the paper at
the same time.
They were upset by
the way you addressed
them and the standards
you expressed.
They were so upset
that very little work
got done that day.
Request
I need a prompt
acknowledgement of
my inquiries and an
indication of when
my request will be
granted.
My request is that the
next time someone
leaves, I be given
their desk.
I need you to stop
selling our line. I
recommend that you
request products to be
designed exclusively
for your department.
Please give me your
full attention.
I suggest we meet and
find a solution to this
problem together.
68
POWERPHRASES®
PowerPhrases to the Rescue— Addressing an
Impossible Manager
Trainer Carolyn Burke was once a sales manager at a
major bank. The Vice President of Sales, Sharon,
believed in management by intimidation. Sharon created
an atmosphere of fear and paranoia for the people
that Carolyn supervised. If they did not meet their
sales goals, once a month they were on the phone with
Sharon, where she would humiliate them in front of
their peers. One day, after finding a woman named
Carrie at her desk in tears, Carolyn decided that it was
time to address the issue. She scripted out what she
planned to say and practiced with her husband.
When she was fully prepared, Carolyn introduced the
topic by saying:
• Sharon, there’s an issue I would like to discuss.
Can we meet in the conference room?
Once in the conference room, Carolyn continued by
saying:
• Sharon, the other day I came back to the office
and Carrie was at her desk in tears. She had just
gotten off the phone with you for not meeting
her sales goals and she was very upset.
Sharon said, — “She should have been. She wasn’t
doing her job.”
Carolyn acknowledged her without agreeing by saying:
• That may be. May I continue?
• I understand the reason why you have these
calls is so we will meet our goals and stay off the
phone with you. I think you don’t know what
happens when we get off the phone with you.
When we get off the phone with you, we don’t
When you give
people corrective
feedback, the
initial response is
usually defensive.
69
feel like going out and selling. We are devastated.
Our self-esteem is so low, we want to crawl
under the desk and hide. Sharon, you know so
much. Share what you know with us rather than
scaring us. That will increase our commissions,
which will increase your commissions as well.
Sharon replied, — “Carolyn Burke, don’t you EVER
tell me how to do my job again. Get out of here!”
Carolyn responded by saying:
• I understand you’re upset. I’ve just given you
feedback. No one enjoys that. I do believe that
when you consider what I’ve told you, you will
realize that it will benefit you as well as us.
Carolyn did not push Sharon to acknowledge what she
said at that moment. When we give people corrective
feedback, the initial response is usually defensive.
Carolyn gave Sharon the information and allowed her
time to process it. Carolyn’s communication was successful.
Sharon never made those calls again. Five
years later, when Carolyn was leaving the company,
Sharon told her that she respected her for addressing
the issue that day.
Whether you get acknowledged or not, you reclaim a bit
of yourself every time you communicate well.
D. Consequences
Sometimes you will want to include a fourth step for
asserting your position—a consequence. When you
express consequences, it is far better to explain the benefits
of cooperating than the costs of non-cooperation.
However, there is a place for both.
Watch out for words like:
— Do this or else…(Threatening)
When you express
consequences, it
is far better to
explain the
benefits of
cooperating than
the costs of
non-cooperation.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
70
POWERPHRASES®
Use a
PowerPhrase
for explaining
consequences
— If I were you…(Condescending)
— You are forcing me to…(Accusatory)
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Explaining Consequences,
such as:
• This will…
• The benefit to you is…
• If this happens again, I will…
• Next time this happens I will…
• What this means for you is…
Combine one phrase from each category to make a
complete and effective statement of your position.
71
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
The Four-Step Process to Assert Your Position
Asserting Your Position in One to Three Steps
While I recommend you decide what you would say for
all four steps if you were to use them, sometimes you
will want to use shorter statements, omitting some
elements.
You can assert
your position in
one to four steps.
Problem
I sent three
inquiries
without
receiving a
response.
My situation is
that I have been
here for three
months and I
still do not have
a workstation of
my own.
When you sell
products that
were designed
for my
department…
When I speak, I
notice that you
are reading the
paper.
Impact:
Thoughts/
Feelings/Effect
I think I am
being ignored.
I feel frustrated.
What happens is
I have to carry
my materials to
wherever I can
find a station,
and it takes
quite a while to
sort them out.
The effect is that
my claims of
exclusivity to my
clients are
invalidated and
they lose trust
in me.
I believe that
you cannot
listen to me and
read the paper at
the same time.
Request
I need a prompt
acknowledgement
of my
inquiries and an
indication of
when my request
will be granted.
My request is
that the next
time someone
leaves, I be
given their desk.
I need you to
stop selling our
line.
I recommend
that you request
products to be
designed
exclusively for
your
department.
I want your full
attention.
Consequence
This will keep
me from
inundating you
with repeated
requests.
The benefit to
you is I will be
more efficient in
my work.
If this happens
again I will
bring the issue
to the
supervisor.
Next time this
happens I will
wait until I have
your full
attention to
speak.
Often step one and two of making your case, clarifying
their position and asserting your own, are all you need.
They will say, “sure, no problem,” and you will see if
your requests are honored. Sometimes you will either
not agree on the problem, or you will not agree on the
solution. When that happens, move to step 3, and seek
solutions.
Make Your Case Step 3: Seeking Solutions
The best solutions are the ones you decide on together.
A great way to start is to request that you look for solutions
together. Use a PowerPhrase to Request That You
Negotiate Solutions Together, such as:
• What I want to see happen is for us to negotiate
solutions together.
• I suggest that we kick around a few ideas to see
what solutions we can come up with.
72
POWERPHRASES®
Why not request
that you look
for solutions
together?
Problem
I have not
received a
response to the
memo I sent last
week.
Impact:
Thoughts/
Feelings/Effect
Clients are
threatening to
withdraw their
accounts.
Request
Please give me
your full
attention when
I speak.
How can I help
you get here on
time?
I need the
figures
immediately.
Consequence
If this
continues I will
request that you
be removed
from the
project.
73
• If we could come up with a solution that works for
us both, would you be interested?
• What would it take to make my request possible?
• I believe we can work this out to both of our satisfaction.
Will you work with me on this?
• I need your help to resolve this.
Before you can effectively seek solutions, you might
need to find a definition of the problem that you both
can agree to. In larger issues, it is worth the time to
reach a mutual definition of the problem. For example,
one of my clients could not get her employee to admit
that her actions undermined the team, but she was willing
to admit that there was a perception of her not being
a team player. They set out to find ways to change the
perception. The resulting solutions were effective.
One approach to negotiating solutions is outlined in
How to Deal With Difficult People by Paul Friedman. It
comes from The Federal Mediation and Conciliation
Service. It suggests that you both complete the following
PowerPhrases for Seeking Solutions:
• I think I should…
• You think you should…
• I think you should…
• You think I should…
Find the points of agreement, and combine the lists
into:
• We think we should…
Another powerful way for you to generate options is to
brainstorm solutions. You can do it on your own, or you
can get with the other parties involved and offer solutions
until you get 20 options. Let yourself get a little
crazy in your ideas. Tell your mental critic’s committee
that they will get their turn later. You will welcome logic
and common sense during the evaluation phase later.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
In larger issues, it
is worth the time
to reach a mutual
definition of the
problem.
74
Power Pointer— Brainstorming Solutions
At one company where I was doing conflict resolution
training, the group decided to brainstorm solutions to
see if they could resolve a problem as a group. They
chose to brainstorm solutions for conflict in meetings.
The meetings were turning into venting sessions.
Management was delighted that the group was taking
it on themselves to address the problem, because the
meetings were a burden to them too.
We thought of solutions until we got twenty. Some
were extreme, but we did not evaluate them until later.
We narrowed it to five guidelines to implement, which
they all agreed on.
They implemented the guidelines and followed up two
weeks later to see what they wanted to keep and what
to change. Meetings were transformed, but what was
really transformed was the group. They learned that
they actually wanted the same things and that they
could work together to resolve the problem.
Make Your Case Step 4: Evaluating Options and
Building Agreements
Once you have at least twenty options on paper, review
them and see which ones or one you can agree to. For
each option, use PowerPhrases to Evaluate Options,
such as:
• Does this option solve the problem?
• Can you and I both live with this option?
• Is there any way to improve this option?
• Is it realistic?
• Are you and I both willing to commit to it in
writing?
POWERPHRASES®
Once you
have evaluated
your options,
make concrete
commitments and
arrange follow-up.
75
Once you evaluate your options, make concrete commitments
and arrange follow-up. If they resist and say
that obviously you do not trust them, say:
• Putting it in writing ensures we have the same
understanding.
• My policy is to get agreements as clear as possible
to avoid surprises later.
• Follow-up enables us to review our decisions in
case a situation arises that we did not consider.
At follow-up, ask:
• How is it working for you?
• What needs to change?
• Is there anything we did not anticipate?
Power Pointer— Get It In Writing
Years ago when my son was fourteen, we were negotiating
everything in our lives together. I asked what he
needed from me and talked about what I needed from
him. We had been at odds, but this discussion was
framed with an understanding that neither one of us
would agree to anything we did not feel good about.
When it came time to put the agreement in writing, I
noticed that my son became much more serious. He
was willing to verbally agree to many things that he
was not willing to agree to in writing. Putting it in writing
made it much more concrete. It creates a higher
level of commitment.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
Putting
agreements in
writing makes the
agreement more
concrete and
creates a higher
level of
commitment.
76
Exit Lines
Are you thinking that making your CASE sounds great,
but can it be so simple? Of course there are times when
they or you get highly emotional and cannot stay calm.
Knowing when to stop talking is as important as knowing
when to start. If you are upset and emotional, DO
NOT CONTINUE! Instead, use an exit line to remove
yourself and give yourself time to gain perspective. Here
is what you DON’T want to say:
— I am out of here…(Too abrupt)
— There is no talking to you…(Accusatory)
— This is a waste of time… (Negative)
— You are an idiot…(Insulting)
Instead, use a PowerPhrase Exit Line, such as:
• I need to check on some things before continuing
this discussion. Let’s meet again at…
• I need to take some time to regain perspective
before answering you. Let’s talk again Friday.
• My policy is not to discuss emotionally charged
subjects when I am upset. I need some time now.
Let’s talk later.
• You deserve respect. Right now, I’m so angry I
can’t offer you that. I need ____ minutes.2
• I’m afraid if we continue this discussion I’ll say
something I will regret. Let’s give it a 24-hour rest.
• I value our work relationship too much to speak
when I am as upset as I am now. Let’s pick this up
tomorrow.
• I think it is possible that one of us might say something
we will wish we hadn’t. Let’s meet later when
we are calmer.
One assistant said that once when she was upset with
her boss she said:
POWERPHRASES®
Knowing when
to stop talking
is as important
as knowing
when to start.
2 Carol Scofield, Conflict Management Skills for Women
(videotape) (Mission, KS: SkillPath Publications, 1994).
77
• I need to take some time because I’m beginning to
forget that you’re the boss.
Use that one at your own risk! While it is clever, it can
be taken as aggressive.
Be aware of two important points about using an exit
line.
1. Always say when you will be back.
2. After you use the line, you need to LEAVE! Do
not say it unless you mean it.
If they follow you and get pushy, say:
• Now is not a good time.
Repeat it several times if necessary. Make it clear that
you do mean what you say. While you are in “time out,”
review your PowerPhrases and plan how to proceed.
Defusing Anger
When you assert yourself by giving corrective feedback, a
common first response is defensiveness. Expect and allow
for that. Refrain from pushing them to acknowledge anything
in that moment if they seem extremely upset.
Have you ever had someone spitting mad around you?
Have you had someone who seemed out of control with
anger? Do not resist their anger. Defuse it instead. If
they are hurling accusations at you, avoid words like:
— That is not true! (Makes them more certain that
it is.)
— How dare you! (Accusatory.)
— Shut up! (Makes them want to talk all the more.)
Avoid saying:
— Calm down! (Invalidates their emotions.)
— Be reasonable! (Points out that they are not being
reasonable, which inflames them more.)
— Can’t you see how right I am? (Or anything that
Do not
resist anger.
Defuse it instead.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
78
POWERPHRASES®
they will interpret this way.)
— I do not have to put up with this! (They think you
deserve it and are avoiding responsibility.)
There are six main ways to defuse anger: (1) Listen,
(2) Agree, (3) Ask Specific Questions to Focus Them,
(4) Use Humor, (5) Stand Up to Them and (6) Go For
a Solution.
PowerPhrases to the Rescue— Choose Words to
Defuse Anger
In her book True Power3, Linda Larsen gives a dramatic
example of using PowerPhrases to defuse anger.
She was abducted by an escaped convict and held at
gunpoint for six hours! At one point her abductor took
the gun, pointed it straight at her head, cocked the
trigger, and asked her “Are you ready to die?” Linda’s
mind worked like a computer, searching for the
response that would not provoke her agitated captor.
Her response was:
• Well, I suppose if you wanted to kill me there is
nothing I can do to stop you.
Her abductor asked, —“Why aren’t you on the floor
groveling for your life?” To which she replied:
• Because you have the power.
What she realized as those words came out of her
mouth was that SHE was the one with the power. He
was out of control and she was in control. That
enabled her to choose responses that helped her to successfully
escape. Her goal in that moment was to stay
alive. To do that, she needed to align with her captor,
not alienate him. Whatever your goals are, avoid
unnecessarily provoking the other person. That will
enhance your chances of success.
Whatever your
goals are, avoid
unnecessarily
provoking the
other person.
3 Linda Larsen, True Power, Sarasota FL, Brandywine Publications,
2000.
79
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
1. Listening to Defuse Anger
Usually people who are angered expect you to resist.
The very act of listening rather than resisting often
defuses anger. When listening to an angry person you
will need to use PowerPhrases to Acknowledge
Without Agreeing, such as:
• I can see you feel strongly about this.
• I did not know you felt that way.
• Tell me more.
• What else concerns you?
Refer back to page 60 for more of these phrases.
Power Listening to the Rescue
Debbie had to fire one of her employees. Unfortunately,
this employee’s wife, Betty, was on Debbie’s
management team. Debbie noticed that Betty had
become indirectly hostile so she invited Betty to discuss
it. The discussion amounted to about twenty minutes
of Debbie listening to Betty yell, during which Debbie
used PowerPhrases to acknowledge her feelings and
encourage Betty to speak. After expressing herself this
way, Betty seemed relieved, and there was no more
indirect aggression.
Months later, there was an opening for a position
Debbie wanted in the department Betty oversaw.
When Debbie expressed interest she got Betty’s full
support, and now is very happy in her new position.
Even though Debbie was quite justified in firing
Betty’s husband and the accusations that were hurled
at her were unwarranted, it was in Debbie’s interests to
resist defending herself and to allow Betty to vent the
anger she felt. Do not let your ego tell you to do things
that are ultimately not in your best interest.
People who are
angered expect
you to resist.
The very act of
listening rather
than resisting
often defuses
anger.
80
2. Using Agreement to Defuse Anger
Listen for something you can agree to. It may be that out
of a hundred accusations, you can hear only one that
has validity. Validate that point! As a skilled conflict
manager, listen for truth in everything that is said. There
is a good chance that the speaker does not know what
the real issue is. Listen for the deeper truth, and help
them sort out the issues and move forward into problem
solving. A side benefit is that when you validate what
truth you find, they often will calm down and be more
open to listening.
Here are words to avoid:
— Ninety-nine things you said are wrong.
— How can you think that?
— Aren’t you ignoring the following 200 facts?
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Defuse Anger by Agreeing,
such as:
• The point you made about ___ hits home.
• That may be…
• I don’t blame you for being upset about…
• I hate it when that happens to me too!
• I get angry too when…
Align yourself with them and put yourself in the same
boat. While they are attempting to make you the enemy,
you see the similarities between you.
POWERPHRASES®
Listen for truth
in everything
that is said.
81
Power Thinking to the Rescue
Observe your thoughts when someone is venting anger
at you. Some thoughts that will get you in trouble are:
— I’ve got to stop them.
— They have their nerve.
— I can’t handle this!
Instead, use Power Thoughts, such as:
• Stay calm.
• What can I say to calm them down?
• What do they need in this moment?
• What is the issue behind their emotion?
• What might they be afraid of?
Choose thoughts that focus on your main goal at that
moment—calming them down so that you can focus
on the real issue. Do not get caught up in their emotion.
You choose your own response.
3. Ask Specific Questions to Defuse Anger
Often when people are angry, the accusations are
sweeping. You always… you never… you are a such and
such. Often they will label you. You can defuse the
anger by seeking specific information to get them to
focus on a concrete subject. This tool also keeps you
from resisting the accusations.
You will probably have to put yourself on a leash to listen
to accusations that are hurled at you in anger! In
fact, you will want to deny the accusation even if you
don’t believe what they are accusing you of is so bad!
When they are out of control in anger, this is not the
time to say:
— That’s not true.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
Defuse anger
by seeking
specific
information.
82
POWERPHRASES®
— You’re wrong.
— How dare you!
— Yeah but you…
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Diffusing Anger Through
Inquiry, such as:
• Exactly what do I say or do that leads you to
believe that…
• You just said that … (I lied, I am stupid, etc….)
Will you explain what you mean by that?
• To really understand your point, I need specific
examples.
This tool disarms, as well as forces them to get more logical
rather than emotional.
4. Using Humor to Defuse Anger
Humor in explosive situations can backfire, so use these
phrases with caution. You do not want to give the
impression that you take their concerns lightly. Your
goal is to break the angry state and introduce some levity.
The best humor pokes fun at the person using it.
Avoid humor at the expense of the angry person.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Defuse Anger With
Humor, such as:
• Someone must have switched stupid pills with my
vitamins.
• You know, Brad Pitt was saying the exact same
thing to me last week!
• I wonder if my mother dropped me on my head as
a baby!
• Don’t hurt me! I’m a grandmother!
• Is there a mess-up of the month award?
• My brain has a mind of its own sometimes.
The best humor
pokes fun at the
person using it.
83
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
If these do not sound like PowerPhrases to you, consider
this: powerful people are confident enough that they
do not need to constantly prove how great they are. In
addition, PowerPhrases seek results. The result we seek
when someone is out of control is to help him or her
calm down so we can proceed to conflict management.
5. Stand Up to an Angry Person
If these PowerPhrases get you nowhere in a situation
where someone seems emotionally out of control, you
could be communicating with a manipulator or a tester.
Some people become deliberately angry to control the
listener. Others become deliberately angry to test the listener.
Staying calm frustrates the manipulator, and
shows them that you are not someone to manipulate.
Staying calm proves your strength to the tester. If your
attempts to defuse fail and if you believe that you are
dealing with a tester or manipulator, speak up on your
own behalf. Some words to avoid are:
— You’re manipulating me. (They probably don’t
realize it.)
— Shut up! (Inflames and sounds helpless.)
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Tell an Angry Person
How to Treat You, such as:
• I care about your problem and when you speak to
me in this way, I cannot focus on solutions.
• I want to hear what you have to say, but not in this
way.
• I am here to find resolution. I am not here to be
verbally abused. One more comment like that and
I will no longer listen.
• Are you aware that you are blasting the very person
who can help you?
The result we seek
when someone is
out of control is
to help him or her
calm down so we
can proceed
to conflict
management.
84
• When you speak to me in this way, I do not feel
moved to help you.
• I am concerned about your problem and uncomfortable
with the way you are expressing it.
• Speaking to me in this way is totally unacceptable.
• When you are calm, I will be happy to listen to
your concerns.
These phrases make it clear what you will and won’t
accept without adopting their behaviors.
6. Going for a Solution to Defuse Anger
Out of control people usually are not ready to talk about
solutions until they have had a chance to vent their
emotions and assign a bit of blame. Sometimes, however,
they will allow you to redirect their attention from
the problem on to a solution. Use a PowerPhrase to
Focus on the Solution, such as:
• Let’s fix the problem, instead of blame.
• What can I do for you now?
• How do you see us resolving this problem?
If they are out of control with anger, use these phrases
with caution, as they might become angrier if they have
a stronger need to emote than to find resolution.
POWERPHRASES®
Out of control
people usually
are not ready
to talk about
solutions until
they have had a
chance to vent
their emotions
and assign a
bit of blame.
85
PowerPhrase to the Rescue— Defuse Anger by
Seeking Solutions
My friend Susan was on a committee that changed the
charting for the hospital she worked at. The first day
the new charts came into effect, a doctor called and
asked,
“Whose crazy idea was these new charts?”
Susan said:
• I was part of a committee that put these charts
together.
The doctor said, “You nurses are ruining this hospital.”
To which Susan responded:
• Sir, there was a doctor on the committee.
The doctor responded to that by saying, “So now you’re
blaming the doctors!”
Susan decided that she needed to go for a solution.
She said:
• With things being what they are, what can I do
for you now?
He said “I want the following points documented and
on my desk by Monday at ten.”
If Susan had tried to show him how irrational his communication
was, she would still be arguing with him.
Going for a solution sidestepped the fixing of blame.
Defuse anger by
seeking solutions.
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
86
POWERPHRASES®
PowerPhrases for Dealing With
Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Do you find directly angry people easy to deal with compared
to the ones who are indirect or passive-aggressive?
Passive-aggressive people are out to get you, but they use
indirect tactics. If you address the issue directly, they
deny the problem, and act innocent.
Passive-aggression comes in four main forms.
1. Mixed messages. (“Not bad for a novice.”)
2. Tone of voice conflicts with literal meaning of wording.
(“So glad you could make it!” in a sarcastic tone
that emphasizes the word “make.”)
3. Gestures conflict with words. (Saying “of course”
while rolling the eyes.)
4. Actions conflict with words. (Saying, “Let’s do it your
way!” but not following through.)
People are passive-aggressive for three reasons.
1. They do not know how to or do not feel safe with
communicating directly.
2. They can get away with it.
3. They are unconscious of their actions.
In all cases, deal with passive-aggression in a straightforward
way. Describe the conflict between what they are
saying and what you perceive. Do not say:
— You lie! (Accusatory)
— Oh yeah? Right! (Sarcastic and passive-aggressive)
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Address Passive-Aggressive
Behavior Directly, such as:
• Is something bothering you that we need to
address? I care about our relationship. If there is
something we need to resolve, let’s do it.
Passive-aggressive
people are out to
get you but they
use indirect
tactics.
87
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
• I am confused because your words say everything is
fine, but your tone of voice implies it’s not. What’s
going on?
• What do you mean by…?
• That remark sounded sarcastic and condescending
to me. Did you mean it that way?
• When you say ___, this is what I hear… Is that
what you mean?
• I thought I heard a dig. Did I?
• When you said ___, I heard___. That hurts!
Do not expect them to instantly confess their tactics!
Passive-aggressive people will continue the tactics that
have worked so well for them until they realize they do
not work anymore. If they deny any truth to your perceptions,
do not worry about it. If you stay assertive, over
time they will stop.
If they accuse you of being too sensitive, you do not
need to automatically deny it. Avoid saying:
— No, I am not! (Sounds defensive and you are playing
their game, not yours.)
You can simply respond by saying:
• That may be. If I am sensitive, I think it is important
for you to know how your words affect me.
• If you believe I am sensitive, why do you make
comments like that?
• This is not an issue of sensitivity. This is an issue
of…
If they say it was just a joke, you can tell them:
• If you intended it as a joke, you need to know that
I did not find it funny. Instead of being amused, I
was hurt.
• Sometimes I use humor to mask put-downs or to
communicate issues indirectly. If that is what you
Passive-aggressive
people will
continue their
tactics until they
realize they
do not work
anymore.
88
We always have
options of
assertiveness.
POWERPHRASES®
are doing, and if there is something you need to
tell me, please tell me directly.
Power Pointer— It Is Hard to See Passive-
Aggressiveness in Ourselves.
Georgia was upset that people would criticize coworkers
who were not in attendance at meetings. She took
the meeting minutes, so one day she took the minutes
verbatim. Every dig and every sideswipe went into the
minutes. Georgia felt innocent and acted baffled that
people were angry about it. Georgia had no idea that
her action was passive aggressive. She was being indirectly
hurtful. A more assertive approach would have
been to say something like:
• I am uncomfortable when we speak about people
behind their backs. I insist that we only talk
about people in the same way we would if they
were here.
Of course she would need to be willing to back up her
assertion with action. If the behavior continued, she
could assert herself again.
• When we criticize people who are not present,
it causes me to wonder if you discuss me when I
am not here. I find it unacceptable.
If there is still no response she can walk out of the
meeting, asserting:
• Please invite me back when this discussion has
ended.
Passive-aggressive behavior in ourselves is hard to see,
because we believe that they deserve so much worse
than what we are giving them. We always have options
of assertiveness.
89
EXERCISE
I. Listening While Under Attack
Get a friend you feel very comfortable with for this exercise, because it will probably
stretch your tolerance level! Ask your friend to hurl criticism and accusations
at you. If you are really adventurous, tell them the areas you are sensitive
about. For example, if being called selfish is a problem for you, tell your friend
to call you selfish. If you are not so bold, ask them to limit themselves to specific
comments that do not trigger such core issues.
When they make an accusation, respond by telling them what you appreciate
about them. Your comments do not have to relate to their criticisms in any way.
For example, they might call you selfish, and you respond by saying they have
sound business judgment. They say you are stupid and you tell them that they
have nice hair.
The purposes of this exercise it to break the pattern of reacting. It is very
powerful.
II. Make Your CASE
Problem: Someone expressed your idea to the boss and took credit.
Your Response: You naturally believe you know what happened. The coworker
you confided in is not to be trusted! She wronged you! However, do you really
know the entire story? Instead of accusing her or getting back at her, you make
your CASE! You start by clarifying her position.
What PowerPhrases to Ask Clarifying Questions would you use?
1.____________________________________________________________
2.____________________________________________________________
3.____________________________________________________________
She says things that sound like excuses to you, but in order to stay focused on her
perspective and to get the entire story, you use a PowerPhrase to Acknowledge
Without Agreeing. Which ones do you use?
1.____________________________________________________________
2.____________________________________________________________
3.____________________________________________________________
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
She begins by saying that it was as much her idea as yours. She says she never
told the boss it was her idea, he just assumed that it was. She also expresses her
own fear about being fired if she does not come up with some great ideas. You
are ready to respond, but before you do, you want to verify your understanding
by using a PowerPhrase to Ask Questions That Confirm Understanding. What
do you say?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Now you know what to say because you understand her position. You want to
make certain that she is ready to listen, and you want to set the stage for uninterrupted
time. You do this by using a PowerPhrase for Requesting to Express
Yourself Without Interruption. What do you say?
____________________________________________________________
She agrees to hear you out. First, you want to describe the problem using a
PowerPhrase for Describing Negative Behavior. How do you describe the problem
in objective terms?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Now you want to communicate the impact the behavior had on you by using a
PowerPhrase for Expressing the Impact of a Behavior. What do you say?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Next, express your suggested solutions by using a PowerPhrase for Requesting a
New Behavior. What do you say?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Congratulations! You asserted your position! However, your coworker responds
with sarcasm. She says, “I guess not everyone is as perfect as you are.”
You respond by using a PowerPhrase to Address Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Directly. What do you say?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
90
POWERPHRASES®
91
POWERPHRASES® THAT TRANSFORM CONFLICTS INTO UNDERSTANDING
Now she knows that you are calm and you are serious. You are ready to reach an
agreement. Use a PowerPhrase to Request That You Negotiate Solutions
Together. What do you say?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
She agrees and you come up with several options. What options do you come up
with? Be certain there is something to be gained for her as well as you.
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Together you choose one option. This issue does not seem to call for written
agreements or follow-up so you skip that step. Thank her for working with you,
and decide how much information you feel safe sharing with her in the future.
92
POWERPHRASES®
93
The hardest part
about having a
successful
negotiation is in
being able to
picture the
possibility.
CHAPTER 5
PowerPhrases® for Negotiations to Get You What You Want
Look at the following and say aloud what you see.
OPPORTUNITYNOWHERE
If you saw:
OPPORTUNITY NOWHERE,
you are not alone. If you saw:
OPPORTUNITY NOW HERE,
great job! Your focus was positive!
Your success with negotiations starts with picturing a
positive outcome. Jim Cathcart said, “The hardest part
about getting where I am today was picturing myself
being where I am today.”4 Similarly, the hardest part
about having a successful negotiation is in being able to
picture the possibility. The second hardest part is to
know what to say. That’s where PowerPhrases are so
handy! PowerPhrases will serve you from pre-negotiation
to post-negotiation.
Pre-negotiation Essentials
Research Before Beginning to Negotiate
Most of your work in a negotiation takes place before
you sit at the negotiation table. Doing your homework
can take time, but it is time invested, not spent.
PowerPhrases can help.
4 Jim Cathcart, The Pros Speak About Success,
(Mission KS: SkillPath Publications, 1999)
Before you embark on your negotiation, find out:
1. What are the standards in the area, and what is a
reasonable range?
2. What do you want and what are you willing to
accept?
3. What are they likely to want and why?
4. What are your deadlines as well as theirs?
5. What are their options if you cannot come to
agreement and what alternatives do you have?
(This is called walk-away power.)
As part of your research, talk to:
1. People who have already negotiated with the person
or organization you will be negotiating with.
2. People who work with the person or team you
will be negotiating with. For example, the design
department can provide you with useful information
about the sales department.
3. Neighbors or neighboring business people.
4. The person you will be negotiating with.
PowerPhrases provide the words to get the information
you need. When researching with outside parties, use
PowerPhrases to Get Information About the Other
Person’s Situation, such as:
• What pressures are they under?
• What deadlines are they under?
• What is the mood in the organization right now?
• What kind of arrangements have they made with
others either currently or in the past?
• If I offered ____, would I be in the ballpark?
• What alternatives do they have to making a deal
with me?
• How willing are they to take a risk in this matter?
• To whom does the negotiator answer?
94
POWERPHRASES®
Doing your
homework can
take time, but it
is time invested,
not spent.
PowerPhrases
can help.
95
• Why do they want what they do? What need are
they trying to meet?
• How flexible are they?
• How do they decide…?
Adapt these phrases when your research involves speaking
with the actual party you will be negotiating with.
Prepare yourself as much as you can before you actually
begin a negotiation. While you certainly will be
uncovering information in the actual negotiations
process, get as much information as you can before you
approach the table.
Set the Tone
Once you believe you have learned all you can, initiate
the negotiation in a way that creates an atmosphere of
confidence, ease and mutual gain. Use words that suggest
benefit to the other person. You may choose to
avoid the word “negotiate,” which can imply a winner
and a loser. Avoid saying:
— Let’s negotiate.
— I’ll do whatever it takes to win your business.
— I’ll have you seeing things my way in no time.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Initiate a Negotiation,
such as:
• If we could work out a plan that benefits us both,
would you be interested?
• Let’s come to an agreement on this.
• Let’s work together to find a plan that works for
both of us.
• I am here to work with you.
• Let’s discuss the situation and come up with a
solution we both are happy with. I do not want
either of us to agree to anything that does not
Initiate the
negotiation in a
way that creates
an atmosphere of
confidence, ease
and mutual gain.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
96
POWERPHRASES®
satisfy both our needs.
• We have a challenge. Let’s find a solution together.
• I’m convinced that we can find an agreement that
we both like.
• I have an idea I want to share with you. I need 15
minutes of your undivided attention. Would 3:00
this afternoon work?
Power Pointer— Set the Tone Immediately
I was called in to assist a national company with management-
employee negotiations. The manager who
introduced me was light and playful with the group
until we were ready to begin. At that point he introduced
me by telling the group how serious things were
and warning them of how they needed to listen, not
interrupt, do what I said and shape up. He sounded
condescending and patronizing. Everyone’s faces fell as
a me-against-you atmosphere was created. I knew that if
I was going to win any trust from the employees, I needed
to change that perception fast. I also needed to avoid
offending the manager who had called me in. I said:
• Michael is right. This is a serious situation and
it does need to be taken seriously. Because it is
so serious, let’s relax and have as much fun as
we can as we go about resolving the issues that
face us today. Serious solutions to serious issues
come from a state of openness and relaxation.
That is when we are our most creative, and that
is how we will find answers that satisfy both
sides here.
The tone changed back to one of lightness, cooperativeness
and one where solutions could be uncovered.
If the tone of a negotiation is not favorable for solutions,
focus on lightening the tone before you dive into
the negotiation details.
If the tone of a
negotiation is
not favorable
for solutions,
focus on
lightening the
tone before you
dive into the
negotiation
details.
97
To help create a relaxed attitude, personalize the conversation.
Use their name, and make it a conversation
between two people, not two positions. Avoid saying:
— ABC Widgets has a proposal they would like to
make to XYZ Whatis.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Personalize the
Negotiation, such as:
• Kathy, I would like to discuss the deal I can offer
you.
• Bill, sit down and get comfortable before we begin.
• Matt, I believe we have a lot to offer each other.
• Janet, I can tell that you are very experienced in
this area.
Determine Authority
Always be certain that you are negotiating with the person
who has the authority to make a deal. You can find
that out with PowerPhrases to Find the Decision
Maker, such as:
• Who else would you need to consult before we can
come to final terms?
• If we reach an agreement, will anyone else have to
approve?
• How does it work around here? Is this a decision
you can make?
• If we reach an agreement today, can we move
ahead?
• If we came to an agreement here today, what would
your next step be?
• If we strike a deal, can you approve it?
• Is there someone else involved in this agreement
with you?
• If you are happy with what we conclude here, when
can we get started?
To help to create a
relaxed attitude,
personalize the
conversation.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
98
If someone else does need to be consulted, either say:
• I am unwilling to negotiate without the decision
maker present.
Or say:
• I would be happy to sit in on meetings with the
final decision maker to provide backup information.
Be aware that if the person you are negotiating with is
not the final authority, you might give them enough
information to be convinced themselves, but not
enough for them to convince someone else. Also, many
times when a deal is submitted to a “higher authority”
for approval, they are using a tactic to come back with a
better deal for them.
Graciously Asking Probing Questions
Once the tone is set, you are negotiating with the right
person, and you are ready to begin discussing issues, put
the initial focus on them and their needs.
Use a PowerPhrase to Solicit Their Position, such as:
• What goals do you have for today?
• How would you like to see this discussion turn out?
• Is there anything you want me to know?
• What do you see as our common ground here?
• Tell me what you want from me/us.
• I want to make certain this turns out in a way that
works for everybody. How do you see that
happening?
• How will you know…(which supplier you want)?
Listen, listen, and listen to what they have to say. You will
do your best negotiating when you do far more listening
than talking! Ask clarifying questions, acknowledge
without agreeing, and learn everything that you can.
POWERPHRASES®
Many times
when a deal is
submitted to a
“higher authority”
for approval, they
are using a tactic
to come back
with a better deal
for them.
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You will do your
best negotiating
when you do far
more listening
than talking!
Use a PowerPhrase to Ask Clarifying Questions in
Negotiations, such as:
• Could you expand on that?
• Please give me more details about…
• I need more precise information about that last
point.
• Is there anything else we need to discuss that
would add significant cost to us?
• Have I summarized everything?
Paraphrase their offers back to them, using a
PowerPhrase to Clarify Understanding, such as:
• Am I correct in understanding that…?
• I think I understand what you are saying, but I
want to be certain I know just what you mean. Are
you saying that…?
• What I understand you to be saying is…
• Let me check to see if I understand you correctly.
Are you saying that…?
Be certain your understanding of their position is accurate
before you assert your own.
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100
POWERPHRASES®
Power Pointer–The Importance of Acknowledgement
When I coach people during negotiations, I always
look for the areas where the parties are in need of
acknowledgement. In one discussion, Joe was pointing
out to Susan the ways in which she was not giving as
much as he expected of her. Susan became defensive
and insisted that she was bending over backwards to
meet his expectations. Susan was unable to hear how
she was falling short because she was seeking acknowledgement
of the effort she was putting forward. Joe
was unwilling to acknowledge her efforts because he
expected more. He was concerned that if he acknowledged
her, she would not continue to improve. This is
a common impasse. When I was able to get them to
see the nature of their stalemate they both relented
and were able to give the other the needed acknowledgement
and move on. Many times, an unmet need
for acknowledgement is the greatest obstacle to finding
solutions. People want to get credit for whatever
they give.
Maintaining Early Neutrality
Do you ever have an emotional reaction to the other
person’s offer? No matter how unreasonable or exciting
their offer seems to you in the beginning, maintain a
sense of neutrality early in the negotiation. Get a complete
picture before you respond to the pieces. Your previous
homework of determining standards and alternatives
will give you power in responding to their offers. If
you do not have attractive options or if their initial offer
is very reasonable, you might be tempted to show enthusiasm
that could weaken the possibilities of getting concessions.
Even if you feel your very survival depends on
working out a deal, avoid saying:
Look for the areas
where the parties
are in need of
acknowledgement.
101
— I’ve got to have this or I’ll die!
— This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!
— That’s a terrific buy!
— You are our only supplier.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Sound Calm in Negotiation,
such as:
• I think we might be able to work out a deal.
• What you have could work for me.
• Let’s talk specifics and see if there is a way we can
make this work.
Early neutrality keeps your options open.
Making Your Offer
When you are ready to make an offer, state your needs
and offers clearly and confidently. Avoid:
— I really don’t like asking you to do this but…
— I was hoping that maybe you possibly could…
— You probably won’t want to, but…
Use a PowerPhrase for Making an Offer, such as:
• I propose that…
• In my view, a fair solution would be…
• I strongly recommend that…
• One solution that I see working for us both is…
• One fair arrangement would be…
• If we do ____, it would benefit you by___.
Use specific amounts. Don’t say:
— I’ll give you around $3000.
Early neutrality
keeps your options
open.
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102
POWERPHRASES®
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Stating a Specific
Amount or Commitment, such as:
• I am prepared to offer $2973.
• I will have this completed by June 13 at 3:30 PM.
The other party is less likely to argue with a specific
amount or deadline. State your needs clearly. Without
being frivolous, ask for what you really want, not just
what you think you can get.
• What I want is___. What this would mean to you
is___.
• What I want is___ by ___ because___.
Then show how you are able to fill their needs. Be sure
to emphasize why it is a great deal for them.
Use PowerPhrases to Communicate Value to Them,
such as:
• What this means for you is…
• I can help you by…
• Obviously ____ is important to you. I can help you
with…
• One of the advantages I/we offer is…
The other party
will be less likely
to argue with a
specific amount
or deadline.
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Early neutrality
keeps your options
open.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
Power Thinking to the Rescue— Starting High Can
Benefit Them as Well as You
When you ask for what you really want rather than
being limited by what you think you can get, you are
much more likely to end up better off. If your initial
position is high but not frivolous, they have more room
to talk you down and still give you a good deal.
Imagine your initial offer is $15, but you come down
to $10. They can go back to their boss and say they got
you down 33%!
Now, imagine you start at $12, and go down to $9.
When they report the results they do not look as good,
even though the price is more favorable!
Watch out for thoughts like:
— They might think I’m trying to take advantage of
them.
— They might get upset if I ask for what I really
want.
Instead, think:
• The worst that can happen is that they will say
no.
• This is what I want and this is what it’s worth,
so this is what I will ask for.
• I need to create some room for them to work
with.
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POWERPHRASES®
If you have areas
of weakness,
minimize the
impact by
addressing them
directly.
If you have areas of weakness, minimize the impact by
addressing them directly.
Use a PowerPhrase to Minimize Weakness, such as:
• Although we do not have the experience you normally
require, what we do offer is…
• What we offer instead of…is…
• It is true that ___ is not our strong point; however,
it is a minor issue in this discussion.
Then move on to emphasize the parts of the deal that
they like.
Get feedback from them regarding your offer by using a
PowerPhrase to Solicit Feedback for Your Offers, such
as:
• What do you think of this idea?
• Do you have any concerns with this proposal?
• What do you like about my offer?
If their expectations are unrealistic, let them know without
offending. Avoid saying:
— It’s not fair.
— You’re way off base.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Suggest the Range, such
as:
• That offer is not competitive.
• I cannot come close to that.
• Those expectations are unrealistic.
• My budget is not close to your range.
If they do not respond immediately, remain silent until
they do.
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Give and Take in Negotiations
If their initial offer is ridiculously low or ridiculously
high, steer clear of the following Poison Phrases:
— Oh no! This is going to cost me more than I
thought!
— You’re crazy!
— That’s highway robbery!
— What is your problem?
— I disagree.
Instead, consider not countering. Be prepared with
PowerPhrase Responses to Their Offers. Say:
• That’s an interesting offer.
• Let’s get serious.
• I’m confused. (Silence)
• I can begin to negotiate seriously with you when
you recommend ideas that are reasonable.
• I believe you want to be fair with me, but this offer
is not reasonable.
• That offer tells me that you are not serious about
coming to an agreement. Am I right?
Alternatively, you can counter with your own extreme
offer.
• If that is your initial offer, my initial offer will be as
extreme in the other direction.
If their initial
offer is
ridiculously low
or ridiculously
high, consider
not countering.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
106
POWERPHRASES®
Consider
countering an
extreme offer with
a counter
proposal that is
equally extreme.
Power Pointer— Life IS a Negotiation
When Sandy began negotiations for a divorce settlement,
she did not realize that she was in a negotiation.
She suggested settlements that seemed fair to her. Her
husband was playing the negotiation game in a very
different way. He began with an extreme position that
was in many ways unreasonable.
Because Sandy did not consider this to be a negotiation,
she was not prepared for her husband’s approach.
As a result, her very fair position became the starting
point for her position in the negotiation. Her husband
was pushing her toward a final settlement that was a
middle ground between her position and his extreme
position–an outcome that favored him.
When Sandy woke up to what was really going on, she
began to push for concessions she never believed she
could get. She was shocked when her husband
responded by relenting on other things that she did not
expect.
If you limit yourself to what you think you can get, you
relinquish much of your power.
Be aware of the other party’s attitude. Be aware that
some negotiators do not respect soft negotiators and
actually prefer to work with people who pursue
stronger positions. They enjoy the game, as well as the
sense of victory that comes with overcoming some of
the demands of a tough “opponent.”
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Do not wait
for the fear
to go away.
Take action
anyway.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
Or you can ask:
• Where did you get that figure?
• What caused you to decide on that…(price, deadline,
specification)?
• If you were in my seat would you consider that a
serious offer?
Power Pointer— Speaking Powerfully Can Take
Getting Used To!
One of my clients was very uncomfortable after reading
this book. Fred was in the middle of a negotiation
to sell a business. Fred’s habit was to give in, go along
with what the other person wanted, and “jump
through hoops” to meet someone else’s demands. The
only alternative he saw was to be combative. Fred
wanted to respond in a different way and the idea
frightened him.
We found the middle ground of being open, firm and
committed to a fair deal. We worked out the
PowerPhrases to back him up in his new stance.
Fred found that having the words gave him the
courage to be his own advocate. The words did not
eliminate his fear, however. Despite his fear he was
able to stand his ground and speaking was easier for
him the next time. Do not wait for the fear to go away.
Be prepared with your PowerPhrases, and forge ahead!
Even when offers are within range or better than you
imagined, consider going after a sweeter deal, if only to
make them feel good about the deal they make. When
you accept an offer too quickly, they will think that they
went too cheap. If it is a reasonable offer, affirm that
with a PowerPhrase to Express Partial Disagreement,
such as:
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POWERPHRASES®
Even when you
like an offer, it
can benefit you
to make a
counter offer.
• Your offer is reasonable for the most part. There
are some areas that concern me…
• While I agree on the whole, I have trouble
agreeing with the point about…
You can counter their offer by using a PowerPhrase to
Counter an Offer, such as:
• I can offer you ___, if you can give me___.
• I understand you feel your price is justified.
However, I can only pay…
• I need… because…
• That’s not what I had in mind.
• I need you to do better than that.
• The best I can do is…
• Is that the best you can do?
• What is your bottom line?
• What would it take to get you to raise (lower) your
price?
• What if we changed (specifications) (deadline) (the
price)?
• I was thinking more along the lines of …
• Would you consider…?
• What would you say to…?
• Let’s brainstorm options together.
Next, start the brainstorming process.
Brainstorming
You have an infinite number of possible ways to design
a deal. Use brainstorming to generate as many ideas as
possible in order to come up with creative solutions.
Start by thinking of as many ideas as you can without
worrying about why any of them will not work.
When you want to brainstorm with the other person, use
109
a PowerPhrase to Initiate the Brainstorming Process,
such as:
• I’ve run out of ideas. How do you think we can
resolve this?
• What do you REALLY want?
• What’s the craziest solution you can think of to this
problem?
• How can we expand on the ideas we already have
on the table?
• Suppose we were to…
• What if…
• Let’s assume…
When you brainstorm, remember that there are no bad
or ridiculous ideas. A “crazy idea” can lead to a great
one. Evaluate ideas separately from creating them.
If some of the ideas are negative, translate them into positives.
If you consider suggesting:
— I can refuse to fill orders that are under 30 days.
Say:
• I can fill orders that are over 30 days.
Suspend judgment while you brainstorm, and evaluate
these ideas later.
Brainstorming together works best when the trust level is
high. The best deals are made when you both are helping
each other meet goals. Of course, ultimately you
both will be loyal to your self or organization. Be alert
for objections and tactics.
Dealing With Objections and Tactics
Be prepared for objections and tactics as well as the
objections that are used as tactics. When they state an
objection, use a PowerPhrase to Overcome Objections,
such as:
You have an
infinite number of
possible ways to
design a deal.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
110
POWERPHRASES®
If they they need
to think about it,
offer to be a part
of their thinking
process.
• I understand how you feel. Many others have felt
the same way. What they found was ___.
• Are you saying that if I can satisfy this objection,
we would have a deal?
• Is that the only barrier between you and an agreement?
• It’s because I know that you are concerned with
(their objection) that I think this is a fabulous offer
for you.
• What makes you say that?
• What’s keeping you from getting the best?
Need to Think About It
If they say that they need to think about it, respectfully
offer to be a part of their thinking process, so that they
won’t talk themselves out of it due to lack of understanding.
Use a PowerPhrase to Counter Their Need to Think
About It, such as:
• What questions remain?
• Could you think about it out loud?
• I can help you to think about it if you will tell me
what your concerns are.
Sometimes the need to think about an offer is legitimate,
so it’s important not to push. Offer your support as
a service to them in helping to clarify their concerns.
Split the Difference
If they want to split the difference between their position
and yours, and they are within your range, use a
PowerPhrase to Raise the Range, such as:
• I’m at (ten) and you’re at (six). Are you suggesting
that you could come up to (eight)? Let me discuss
that with my people and let you know.
111
The range is now between eight and ten. This makes
nine seem reasonable.
If they want to split the difference and they are out of
range, make value the criteria.
Use a PowerPhrase to Focus the Discussion on Value,
such as:
• You are offering me ___. What standard did you
use to get that amount?
• I would gladly split the difference if I thought that
doing so would result in a fair amount. In this case
I do not find it reasonable.
Splitting the difference can be an attempt to frame the
figures in a way that might not be relevant.
Nibblers
Never make a concession without receiving something
of value in return. If they are “nibbling”–meaning that
they are asking for many seemingly insignificant concessions–
and the concessions are adding up, use a
PowerPhrase to End Nibbling Negotiators, such as:
• If I do that for you, what will you do for me?
• If you have to have that, I have to have this.
Even if what you ask for is relatively insignificant, it
makes it clear that you are setting boundaries.
Good Guy–Bad Guy
If you haven’t run into the good guy–bad guy game, you
have at least seen it on television. This is a ploy used
when you are negotiating with a team. One negotiator is
positioned as being “on your side” and the other is positioned
as the “bad” one. The “good” one tries to convince
you to trust them to help you to deal with the
“unreasonable” one. When this happens, challenge
them on the tactic.
Never make
a concession
without receiving
something of
value in return.
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112
POWERPHRASES®
Deal with
indirect behavior
in negotiations
directly.
Use a PowerPhrase to Challenge the Good Guy–Bad
Guy Game, such as:
• You aren’t going to play good guy/bad guy with
me, are you?
• I think ___ is playing bad guy, but let’s not
approach it that way. Let’s take the win-win
approach.
Deal with indirect behavior in negotiations the same
way you do in conflict. Let them know you see through
their game.
Bogey
A bogey is when the other person claims to be powerless
due to a limited budget, deadlines, quality standards,
etcetera. Test it out.
Use a PowerPhrase to Test a Constraint, such as:
• If I found the perfect item for (20%) more, should
I bother showing it to you?
• Who has the authority to (exceed the budget,
change the deadline, alter specifications)?
• Have there been situations where you have exceeded
the budget? How can we make this situation
like that one?
Use these PowerPhrases to find the limits to their stated
constraints.
Use Some Tactics of Your Own
A. Higher Authority
You can try to get a more favorable agreement by referring
to a higher authority. If they ask for a concession
you do not wish to give, use a PowerPhrase to Defer to
a Higher Authority, such as:
• I can agree to x, but beyond that I will have to consult
my general manager, who is out of town for the
113
next two weeks.
• Our policy is…
• I can’t sell this to my manager.
Many times they will concede rather than wait.
B. Last Minute Concessions
You also can ask for some last minute concessions by
using a PowerPhrase for Extracting Last Minute
Concessions, such as:
• You’ve got a deal if you will…
• I’ll do it if you’ll…
Often at that point they are so ready to firm up the deal
that they will give away new concessions.
Know When and How to Walk Away
If you are willing to walk away from a deal, that willingness
gives you power. If you discover and create options
before beginning the negotiation, you will not settle for
less than you deserve.
When you tell them you are ready to walk away, don’t
say:
— Take it or leave it.
— Accept my offer or I’m outta here.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Rejecting an Offer,
such as:
• I find your offer unacceptable.
• No, your offer does not work for me.
• If that is the best you can do, we might as well not
waste any more of each other’s time.
• Perhaps we will be able to find mutually acceptable
terms in future negotiations.
Do not give an ultimatum unless you are serious about it.
If you are
willing to walk
away from a deal,
that willingness
gives you power.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
114
POWERPHRASES®
Be sure to
confirm the deal.
Sealing the Deal
When things are lining up the way you like them, be
sure to confirm the deal before parting. Avoid saying:
— Think about it and get back to me.
— You don’t want this, do you?
Or anything else that leaves the contract uncertain.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Ask for an Agreement,
such as:
• This makes sense. Let’s go ahead and make it happen.
• When shall we start?
• I believe we have a fair solution. Let’s get the
paperwork started and have it ready by ___.
• What will it take to get a commitment from you
now?
• Let’s put that in writing.
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No matter how
good it all feels,
get it in writing as
soon as you can.
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
Power Pointer— Get It in Writing!
I was coaching Bill through the sale of a franchise. He
had sold it three years prior, and the man who bought
it walked out on the business and turned it back to Bill
without any notice. The last thing Bill wanted to do
was come out of retirement, so he was very anxious to
find a buyer.
He was lucky to find a buyer very quickly, and they
worked as a team to keep the business going while
negotiation details were being handled. The ownership
of the franchise was transferred, they worked furiously
to build up the inventory, and it looked like a smooth
transition.
Bill was very happy about the feeling of good will in
how it all unfolded, and because he had known the
buyer for years, he was comfortable with acting on a
verbal agreement of terms and the understanding that
they would use the previous buyer’s contract. Despite
my misgivings, he was not in a hurry to get the contract
in writing. He was very shocked when he received the
contract. It included a clause that said “if payments
are made on time for nine years, the tenth year is forgiven.”
That amounted to a 10% reduction in fee.
At this point he had lost all negotiation power and
ended up agreeing to a deal that he did not like.
No matter how good it all feels, get your agreement in
writing as soon as you can.
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POWERPHRASES®
Always be sure to
acknowledge them
for having made a
good deal.
If you cannot get them to commit on the spot, get them
to commit to your next communication. Rather than
leaving the discussion open, use a PowerPhrase to
Assure a Follow-Up Commitment, such as:
• When will you have your decision? Let’s meet that
day at ___ and wrap this up.
If they say they will call you, ask when you can expect to
hear from them. Once they have told you, use a
PowerPhrase for Maintaining Control of the Follow-
Up, such as:
• If I haven’t heard from you by ___ I will call you.
Confirming the Agreement
Always be sure to acknowledge the other person for having
made a good deal. Avoid saying:
— I scored!
— If you were a better negotiator, you could have gotten
more. (It happens!)
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Acknowledging Their
Decision, such as:
• You will be delighted with…
• I believe you did well for yourself.
• You are obviously skilled at negotiating.
Now celebrate the fact that YOU are skilled at
negotiating!
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POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
EXERCISE
Imagine you want your boss to purchase a new piece of equipment for you, such
as a printer or copy machine. What information do you want to obtain before initiating
the negotiation?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Some of this information will be obtained from other people. What
PowerPhrases will you use to request it?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Before you address the issue with your boss, you need to be clear about what you
want and why. List your position (what you are asking for) below, followed by
your reason for wanting what you do.
Your position:
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Reason for wanting what you do:
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
What do you anticipate your boss’s position will be, and why?
Boss’s position:
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
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POWERPHRASES®
Reason for boss’s position:
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Let’s say you want this piece of equipment because you are frustrated by the
inconvenience of using group equipment. However, you present your desire in
terms of the benefit to the boss. What PowerPhrases do you use?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
The boss says she will review your recommendations and get back to you. What
PowerPhrases will you use to maintain control of the follow-up?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Quiz
When is most of the work done in a negotiation?
____________________________________________________________
What PowerPhrases can you use at that stage?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
What do you have when you take the “n” off of negotiation?
____________________________________________________________
Which PowerPhrases address the ego of the other party in negotiation?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
In a negotiation, who is likely to be the most persuasive—the one who talks the
most, or the one who talks the least?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
POWERPHRASES® FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO GET YOU WHAT YOU WANT
119
Exercise
Tape record a conversation when you are talking to a friend about something
that they know a lot about and you know very little and you want to learn more.
Play it back and evaluate who spoke the most.
Next record yourself trying to persuade them of something. Play it back and see
who did the most talking.
If you were being truly persuasive, you would have done as little talking and as
much listening as you did in the first part of the exercise. In order to be truly persuasive,
ask questions and listen! PowerPhrases say it in as few words as possible.
That gives you lots of time to listen!
POWERPHRASES®
120
121
Selling creates
acceptance
of an idea,
and negotiating
spells out the
terms.
CHAPTER 6:
PowerPhrases® That Sell
Selling… negotiating… what is the difference? Selling
creates acceptance of an idea, and negotiating spells out
the terms. Certainly the two concepts do overlap. Yet,
there is enough difference that I am making the chapters
separate.
Although this chapter is geared toward the professional
sales person, if you do not have sales as part of your title,
please study this chapter anyway! The PowerPhrases in
this chapter will enable you to be more persuasive in life
no matter what your focus is. Use the PowerPhrases for
Getting an Appointment to get your boss to discuss
your latest inspiration. Use the PowerPhrases to
Determine Needs to find out whether the mechanic
would be open to accepting frequent-flier miles instead
of cash. Use the PowerPhrases to Create Value to show
your boss that it would benefit her for you to get a copy
machine of your own. Use the PowerPhrases for
Obtaining Commitment to extract a promise from your
spouse to take you to Hawaii. Just as we are all constantly
negotiating, we are all constantly selling things
and ideas. We might as well master the PowerPhrases to
do it effectively.
Know Your Objectives at Every Point of the Sale
Remember that PowerPhrases are clear about the results
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POWERPHRASES®
they want to obtain with each expression. At different
stages, you will have significantly different goals. When
you are seeking an appointment, you must remember
that your goal at that time is to get the appointment,
NOT to close the sale. When you are investigating the
needs of the prospect, your goal at that time is to discover
the needs of the prospect; it is NOT to close the sale
at that time. The PowerPhrases are specific to the immediate
goal they serve.
Getting the Appointment in Cold Calls
The first step in getting an appointment is to get the
attention of the prospect. The technique is simple!
Use the strongest PowerPhrase to Get a Prospect’s
Attention that exists. Call them by their name.
• Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms. ____.
Then identify yourself.
• This is ___ from ___.
Next, briefly describe the purpose of your call. One
approach would be to use a PowerPhrase to Create
Interest in What You Are Selling, such as:
• If you believed that I could help you to meet your
goals, you would want to hear about it, wouldn’t
you?
• I’m calling to show you a better way of doing
business.
• Have you considered that your business could
benefit from using ___?
• I can show you how you can add to your business
by___.
• In x minutes, I can show you how our product can
save your business $___. Can you give me those
minutes?
PowerPhrases
are specific
to the immediate
goal they serve.
• In a few minutes I can show you how to increase
your bottom line by ___.
• I have something your company needs.
• How important is it to increase your bottom line?
• I represent a product that will make your life
easier.
Another approach is to use a PowerPhrase to Allude to
a Referral, such as:
• ___ suggested I call you. I have done a lot of work
for her, and she suggested we might be of service to
you.
• I’m calling because ___, who has been a client of
mine since ___, is delighted with the results and
felt certain that you would want to consider what
we offer. Was he right?
Next you want to get a dialogue going by using a
PowerPhrase to Open a Discussion by Asking
Questions They Can Answer Yes To, such as:
• Is saving money important to you?
• Would you like to know how to increase motivation
in your staff?
• Could you use an extra hour in the day?
• Does increased productivity interest you?
• We’ve been helping companies like yours prosper
in today’s marketplace. Would you like to know
how?
• Do you ever get the sense that things take much
longer than they should?
When you ask questions they can say yes to, you get
them in a “yes” thinking style. Remember, at this point
your goal is to get an appointment where you can provide
them with complete information. Get them saying
yes, and when you request the appointment, they will
already be on a yes track. Explain how you can address
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POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
When you ask
questions they can
say yes to, you get
them in a “yes”
thinking style.
124
POWERPHRASES®
their problem, but give only enough information to sell
the appointment. Then ask for the appointment clearly.
Avoid saying:
— Could we meet?
— Can you fit me in sometime?
— I’ll be in the neighborhood anyway next week and
I’d like to stop by.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Get an Appointment,
such as:
• Let’s meet and discuss this in detail. Does Tuesday
at 3:00 work for you?
• I suggest we talk in person Wednesday at 2:45. Can
we plan on that?
• It will be more efficient and save us time if we talk
face to face. I suggest we meet this Friday at 1:00.
• Can you free up 15 minutes to meet with me on
Monday, or would Tuesday be better?
• Let me come by to explore and explain exactly
what I can do for you.
Sometimes getting the appointment will be that simple
and sometimes it won’t. When they offer an objection,
repeat the objection back to them.
Follow with a PowerPhrase to Overcome Their Objections
to Meeting With You. If they say they are too
busy, say:
• Is it as hectic there as it is here? I’m busy too, and
that is why I do not want to waste either of our
time. I am convinced that the time will be well
spent.
• I had someone else tell me that just a few days ago.
After meeting with me for 15 minutes, she was glad
she made the time. May I tell you what she discovered
while meeting with me?
• Is having too much to do with too little time your
When they offer
an objection,
repeat the
objection back
to them.
125
biggest challenge right now? I can reclaim hours
each week for you.
• My goal is to eliminate your time pressures with
what my product offers.
• Can you find a few minutes to learn how to save
time?
• That’s exactly why we should get together!
• That’s why I work very hard at making my presentation
as brief as possible.
Power Pointer— Be Pleasantly Persistent.
It is a trick to know the difference between persistence
and being pushy. Have you ever had someone overcome
your resistance to meeting with him or her and
been glad they did? The difference is usually in
whether the salesperson is service oriented or not.
Before you persist, ask yourself --“Do I believe that it is
in THEIR interest to meet with me?” If the answer is
yes, then proceed with confidence that you are serving
their interest.
If they request literature, say:
• I don’t send out literature. However, I can do better
than that. I can meet with you personally…
• It would take you longer to read any information I
could send you than it would for me to explain it.
If time is important, let’s meet face to face.
If they say they are not interested, do you immediately
back down and give up? Most sales happen after the fifth
attempt! Most people quit after the first attempt. Ten
percent of sales people ask five times and get eighty percent
of the yeses. You may decide that this person is not
a true prospect, but if you believe that they need what
POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
Most sales
happen after the
fifth attempt!
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POWERPHRASES®
you have to offer, keep asking. Say:
• Many of my loyal customers initially say just that,
until they understand the nature of the product I
represent.
• Really? You are concerned with the well-being of
the company, aren’t you?
• Do you mind telling me what you are interested
in? Saving money? Improving morale?
• I must not have communicated what I offer very
well, because I believe if I did, you would be
interested.
• I don’t expect that you would be interested until
you saw how my service can improve performance.
• That surprises me. Can you explain why?
• You must have a good reason to say that. Can you
explain it to me please?
If you believe that they are a true prospect, keep referring
back to the PowerPhrases to Get an Appointment
until you are convinced that this is a dead end or you
have an appointment.
Establishing Wants and Needs at the
Appointment
A. Situation Questions
While you will probe somewhat during the initial call to
uncover wants and needs, most of this takes place face
to face. Do not make the mistake of many sales professionals
who move too quickly from the exploration stage
into describing features and benefits of what they offer.
People need to become aware of their problem and to
feel the extent of its impact before they have much interest
in hearing how you can solve that problem.
While you will want to get background information
about the company from your prospect, questions that
If you believe that
they need what
you have to offer,
keep asking.
can be answered through preparatory research will not
impress anyone, and those questions are not
PowerPhrases. Do not sound like an interviewer.
Questions like:
— What do you produce?
— What are they composed of?
— How long have you been in business?
— How many people work here?
are questions that you could research elsewhere.
Particularly, do not ask questions that are unrelated to
what the buyer is saying. Tie questions into what the
buyer is saying and what the buyer’s concerns are.
Use a PowerPhrase to Determine the Situation of the
Buyer, such as:
• Many of our customers have been affected by ___.
How has that impacted you?
• How are you responding to (the recent change in
market regulations)?
• How did you decide (to purchase the system that
you are using now)?
Consider your sales presentation as prime real estate.
Whatever you build there must pay for itself in added
value. Situation questions are PowerPhrases only when
the information cannot be obtained prior to the sales
interview.
B. Questions to Uncover Problems
Your questions about their concerns and difficulties will
give you more value than situation questions. Ask questions
about the challenges their situation creates.
Use PowerPhrases to Uncover Problems, such as:
• Is (turnover) a problem here?
• Do (delayed deliveries) ever cost you business?
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POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
Questions that can
be answered
through
preparatory
research will not
impress anyone.
128
POWERPHRASES®
• What challenges do you have with (quality
control)?
• How often are (deliveries delayed)?
• Is there an area where (quality control) could be
improved?
• How satisfied are you with (your current supplier)?
• Are you concerned about (upcoming technology
changes)?
• Where does (the process tend to break down)?
• It sounds like you’re concerned about (high
turnover). What can you tell me about that?
• Are you worried about…?
• What difficulties have you had with…?
• How are you handling…?
Use these questions to find out where they hurt… and
how you can help.
C. Questions to Clarify Problems
Get more information by responding to their concerns
with in-depth questions to expand on their problems.
Use PowerPhrases to Clarify Problems, such as:
• Why is that a problem?
• What about that worries you?
• What is it about ___ that you are not satisfied
with?
• Are you having any other difficulties with…?
• Tell me more about your problems with…
Clarification of the problem leads you to the next step,
which is to ask questions about the implications of the
problems they are describing. Use implication questions
to uncover why the problem is important to the buyer.
This gives you more information, and it also makes the
buyer more aware of the need.
Ask questions
about the
challenges their
situation creates.
129
Use PowerPhrases to Reveal Implications of Problems,
such as:
• How do those problems impact other departments?
• So does that mean that you…?
• Has that affected…?
• What is the impact of that problem on…?
• Has that led you to…?
• What is the result of that?
Buyers need to become aware of every area that is
affected by the problem.
POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
Use questions to
find out where
they hurt… and
how you can help.
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POWERPHRASES®
PowerPhrases in Unlikely Places
During a recent chat, an old friend mentioned his
multimillion-dollar home and his swimming pool.
Since it was hot and I wanted to keep up, I decided to
invest in a pool of my own. I wanted one that fit my
budget and tolerance for maintenance, so I took my
business to KB Toys.
I went in looking for a small blow-up pool, and walked
out with a large blow-up pool, a pool cover, a pump
and an array of pool toys.
After asking me about where I live and what I wanted
it for, the sales professional (yes, he was a professional!)
said:
• Most people are much happier with the 5’x10’
pool. They like the fact that you can actually
float on it.
That, of course, led in for the next up-sell:
• Meryl, which of the floats will you be getting
today?
After I settled on a float, the skilled sales person asked:
• Do you already have a pump that will work with
that?
All this time he was taking my selections to the counter.
He then pointed out:
• Meryl, you mentioned that you live in the
mountains. That water will get chilly as it cools
off at night. You want a cover to keep some of
the warmth in, and keep the debris out.
• Do you want me to help you pick out the best
water toys for your needs?
I walked out with my arms filled with far more than I
had intended to buy, and I was glad that I did. My
Sales
professionals
uncover and
satisfy needs.
131
sales representative was a service professional. He
anticipated needs, and made sure I got all those needs
met from him, not somewhere else. I offer my compliments
to the management of KB Toys in Colorado
Springs.
Questions to Focus on the Value of Solving the
Problem
You may think that by now both you and they are
painfully aware of the problem, and it is time to look for
solutions. Take one more step first. Help them to envision
life with their problem solved. The next set of
PowerPhrases addresses the importance of solving the
problem. Help them understand how much better
things will be when their problems are solved. Once
problems and their implications are determined, use
PowerPhrases to Focus on the Value of Solving the
Problem, such as:
• How much would you save if you could…?
• Imagine if this problem was solved…
• How useful would it be for you to be able to…?
• If we could ___, how much would that increase
your volume?
• If I could show you a way to…
• How important is it that you…?
• How else would it help you to be able to…?
• If I could help you to___, what could you do that
you can’t do now?
• What high-priority projects could you free yourself
up for if you did not have to spend as much time
on…?
• What could you do with the savings?
Help them to
envision life with
their problem
solved.
POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
132
• What would it be worth to you to…?
• How would (increased output) affect
(your profitability)?
Help the buyer feel the need to solve their problem.
Only then will they care at all about the solutions you
offer.
Demonstrating Value
You can easily demonstrate value without creating resistance
if you do an excellent job of uncovering needs and
selling the buyer on the value of solving the problem.
Now you are ready to demonstrate the features and the
benefits of what you offer.
Features tell you the facts and characteristics of what
you offer. Some features are: the number of pages in a
book, the number of minutes included in your phone
plan and the amount of memory in a computer.
Features are about you and your product.
True benefits address a need that the buyer has clearly
stated they want to resolve. Since they have already told
you that they want to solve these problems, expressing
true benefits prevents objections. Preventing objections
eliminates the need to solve objections.
To express benefits, use a PowerPhrase to Communicate
Benefits, such as:
• This gives you the ___ you asked for.
• Our widgets meet your specifications.
• This is comfortably within the budget range you
have given us.
• We can meet your stated timetable.
• You have said that ___ is important, and we meet
your need for ___ by___.
You won’t need as many PowerPhrases for describing
benefits if you have effectively established the need.
POWERPHRASES®
You can easily
demonstrate value
without creating
resistance if you
do an excellent job
of uncovering
needs and selling
the buyer on the
value of solving
the problem.
Overcoming Objections
In Spin Selling, Neil Rackham asserts that most objections
are created when the seller offers solutions too
soon. Lay the groundwork first, and brush up on
PowerPhrases to handle the objections that you do get.
When they object to price, use a PowerPhrase to
Overcome the Price Objection, such as:
• What were you planning to pay?
• Why do you say that?
• We can lower the price, but it would require us to
eliminate features from the package to do that. Is
that acceptable to you?
• What are you comparing it to?
• Does your company always offer the cheapest
price? Will you agree that price is not always the
only consideration?
• My grandmother used to say that quality is remembered
long after cost is forgotten.
• What is the cost of (their problem)?
• Is money the only problem here?
• I hear that from time to time from people before
they invest. I never hear that from those who have
made the investment.
• Let’s bring it down to the cost per day.
• Have you ever paid more than you planned for
something you wanted and been glad that you did?
If their objection is that they want to stay with their current
supplier, use a PowerPhrase to Convince Them to
Change Suppliers, such as:
• If I can show you that ours is better, you would
want to consider changing or at least sampling
what we offer, wouldn’t you?
• Is it worth the trouble to change if we offer more?
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POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
Objections are
created when the
seller offers
solutions too
soon. Lay the
groundwork first.
134
POWERPHRASES®
• I appreciate your loyalty. I believe you deserve to
have a better (service, product).
• Isn’t your first loyalty to the company?
• Times have changed, and what worked before may
not be what is best now.
• Why not give us a small order to check us out?
• Many of our best customers were reluctant to make
the change at first. May I tell you why they are glad
that they switched?
• Is there anything about your current supplier that
you are not totally happy with? If we could eliminate
the problem, wouldn’t it be worth considering?
• That’s why I need to work extra hard to earn and
keep your business.
• Why not give us a chance?
• Change is not comfortable, but it is necessary to
stay ahead of the competition.
• Wouldn’t it make sense to have an alternative
source?
• I am not asking for all of your business here.
Another common objection is the “think it over” objection.
Following a strategy similar to the one employed in
negotiation processes, use a PowerPhrase to Overcome
the Think It Over Objection, such as:
• Can you think it over out loud so I can help?
• What do we need to think about?
• What concerns do you have?
• Let’s think about it together.
• What do you need from me that would enable you
to make a decision now?
• It is possible to think too long. Procrastination can
cost money.
Often potential
buyers will tell you
that they need to
think it over
because they have
not yet heard what
they need to be
ready to buy.
• What is your reason for saying that?
• Is there anything I haven’t explained well enough?
• You want to think about it? Many people do, and
what they consistently find is that their greatest
regret is that they did not act sooner.
While the need to reflect on a deal can be legitimate,
often potential buyers will tell you that they need to
think it over because they have not yet heard what they
need to be ready to buy. The above PowerPhrases will
help you uncover the real issues.
Closing Phrases
Closing phrases begin with trial closes. These are questions
that examine the readiness of the buyer to take
action. If you get a yes, you have a sale. If you get a no,
you gain information that tells you where you need to
focus to reach the sale. Test their readiness in a way that
does not force them to take a concrete stand. If you go
for a firm commitment too soon, they might feel backed
into a corner that they cannot come out of without losing
face.
Some Trial PowerPhrase Closes to Test the Readiness
of the Buyer, are:
• What do you think of what I’ve told you so far?
• Which version best suits your needs?
• On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being ready to invest,
where are you? What would it take to get you to a
10?
• Do you prefer this one or that one?
• Wouldn’t you agree that this is what you want?
• Do you agree this meets all of the specifications
you provided?
• I believe that this meets your needs. Do you agree?
• Why not give it a try?
135
POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
Trial closes
examine the
readiness of the
buyer to take
action.
136
POWERPHRASES®
• Does it make you feel secure to have something
that will allow you to…?
• Does this meet all the needs you described?
• What can I do to get your business?
• If you were me, what would you do now?
• Do you need to consult anyone before placing an
order?
• This is what you want, isn’t it?
• Are there any questions I haven’t answered?
• What do you think?
If you get a positive response to these questions, you
have a sale. Go for the actual close. At this point, do not
hint or beat around the bush.
Clearly ask, using a PowerPhrase to Close the Sale,
such as:
• How do you spell your name?
• How do you want to take care of the cost?
• Will that be cash or charge?
• Let’s get started.
• Let’s make the decision now.
• If you want it, you’ve got it.
• I just need you to okay this right here.
• I’ll keep the paperwork as simple as possible.
• Let’s get the paperwork started now.
• Let’s wrap it up so we can lock in your rate.
Congratulations! You PowerPhrased your way into a successful
sale! You’re done now, right?
Well, not quite. You still need to ask for referrals.
Before you leave
a sales call, use
a PowerPhrase to
ask for referrals.
137
Celebrate! You
earned it!
POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
PowerPhrases to Request Referrals
Of course, what you REALLY want to do now is to get
out of there fast before they change their minds, grab a
cool one, sit back and tell your friends about the big one
you caught.
It’s not time for that just yet. Before you leave, use a
PowerPhrase to Ask for Referrals, such as:
• Whom do you know who also could benefit from
this service?
• I would appreciate the names of some of your
acquaintances who could find value in what I offer.
Can you provide that?
• Before I leave, I need one more thing from you.
Will you please tell me whom else you know…?
• If you were me, whom else would you call?
NOW you can get out of there and celebrate! You
earned it!
EXERCISES
I have a warning for you before you begin this exercise. It might seem laborious
and tedious. I thought that when I first did it, but it helped me to realize where
I was unprepared for the selling that I do. After I set out the exercises for you, I
apply the exercises with an example from my own career. If you get lost, use that
as a reference.
Step 1. Think about a product or service you offer. List five features of this
product.
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
Step 2. Next, list five benefits in terms of problems the features can solve for
a buyer.
1. ____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
Step 3. What need would make a buyer care about those benefits?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
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POWERPHRASES®
139
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Step 4. What situations would lead to those needs?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Step 5. What PowerPhrases could you use to determine their situations and
needs?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Step 6. What PowerPhrases could you use to uncover the problems?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
140
POWERPHRASES®
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Step 7. What PowerPhrases could you use to clarify those problems?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Step 8. They need to feel the full implications of their problem before they
are motivated to solve it. What PowerPhrases would you use to uncover
those implications?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
141
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Step 9. The next step is to get them to focus on the importance and value of
solving the problem. What PowerPhrases do you use for that?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Step 10. Now they are ready to hear the benefits. How can you express the
benefits in a way that ties into their specific needs?
1. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
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POWERPHRASES®
Sample Exercise
At seminars, I sell a powerful tape set called 12 Secrets to High Self-Esteem by
Linda Larsen.5 I honestly believe that if people do not walk out of the room with
those tapes, it is because I did not use my PowerPhrases well enough. Here is
how I apply the process.
Step 1. Features:
1. Six cassettes.
2. Workbook.
3. 12 specific steps.
4. Uses stories, research and examples.
5. Describes goal setting.
Step 2. Benefits, problems it can solve:
1. Fear of asking for what you want.
2. Putting yourself down.
3. Overreacting emotionally.
4. Confusion about what you want in life.
5. Settling for less than you deserve.
Step 3. In order to care, a buyer would have to feel a need for:
1. Assertive communications skills.
2. Self-acceptance.
3. Emotional control.
4. Goal clarification.
5. A sense of deserving.
Step 4. Situations that would lead to these needs are:
1. No good training or role models. Being told “Don’t you talk back to me!”
2. Critical people.
3. Emotionally repressive or reactive environments. Environments where
telling the truth about your feelings is unsafe.
4. Others expecting their needs to be consistently first.
5. Experiencing conditional love. Abusive relationships.
5 12 Secrets of High Self-Esteem, Larsen, Linda, SkillPath Publications
Step 5. PowerPhrases to Determine Situation:
• How did you learn to ask for what you want?
• Were any of your immediate family critical of you?
• Are you able to express emotions calmly in an honest and open way?
• Have you ever been expected to sacrifice what you want for someone else
and later resented it?
• Have you ever felt taken advantage of?
Step 6. PowerPhrases to Uncover the Problem:
• Does lack of assertive communication skills ever cause a problem for you?
• Do you tell yourself the same things those critical people tell or told you?
• What challenges has lack of emotional control created for you?
• How satisfied are you with your history of setting personal goals and reaching
them?
• What has being taken advantage of cost you?
Step 7. PowerPhrases to Clarify Problems:
• What other problems have you had due to lack of assertiveness?
• What has been the result of those negative conversations in your head?
• Is emotional control a problem for you in other areas of your life as well?
• What about your lack of goal setting worries you?
• Have you had other difficulties with being taken advantage of?
Step 8. PowerPhrases to Reveal Implications of Problems:
• Has your lack of assertiveness created problems for your family as well?
• Do the negative conversations in your head keep you from going after
what you want?
• Does that emotional control problem ever cause your staff to be afraid to
discuss issues with you?
• Does your lack of direction frustrate your family?
• Does being vulnerable to being taken advantage of ever cause you to keep
people at arms length?
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POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
144
Step 9. PowerPhrases to Focus on the Value of Solving the Problem:
• How important is it that you learn to assert yourself?
• What difference would it make in your life if you were not second-guessing
yourself?
• If you had better emotional control, how would your life be better?
• If you began setting goals toward the things you dream about, where do
you picture yourself in five years?
• How would your life improve if you learned to set clear boundaries?
Step 10. PowerPhrases to Sell the Benefits of Your Product:
• Secret number nine in the 12 Secrets to High Self-Esteem is
“Communicating with Confidence.” It gives you the exact assertiveness
skills you said you need to…
• You can get (what they said they would get if they stopped second-guessing
themselves) by investing in the 12 Secrets to High Self-Esteem. “Accessing
Your Internal Wisdom” is secret number two. That and secret number
four, “Accepting Yourself and Letting Go of the Past” will give you the self
acceptance you said would free you to do what you want.
• Linda Larsen will tell you exactly what to do to get the emotional control
you said would help you (the benefits they mentioned) with secret 5,
“Managing Your Emotions.”
• You said you see yourself being ___ in five years if you improve your goal
setting. Linda Larsen will tell you exactly how to get there.
• The 12 Secrets will show you how to get that life you envision when you
learn to set clear boundaries.
Whew! If you are reading this, my guess is you actually walked through the steps
with me. Great job! Now your challenge is to walk through those steps with
something you want to sell or convince someone of. Using these steps is tedious
at first, but over time the framework becomes automatic…and effective!
POWERPHRASES®
QUIZ
1. Which type of PowerPhrase needs to be used sparingly and only in the
beginning?
____________________________________________________________
2. Which type of PowerPhrase do you need to avoid using too soon in the
selling process?
____________________________________________________________
Answers:
1. Situation questions need to be used sparingly and only in the beginning. Too
many of these imply that you haven’t done your homework.
2. PowerPhrases to communicate benefits need to be reserved until the need is
clearly established. Let the buyer “feel their pain” first.
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POWERPHRASES® THAT SELL
146
POWERPHRASES®
Do you look forward to social situations where you are
expected to strike up conversations with people you do
not know? Or would you rather have a tax audit, drink
cod liver oil, or get a root canal?
If you dread small talk, you are not alone. You may have
heard that the greatest fear of most people is speaking in
public. Did you know that our second greatest fear is
starting a conversation with someone we do not know?
If you are not comfortable with small talk, it might help
to know that six out of those eight people you meet are
not comfortable with it either.
The really good news is that the art of mingling is a
learned one. Like any other skill, you can master it. You
can learn the lines that melt the ice. I’m talking
PowerPhrases here, if you haven’t guessed!
Do you think small talk is a waste of time? The truth is
that small talk is anything BUT a waste of time. If you
have two people with equal skills, who is likely to get the
promotion–the one who is shy and retreated, keeping to
herself but doing a great job–or the other who jokes easily
with the CEO as well as the janitor, knows who to
call to get things done in a hurry, and who is on a first
name basis with the entire Chamber of Commerce and
Rotary club and is also doing a great job? Small talk
makes big things happen! Small talk turns strangers into
147
The second
greatest fear of all
is starting a
conversation with
someone we do
not know.
CHAPTER 7
Small Talk PowerPhrases® to Break the Ice
acquaintances, and acquaintances into friends. People
like doing business with their friends.
How to Begin
The most important PowerPhrase available is the other
person’s name. Use it freely–and with care. If you meet
Susan, David, Barbara and Robert, don’t say:
— Hey Susie!
— Nice to meet you Dave!
— Barb, how are you?
— Bob, it’s a pleasure!
Call them Susan, David, Barbara and Robert until you
have been given permission to alter it. If there is any
doubt about whether to use first names or surnames, use
their surnames–or ask!
Take the time to learn the correct pronunciation. Help
them with yours!
Use a PowerPhrase to Help Others to Pronounce and
Remember Your Name, such as:
• Hi! I’m Meryl Runion. Meryl rhymes with barrel
and Runion rhymes with onion. So if you forget my
name, think about a barrel of onions.
• I’m Houston Rose. Houston is like the city; Rose is
like the flower.
If you meet someone who has a difficult name, do not
pretend that they do not have a name! Take the time to
get their name right. If you are unsure of the pronunciation,
ask for their help in remembering it.
Simply use a PowerPhrase to Get Help Remembering
a Name, such as:
• What a lovely name. I want to be certain that I say
it correctly. What tips do you have for me?
Take the responsibility of names onto yourself. If you
148
POWERPHRASES®
Small talk makes
big things
happen!
149
SMALL TALK POWERPHRASES® TO BREAK THE ICE
Every time you use
their name, it adds
to the rapport
between you.
have forgotten someone’s name, use a PowerPhrase to
Ask That a Name Be Repeated, such as:
• I apologize; I’ve forgotten your name.
• What was your name again?
• You don’t happen to remember YOUR name, do
you?
• Please help me out. I’ve gone blank here.
If you think they may have forgotten your name, tell
them before they have to ask. Say:
• Janet, Meryl Runion, how are you?
You can also prompt them to tell you their name by
greeting them with a reminder of your name.
Learning Names Through Repetition
Repeat their names as much as possible. Don’t say:
— What was that like?
when you can say:
• Janet, what was that like?
Every time you use their name, it adds to the rapport
between you, and it reinforces their name in your mind.
Giving More Information in Order to Invite More
Information from Them
Be aware that people usually respond in kind to the way
we speak to them. If I say:
— Hi! I’m Meryl!
they are likely to say:
— Hi! I’m ___.
If I say:
• Hi! I’m Meryl Runion and I’m a speaker and an
author. I’m here for the first time.
150
they are likely to say:
• I’m ___ ___, and I work for Widget Wonderland.
I’ve been coming since August.
Now I have some information to work with! I know they
work for Widget Wonderland and they have been coming
since last August. I can use that to ask questions that
will open the conversation up further.
• Widget Wonderland! I haven’t been there since it
was Widget Wonder World. How has it changed?
• What have you gained from coming here?
Keep going until you forget that small talk is something
you’re not good at.
Power Pointer— Small Talk PowerPhrases on
an Airplane
On a flight I took recently, a flight attendant showed
a remarkable ability to start conversations. She asked
me if my top was silk, and went on to tell me about
how her boyfriend put her silk clothes through the
washer and dryer. Of course, I had ruined-clothes-stories
of my own. She was chatting casually with everyone
in the same way.
Most of us make similar associations in response to
other people, but only a few of us actually think to
relay our associations to strangers. This flight attendant’s
gift was the casualness with which she relayed
her inner experience. Her absolute comfort with it
made it comfortable for everyone else as well.
Small talk is much easier if you are interested in what
the other person has to say. There is something interesting
in everyone. Relax and consider yourself an undercover
agent with a mission to find out what is interesting
about them.
POWERPHRASES®
The art of
mingling is a
learned one.
Starting Conversations With Statements
Do you ever attempt to start a conversation with a
statement?
— Great weather we’re having.
— The turnout is huge here today!
If you think you are throwing out a conversational ball
that they should pick up and toss back, think again.
Statements like these lead nowhere unless you are talking
to a small talk genius that knows how to pick the ball
up and toss it back. Remember: most people respond at
the same level we put things out. Most people will not
pick up that ball and toss it back. Give them something
they can get their hands on.
The Three-Step Icebreaking Process
Instead of throwing out a statement and hoping that
they will pick up on it, use the three-step icebreaking
process.
1. Make an opening statement.
2. Reveal something (not too personal) about
yourself. (Usually they will respond by giving you
information about themselves.)
3. Encourage them to reveal something about
themselves.
Good opening statements come from observing the
environment or the other person. Good disclosure statements
come from observing yourself and your thoughts.
Good invitation questions come from a genuine interest
in the other person and/or the information they can give
you.
Put them together into the three-step icebreaking
process.
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SMALL TALK POWERPHRASES® TO BREAK THE ICE
Use the three-step
icebreaking
process.
Open-Ended Questions
Have you ever attempted to initiate small talk with
closed-ended questions that give the other person
nowhere to go? Don’t ask:
— What do you do?
— How was your vacation?
— Where do you live?
— How are you?
These questions solicit one-word responses. They are
useful if you are looking for specific information, but
they do not draw the other person out. They are only
useful as small talk if you follow them up with openended
questions. Otherwise, after they’ve said I’m an
attorney, fine, downtown and great, what are you left
with?
Open-ended questions are more effective. These are the
questions that require a more extensive response. Openended
questions are PowerPhrases That Get a
Conversation Going, such as:
152
POWERPHRASES®
Closed-ended
questions give the
other person
nowhere to go.
Statement
That’s a beautiful
painting!
This food is delicious.
Great house!
The elevator is taking
forever.
Great weather we’re
having.
The turnout is huge
here today!
Disclosure
I don’t know much
about art.
I like Indian food.
I like southwestern
styling.
I’m going to be late to
my seminar.
This weather makes
me wish I still had my
motorcycle.
I came to hear the
talk on eWidgets.
Invitation
What kind of art do
you like?
How about you?
How did you come up
with the theme?
What are you here
for?
How do you take
advantage of weather
like this?
What brings you
here?
• What led you to do the kind of work you are
doing?
• What did you like best about your vacation?
• What do you like about where you live?
• Get me up-to-date on what’s been happening for
you lately.
• How did you get started in your business?
• What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
• What advice would you give someone just starting
in your business?
• How has your industry changed lately?
• What separates you from your competition?
Before you speak, ask yourself how you would respond to
the remark if someone made it to you. If the answer is
that your response would not provide much new information,
find another way to express yourself.
Closed-ended questions often begin with:
— How long…
— Have you…
— Do you…
— Would you…
— Did you…
Open-ended questions often begin with PowerPhrase
Sentence Stems to Open a Conversation, such as:
• What about…?
• Explain…
• Tell me about…
• What do you…?
• What got you…?
• Describe…
153
Open-ended
questions require
more extensive
responses.
SMALL TALK POWERPHRASES® TO BREAK THE ICE
Beware of questions that begin with why. “Why” questions
can trigger a defensive response in your listener.
Develop a 10-Second Commercial for Yourself
Prepare yourself for meeting strangers by planning a 10-
second commercial for yourself. When you introduce
yourself, give additional information. That gives them
something to work with in developing and keeping a
conversation going. Chances are great that they will
then offer more information back.
If David says he is a systems engineer, his listener might
not know what to say next. Listeners might have an
easier time if he uses a 10-Second Commercial
PowerPhrase, such as:
• I’m a systems engineer. When someone wants to do
something the computer refuses to do, they call
me. My job is to analyze how to get the computer
to do it.
When I explain that I am a speaker and an author, people
often do not have much of a picture of what I do.
They have more to work with if I use my 10-Second
Commercial PowerPhrase.
• I motivate people to speak directly and clearly
through my books, newsletters and seminars.
You know from experience what common questions
people ask you, so answer those questions for them up
front. Prepare in advance.
You may have met network-marketing people who
respond to the question, “What do you do?” by saying:
— I help people start businesses.
This is misleading and unclear. You want to add clarity,
not confusion.
A good 10-Second Commercial PowerPhrase for this
situation might be:
154
POWERPHRASES®
Plan a
10-second
commercial for
yourself.
• I have a wellness business. I market magnets for
health and pain control, and I help others with
their wellness businesses as well.
The main key is to prepare. When you go to an event
where there is likely to be small talk, plan your
PowerPhrases in advance. Read the paper, survey the
environment, and come up with interesting topics for
discussion.
Know What You Have to Give and What You
Want to Get
Go into networking situations and make small talk with
a clear idea of what you want to accomplish–and what
you have to give. Every person you meet needs to know
something that you already know, and every person you
meet knows something that you need to know. If you
begin your small talk with a clear idea of how you want
the conversation to end up, you are likely to have satisfying
results. Be straightforward about what you are
looking for by using a PowerPhrase to Make Your
Agenda Known, such as:
• I want to get to know you better because…
• I am here because I am looking for information
about…
• I am looking for information about… Do you
know someone who can help me?
You are creating a give and get situation. If no one
makes his or her needs known, no one will give and no
one will get.
There is nothing small and insignificant about small
talk. Take the time to learn the art. And before you
attend a networking situation, be certain to prepare.
155
Begin your small
talk with a clear
idea of how you
want the
conversation to
end up.
SMALL TALK POWERPHRASES® TO BREAK THE ICE
156
POWERPHRASES®
Exercises
1. Turn the following closed-ended questions into open-ended questions.
Are things changing a lot in your department?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Is your job challenging?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Do you come here often?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. Create a 10-Second Commercial for Yourself
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Have you seen the lists of buzzwords that you can
choose from if you want to sound “erudite”? There are
three columns of words. You are instructed to pick a
word from each column, and you end up with statements
like:
— ineluctable semidiurnal factionalism, or:
— facilitating cognizant circumlocution.
The results are big expressions with very little meaning.
Fortunately the trend in governments and businesses is
toward simpler and more straightforward communications.
There are plenty of exceptions however. Until
recently the Minneapolis airport played a message that
said:
— Attention passengers! Please carefully control your
bags to avoid the unauthorized introduction of
foreign objects by unknown persons.
I always picture a harried passenger shouting “Down
bags!” to their out-of-control bags. There is an
“unknown person,” dressed in black and wearing a ski
mask, introducing foreign objects–Chinese coins and
Russian nesting dolls–into the out-of-control bags. How
about a simple “Watch your bags so that strangers don’t
put anything in them”?
That sounds like a PowerPhrase to me!
157
The trend in
governments and
businesses is
toward simpler
and more
straightforward
communications.
CHAPTER 8
PowerPhrases® at Work: Managing Your Boss
158
POWERPHRASES®
Your business communications need to be clear and
direct at work, starting at the interview.
PowerPhrases at the Interview
Does it seem odd to you that PowerPhrases have a place
in a job interview? Job interviews are about selling yourself.
How can you sell yourself with memorized phrases
that you read in a book? The answer is that you don’t
simply memorize anything. You adapt the PowerPhrases
to your own situation. The PowerPhrases get you startedand
you take it from there. You will do much better if
you are prepared for common interview questions.
Power Preparation for the Interview
In addition to preparing your PowerPhrases, learn
everything you can about the company. Read their
web pages, annual report, journals and newsletters.
Talk to everyone that you know who knows anything
about the company. Also be certain to request a job
description for the position you are applying for so you
can prepare to show them how you can meet their
needs.
PowerPhrase Responses to Common Interview
Questions
A very popular ice-breaking interview question is: “Tell
me about yourself.”
Get creative! You don’t need to respond mechanically
by saying something like:
— My name is… and I come from…
— My hobbies are…
— What I like to do best is…
Prepare responses
in advance
for common
interview
questions.
Instead, be specific and use a PowerPhrase for
Describing Yourself, such as:
• My strengths are… An example is…
• My accomplishments are… For example…
• My greatest area of knowledge is… I have used
this by…
Or ask:
• Is there a particular area you would like for me to
discuss?
Use strong words, and then illustrate them with
specifics.
When asked why you are in the job market, don’t say:
— They didn’t appreciate me where I was.
— My boss was an idiot.
— I did not like it.
— I was personally responsible for the company
declaring bankruptcy.
Instead use a PowerPhrase for Explaining Why You
Are in the Job Market, such as:
• I have a plan for my career. I need a place that
offers opportunity for growth.
• I am ready for a new set of challenges.
• I want a job that I can give my all to and that I can
stay in for a long time. I’m looking for the right
opportunity.
When they ask why you are the best person for the job,
don’t say:
— I think this is a good place to work.
— Nothing else looked interesting.
— I’m out of work.
— I don’t know for sure that I am because I haven’t
met the other candidates.
159
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
Use strong words,
and then
illustrate them
with specifics.
160
POWERPHRASES®
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Explaining Why You
Are the Best for the Job, such as:
• I put my heart into everything I do. For example…
• I thrive on problem solving and challenges. For
example…
• You need someone who can produce results. My
track record shows that I am that kind of a person.
• This job is exactly what I want. What I can do for
you is…
• My experience demonstrates my versatility.
Even if you are uncertain about being the best candidate,
speak with confidence.
Power Thinking to the Rescue— Replace Limiting
Thinking With Power Thoughts
You want to have an attitude of confidence at the interview,
and the attitude you project will be a reflection
of your thoughts.
Don’t think:
— Why would they choose me?
— I need to prove myself to them.
— They aren’t going to like me.
These thoughts will make you appear weak and needy.
Instead, think:
• I have much to offer.
• This is an opportunity to find out if we are a
match.
• I am here to learn about them as well as for
them to learn about me.
The second set of thoughts will make you appear
confident and calm.
Even if you are
uncertain,
speak with
confidence.
161
Asking the Interviewer PowerPhrase Questions
Do you dread job interviews? Think of them as two-way
streets rather than one-way interrogations. Job interviews
are not just about the potential employer finding out if
you meet their needs. Both the employer and the job
seeker want a good match. You’re not just along for the
ride at an interview. Be prepared to shine. Also, be prepared
to seek the information you need to make a
knowledgeable career decision. When the interviewer
asks if you have questions, don’t say:
— No. (Implies that you don’t really care.)
— Not really. (Now you sound like you don’t care
and you are uncertain as well!)
Avoid asking questions that imply that you are only interested
in what you can get. Also avoid questions that have
a negative spin and questions that indicate that you
haven’t done your homework, such as:
— How much will you pay me? (Only interested in
what you can get)
— What happened to the person who had the job
before me? (Negative)
— What does this company do, anyway? (Under-prepared)
Be prepared with PowerPhrase Questions for the Interviewer,
such as:
• What else can I tell you about my qualifications?
• What are the initial responsibilities of the position?
• What problems face your staff?
• What is the growth potential in this position?
• How long have you been here? What do you like
about the company?
• What would the characteristics and experience of
the perfect applicant be?
Be prepared
to seek the
information you
need to make a
knowledgeable
career decision.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
162
POWERPHRASES®
• What is the mission of the company?
Show your interest and initiative in the questions that
you ask. If you do not ask questions, you imply that you
take whatever someone hands you. Your first job is to be
responsive to the interviewer. Your second job is to
guide the interview as needed.
When the interview is winding down, use PowerPhrases
to get closure.
Going for Closure With PowerPhrases Without
Being Pushy
Do not leave the interview without going for some closure.
Toward the end of the interview, create a sense of
value and urgency by using PowerPhrases That Push
for Action.
• Are there any qualities you are looking for that you
haven’t seen in me?
• Is there anything you want to know that I haven’t
told you?
• What can I tell you that would prompt you to
make an offer now?
• Can you offer me the job?
If they say no, ask:
• Can you refer me to someone who can use my
skills?
If they say they will consider the application and get
back to you, say:
• When can I expect your decision?
• If I have not heard from you by then, may I call
you?
Show your
interest and
initiative in the
questions that you
ask. If you do not
ask questions, you
imply that you
take whatever
someone
hands you.
163
A PowerPhrase to the Rescue! Take Charge
Without Taking Control!
I was interviewing for a job that I was seriously underqualified
for. The interviewer was talking about everything
but the job! I felt discouraged and out-of-control.
I did not get the job. I was told what I could do to
improve my qualifications and that if I cared to reapply
in about a year, they would reconsider my application.
One year later and slightly more qualified, I interviewed
again with the same interviewer. It was like history
revisited. The interviewer was off on a tangent.
This time, rather than panic, I took charge. This time
I said:
• I want to focus on the job, because this is what I
want to do.
I could see it in the interviewer’s eyes. That was the
moment I got the job.
Many employers are looking for assertive candidates.
That can be demonstrated by how assertive you are
willing to be with them.
PowerPhrases for When You Are New on the Job
Once you have the job, use PowerPhrases to help you to
integrate into your new environment. While you want
to look good those early weeks, you don’t want to alienate
anyone or come across as arrogant.
Don’t say:
— That’s not how we did it at Widget Direct.
Use PowerPhrases for Your Early Days on the Job,
such as:
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
Most employers
are looking
for assertive
candidates.
This can be
demonstrated by
how assertive you
are willing to be
with them.
164
POWERPHRASES®
PowerPhrases help
you to integrate
into your new
environment.
• I’m looking forward to understanding how you do
it here.
• I am happy to do it your way.
Don’t say:
— Let me tell you all about myself!
Say:
• I’m anxious to learn about you.
Don’t say:
— I can figure it out myself.
Say:
• I need your help.
• I need your advice.
• I can use some input here.
When you make inevitable errors or don’t know what is
expected of you, avoid saying:
— I’m only human!
— Be nice to me, I’m new.
— I haven’t got the experience.
Use PowerPhrases for Reminding Them That You Are
New, such as:
• I apologize. I am still in my learning curve.
• I just made another mistake to learn from.
• That is the last time I will make that mistake!
Power Pointer— Admit Fault When Appropriate
Lisa was contracted by a bank to be a mystery shopper
to discover what services competing banks offer.
Unfortunately, her report got forwarded to one of the
bank representatives that she had been investigating.
The representative sent a reply email asking what was
165
Time spent
getting to know
your boss is time
well invested.
going on and if Lisa was legitimately interested in her
services. Lisa was embarrassed, and wondered how to
respond.
I shared the following three-step process that research
shows mends fences as quickly as possible. Say:
• I’m sorry.
• Please forgive me.
• It will never happen again.
If you really messed up, follow this with:
• How can I make it up to you?
Lisa made her call immediately. The representative
completely understood and Lisa was very glad that she
did not attempt to cover over the truth. Don’t hide—
admit the truth!
Do not wait for your coworkers to tell you everything.
Use PowerPhrase Questions for New Employees, such
as:
• How can I help?
• What more can I do?
• How am I doing?
• What are my priorities?
PowerPhrases for Your Supervisor
In the Beginning
Your first meeting with your boss sets the tone for your
entire working relationship, so plan ahead for that.
Much of the initial weeks is about getting to know your
boss. Time spent getting to know your boss is time well
invested. Since you are likely to get a new boss every six
months, it is important to know the PowerPhrases
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
involved. Do not expect to be at full capacity your first
day. Do not say:
— This isn’t what I was hired to do.
— When are you going to tell me what to do?
— I don’t have a plan, that’s your job.
Use PowerPhrases for Meeting Your Boss, such as:
• I’m _____ and am looking forward to working with
you.
• Can you give me a quick sense of the priorities in
the department?
• When you have a chance, I have some action ideas
of my own that I would like your opinion on.
Every manager has their own idea of how things should
be done. You need to study your manager’s style. Ask
questions about how your boss wants things.
Don’t say:
— This isn’t how my old boss did things.
— You need to tell me what to do.
— I have my own way of doing things.
Instead, ask questions and make remarks such as the following
PowerPhrases for Getting to Know Your Boss.
• What more can I do to help you?
• I look forward to understanding your style.
• I want to learn what you need from me.
• May I take notes?
• What did you particularly like about the way the
last person who had this position did the job?
• I’d like to know more about you in order to best
understand how to work with you.
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POWERPHRASES®
First you learn
them – then they
learn you.
Power Pointer— First You Learn Them
— Then They Learn You.
One group of assistants agreed: when you begin a job,
you need to learn your boss’ style. Then help the boss
learn yours. Once you know your boss’ preferences,
strengths and limitations, develop systems to work with
them. Once they are developed, you can introduce
them to your supervisor bit by bit.
Making Suggestions to Your Boss
Some bosses are very open to new ideas. Others like to
think that everything is their idea. There are ways to
make recommendations that leave them thinking that
they thought of it.
If they like to think that they thought of everything,
don’t say:
— My advice is…
— Obviously you should…
— Try this…
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Making Suggestions to
the Boss, such as:
• Have you considered…?
• Something you said the other day got me thinking…
• I’d like your opinion about what I did with the
concepts you and I discussed last month.
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POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
Some bosses
like to think that
everything
is their idea.
Power Pointer— Always Look for Something to
Agree About.
Bob had a product line designed exclusively for his
department. When Bob’s director encouraged selling
the line through the call center, Bob said:
• Short-term that makes a lot of sense. Here are
the problems I see long-term.
Note Bob refrained from saying:
– That’s short-term smart and long-term dumb.
His opening acknowledged the validity of the perspective
but led into the second part, which outlined what
the boss had not considered.
Do you hesitate to offer suggestions when you completely
disagree with the boss? According to my informal
polls, about one out of three adults equate disagreement
with conflict. The better worded a disagreement is, the
easier it is to bypass the sense of being in conflict.
Don’t say:
— You’re wrong.
— You shouldn’t see it that way.
— I disagree.
Instead use a PowerPhrase for Disagreeing With the
Boss, such as:
• Help me to understand how you reached that conclusion.
• I wonder if we have the same information. My
information leads me to a different conclusion.
• I want to give my best here. I can support you better
if we can resolve these differences first.
168
POWERPHRASES®
The better
you word your
disagreement,
the easier it is
to keep the
disagreement
from becoming
a conflict.
169
Replace Limiting Thinking With Power Thoughts
If you view your disagreement as a conflict, conflict is
more likely to result. Watch out for the thoughts:
— It’s me against him/her.
— I’m not a team player if I refuse.
Think:
• We can work toward an effective solution here.
• My assessment of what is possible is important
information for the boss.
• My needs are important too.
Have a fallback position if the boss does not appreciate
your candor.
• I know that you are the boss and I will do whatever
you say.
Please note that if you find yourself using your fallback
phrase a lot, you may not be in the correct position for
you.
Refusing Assignments
You are hired to do what management asks of you, so it
is reasonable to wonder…do you have the right to refuse
an assignment? Absolutely! Not only do you have the
right, you have the obligation to prioritize responsibilities
so the important work gets the attention it requires.
It is not your manager’s job to keep track of what assignments
you have been given. Often they don’t know what
else you have to do. When you refuse an assignment,
don’t say:
— I can’t.
— I don’t have the skills.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
It is not your
manager’s job to
keep track of what
assignments you
have been given.
170
POWERPHRASES®
— I’m overloaded already.
— Why do I get all the crummy assignments?
— What do I look like here, Wonder Woman/
Superman?
Begin by clarifying the request. Ask detailed questions so
you know the scope.
Be certain to ask the following PowerPhrases for
Clarifying an Assignment, such as:
• I need more information. What is the deadline?
• I need more information. What budget is allotted?
• I need more information. What are the specifications?
• Which is the most binding of the three, and how
flexible are the others?
If you decide from the answers that you cannot carry out
the assignment, use a PowerPhrase for Refusing an
Assignment. This phrase will follow the same format for
saying no as was described in Chapter 3. Begin with an
acknowledgment, explain the situation, and reaffirm the
relationship by presenting options.
Power Pointer— How to Say NO to an Assignment.
A subscriber sent me the following brilliant example
of how to say no to an assignment.
Recently my supervisor volunteered us for another
time-consuming project. He came to my office and
said: “You will make this work easily and efficiently
just as you have with your other duties.” I asked him:
• What projects of mine do you see as being a
priority?
He listed off the most important tasks. I then asked:
Sometimes you
need to say ‘no’
to an assignment.
PowerPhrases
show you how.
171
Use the three-step
process for saying
“No” when you
need to refuse an
assignment.
• Which duty could I delegate in order to have
adequate time to make my project successful?
He stared at me dumbfounded for almost an entire
minute (47 seconds as I watched the clock above his
head) before he answered: "None." I told him that I
could not give the project the time and attention it
needed to be a success with my current duties. I then
asked how we might be able to split the duties between
some of our personnel. We talked for another fifteen
minutes before we had a plan written out. We now
have implemented the new changes and things are
running fairly smoothly. I am proud that I was able to
tell my supervisor NO without using the “N” word.
Had she accepted the project without question, it
would have been a disaster not only for her, but for
her boss as well. She spoke well, wisely, and to the
benefit of all involved.
The Three-Step Process for Saying No to Refuse
Assignments
Acknowledge
This project is so
important it needs
someone who can
make it his or her top
priority.
I am flattered that
you considered me
for this assignment.
I take this project very
seriously.
I prefer to say yes to
every assignment you
offer me.
Circumstance
I have the following
projects and deadlines…
After reviewing it I see
some problems that
need to be reviewed
before proceeding.
The risks I see in my
taking this on are…
My concerns are…
Transform
Let me look into it
and come back with a
list of questions and
recommendations.
Let’s discuss the problems
I see and what
options we can create.
If we can resolve
these I will be happy
to take this on.
What can I put aside
to free myself up for
this?
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
172
You can also use a one or two-part format to refuse the
assignment.
Saying No in One or Two Parts
Remember. A PowerPhrase is as strong as it needs to be
and no stronger. Be clear with your manager while you
avoid sounding like you believe you are in charge.
Handling Multiple Supervisors
Do you work for more than one supervisor? Is it a nightmare
of competing requests? If so, develop a system that
your supervisors agree to in advance. Refer to that system
to keep you out of the middle.
POWERPHRASES®
Before you
commit to an
assignment you
cannot carry out,
use PowerPhrases
to ask questions.
Acknowledge
This project is so
important it needs
someone who can
make it his or her top
priority.
Circumstance
I have reviewed the
assignment and see
that we have some
problems that need to
be resolved before
proceeding.
My policy is not to
take on a project
without making the
risks known. Some of
the risks I see to you
here are...
Transform
Let me look into it
and come back with a
list of questions and
recommendations.
Have you considered
asking…?
What can I put aside
to clear my schedule
enough to take this
on?
What can I put aside
to free myself up for
this?
173
As tempting as it is, refrain from saying:
— Take a number.
— I can’t help you.
— Your project is not my only priority.
— You’re not the only one I support here.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Managing Work From
Multiple Bosses, such as:
Replace Limiting Thinking With Power Thoughts
When managers conflict on priorities, stay out of the
middle.
You may think:
— I’ve got to balance all their conflicting demands.
— It’s up to me to figure this out.
You are better off thinking:
• Their conflicts are between them and I will
allow them to resolve them.
• We can develop systems that everyone agrees to
and I will follow them.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
Develop a system
to prioritize work
that both you
and your boss
can agree to.
Acknowledge
I would love to help.
Circumstance
Mary has already
scheduled my time.
According to the
system we established,
I prioritize work by…
Transform
Why not talk to
Mary? Perhaps she
can give you priority.
I will be able to get to
this by….
174
POWERPHRASES®
Meeting With Your Managers
Is getting a meeting with your boss harder than getting a
recount in Florida? Meeting with staff is a high-payoff
activity for bosses, but your supervisor may need to be
convinced. Ask for the meetings you need with your
boss, but do it with grace. Refrain from complaining:
— You never have enough time for me.
— Everything else comes first.
— It seems like I don’t matter.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Requesting Regular
Meetings With Your Boss, such as:
• If we meet for ten minutes on a daily basis, I won’t
need to interrupt you as frequently throughout the
day.
• I have found in the past that meeting on a daily
basis increases my productivity and allows me to
stay in tune with you. It helps me make you look
good.
• Let’s try meeting on a daily basis, monitor the
results and see if it is something we would like to
continue.
Also, advocate for regular performance reviews. You
need regular reviews to make your supervisors aware of
the ways you contribute to the company. In addition, it
is in your interest to find out where you fall short of the
supervisor’s expectations early enough to use the information
for change. Don’t say:
— I’m afraid I may be doing something wrong.
— You promised!
— I’m low on the totem poll here.
Instead use a PowerPhrase for Requesting a Performance
Review, such as:
• To give my best possible I want to set a time to
Ask for the
meetings you need
with your boss, but
do it with grace.
175
review my progress and set some goals. When can
we do that?
• I work best with regular feedback, and I want to do
the best job possible here.
Replace Limiting Thinking With Power Thoughts
Performance reviews are opportunities to advance.
Don’t think:
— I’m afraid of what they might say.
Think:
• This is a chance to get credit for what I’ve done
and learn what I need to improve.
The International Association of Administrative Professionals
recommends that you gather your information
for your supervisor, and have a cover letter saying something
like:
• Thank you for your role in helping me perform so
well in this past year. Some things I appreciate
about our working relationship are:…6
Be an active participant at your performance review!
Performance reviews are wonderful ways to get what you
need. Use them to get your accomplishments noticed.
Accept praise, consider the criticism and be prepared
with facts that make note of your accomplishments.
Use PowerPhrases for Making Your Accomplishments
Known in a Performance Review, such as:
• May I begin by telling you the accomplishments I
am most proud of?
• Here is how I made money for the company…
• Here is how I saved money for the company…
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
You need regular
performance
reviews to make
your supervisors
aware of your
contributions to
the company.
6 International Association of Administrative Professionals
(IAAP) website
176
POWERPHRASES®
• Here are three problems I faced last year. What I
did to resolve them is…
• I want to invite you to tell me what you are most
pleased about.
Be sure to use the review as an opportunity to find out
what the boss sees as good performance, and what it
takes to get a promotion.
• My understanding is that my priority is to (reconfigure
widgets). I have been assembling 257 per
day. Is this the best use of my time?
• I want to know in detail what the measurements of
good performance are.
• What can I do differently to meet your
requirements?
Even weaknesses can be turned in to strengths at performance
reviews.
• Here are some of the areas I have been weak. Here
is what I am doing to overcome them.
• I realized I was weak in accounting so I took classes.
Summarize your understanding.
• My understanding is that I am in good shape and
you want me to…(start assembling wind-up widgets).
Is this correct?
These phrases help you look good-and they help you be
good by understanding expectations.
Accepting Feedback
You can expect that during your performance review,
you will receive some praise and you can expect that you
will receive some criticism. How do you accept praise
and criticism from your employer? When praised, don’t
deflect the compliment by saying:
— It was nothing.
— It was my team. (Unless it was!)
Be an active
participant at your
performance
review!
— You’re right; I did do a great job! Let me tell you
about the 333,488 obstacles that I overcame single-
handedly. Number one, I…
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Accepting Compliments
From the Boss, such as:
• Thank you. That means a lot, especially from you.
• Thank you. It helped that I had such great support
from my team.
• Thank you. I feel great about it too.
• Thank you for noticing.
How do you respond to criticism from a supervisor? Be
very careful to avoid arguing. Avoid words like:
— You’re wrong.
— You don’t have a clue what I do for you.
— After all that I do for you, all you notice are the
mistakes.
— Whatever you say…
— Yeah, but YOU…
Instead, respond with a PowerPhrase for Accepting
Criticism, such as:
• I wasn’t aware that there was a problem. I want to
hear your feedback to understand what needs to be
changed.
• I understand why you viewed it that way. Next
time, I will handle it by doing… I want to do
whatever I can to strengthen our working relationship.
I consider us a team.7
• I plan to take this information and devise a plan to
improve my performance.
One powerful way to respond to criticism is to seek
clarification of the speaker’s point of view.
• What else would you like to see me do differently?
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POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
Even weaknesses
can be turned in
to strengths at
performance
reviews.
7 How to Prepare for Your Annual Performance Review By Susan
Fenner, Education & Professional Development Manager,
IAAP World Headquarters
178
• What do you mean by…?
• Do I understand you correctly that…?
• What needs to be done at this point?
A performance review is a good time to request the
resources you need to do a better job. That doesn’t
mean you should complain and say:
— I can’t meet my objectives because you…
— I am not getting the results I want because I do
not have…
Instead use a PowerPhrase to Request Resources, such
as:
• A few things that would increase my productivity
are…
• My research has shown that these are the costs…
and these are the savings… of obtaining the following
resources…
Ask for the resources you need in terms of how they will
help you to be more effective.
Breaking Bad News to the Boss
Do you ever have bad news to give the boss? It is essential
to take accountability and talk about remedies.
Avoid saying:
— That idiot Jenkins withdrew his account. He just
wasn’t patient enough to see this thing through.
— I won’t meet the deadline.
— I should have…
Instead, do your homework before speaking. Make sure
there really is a problem. Then take immediate action.
Come armed with all possible solutions. Look ahead to
the future.
Use a PowerPhrase for Breaking Bad News to the
Boss, such as:
POWERPHRASES®
A performance
review is a good
time to request the
resources you need
to do a better job.
179
• I made a mistake. I did not realize…(that Jenkins
needed more consistent updates than most of our
clients require, and I updated him as I do our other
clients.) He…(became nervous and withdrew his
account before our approach had a chance to pay
off.) Some measures I have taken are…
• I have some bad news. There have been…(major
delays) and…(we are unable to meet the quality
requirements within the given deadline.) Here are
three recommendations of how we can address the
client’s concerns. Number 1….
• To do the best job possible, I need one more week.
• Next time I will …
If you want to introduce the subject in a humorously
humble way, say:
• I just made a career-limiting move.
Admit mistakes and move on to giving your best.
Power Tip: Put Things in Context
In “How to Deal With Difficult People,” Paul Freidman
tells of an ad executive that mishandled an
account. He began his report to the board of directors
by placing a black dot on a white sheet. When asked
what they saw, they said “a black dot.” He replied:
• Yes, and there is also a large white sheet of
paper. Notice when something is blemished we
attend to that blemish and overlook the broad
background on which it is placed. I hope you
keep that background in mind when I make my
report this morning.
This approach shows you how to balance taking
responsibility and helping them maintain perspective.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MANAGING YOUR BOSS
When you break
bad news to your
boss, come armed
with all possible
solutions.
Speaking With the Boss’s Authority
There are times when you will speak on the boss’s behalf
and need to speak with his or her authority. Be willing
to remind people whom you represent. Often support
personnel downplay their role with words like:
— I was wondering if maybe you could…
— Here’s what I want you to do…
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Communicating With
Your Boss’s Authority, such as:
• Ms. Big has sent me to get the following files…
• I know Mr. Big’s expectations. This is what must
be done…
• Joe Important did not suggest that there would be
any problem in obtaining your support on his
behalf.
These phrases carry more impact when the boss has credentialed
you his or herself. Some supervisors use
PowerPhrases to Credential Their Staff, such as:
• When _______ opens her mouth my voice comes
out.
• While I am away I expect you to regard what
_______ says as if you heard it from me.
• She’s the boss when I’m gone.
If you need to be credentialed, ask your supervisor to use
one of these expressions.
It is in your interest as well as your boss’s interest that
you assertively ask for what you need in a straightforward
way. That is what your PowerPhrases at work are for.
180
POWERPHRASES®
When you speak
on your boss’s
behalf, remind
people you have
their authority.
181
Coworkers can be your allies… or your adversaries. Be
sure to cultivate coworkers as allies at every level of the
organization, from the janitor, to the mailroom, to the
CEO.
Offer help and ask for help when you need it. For example,
if you are making labels, ask yourself who else can
use labels. Then offer:
• Joan, I’m making labels, do you want some too?
Ask:
• What can I do for you?
Say:
• I need your help.
These are all PowerPhrases.
Take an interest in your peers. Listen, listen, and listen.
It is amazing to hear people go on and on without realizing
that they haven’t asked about the other person.
Often it is to your advantage to allow that. You can learn
a lot just listening and encouraging them to speak.
Here is what you don’t want to say:
— I’d like to get to know you. Let me tell you all
about myself.
— Let me tell you about the week I had. It all started
with…
Cultivate
coworkers as allies
at every level of
the organization.
CHAPTER 9
PowerPhrases® at Work: Communicating With Coworkers
182
Instead use a PowerPhrase for Expressing Interest,
such as:
• There is so much I want to learn from you.
• Tell me what it’s like for you around here.
• I’d like a chance to speak with you. When can we
arrange that?
• Do you mind if I pick your brain?
• Can I take you to lunch?
Be sure to solicit support for your ideas from your colleagues
to encourage buy-in. Rather than simply asking
for support, GIVE them something. Use a PowerPhrase
for Soliciting Support for an Idea, such as:
• Joan, I want to give you the first chance to review
the XYZ proposal before the meeting. Your recommendations
and support will help it in the
approval process.
• I invite your involvement in the spring-loaded
widget project in its early development when you
can still help shape things. Your expertise can
make a huge difference here.
People tend to support ideas and initiatives they had a
role in creating.
Giving Feedback to Coworkers
We all like to look good in front of our employers, so
give positive feedback in front of others, and corrective
feedback in private. Question the urge to give corrective
feedback before you do it. When someone suggests an
idea and requests your feedback, avoid being a wet blanket
and saying things like:
— What’s wrong with the way things are now?
— You’re kidding, right?
If that is your first impulse, reply with a PowerPhrase to
Buy Time to Consider an Idea, such as:
POWERPHRASES®
Rather than
simply asking
for support,
GIVE coworkers
something.
• That’s an interesting idea.
• I never thought of that.
When you do give feedback, consider the following.
1. Feedback Needs to Be Specific.
They need to be able to apply the ideas. Don’t use vague
words like:
— Great job!
— You could have done a better job.
Instead use a PowerPhrase for Specific Feedback, such
as:
• I particularly like the way you did A. What I like
most about how you did it is…
• A, B and C work well. Some suggestions I have for
D, E and F are…
2. Feedback Needs to Be Solution Oriented.
If there are problems, focus on how they can be fixed.
Instead of saying:
— This is wrong and that is wrong and everything
else is awful too.
Use a PowerPhrase for Offering Solutions in Feedback,
such as:
• One way to strengthen A is… Have you considered
… for B? C could be improved by…
3. Feedback Needs to Express Facts as Facts and
Opinions as Opinions. Rather that passing a
judgment like:
— The exercises were useless.
Communicate an experience like:
• I did not see the value in the exercises.
183
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: COMMUNICATING WITH COWORKERS
Feedback needs
to be solution
oriented.
184
4. Feedback Needs to Be Consistent.
If you wait to give feedback until there is a problem,
people will resist. Be sure to tell people how much you
appreciate positive things they do even if they are just
“doing their job.”
Use a PowerPhrase for Consistent Feedback.
• I want to let you know how much I appreciate your
___ every day.
• Thanks for making my job easier by…
• I always appreciate the way you…
• Thank you for ___.
Say it and walk away. If you glance back you will see
their jaw drop open because chances are good they were
expecting a “but” followed by everything they do wrong.
POWERPHRASES®
Consistently give
positive feedback
in addition to
pointing out
problem areas.
185
For most people,
giving positive
feedback is
sufficiently rare
that it is important
to develop a
system to make
sure you do it.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: COMMUNICATING WITH COWORKERS
Power Pointer— Use the Power of Praise
When doing training for The Department of Defense,
I had the group do an exercise that is recommended by
Barbara Fielder in “Motivation in the Workplace.”
She gives everyone ten coins to put in their pocket.
Then she has them circulate and acknowledge each
other. Every time they acknowledge someone, they
transfer a coin from one pocket to the other. The goal
is to transfer all coins by the end of the day.
I gave this group five coins and three days to do the
exercise in, but only a few did it. Finally I called an
acknowledgement break. I told them they could not sit
down until they had transferred all five coins. No one
moved. It took several minutes of insisting until someone
finally started the process.
The room transformed once the group finally got
started. Hearts opened and people were delighted.
Individuals who were at odds with each other
acknowledged each other.
Try the ten-coin exercise and see what it does for you.
186
POWERPHRASES®
When interrupted,
ask yourself:
what is the
priority? Their
request or what I
am working on?
Handling Interruptions
Do you hate it when people poke their heads in and say,
“Got a minute?” What they are really asking is “Are you
doing something that is more important than I am?”
Ask yourself the same question.
To handle interruptions, use the three-step process for
saying no. Begin with an acknowledgement of the
request. Then briefly describe your situation. Finally,
reaffirm the relationship.
Handling Interruptions Using the Three-Step
Process for Saying No
If you find yourself complaining about someone who
interrupts you, you know you need to use PowerPhrases
to handle those interruptions.
PowerPhrases for Meetings
You have a chance to shine at meetings, as well as a
chance to practice all of your positive office politics
skills. For example, what do you do when someone
expresses your idea and takes credit for it? Speak up.
Don’t let it pass, and don’t say:
Acknowledge
Yes, I see what you
are asking.
I’d like to help.
This would require
my full attention.
I understand what
you need.
Circumstance
I have a 2:00
deadline.
5 minutes is all I
have.
I don’t have it to give
right now.
Now is not a good
time.
Transform
I can talk with you
after that.
Will that help?
I believe you can
handle it yourself.
If you still need help
tomorrow I might be
able to fit it in.
187
— Hey, that was my idea! You stole it!
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Taking Credit for Your
Ideas, such as:
• I believe that idea started with a comment I made
earlier. I want to elaborate on my thinking.
• That is what I was referring to when I said… I am
glad you like my idea, and I like the way you elaborated
on it.
Later you can address the offender using the conflict
model from Chapter 4. If it often happens that other
people take credit for your ideas, ask someone:
• Is there something about the way I present my
ideas that makes it hard to take them seriously?
There may be something about how you are expressing
yourself that sabotages you.
When you have the floor and someone interrupts, ask
yourself if you are being wordy and trying his or her
patience. If not, use a PowerPhrase to Handle Interrupters,
such as:
• Excuse me. I wasn’t finished yet.
• I want to hear what you have to say as soon as I am
done.
If someone is dominating the discussion, say:
• You have great ideas on the subject. Let’s open the
floor up for input from others.
• Since the agenda allows us only another ten minutes
on this topic, we need to keep this moving.
Please give us the condensed version and allow
time for other comments before ending this
discussion.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: COMMUNICATING WITH COWORKERS
When you
have the floor
and someone
interrupts, use a
PowerPhrase
to handle
interrupters.
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POWERPHRASES®
When a side
conversation goes
on at a meeting,
address it.
Sometimes you can simply say:
• There is only time for the short version, please.
Encouraging Participation
If you are leading the meeting, one of your responsibilities
is to encourage input from members who may not
speak without encouragement. Simply say:
• ___, what is your opinion on the subject?
If they do not offer an opinion, it is appropriate to ask
again, by saying:
• Your ideas do not need to be polished. We need to
know what direction your thinking is taking.
When there is a side conversation going on, it needs to
be addressed. Use a PowerPhrase for Addressing a Side
Conversation, such as:
• Please give Bill your full attention.
• When Bill finishes, I invite your comments.
• We all want to end this meeting on time, and that
requires speaking one at a time.
• We have a lot of material to cover, and I'd rather
not get off track. At the break let’s get together, and
this way I'll be able to give your concerns more
individual attention.
If someone is late, rather than reviewing what he or she
missed, tell the offender:
• Be sure to ask someone to catch you up on what
was missed later.
Address the issue of ongoing lateness later.
When issues are brought up that are not on the agenda,
rather than addressing the inappropriate topic, use a
PowerPhrase for Maintaining the Agenda, such as:
189
Backstabbing is
passive-aggressive.
Address it.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: COMMUNICATING WITH COWORKERS
• That’s an important topic. Please make sure that it
gets on the agenda for a future meeting.
Meetings can be useful and meetings can be nightmares.
PowerPhrases make the difference in which
they are.
Handling Backstabbing Coworkers
Backstabbing is a common office practice. You can
stop it. If you hear about someone talking about you
behind your back, make your CASE. Clarify what you
have heard, and assert yourself using the steps outlined
in chapter 3. You can then seek solutions and
evaluate them.
Use the Four Step Process to Assert Yourself with
Backstabbers While Making Your Case
Backstabbing is passive-aggressive, and needs to be
addressed straightforwardly. Use the four step process to
assert yourself clearly.
Problem
When I heard
that you
complained to
others about
the quality of
my work…
I confided in
you, and I have
reason to
believe that you
shared my
secrets with
others.
Impact:
Thoughts/
Feelings/Effect
I was
devastated. I
questioned our
working
relationship
and began to
wonder how
safe it is to be
open with you.
This can
destroy our
working
relationship.
Request
In the future,
come to me
directly if there
is an issue.
What can I do
to ensure that
my confidences
are honored?
Consequence
I will do the
same for you.
I will only
confide in you
if I feel secure.
Enjoy the clarity
that comes with
PowerPhrases.
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POWERPHRASES®
Dealing With Unsolicited Advice
When a coworker gives you unsolicited advice, again,
make your CASE. Be sure you clarify their intent before
asserting yourself. Then use some or all of the four-step
model to assert yourself, followed by seeking solutions
and evaluating them.
Dealing With Unsolicited Advice
Communicate clearly and effectively with your coworkers
and enjoy the clarity that comes with PowerPhrases.
Problem
When you offer
advice,
When you tell
me how to do
my job,
Impact:
Thoughts/
Feelings/Effect
I get confused.
I think you do
not trust me.
Solution/
Request
Please refrain
from advising
me unless I
request it.
Consequence
I will do the
same for you.
191
If you are a manager, you are the most important influence
in the work life of your employees. That’s huge…
and it’s true. As a manager, you impact the performance
and morale of your employees more than any other factor.
That is a great deal of responsibility. You do make a
difference…whether you want to or not. That’s why
PowerPhrases for managers are essential.
Your success as a manager or supervisor begins at the
interview. Hiring the right people is one of the most
important things you can do. Know what questions to
ask. There are many standard interview questions that
are effective.
• Why do you want this job?
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?
• What makes you the best candidate?
• Why should I hire you?
Marlene Caroselli suggests a few more unusual
questions.
• Tell me about myself. (Yes, you read it right. The
purpose is to assess the candidate’s judgment of
character.)
• If you were the president of this company, what is
one new policy/plan/product you would initiate?8
A good interview
question
addresses the job
the applicant is
applying for and
how they would
handle a specific
situation.
CHAPTER 10
PowerPhrases® at Work: Magic Phrases for Managers
8 Marlene Caroselli, Hiring and Firing, Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications 1993
192
A good interview question addresses the job the applicant
is applying for and how they would handle a specific
situation.
• What would you do to increase consumer widget
awareness?
• When two managers insist that you give their projects
priority, how do you handle it?
• What are you most proud about in your previous
job?
• How do you solve problems?
• This job calls for… What is your experience in
this?
• This job requires… Tell me about your success in
this area.
• What would your previous staff/bosses say about
you?
Marlene Caroselli also recommends that you use openended
questions that start with…
• What…
• Explain…
• Describe…
• How would you…?
• In what ways…
• Under what circumstance do you…?
• If you could…
• Please cite some examples of…
• Tell me about…9
Avoid asking questions that can get you in legal problems.
There are safe ways to get the information you
require.
POWERPHRASES®
Use open-ended
questions that
draw the
candidates out.
9 Marlene Caroselli, Hiring and Firing, Mission KS: SkillPath
Publications 1993
Instead of asking:
— What kind of accent do you have?
Ask:
• Do you have legal verification of your right to work
in this country?
Instead of asking:
— What's your native language?
Ask:
• What languages do you speak, read or write?
Instead of asking:
— Are you religious?
Ask:
• These are the hours, days and shifts that are to be
worked. Is there anything that would interfere with
your ability to work these hours?
Instead of asking:
— How old are you?
Ask:
• If we hire you, do you have proof of your age?
Instead of asking:
— Do you have kids?
Ask:
• Are you comfortable with our policy of not allowing
personal phone calls at work?
Instead of asking:
— Does your disability keep you from being able
to…?
Ask:
• Is there anything that keeps you from being able
to…?
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POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
Avoid asking
questions that can
get you in legal
problems.
194
POWERPHRASES®
Other questions include:
• I see you worked at ___ from ___ to ___. Why did
you choose that firm?
Be aware that many applicants supply false information.
Probe to discover what is valid. The more specific and
detailed your questions are, the more likely you are to
uncover the facts.
Power Preparation
The PowerPhrases listed for interviews and terminations
are not meant to replace legal advice. Be sure you
clearly understand the laws of hiring and firing as well
as your company’s policies. Be certain that your words
and actions conform to the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
The American Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Equal
Employment Opportunity Act of 1972.
End the interview by saying:
• What happens next is…
• You can expect to hear back by…
You probably do not enjoy turning down a potential
applicant. When you do, be prepared to explain why. Be
kind of course. The information may be helpful to them
next time. If you can, say:
• It was a tough decision.
• We found someone with a few skills and a different
kind of training that we need.
When you turn
down a potential
applicant,
be prepared to
explain why.
If there is something specific that disqualified them, let
them know.
• Next interview you have, I recommend that you…
• We felt you were under-prepared for the interview.
People tell me they have been baffled about why they
were not hired for numerous jobs, and were grateful
when someone gave them useful feedback about why
they were not selected.
Orienting New Employees
On the employee’s first day, make a special effort to get
them off to a great start. Be careful that your new
employees don’t get a message that sounds like:
— Good luck!
— You’re on your own.
When orienting new employees, use positives to express
company policy. Avoid saying:
— Don’t steal.
— Don’t come to work looking scuzzy.
Instead, talk about what you want rather than what
you don’t want. Use PowerPhrases to Orient New
Employees, such as:
• We expect our employees to safeguard company
property from theft.
• We require our employees to dress according to the
following dress code.
Go on to orient new employees by saying:
• The history, mission and goals of the
department/company are…
• We are glad you are here!
• What questions do you have?
• Let me introduce you around. This is…
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POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
New employees
need a strong
orientation to
get them off to a
good start.
• Your job responsibilities are…
• When you get stuck, here’s what you do.
• When you need help, this is whom you turn to.
When giving employees assignments, whether they are
new or old, be sure to follow the recommendations for
delegation.
Delegation
Do you resist delegating or do it ineffectively?
Delegation is a five-step process. Delegating consists of:
1. An optional opening,
2. A benefit to them,
3. A clear description of what is to be done,
4. A confirmation of understanding of the task, and
5. A confirmation of commitment.
There are PowerPhrases for each.
1. Opening
Here are the words to avoid:
— You don’t look busy. Will you…?
— I’m asking you to do this because I don’t want
to…
— I hate to ask you but…
— Sorry to bother you but…
— I was wondering if maybe you would…
Instead use a PowerPhrase Opener for Delegation,
such as:
• Although I am aware of how busy you are, I have a
request…
• I would never ask you to do something I would not
do myself…
• There is an opportunity here for you to…
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POWERPHRASES®
Make sure
the person
that you are
delegating to
knows what they
can gain from
taking the
task on.
• I’m asking you because I know I can trust you…
Then make sure they know what they can gain from taking
the task on.
2. Benefit
Follow the request with a PowerPhrase for Communicating
a Benefit to Them, such as:
• What this means to you is…
• This will help you by…
• If you do this for me I will…
• I’ll make sure my boss knows how you made a difference
when I really needed you.
3. Describe
Be sure the task description is clear. Avoid vague statements:
— I need this sometime.
— Here. You figure it out.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Ensure a Clear Description,
such as:
• I need ________ by __________because________.
• Here is what needs to happen…
• I have written out instructions. Let’s go over them
together.
• The deadline is ___, the quality specifications are
___ and the budget is ___. Of these three, the
priority in this project is ___.
4. Confirm
Confirm their understanding of the task. Don’t say:
— Do you have any questions?
— Do you understand?
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POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
Be sure the
task description
is clear.
198
Instead, ask open-ended questions, using a PowerPhrase
to Confirm Understanding, such as:
• What did I leave out?
• What would you like reviewed?
• What will your first step be?
• Let me make sure my instructions are clear. What
is your understanding of what I have told you?
• What questions do you have?
• What ideas do you have about…?
• What do you think about…?
You may think you are being perfectly clear, but often
times what seems clear to you does not to them.
5. Commitment
Be sure to have a firm commitment before leaving the
task to them. Use a PowerPhrase for Getting Commitment,
such as:
• Can I count on you?
• When will you have that for me?
Put it all together into:
The Five-Step Process for Delegating
Combine phrases from the different categories to make
your requests powerfully without being overbearing.
POWERPHRASES®
Get a firm
commitment
before leaving the
task to them.
Opening
I would never
delegate anything
I wasn’t
willing to do
myself.10
What’s in It
for Them
What this
means for
you is____.
Clear
Request
I need ___ by
___
because___.
Confirm
Understanding
What did I
leave out?
Get
Commitment
When will
you have
that?
10 Mark Tower, Dynamic Delegation, Mission, KS: SkillPath Publications 1993
199
The Four-Step Process for Delegating
The first steps can be combined. You can open with a
statement that offers a benefit.
In Dynamic Delegation, Mark Tower observes: “The
delegator must keep what he or she wants to give upresponsibility.
Conversely, he or she must give up what
he or she wants to keep–authority.”12 Be sure to give the
authority to your delegatee and let others know that they
have it. Some phrases are listed in Chapter 8. Other
PowerPhrases to Credential Your Employees are:
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
Give the
authority to your
delegate and let
others know that
they have it.
Opening —
What’s in It for
Them
This is a critical
task that must be
done. It is not
just busy work.11
I have an
opportunity for
you that will
help you learn
how to…
Clear Request
What I need is…
The deadline
is…
The budget is…
This is the
objective…, this
is the means…,
these are the
boundaries…
Confirm
Understanding
Let me make
sure my
instructions were
clear. What is
your understanding
of the task?
How will you
begin?
Get
Commitment
Let’s schedule
the first followup
session.
When will you
begin?
11 Mark Tower, Dynamic Delegation, Mission KS: SkillPath Publications 1993
12 Mark Tower, Dynamic Delegation, Mission KS: SkillPath Publications 1993
Opening
There is
something
important
that needs to
be done.
I need your
help…
What’s in It
for Them
If you help
us out here I
will make
sure my boss
knows how
you pitched
in.
If you do this
for me I
will…
Clear
Request
I have clear
written
instructions.
I want to go
over them
with you.
My situation
is… and I
need…
Confirm
Understanding
What can I
clarify?
What
questions can
I answer for
you?
Get
Commitment
Can we
count on you
for this?
Will you do
this for me?
• ___ speaks for me.
• When ___ asks for something I expect you to give it
to her.
• ___ is in charge of ___. Please give her your full
cooperation.
When delegating, schedule follow-up sessions. At these
sessions you can use a PowerPhrase for Following-Up
on Delegation, such as:
• Please give us an update of your progress.
• Is the project running on schedule?
• Is everything within budget?
• Are the quality specifications being met?
• What can I do to support your work?
Of course you may not like the answers that you get. You
might find that you need to coach.
Power Pointer— Coaching Is a Skill
My son David is a computer genius, but for many
years he was not skilled at showing me how to do
things so I could do them myself. David would sit at
the computer with his fingers flying over the keyboard,
speaking in a “foreign language.” When I
asked for help with the same issue again, he complained,
“Mom, I already showed you how to do
that!” He showed me, but he did not empower me to
be self-sufficient.
This changed after David worked for years at a help
desk. He had a much better idea of what questions I
had, and he patiently took me through the steps at my
own pace so I could internalize them. He asked questions
to verify my understanding. The different
approach took more time up front, but ultimately
saved time for us both.
200
POWERPHRASES®
Proper delegation
takes more time
up front and
saves time in the
long run.
Coaching Employees
Coaching through problems is a matter of making your
CASE. (1) Clarify their position, (2) Assert yourself,
(3) Seek solutions, (4) Evaluate options and create
agreements.
1. Clarify Their Position
When you clarify their position, ask questions and
LISTEN. Find things to acknowledge in their work.
Make sure your words do not imply:
— I’ll do the talking around here.
— Why should I listen to you?
— You idiot! You blew it again!
Instead, use a PowerPhrase to Solicit Their Perspective,
such as:
• What do you think of your performance?
• Do you understand why there is a problem with
your behavior?
• How do you see the problem?
Listen carefully and acknowledge what they say before
explaining your perspective.
2. Assert Your Position
Do not limit your comments to where they fall short of
expectations. Instead, begin with mention of whatever
positives you can comfortably acknowledge. Use a
PowerPhrase for Acknowledging Their Work, such as:
• I like the way you did…
• This work shows a lot of attention to detail…
• I see progress with…
• Your… in the face of… means a lot.13
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POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
When you clarify
their position, ask
questions and
LISTEN.
13 Donald Weiss, Why Didn’t I Say That? New York: Amacom
Publications, 1994
Follow with a description of the problem. Again, be specific
and unless it is obvious, describe why it is a problem.
Avoid vague statements such as:
— You could have done a better job.
— It’s not good enough.
— This is terrible.
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Describing the Problem,
such as:
• The problem with _____ is that ____, which results
in ___. (Ex: The problem with this report is that it
lacks detail, which leaves questions in the reader’s
mind.)
• What doesn’t work so well is ___ because ___.
(What doesn’t work is the summary because new
information is introduced which causes confusion.)
• I see a problem with ____ that could cause ____.
Remember your goal is to educate and inform.
3. Seek Solutions
Put most of your coaching effort into discussing solutions.
Talk about what you want more than what you
don’t want. If you want to encourage them to solve more
of their own problems, avoid dictating solutions.
Encourage them to develop a habit of thinking for themselves.
The best solutions are the ones they come up
with on their own–or that you come up with together.
Avoid dictatorial phrases such as:
— Do it this way.
— I don’t know what to do—you figure it out.
— Any idiot knows that the best way to do it is…
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Creating Solutions,
such as:
202
POWERPHRASES®
The best solutions
are the ones
employees
come up with
on their own
or that you come
up with together.
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POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
• Let’s look at what works and figure out what we
can learn to deal with the problems.
• My recommendation is… What do you think?
• How do you plan to proceed?
• What do you intend to do about the problem?
• Let’s look for solutions together.
• Here is another way of doing it.
• What do you suggest that we do to keep this from
happening again?
• What is your plan to upgrade quality?
• What would it take to ___ (ex. get you on time with
deadlines)?
Keep the attitude of working together.
4. Evaluate Options and Create Agreements
When you evaluate solutions, remember: your solutions
need to be realistic in order to be effective. If someone
has a swearing problem, a zero-tolerance policy is
unlikely to work. They might mean well, but the first
time they drop something on their toe, watch them let it
fly! Use a PowerPhrase to Evaluate Options, such as:
• Does this option solve the problem?
• Do you believe that you can comply with this
option?
• Is there any way this option can be improved?
• Is this an option that you will be able to commit to
in writing?
Be sure to get the commitment in writing, and arrange
for your follow up meeting.
You can use this structure for coaching in performance
reviews as well.
Solutions need to
be realistic in
order to be
effective.
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POWERPHRASES®
The Performance Review
Begin the review by making the employee as comfortable
as you can. Start with a welcome and an overview
of the procedure.
• As you know, this is an opportunity for us to share
information about your job, to clarify objectives
and to see how things are going for you.
• Then we can discuss growth.
• I will put my calls on hold so we won’t be
interrupted.
Then go directly into reviewing goals and reviewing performance.
• Let us compare notes on your top three goals and
means to achieve them.
• Please give me examples.
• What will it take for you to meet your next quarter’s
goals?
Where performance needs to be improved, refer back to
the section about coaching employees as well as the
phrases below.
Begin a
performance
review by making
the employee as
comfortable as you
can; then go
directly into
reviewing goals
and reviewing
performance.
205
When you
must refuse a
request from an
employee, ACT.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
PowerPhrases for Improving Performance
PowerPhrases for Refusing Requests From
Employees
Employees will ask for things we do not want to or cannot
give them. When you must refuse a request from an
employee, use the ACT formula for saying no from
Chapter 3. Acknowledge the request, briefly explain circumstances
of why you are unable to grant it, and transform
the refusal into a positive. Here is the formula
applied to an employee request.
Acknowledge
I like the way you
____.
I see progress with
___.
This work shows a lot
of attention to detail.
Generally I am very
pleased with your
work.
While I have seen
improvement
in quality,
Describe Problem
What does not work as
well is ___ because___
results in ___.
What I see that still
needs work is…
Until the last page.
One area needs work.
Perhaps I haven’t
made it clear that you
are responsible for…
and some problems
are…
when you…(submit
the work for a big
project three days
late), the effect is…(we
all have to wait before
revisions can be
made). We feel…
(frustrated and angry).
Find Solutions
Let’s look for solutions
together.
How do you plan to
proceed?
How can add detail to
the last page?
How can I help you
succeed?
Let’s talk about time
management.
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POWERPHRASES®
Termination
When the appropriate coaching sessions fail to bring
positive results and standards have not been met, or
when an employee must be discharged for non-performance
related reasons, the words are never easy to
find.
When an
employee must be
discharged for
non-performance
reasons, the
words are never
easy to find.
Acknowledge
I understand you are
asking for…
I am delighted with
the work you have
been doing the few
months you have been
here.
I appreciate your need
for more money.
We love having you
here.
I am aware that the
computer that is
assigned to you is slow.
I agree that
improvements in the
warehouse are
needed.
Circumstances
I am unable to fulfill
your request
because…
You haven’t been here
very long and the
policy does not allow
me to even consider a
raise before the first
year.
Right now your
performance does not
merit consideration
for a raise.
We simply cannot
afford a raise at this
time.
Based on the amount
of computer work you
do, I cannot justify the
expense of a new one.
Funding only allows
for a few.
Transform
What I can do is…
Let’s review your
performance and set
goals so that when the
first year mark comes,
you will get the largest
increase possible.
Let’s review the two
areas where
improvement would
indicate a raise in the
future.
You have a great
future here and I hope
you will stay until
things turn around in
this company.
If you can show me
something I am
overlooking I am
happy to reconsider.
Let’s get some
representatives to
make suggestions on
which ones they will
be.
207
Power Questions to Ask Yourself Prior to
Termination
In Hiring and Firing by Marlene Caroselli, E.D.,
Marlene quotes Stephen M. Karas, First Vice President,
Manager of Major Buildings Division for
Security Pacific Bank as saying that prior to terminating
anyone, he asks himself the following questions:
• Did I do everything I could to assist this person?
• Did I communicate properly?
• Did he or she have all the tools necessary to do
the job?
It is tempting to assume that the employee who did not
work out is the problem. Powerful managers look to
themselves to see what is to be learned from the
experience.
Usually the employee already suspects the inevitable.
Your job is to make it as quick and clean as possible, and
to preserve as much of the other person’s dignity as you
can. Begin with an opening, explain the situation in a
minimum of detail, and reaffirm the other person.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
Before
termination the
employee usually
already suspects
the inevitable.
208
The Three-Step Process for Termination
Use statements that encourage the terminated
employee toward action.
POWERPHRASES®
Make termination
as clean and
quick as possible
to protect the
employee’s
dignity.
Opening
I suspect you have
guessed what this
meeting is about.
I am forced to
terminate your
employment.
I feel sad to tell you,
I have bad news for
you.
We have come to a
final decision
regarding your
employment.
I have to terminate
your employment
effective immediately.
Explain
In our prior meetings
we have outlined the
standards you must
meet to stay on with
us and they have not
been met.
Despite warnings your
performance level has
not reached
acceptable levels.
budget cutbacks have
forced the elimination
of your position.
Your employment
here is terminated.
The reasons are as
follows…
You have been told
what is expected and
been given written
warnings, but the
expectations have not
been met.
Reaffirm
HR has a few leads
for other jobs.
I hope you find work
that suits you in the
future.
I understand that
Extraordinary
Widgets is looking for
people with your
qualifications.
How can I help you
pull resources
together?
Personnel will discuss
your final pay and
collect your office
keys.
I wish this could have
been resolved
otherwise.
Power Thinking— Effective Management Requires
Powerful Decision Making
It might comfort you to know that while immediately
following a firing, 75% described the firing as the
“worst thing that ever happened to them”; one year
later the vast majority describes it as “the best thing
that ever happened.”14 Of course, as a supervisor, your
first loyalty is to the organization. Many times that
requires you to be firm.
Termination is probably the most difficult part of managing.
As with any other aspect of management, it
requires assertively saying what you mean, meaning
what you say without being mean when you say it.
Good management requires good PowerPhrases. From
the initial interview and throughout your role as manager,
use PowerPhrases to make yourself more effective.
In the next chapter you will learn how to create your
own.
Good
management
requires good
PowerPhrases.
POWERPHRASES® AT WORK: MAGIC PHRASES FOR MANAGERS
209
14 Marlene Caroselli, Hiring and Firing, Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications 1993
POWERPHRASES®
210
What would life be like if you could say what you
wanted whenever you wanted? Can you imagine the
freedom of always being able to say what you mean, and
not having to worry about anyone ever taking offense?
Wouldn’t it be great if the honest expression of whatever
you thought and felt always got good results?
In my fantasy world the raw truth works every time, but
in the real world, it is in your best interests to edit. You
discovered the need to edit early in life. Speaking your
mind would backfire! Unfortunately you probably took
self-editing too far. You probably did not just edit your
words. My guess is that you also edited what you were
willing to become conscious of thinking and feeling.
Read that paragraph again, because it is huge in its
implications for PowerPhrases. It is also huge in implications
for your life.
To create your own effective PowerPhrases you first must
become aware of what it is that you would say in the perfect
world I described above. Then edit your words to
get the results you desire.
You have been editing your thoughts and feelings for so
long, that it will take work to uncover the truth now. An
excellent way is through writing.
What would you really like to say to your boss if you
211
What would life
be like if you
could say what you
wanted whenever
you wanted?
CHAPTER 11
Now It’s Your Turn—Create Your Own PowerPhrases®
212
knew there would be no negative repercussions? Would
you ever say something like this?
— Listen, you narcissist—this conversation is getting
us nowhere. They might pay you three times what
they pay me to bore the people that work for you
with your empty accomplishments, but I happen
to take my job seriously and I have more important
things to do than to hear you brag about
nothing. You are so pitiful, and if I didn’t feel like
puking I might feel sorry for you.
Does it feel good to express it on paper? (Do be careful
about what you do with that paper.) After getting clarity
about your thoughts, feelings and what you would LIKE
to say in a situation like this, you will find it easier to say:
• I prefer that we stay on the subject of our product
line. Like you, I have a number of deadlines to
meet.
Power Pointer— Finding Your Inner Voice Can
Take Time
A song I wrote has the following lyrics:
So much of who I am is an illusion.
An act of who I think I’m s’pozed to be.
All this make-believe creates confusion.
I don’t know what’s real inside of me.
One of the hardest parts of PowerPhrases can be quieting
your inner-editor long enough to learn what you
would really like to say.
POWERPHRASES®
What would
you really like to
say if you knew
there would
be no negative
repercussions?
Eight Steps to Your Own PowerPhrases
Create Your Own PowerPhrases Using the Following
Eight Steps:
1. Write a freeform letter saying what you would if
my perfect world of free expression was a real
one.
2. Review the letter for the essential message.
3. Determine what results you seek by communicating.
4. Start writing what you want to actually say, considering
the results you want.
5. Ask yourself the PowerPhrase questions from the
end of chapter 1. (See the review later in this
chapter.)
6. Edit for Poison Phrases from chapter 2.
7. Run it by a friend.
8. Take a deep breath, use your pass the butter voice
(described in the introduction) and express yourself.
Step One: Tools for Your Freeform Letter
Writing your freeform letter is a simple process; however,
it is not an easy process. You will think it takes an
eternity to discover what you really want to say. Some of
your thoughts will contradict others. The truth in your
heart is multi-dimensional. What makes sense at one
level does not make sense at another. Do not be in too
big of a hurry to make it all add up. Take your time.
Allow your inner truths to emerge.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. What might I be angry about?
2. What hurts?
3. What am I afraid of?
4. What do I regret?
5. Is there something I feel shame about that I do
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NOW IT’S YOUR TURN–CREATE YOUR OWN POWERPHRASES®
The truth in
your heart is
multi-dimensional.
Allow your inner
truths to emerge.
not want to admit to myself or the other person?
6. What do I want to have happen?
7. What do I want this person to know?
Do not lie to yourself. This is simply information to be
considered in discovering what it is you need and want,
as well as in understanding how to get it. Now move to
step 2.
Step 2: Review the Letter for the Essential Message
Once you have expressed yourself on paper, notice
themes in your thoughts and feelings. Some of the
things you write will seem insignificant. Other words
will have a clear ring of truth. Note what ideas repeat.
Notice what touches you the most emotionally when
you review it. Also notice if you feel resistant to some of
what you write. If you feel resistance to your words, ask
yourself why. Is there something that you do not want to
admit to yourself? Is there something that you do not
want to have to tell someone else? Don’t worry–you do
not have to act on or express everything you think and
feel–in fact I recommend that you don’t! Do examine
your responses to what you wrote to understand yourself
better.
Step 3: Determine What Results You Seek by
Communicating.
The power of a communication is best measured by the
result it obtains. Be clear of your intention before you
formulate your PowerPhrases. Ask yourself:
1. Are you speaking to unburden yourself?
2. Are you speaking to get the other person to stop
doing something?
3. Are you speaking to get the other person to start
doing something?
4. Are you speaking to create a bond?
214
POWERPHRASES®
If you feel
resistance to
your words,
ask yourself why.
5. Are you speaking to relay information?
6. Are you speaking to punish or extract revenge?
(Not recommended.)
The words you choose will depend on the result you
want to accomplish.
Step 4: Start Writing What You Want to Actually
Say, Keeping the Results in Mind.
Refer back to your intention and your freeform writing
as you begin to formulate your own PowerPhrases. Also
refer to the chapters that relate most to your issue. If you
need to say no, refer to the ACT formula. If the issue is
a conflict, make your CASE. Refer to the PowerPhrases
I recommend, and create your own.
Step 5: Ask Yourself the PowerPhrase Questions
From the End of Chapter One
Apply the PowerPhrase questions at the end of Chapter
One to your writing. They are summarized below.
A. Is it short? Eliminate all unnecessary words.
B. Is it specific? Can you find more powerful words?
C. Although you are editing your raw thoughts, does
it say what you truly mean?
D. Are you certain that you are ready to back up
your words with action?
E. Are there trigger words, accusations, and remarks
that do not consider the self-esteem of your
listener?
Step 6: Edit for Poison Phrases
Review your words one more time to make certain that
there are no Poison Phrases listed in Chapter 2.
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NOW IT’S YOUR TURN–CREATE YOUR OWN POWERPHRASES®
Apply the
PowerPhrase
Principles to every
word you use.
216
POWERPHRASES®
Step 7: Run It by a Friend
You are probably too involved with your own situation to
be objective. Try your communication out on a friend.
Ask your friend how he or she would respond if they
received a communication like the one you prepared.
Step 8: Take a Deep Breath, Use Your Pass the
Butter Voice and Express Yourself.
You can do it! Say what you mean, mean what you say,
and do not be mean when you say it.
Be aware that if you are speaking more powerfully than
usual, your listener will not necessarily appreciate it. If
someone is used to being able to get whatever he or she
wants from you, they may not be pleased when you
express yourself strongly. Even if people are accustomed
to an aggressive behavior from you, they may resist calm
assertiveness. A negative reaction does not imply you
were wrong to speak. The ultimate test of that is how
you feel about it.
Your listener
will not always
appreciate
your new-found
strength of
communication.
217
PowerPhrases of Appreciation
PowerPhrases are not only for telling people what they
need to change or what is not working. PowerPhrases
are important to express the positives as well. When
you review your freeform writing, pick out the words of
appreciation that you find and be sure to express them
as well. Below are a few of mine:
• Bob, with all the people in the world that you
could be spending your life with, thank you for
choosing me.
• David, you are the best thing that ever
happened to me.
• Harriet, I am so glad that my Dad found you.
• Cindi, your zest for life increases mine.
• Bill, your unconditional friendship gives me a
much needed refuge.
• Andy, thanks for your acceptance of me
wherever I am at any time.
Now that you have the steps, start expressing yourself in
such a way that others find out who you really are.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN–CREATE YOUR OWN POWERPHRASES®
PowerPhrases are
not only for
telling people
what they need to
change or what is
not working.
PowerPhrases are
important to
express the
positives as well.
218
POWERPHRASES®
It’s quick and it’s easy. It can get you immediate results
and it can get you into immediate trouble. Because of
the speed of emails, you may send them hastily and
without careful thought or review. Sloppy communication
via email carries even more risk than it does in faceto-
face communication. Emails create a written record,
and you cannot see the reaction to know if there is confusion.
PowerPhrases are even more important in email
than they are in face-to-face conversation.
Like PowerPhrases, Effective Emails Are Brief
Stick to simple words, short phrases and paragraphs consisting
of 1-3 short sentences. Don’t require your recipient
to think much, interpret long sentences or read big
sections of text. If you ramble in emails, it can be more
destructive to your message than if you ramble in conversation,
because you have no control over what people
do with your emails. In conversation, any word that does
not add to the impact of your message when you speak
detracts from it. In email, if you are wordy, you risk not
being “heard” at all. People often scan emails to get a
sense of the message. Too many words can bury the message.
It also is common for people to review all new
emails at once and mark longer ones for later reading…
running a risk that your email will never get read at all.
PowerPhrases
are even more
important in
emails than they
are in face-to-face
communication.
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CHAPTER 12
Perfect PowerPhrases® for Effective Email
Ensure your message is received by making your emails
as succinct as possible. Avoid wordiness such as:
— I don’t know if you heard about the details of the
meeting that was held last Thursday. We raised a
lot of important issues that concerned many of us.
I wish you could have been there, but I understand
you were busy. In case you do not have a
copy of the minutes I am sending you one so you
can offer your input. I know you’re busy, but if
you could…
Instead, use a PowerPhrase for Email Brevity such as:
• We missed you at the meeting. I am enclosing a
copy of the minutes for your comment. Please
review and forward your comments regarding item
three by Friday.
This makes your message quick, easy to understand…
and likely to be read. An excellent habit is to cut your
first email draft in half before you send.
Take notice that although the above message is brief and
focused, it does include a relationship remark—a single
phrase whose purpose is to reinforce the relationship.
The Value of an Email Relationship Remark
In your attempt to keep your emails brief, avoid making
them so brief that you sound abrupt. Emails lack nonverbal
communication to reinforce the relationship, so
use a brief phrase to highlight good will.
Some PowerPhrases to Reinforce the Relationship in
Emails are:
• We missed you at the meeting.
• I was glad to hear from you.
• I hope you enjoyed your trip.
• Thanks for your input.
The best remarks are ones that are specific enough to
Keep emails
succinct, but
include a short
relationship
remark to avoid
sounding abrupt.
POWERPHRASES®
220
the person you are speaking to that they know you are
paying attention to them.
Effective Emails Are Specific: Choose Your
Words with Precision
Josh had fixed Larissa’s software problems the week
before and was wondering if everything was working
properly. He emailed her asking:
— Are you having any problems?
When Larissa answered…
— Thanks for asking. I have been concerned about
my husband lately. He’s had some health problems
and…
…Josh decided he should have been more specific.
The more specific your email, the more effective it will
be. Include who, what, when, where and why, avoiding
all vague words. You may choose to organize your email
that way.
• Who: All senior managers
• What: Mandatory Compliance Update
• When: Thursday June 30th, 10:00–10:15
• Where: Boardroom
• Why: To ensure all new regulations are understood
prior to inspections
This format will reduce your risk of omitting important
information. Specifics can save you time on follow-up
emails, and specifics can eliminate error.
Even with a structure such as this one, ask yourself what
information they might still require. For example, is
there more than one boardroom? Each comment must
be reviewed from the perspective of all recipients.
Before you hit send, ask yourself the following two
questions:
The more
specific your
email is, the
more effective
it will be.
PERFECT POWERPHRASES® FOR EFFECTIVE EMAIL
221
1. Is there any information I left out?
2. Are any of the words subject to an inaccurate
interpretation?
In the example, does everyone know who is regarded as
a senior manager? Are other members of their team
invited or expected to attend? Be particularly aware of
vague words such as:
— Soon
— Quick
— Good
— Bad
Words like:
• By Thursday noon
• Under five minutes
• Profitable
• Inaccurate
are less open to interpretation.
Avoid hints or any assumptions of understanding. When
you choose the most precise word you save time and
confusion.
Use Specific Headers to Increase Clarity
Be specific right from the beginning. Make the subject
header so specific that even if the recipient never opens
the email, they still get information. For example,
instead of a subject line that says
— Company picnic
Say:
• Company picnic June 22, respond by June 13th.
The recipient knows at a glance what the email is about,
and what action is required.
Avoid hints or
any assumptions
of understanding.
POWERPHRASES®
222
A Creative Header Succeeded Where All Else
Failed
Sometimes subject headers that are interesting and
compelling will get results when nothing else will.
Cindi was getting no response to her emails to a
coworker until she changed the subject line to say:
• Free beer
The email had nothing to do with beer, but the subject
header did the job…the recipient opened the message
and responded. Usually being specific and accurate in
your header will be your best bet; however, when all
else fails, go creative!
Effective Emails Are Results Oriented
Create Focus by Limiting Content of Your Emails
If you limit your email to one topic, it will add to the
topic’s impact. It is often better to send several emails
than to load a single email with numerous unrelated
topics. When separate topics are addressed in separate
emails, the recipient knows they need to respond to
each one.
Increase Clarity by Formatting
If you must include multiple topics in a single email, or
if you have several points regarding a single topic, limit
each paragraph to one topic and:
1. Give each a separate header and/or
2. Number or bullet each separate item.
“Jennifer” sent me an email that contained five
questions listed numerically. After I responded, she marveled
that she had asked five questions and I gave her
five answers. I give Jennifer the credit for that, because
If you limit your
emails to one
topic, it adds to
the topic’s
impact.
PERFECT POWERPHRASES® FOR EFFECTIVE EMAIL
223
questions were enumerated. It was obvious what she
wanted from me. Make it obvious to others what you are
asking for, and easy for them to give it to you.
PowerPhrases Are Focused
Before you write, know what action you want your recipients
to take. Answer important questions for the recipient
in the first two sentences of your email. Your recipient
wants to know immediately,
1. Who you are
2. What do you want them to do? And
3. What’s in it for them.
When available, include “Call to Action” links to make
it easy for them to comply.
Handling Emotions on Emails
I heard a tale of a college student who told his colleagues
he had asked his girlfriend to marry him. When
his buddies asked what her response was, he replied:
— I don’t know. She hasn’t answered my emails yet.
Can you imagine the disappointment of their future
grandchildren asking to hear the tale of how he popped
the question? When it comes to handling sensitive topics
and emotional issues via email, the best approach is
not to.
Emotional topics and emails do not mix well. Meanings
can be quickly misinterpreted.
When emotions get triggered, it is the time to leave your
desk and speak to the person personally. At the very
least, pick up the phone to speak directly. The reasons
for this are:
Before you write,
know what
actions you want
the recipients
to take.
POWERPHRASES®
224
1. If there are tensions, emails create a record that
you might prefer they did not have. (If you in fact
do want a record and you choose to discuss a sensitive
issue via email despite the pitfalls, run your
emails past a neutral party before you hit send.)
2. There is a greater chance of misunderstanding
over email since there is not the face-to-face
interaction to discern their response.
If someone brings up an issue that is sensitive via email,
use a PowerPhrase to Invite Direct Communication
such as:
• This issue is too important to discuss over email.
When can we meet?
• I want to be certain we understand each other.
Let’s continue this discussion face-to-face.
• My policy is to refrain from discussing sensitive
issues by email. That’s why I’m here. Is this a good
time?
Always question whether email is the best way to communicate,
and be particularly careful when emotions
are involved.
A Few Words about Spelling and Grammar
I received an email asking a question about communication
that contained multiple grammar errors. I admit
I assumed the author was not well-educated until I realized
English was her second language. It is unfortunate
that we come to such inaccurate conclusions, but the
fact is that we do when all we have to go on is words on
a page. Therefore, take the time to correct spelling and
grammar. Avoid all caps, and avoid all lower case. Do
not allow errors to weaken the impact of your words.
When emails
get emotional,
arrange to speak
face-to-face.
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225
If in Doubt, Ask.
Powerful Clarification Through Email
Information is missing in email that is available in faceto-
face communication. That means it is imperative to
clarify your understanding. If in doubt of meaning, ask.
You cannot clarify too much. Keep your clarifications
powerful.
Use PowerPhrases for Email Clarification such as:
• This is what I understand from your email. Is my
understanding correct?
• Based on your previous email I intend to ___. Is
that what you want me to do?
Because the words are all the information you have with
email, be even more aware of possible assumptions than
you are in other forms of communication.
Pros and Cons of Email
Many of us love email because it is quick and easy. It is
a comfortable way for the timid to interact and a rapid
way for the hurried to correspond. Like most things in
life, if used properly it can be an asset. If misused it can
be a liability. A few well placed PowerPhrases can make
the difference.
You cannot
clarify too much.
POWERPHRASES®
226
Are you in love? If so, have I got a website for you! Go
to calculator.com and look for the love calculator.
When you click on it, it will ask you to enter your name
and the name of your beloved to discover your chances
of success. Before you hit enter, you have two options…
1. Tell the truth, and
2. Lie a little.
Why would anyone ask a question and ask for the
answer to be a lie?
In fact we do it all the time. Most men have discovered
that when their wives ask if their outfit makes them look
fat, they don’t really want to know. Many employees
have discovered that when their boss asks for questions
about the new initiative, they are really looking for
agreement. Usually the question “How are you” is not a
genuine inquiry into your well-being. You may say you
want the truth when you really don’t.
What Is Truth?
What is truth? There’s a question we can argue for a millennium.
My purpose in raising this abstract topic is not
to give the authoritative answer to what truth is, but to
provide definitions of what I mean when I speak of
telling the simple truth.
You may say you
want the truth
when you really
don’t.
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CHAPTER 13
The Truth about Truth, Persuasion and PowerPhrases®
I make a distinction between personal truth and
absolute truth. There are as many interpretations of the
truth about anything as there are people who describe it.
All you have to do is talk to more than one witness to an
accident to discover that. There is an absolute truth of
what happened that exists independent of how people
perceive it. Then there are numerous versions of the
truth, which include everyone’s sincere assessment of
what happened based on their personal perception. This
is a collection of personal truths. Unfortunately, in
determining the absolute truth of the accident, you are
dependent on personal truth to put the picture together
as objectively as possible. Even more unfortunate is that
attempts to understand the absolute truth of an event are
sometimes obscured by those who deliberately lie, and
rather than telling their personal truth, they tell personal
falsehood.
If I believe I had a green light and I say so, I am telling
my personal truth: the truth as I know it. If a video camera
later shows the light was red, it does not prove that I
was lying, or even that I wasn’t speaking the truth. It
proves that the personal truth I told was likely not closely
aligned with the absolute truth of the event. I was
telling the truth, and was shown to be wrong.
That is different than if I deliberately lied about the
color of the light.
The reason why this discussion is vital is that many people
remain silent because they know that their personal
truth is inherently limited. However, if you do not tell
your personal truth to the best of your ability because
you are afraid of error, those who willingly lie are given
a free reign. Not only is absolute certainty not required
to merit speaking up, there are compelling reasons to
speak with whatever certainty you can muster. By speaking,
you can discover the limitations—and accuracies—
Don’t wait
for absolute
certainty to
speak up.
POWERPHRASES®
228
of your personal truth. By speaking, others who have
similar perceptions are also inspired to speak. By speaking,
those who deliberately lie are put on notice that
their assertions will not go unchallenged.
For the sake of clarity, when I speak of the simple truth,
I am referring to your personal best efforts to speak
accurately. When I speak of absolute truth, I am referring
the truth that exists independent of anyone’s
perception of it.
Why We Lie: Eight Myths about Telling the Truth
There are many reasons why people avoid the truth and
even lie. Some common barriers to truth telling are listed
below. Fallacies of these barriers are discussed later in
the chapter.
1. Misplaced respect for authority. Marie worked for
a decorator. When her boss told her to cut the fabric
for draperies, she knew the instructions were
incorrect. She followed them anyway, ruining the
fabric at great expense, and delaying the project by
several months. Marie believed she was doing the
right thing, because “the boss is the boss.”
2.Fear of negative consequences. One of my
newsletter subscribers spoke up brilliantly about
an abusive manager…and lost her job. In the
investigation of her charges, none of her coworkers
would back her up due to fear.
3. Not wanting to offend. I get inquiries every week
from managers who do not speak up about poor
performance from their staff. While reading the
detail of completely inappropriate behavior I
anticipate the inevitable closing of: “S/he is so sensitive
I don’t want to hurt her/his feelings.”
4.Avoidance. My late husband was paralyzed by fear
of cancer. By not allowing a discussion he could
avoid facing what he feared was true.
You can always
find a reason to
avoid the truth.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH, PERSUASION AND POWERPHRASES®
229
5. Habit. I first learned my parents were having marital
difficulties the day they told me they were getting
divorced. Keeping key issues silent was a family
pattern which I learned and practiced until it
became too costly.
6. No one else is saying anything. If no one else is
saying anything, why should I? For example, it is
common for managers to do a whitewash about
poor performance on evaluations to avoid conflict,
making it more difficult for subsequent managers
to speak accurately.
7. Self doubt. Since it is impossible to know everything,
it is easy to question your own understanding,
especially if you are being told you’re wrong.
When I suspected my husband had cancer, I
doubted myself in the face of his stated certainty
that he did not have cancer.
8.Don’t know how. Many people have the words to
be passive, aggressive or passive aggressive, and
don’t know what words to use to be clear, direct,
and kind.
A Case for Speaking Strong: Challenging the
Myths
Certainly there is a payoff for silence—and there also is
a price for silence. Usually the payoff is short-term and
the price is long-term. Let’s look at the credibility of
each reason we use for not speaking the simple truth.
1. Misplaced respect for authority: History is full of
failed efforts because the leaders were insulated
from fact by yes-sayers. Respect for authority
means having the respect to tell the truth.
PowerPhrases can help you speak the truth in a
manner that honors authority. In the example
given about the interior decorator who gave inaccurate
instructions, chances are the decorator
would have preferred to have her directive challenged
than have the draperies ruined by blind
compliance.
There is a
payoff—and a
price—for
silence.
POWERPHRASES®
230
2.Fear of negative consequences: This can be a
legitimate concern which is why you must speak
smart when you SpeakStrong. Assess the risks
before speaking. When you assess the risks, consider
the risks of NOT speaking as well as the risks
of speaking. Some risks are: 1) Self-censorship can
be physiologically damaging over an extended
period of time. 2) When you don’t speak up, you
perpetuate an error or injustice. 3) While silence
may prove more convenient short-term, ultimately
the truth has a way of catching up with you. One
of my favorite examples of this is the tale of John
Olson who lost his job at Merrill Lynch for refusing
to give Enron a buy-rating. Olson’s commitment
to the truth cost him his job, but he prevailed
when truth prevailed.
When you choose to speak despite risks involved,
speak with caution. The Government Accountability
Project supports whistleblowers at a site
called whistleblowers.com. They offer cautions
before speaking out that can be useful in any
industry or environment. (Guidelines are posted at
http://www.whistleblower.org/article.php?did=33
&scid=72)
3. Not wanting to offend: The irony of this argument
against speaking up is that silence can cause
resentment to build and damage relationships. I
hear stories weekly from subscribers who discover
that speaking up heals relationships that silence
has damaged. Another problem with this argument
is that it can make you vulnerable to people who
will take advantage of your kindness to be able to
get away with inappropriate behavior. Also, this
reason can be used as an excuse. Often when I
hear this reason given, the real issue is a desire to
avoid conflict.
4.Avoidance: If you deny the truth it doesn’t go
away. There is a saying, “the best way out is
though.” While it is painful to address unwelcome
reality, the only way to deal successfully with life is
Don’t trick
yourself into
staying silent
when the truth
needs to be told.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH, PERSUASION AND POWERPHRASES®
231
to face the truth about what is. I believe had my
late husband done this, he might be alive today.
5. Habit: Your habits are often invisible to you. Your
habits are so automatic that you may not even
know you are practicing them. The first step in
changing any behavior is to become conscious of
that behavior. Ask yourself, what are your habits
about speaking out? Habits that do not serve you
can be changed by consistent, persistent study,
practice and evaluation. (A PowerPhrase a Week
Newsletter, www.speakstrong.com, is popular
because it helps develop new behaviors one week
at a time.)
6. No one else is saying anything: There is a dangerous
tendency to go with the status quo. A look
at history tells you that mass consensus and opinion
is not a good indicator of healthy behavior. If
no one else is saying anything, it does not mean
there isn‘t something that needs to be said.
Countless injustices and falsehoods are perpetuated
due to this reason. While the perpetuators of
injustice and falsehoods are certainly responsible
for their misinformation, if you are aware of lies
and do not challenge them you are a co-conspirators.
Challenging consensus can be a risk because
the messenger is sometimes blamed for telling an
unpopular truth. Then again, the person who
dares to speak up often becomes the hero of those
who were not willing to, and they make it safer for
others to follow.
7. Self doubt: You do not need to have absolute certainty
to SpeakStrong. You do need to give your
best efforts at describing the truth. You are not
expected to know absolute truth. The best you can
do is to tell your personal truth...what your knowledge,
perception and experience tells you is true.
That is one thing you can be certain of. One dictionary
definition of truth is sincerity and integrity.
When you speak with sincerity and integrity, it
inspires the same in others. That opens both of
your perceptions to greater understanding.
The first step
in changing
any behavior
is to become
conscious of
that behavior.
POWERPHRASES®
232
8.Don’t know how: This is why PowerPhrases are
imperative. My experience tells me that when people
don’t have the words to speak, they usually
remain silent. Having the words makes all the difference.
Examine the reasons you give for not speaking truthfully
and see if you are taking a short-term solution that will
create a long-term problem.
Are there ever times when telling a deliberate lie is
appropriate? I believe so, but they are rare. These are
explored next.
Set Your “Default Mode” to Truth
There are specific circumstances when a lie may be
appropriate. Otherwise, let truth win by default.
It may be appropriate to lie when there is nothing to be
gained to offset the damage of telling an unpleasant
truth. For example, there was nothing to be gained by
my telling a long-term renter I thought the carpeting she
selected was ugly.
It may be appropriate to lie when dealing with
unscrupulous people who will use the truth against you
in an unfair way, such as when dealing with criminals.
However, if lying is not a singular event in your life, or
you regularly are unable to speak the simple truth,
reevaluate your assessment of the situation and reevaluate
the situation itself. As “they” say, that ain’t no way to
live.
Persuasion and Propaganda
When you tell the truth, use persuasion rather than
propaganda. Persuasion uses reasoning and argument to
establish the truth of a position to induce a change.
Propaganda uses opinions, images, and one-sided argument
to spread the adoption of an idea regardless of its
Question any
situation you are
in that makes it
difficult to tell
the truth.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH, PERSUASION AND POWERPHRASES®
233
truth. Propaganda works best when reasoning is not
engaged. Propaganda is designed to abort discussion.
Power Pointer— Propaganda versus Persuasion
Recently I had a conversation with a couple who have
very different views from my own. I thought it would be
an opportunity for me to understand their thinking. It
wasn’t. There was no reasoning, only opinion. For
example, when I expressed my concerns about the possible
reinstatement of the draft, they said, “That will
never happen.” When I asked why, they replied, “It
just won’t.” I said I had information that led me to
believe that it could, to which they replied, “Trust us,
it won’t.” I heard no persuasion, but much propaganda.
They offered no reasons for their opinions and did
not care to hear the reasons for my concerns.
They may be right. Being right has nothing to do with
whether or not their words were propaganda. There was
no focus on facts or information, just opinion and emotion.
Their manner of speaking aborted discussion.
After that conversation I learned more about the issue
from a fact-checking organization. Their arguments
challenged the veracity of the information I had. They
addressed my concerns point-by-point, and swayed my
thinking about the issue. The use of reasoned argument
influenced my thinking when the repetition of
opinion could not.
PowerPhrases allow you to tell the simple truth responsibly
and be persuasive without using propaganda. You
have a point of view based on your knowledge, experience
and perceptions. Use PowerPhrases to give others
the benefit of your opinion…and to invite them to share
theirs. That’s what telling the simple truth is about.
Propaganda
works when
reasoning is
not engaged.
PowerPhrases use
persuasion, and
the engagement
of reason.
POWERPHRASES®
234
Truth by Default
Remember to go to calculator.com and ask the Love
Calculator about your chances of romantic success.
When it asks you if you want it to lie, let your choice for
the truth be a symbol of your commitment to truth in
life. Set your default mode to truth.
Let truth win
by default.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH, PERSUASION AND POWERPHRASES®
235
POWERPHRASES®
236
“It was a small corporation in a desperate town.
Problems were up. Profits were down.
Morale was rock bottom. Grim was its fate.
They had no code to communicate.”
The Legend of Mighty Mouth—Meryl Runion
(Available in entirety on enclosed CD)
Turn on a political show and you will see communication
chaos at its worst. People substitute opinion for fact,
distort truth, hurl judgments and insults at each other
and take things out of context. When a commentator
agrees with a guest s/he allows them to speak uninterrupted.
When a commentator disagrees, they shout the
guest down. Is it ever like this in your boardroom or
even your living room?
What the show needs is a code for communication. I
have created one, but I don’t expect any takers on the
talk shows: ratings would plummet. I have better luck in
boardrooms and living rooms.
Television deliberately intensifies tensions to incite
discord so the viewers will stay tuned in. In reality you
are better off to use every tool available to reduce tension
and increase harmony. The Runion Rules of
Responsible Communication set guidelines for those
difficult conversations to make it safe to talk, and to
What we need
is a code of
communication.
237
CHAPTER 14
Establish a Code: The Runion Rules of
Responsible Communication
make discussion possible. Before you have a sensitive
conversation, discuss, agree to and post the guidelines.
Most of all, follow them. The Rules are listed next, with
elaboration later in the chapter. (A copy for posting is
available on my website, www.speakstrong.com, and in
the enclosed CD.)
The Runion Rules of Responsible
Communication
We agree to observe the following in our communication:
1. Stay Positive:
We emphasize solutions and what we want. We
choose our words to elevate and empower each
other. We examine problems and hold ourselves
and each other accountable, not to blame, but for
the purpose of finding solutions.
2. Be Civil:
We are courteous and respectful with each other.
We speak the truth without viciousness or attack.
3. Use Candor:
We are straightforward, direct and open.
4. Speak Accurately and Honestly:
We speak with precision, exactness and
adherence to facts. We: A) Are balanced in our
use of facts, B) Limit ourselves to reasonable
interpretation of facts in all claims,
C) Observe contextual correctness, and
D) Are informative and substantive.
5. Listen Accountably:
We listen more than we speak. We listen as
though we will be tested on understanding their
words.
6. Maintain the Three Perspectives:
We maintain awareness of the following three
perspectives: ours, theirs, and the one a neutral
party would tell.
Before you
engage in a
sensitive discussion,
agree to the
Runion Rules of
Responsible
Communication.
POWERPHRASES®
238
We agree to refrain from using:
1. Sarcasm
2. Labeling
3. Blame
4. Emotional manipulation
5. Absolute language
6. Threats
A detailed explanation of the guidelines is included at
the end of the chapter. Before reviewing these details,
let’s take a closer look at why having a communication
code is important.
Runion Rules of Responsible Communication:
A Closer Look
When a conversation is challenging or controversial, it
is easy to feel threatened and go into a fight-or-flight
reaction. Chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol are
released into your bloodstream. Your respiratory rate
increases. Blood is redirected from your digestive tract
and into your muscles and limbs. Your pupils dilate.
Your vision sharpens. Your awareness intensifies. Your
impulses quicken. You become prepared—physically
and psychologically—for fight-or-flight. You scan and
search your environment, “looking for the enemy.”
When your fight-or-flight system is activated, you tend to
perceive everything in your environment as a possible
threat to survival. By its very nature, the fight-or-flight
system bypasses your rational mind—where better
thought-out beliefs exist—and moves you into “attack”
mode. Everyone and everything becomes a possible
enemy.
When communicating, this is not a reaction you want to
Runion Rules
of Responsible
Communication
keep the fight-orflight
response
in check.
ESTABLISH A CODE: THE RUNION RULES OF RESPONSIBLE COMMUNICATION
239
activate. The Runion Rules of Responsible Communication
are designed to provide a rational basis for
communication, which makes it easier to stay out of
reaction.
Let’s examine the details of the code more closely.
The Runion Rules of Responsible
Communication in Detail
Stay Positive: The Importance of Creating
Safety and Vision
Negativity activates defensiveness and the fight-or-flight
response. Positivity creates safety and openness. The
positive aspect of PowerPhrases creates safety. When the
speaker knows that his or her words will be received with
good will, they feel free to be honest. If the speaker is
fearful of attack, they are likely to censor their words.
Maintaining a positive vision for the outcome throughout
a conversation elevates all involved to their highest
possible brain functioning. “Possibility thinking”
inspires everyone, and ideas flow from a state of inspiration.
This does not mean that problems are ignored.
However, they are addressed in the light of possibility,
which affects the entire tone and outcome of every
conversation.
Be Civil
Civility is essential to create safety in communication
and to avoid triggering a fight-or-flight reaction. There
are many common language practices that belittle the
listener, either intentionally or unintentionally. Civility
does not mean denying or avoiding difficult realities. It
does mean to be respectful, even if at the moment you
do not believe the other person deserves respect. To be
civil, avoid:
Possibility
thinking elevates
conversation.
POWERPHRASES®
240
1. Sarcasm which makes the person it is directed to
the target of ridicule. (“Did you do this all by
yourself?”)
2. Labeling and name calling that stereotypes others
and puts them into a limited box. (“You’re
not a team player.”)
3. Blame which condemns. The distinction
between blame and accountability is difficult to
discern. Accountability seeks to understand.
Blame attacks. People must be held accountable.
Blame is not necessary and is often unproductive.
(“This is your fault” vs. “I see some things you
could have done to avoid this. Let’s look at what
they are so this won’t happen again.”)
4. Emotional manipulation, which attempts to
place emotional pressure on others. This
includes attempts to make someone feel guilty,
shaming someone into compliance, deliberately
triggering their anger or manipulating their fears.
(“If you respected me you would have…” “After
all I’ve done for you…”) Any type of emotional
manipulation is improper and irresponsible.
5. Absolute language that over-simplifies the truth
and limits understanding to simplistic, black and
white concepts. (“You are with us or you are
against us.”) “Always” and “never” are examples
of black and white language we want to avoid.
(“You’re always sarcastic.”)
6. Threats that use coercion to intimidate. They are
an attempt to force someone into doing what we
want. There is a subtle but important distinction
between threatening someone and informing
them of the consequence of their action. Threats
are intended to limit choice to the path we want
them to take. Informing of consequences is
intended to inform someone of the choice you
Civility creates
safety in
conversation.
ESTABLISH A CODE: THE RUNION RULES OF RESPONSIBLE COMMUNICATION
241
will make based on what they do. For example,
“If you value your job, you’ll do as you’re told” is
a threat. “This work is part of your job description
and needs to be done. If you are not willing
to do it, I’ll have to replace you with someone
who will” informs of consequences.
Use Candor
One benefit of being straightforward, direct and open is
that it creates trust and confidence. Candor dispels the
need to deduce meanings, probe for hidden implications,
or risk being blindsided. Candor can be uncomfortable
in the moment, but combined with civility it
ultimately builds relationships. Part of PowerPhrases is
to say what you mean and tell the truth about what you
think, feel and want.
When a long-lost friend did not receive an answer to an
email she had sent me, she correctly surmised that I
hadn’t received it. She knew if I was angry, I would have
told her. She was correct. My previous candor created
safety for her. Another friend told me, “Whenever I talk
to you I always know you’re going to tell me the truth. I
depend on that.” It is not always easy in the short run to
use candor, but in the long run it creates safety.
Speak Accurately and Honesty
Distortion is a violation of the Runion Rules, even if the
words spoken are literally true. There are many ways to
distort the truth. Statistics can be manipulated, partial
truths can mislead and facts can be exaggerated.
Sometimes these efforts are deliberate. Other times the
speaker maintains the illusion of being truthful.
Responsible communication rejects all forms of deception.
Accuracy is essential for effective communication.
All parties need to be certain they can trust the veracity
of what they hear. Speak with precision, exactness and
adherence to facts, including:
Candor
creates trust.
POWERPHRASES®
242
1. A balanced use of facts.
Choose facts that are representative of the whole, and
avoid the implication that the exception is the rule. For
example, if I have thirteen complaints about a procedure
and one person who likes it, it would be a distortion
for me to speak of the one person who likes it and
fail to mention the thirteen complaints. I may be speaking
truthfully, but I am distorting the truth.
2. Limit yourselves to reasonable interpretation of facts
in all claims.
Only interpret facts in a way any reasonable person
might. For example, to say that someone who questioned
the efficacy procedure is disloyal is not a reasonable
interpretation of the facts.
3. Observe contextual correctness.
Information used out of context is inappropriate and violates
trust. If you look for evidence to support any theory,
you are likely to be able to find something, especially
when used out of context. Accuracy and honesty
require that quotes and examples are used to convey the
same message they would when provided in context. For
example, imagine I say, “I know my boss makes mistakes…
we all do…yet I am constantly stunned by his
knowledge of the industry and his skill as a manager.”
Someone who quotes me as saying my boss makes mistakes
is being technically truthful, yet inaccurate in the
out of context use of quotes.
4. Being informative and substantive.
While emotional appeals can be effective, and
emotional displays can get results, ultimately it is more
productive to be “insightful,” than “inciteful.” Communicate
to educate and add to the understanding of
the listener. Make certain all claims have a solid basis of
information that is researched and substantiated. For
example, if your company is being bought out, there
Responsible
communication
rejects all forms
of deception.
ESTABLISH A CODE: THE RUNION RULES OF RESPONSIBLE COMMUNICATION
243
will probably be talk about the job losses that will ensue.
This can incite fear in employees. However, the responsible
communicator will investigate the history of the
acquiring company’s former acquisitions and the stated
plans before speaking, and will include the basis for
their opinions in any discussion.
Listen Accountably
Listening well pays off. It helps you understand the
other person’s position. It reduces defensiveness. It wins
respect. It facilitates problem solving. When you listen,
listen as though you were going to be tested on what
they say. Listen for the three crucial points: what do they
think, what do they feel, and what do they want. Clarify
your understanding of these points by saying:
• Let me be sure my understanding is correct.
My understanding is that you think…, feel…,
and want…. Is my understanding correct?
This ensures that your assumptions about what they are
saying are accurate.
Maintain the Three Perspectives
There are three perspectives to every conversation—
yours, mine, and the one a neutral party would tell. It is
much easier to view the three perspectives when you are
not personally involved, but as soon as there is personal
involvement, the blinders go on. Although difficult, it IS
possible to be aware of the three perspectives when you
are personally involved. Have all parties ask:
• What do I think, feel, and want?
• What do they think, feel and want?
• How would a neutral party describe this conversation/
situation?
This technique helps you to stay aware of all three perspectives
at all times.
Listen for what
they think, feel
and want.
POWERPHRASES®
244
Use the Runion Rules of Responsible
Communication or Create Your Own to Elevate
Your Conversations
The guidelines provided in this chapter are shown to
facilitate and elevate conversations. However, the best
guidelines are the ones everyone involved agrees to.
Take the Runion Rules as they are, or adapt them to
your own preferences. However you go about it, have a
code to communicate to transform the way people talk
to each other.
The best
communication
guidelines are
ones that everyone
agrees to.
Create your own.
ESTABLISH A CODE: THE RUNION RULES OF RESPONSIBLE COMMUNICATION
245
POWERPHRASES®
246
I love the emails I receive from subscribers who ask
how to handle their vexing and perplexing communication
challenges. Below are several questions and answers
that have been posted in my newsletter. Read on and tell
me how I do!
How to Correct the Boss
Meryl:
I have an imposing boss. One time at an important
meeting with our technical people, I tried to clear up a
paradigm concerning the way a certain piece of equipment
works. He said something incorrect about the
same piece of equipment in front of this group of people.
Putting him on the spot would be counter-productive
so how can I right the wrong? I have to get the message
out without making him look bad.
MERYL REPLIES:
Have a private discussion with your boss about your
issues. What you say depends on how much you are willing
to risk. Try these words:
• When my colleagues make mistakes we tell each
other immediately, even in meetings. I don’t believe
that’s what you want. Can you tell me how you
would like for me to handle it when you say
Ask people how
they want to
receive feedback.
247
CHAPTER 15
Meryl Answers the Most Challenging
Communication Questions
something in a group that isn’t completely accurate?
This wording is non-confrontational yet direct.
Speaking Truth to Power
I attended one of your workshops in Memphis and
found it very informative. I am a student working in an
externship at a local place of business. The CEO is a
friend. Some of the issues they are dealing with could be
easily and correctly addressed with some time spent with
you and your books. Communication is a real problem.
Because of this poor communication and the individuals’
lack of trust in each other, they are unable to do a
good job together. Everything is someone else’s fault. I
will be writing a report to my instructors to finalize my
portfolio of this externship in about a month. The CEO
may also expect some kind of a report. Given he is a
friend and was instrumental in my obtaining this valuable
experience, I need to know how to write this report.
I need to know how to say what needs to be said, to
mean what I say, without seeming naive and judgmental.
(I wouldn’t be mean when I said it!)
I appreciate any help you can give me.
MERYL REPLIES:
First, ask your friend:
• How honest do you want me to be?
Write your report in the same tone you are writing me.
Document specific uses and misuses of words and the
consequences you observe. Recommend a code of
communication such as The Runion Rules of
Communication.
Uncomfortable Silence
Meryl, I lost my husband to a heart attack last month.
My friends have been a wonderful support to me, but
When you have a
tough message,
solicit an
invitation for
honesty before
you dive in to
the message.
POWERPHRASES®
248
some seem to not know what to say. What do you
recommend?
MERYL REPLIES:
Initiate the conversation from your side. Say,
• It is hard to know what to say at a time like this. I
want you to know that I appreciate your friendship,
and you don’t need to worry about saying the right
or wrong thing. Your friendship is enough.
Saying something right off will alleviate their concerns.
If you are genuine, it will encourage them to be genuine
with you. Best of luck in this very tough time.
Treated Like a Child
Hi Meryl:
I have a question for you. How do I gain the trust and/or
confidence of my boss when I offer creative solutions or
ideas to situations that arise? When I have a problem or
situation I usually approach him with a couple of different
ways we can deal with it. However, I feel as though
the ideas I express are not taken seriously. I have started
“telling” him what needs to be done, but because of his
personality he “pats me on the head and sends me
off”—appeasing me as though I am a five-year old. I
have been with the company as his assistant for nearly
two years. HELP!
MERYL REPLIES:
First, make certain that you are not coming across passively.
Do you discount your words before you speak them with
comments like “This is just my idea” or “This may not
be right but…?”
Do you use a passive tone of voice?
Are you specific in your recommendations?
If you are
genuine it
encourages others
to be genuine
with you.
MERYL ANSWERS THE MOST CHALLENGING COMMUNICATION QUESTIONS
249
If you are certain you are communicating assertively, it’s
time to talk to him about the issue. I see two options.
1. Address the issue in a separate meeting.
2. Address the issue when it happens again.
Some things you might say are:
• I appreciate specific feedback on my suggestions.
That is how I will learn.
• When I bring ideas to you I often feel discounted
by your response. Are my ideas bad? I want to feel
my opinions are valued.
• When you pat me on my head I feel patronized. I
do not believe you would respond to a man’s recommendations
by patting him on the head, and it
is inappropriate with me.
• Is there something about the way I present my
ideas that diminishes their credibility, or is it the
ideas themselves that cause you to not take my
ideas seriously?
Good luck! Remember, you teach others how to treat
you. It is time for you to change the dynamic. If you cannot,
find somewhere else where you will be respected. If
you stay in that environment too long, your initiative
will be driven out of you. Don’t let that happen!
Stay Calm While Speaking Strong
Dear Meryl,
I attended your seminar recently in MN. I have been
putting into play much of what I learned. I do have one
question.
How do I say what I mean, mean what I say without
being mean when I say it and without getting emotional?
I get teary-eyed just by the mention of conflict or a
problem. Any suggestions?
Thanks.
We teach others
how to treat us.
POWERPHRASES®
250
MERYL REPLIES:
I have five quick fixes:
• In the web between your thumb and forefinger
there is an acupressure point. Press it. That stops
tears.
• Pretend you are asking someone to pass the butter.
Use the same tone of voice you would use to do
that.
• Practice with someone you trust before you speak.
• Use left-brain words such as, “point number one”
etc.
• Breathe slowly and deeply.
The long-term remedy:
Long term, you need to connect with what is going on
underneath that causes you to be emotional. Journal all
your feelings around issues and standing up for yourself.
Many of us have a backlog of emotions that come out in
full force when they are triggered. For example, until I
finished grieving the death of my husband, I cried about
trivial matters like dead bugs and long-distance commercials.
Once I did the work of diving into the pain I
preferred to avoid, my responses became more appropriate
to the situation.
This is a process that can take an enormous amount of
time, but it is well worth the effort to be emotionally
clear, cleansed and current.
No More Loans
Meryl,
I work with a woman who does not manage money well.
She has asked me twice to loan her money and twice I
said yes. I do not intend to bail her out again, but my
questions are: (1) How do I say “No” without making
If you have a
backlog of
emotions, it will
be a challenge to
stay calm while
speaking strong
until you have
healed them.
MERYL ANSWERS THE MOST CHALLENGING COMMUNICATION QUESTIONS
251
her feel uncomfortable for asking me for money? (2) At
the same time, how do I deal with my guilt for saying
“No”?
Thank you.
MERYL REPLIES:
I suspect that saying “No” will make you uncomfortable
no matter how you say it. Say no anyway. Use words like:
• (Name), I made an exception to my policy of not
lending money because you were in a tough spot.
I’m not comfortable lending any more money. If
there is some other way I can help you, let me
know.
However awkward saying it feels, it can’t feel any worse
than saying,“ Yes” when you mean “No.”
Be Straightforward
I have a 24-year-old single daughter. She lives with three
other young, single women who are about the same age.
They all regularly attend the same church and social
events. My daughter has related to me numerous times,
that every time she enters into a conversation with any
of the young men attending church or social events, one
particular roommate enters the conversation and proceeds
to dominate the conversation until my daughter
excuses herself. My daughter then begins speaking with
someone else only to have the same scenario happen
again and again. My daughter feels so bombarded by
this behavior that she is seriously thinking of changing
residences in the hopes that this behavior will stop.
I would really appreciate any help you can provide with
this situation. What can my daughter say to her roommate
to stop this annoying and rude behavior?
Thank you.
If you need to say
no, do not let discomfort
stop you.
POWERPHRASES®
252
MERYL REPLIES:
It is not unusual, but it is unfortunate, that people consider
quitting jobs, changing vendors and moving out
before they give serious thought to speaking the truth
about how they are affected by someone’s inconsiderate
behavior. Has your daughter said anything to her roommate
about the issue? She needs to let her roommate
know what she feels and wants. A gentle way to begin
can be,
• Roommate, I’d like to make a deal that when one
of us is talking to a guy, that the other one allow
them to continue uninterrupted. Sometimes I want
a guy’s full attention, and I bet you feel the same
way.
If that doesn’t work, she’ll need to be more straightforward.
• Roommate, I have noticed that when I start talking
to a guy, you often join in. When that happens I
find it difficult to say what I have to say because I
feel that you have stepped in and taken over the
conversation. I feel upstaged. How about we circulate
separately at events and then tell each other all
about it afterward? Will you do that for me?
I suspect the roommate is not at all aware of a problem
and simply needs to be told. If she has a certain pattern
of behavior, she may need to be told several times.
Fashion Trend Necessity
I have a health problem that elicits unsolicited comments
on a regular basis and I could use some ideas on
how to respond.
Due to knee surgery which left me with nerve damage
in one of my knees, I “feel” pain when anything touches
my knee (like skirts or slacks). Consequently, I wear
shorts year round. I live in Colorado, and in the winter
I wear wool shorts with knee socks. I dress as nicely as I
It is all too common
for people
to make drastic
changes to avoid
people rather
than telling them
when there is a
problem.
MERYL ANSWERS THE MOST CHALLENGING COMMUNICATION QUESTIONS
253
can, given these limitations. My coworkers and employer
have no problem with this. Even clients rarely say
anything.
My problem is that complete strangers feel very comfortable
making critical, sometimes rude, comments.
What can I say that is short and will make me feel better
without being rude?
Thanks for your weekly reminder to SpeakStrong!
MERYL REPLIES:
Say,
• I am attempting to start a trend but it’s taking
longer to catch on than I hoped.
Or speak the simple truth,
• It’s most comfortable for me because I have sensitive
knees.
Managing the Micro-Manager
We would like to get some advice on how to deal with a
boss who micro-manages everything. Our team of highly
capable people is consistently made to feel inadequate
and unable to do their job due to our boss’ style of
leadership. She is always on our “backs” wanting to
know every small detail with regard to all aspects of our
jobs, giving orders on the “best way” to complete projects
and often completely railroading the simplest tasks.
We have recently lost one experienced and very valued
member of the team who has just resigned because of
her management style, and we would like to prevent this
from happening again. We have a very committed team
which works well together. The micro-manager is the
only thing that presents a problem for this team.
We look forward to any suggestions you have on how to
deal with this.
When someone
offends you, tell
the simple truth.
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MERYL REPLIES:
Your approach will depend on if you can speak for the
group or as a group, and how much you are willing to
risk. Here is a good approach.
• Boss, I think in the past you may have worked with
a staff that needed a lot of supervision. We are
blessed here with highly capable people, and the
high level of management that may be necessary in
less motivated teams is counterproductive here. We
value your input and want you to feel adequately
“in the loop,” and yet we work best when we are
allowed to work more independently. Can you
think of a way we can find that balance?
I hope your departed coworker made it clear why he left.
If he did, the manager may be aware there is a problem
and more open to solutions.
Whatever vexing and perplexing situation you face, you
will find the best words in the last place you are likely to
look…your own heart and mind. Keep your words short,
brief and focused, and you may be surprised by what you
learn.
Send your
PowerPhrases
questions to
info@SpeakStrong.
com.
MERYL ANSWERS THE MOST CHALLENGING COMMUNICATION QUESTIONS
255
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If PowerPhrases sounds theoretical to you, this chapter
will assure you they are not. I receive letters from my
newsletter subscribers every week telling me of how
PowerPhrases work for them. I include some here to
illustrate the real-world effectiveness of PowerPhrases.
Many of the stories talk about how useful the phrase
“Say what you mean, mean what you say and don’t be
mean when you say it” is. Two examples of this follow.
A Case for Asking
I attended both of your sessions at the CSA
Conference in April. Thanks for the message “Say
what you mean, mean what you say and don’t be mean
when you say it.” I used your system there at the
Conference that same day. I approached a couple of
health service providers there in the exhibit hall and
asked them if they would donate their services to our
operations and maintenance employees at our recognition
in-service in July. I practiced exactly what you
recommended; I made it clear up front that we did not
have any money for their service, and can you believe
they have agreed to come!
Just ask.
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CHAPTER 16
PowerPhrases® in Action: Success Stories from A
PowerPhrase a Week Subscribers
It Was a Win-Win Performance Review
I attended one of your seminars in Georgia and was
deeply impacted by your suggestions on how to
SpeakStrong. Upon returning to my job, I found that
I was able to use the information you shared with us.
One of the employees on my staff complained consistently.
It was up to me to address this in a performance
review.
I reviewed my notes on your seminar. The words, “Say
what you mean and mean what you say without being
mean,” gave me the foundation I needed. I thought
about what I wanted to accomplish. My goal was to
make this person realize how important they were to
the team and that they had much to offer if they just
shared with the rest of the team.
Our meeting went well and we gained something I didn’t
expect…mutual respect. Furthermore, we both listened
to each other and we have taken some amazing
steps in improving our department’s objectives due to
the contribution this person has made since our talk.
Your seminar helped me to focus on a realistic, nonthreatening
goal and we were able to come out with a
win-win situation.
Pippi Power
When people share success stories, I give them a
charming stuffed giraffe that I call Pippi, after Pippi
Longstocking. The “Pippi Award” is very popular and
represents elevating the level of conversation. (I also use
a stuffed lizard, “Izzie,” to represent the reptilian brain,
and low level conversations. See the introduction for
more details.) Pippi is very popular in some workplaces.
The next story tells how Pippi has become an icon for
one organization.
The Power of
PowerPhrases
might surprise you.
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258
Meryl,
You gave me a Pippi at a seminar for sharing a success
story. Here is another. Pippi came to work with me
after attending your seminar. At an employee meeting,
I explained to the staff about using your Pippi brain
instead of Izzie as well as developing the Pippi “way of
life.” Now Pippi is an icon at my office. When conflict
arises, Pippi comes with me to the “resolution meeting"
between the conflicting parties. Whoever holds Pippi is
the person allowed to speak. When they are through,
Pippi is placed in the center of the table. Then the next
person who holds Pippi can reply or speak their mind.
The rules are: no fighting over Pippi and everyone
must keep a civil tongue. This has worked very well. It
keeps arguing to a minimum, and only one person is
speaking at a time. Also, if a person happens to pause
to think of what they want to say-no one can “butt in”
while they are thinking. Pippi helps us come to a resolution
in a timely, respectful manner. Thank you.
Get Back to a Positive Dynamic
This next letter illustrates the importance of staying
focused on the desired outcome of conversation. It can
be difficult to reach out to someone whom we are at
odds with. This subscriber succeeded and was able to
keep her “Izzie” in check in order to give her coworker
what she needed to create resolution.
Meryl,
I recently experienced a success I would like to share
with you, particularly since you helped me to achieve
it. Besides having both your books, I print your
newsletters and put them in a binder. I highlight the
items that I think I need. In Issue 96 I found the
approach that bailed me out of an uncomfortable situation.
It was “Get Back to a Positive Dynamic." A
There is
power in having
a symbol for your
communication
commitment.
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259
coworker (in our corporate office) and I have been getting
on each others’ nerves, and the result has been
some fairly snippy emails. I could see the situation was
getting worse, not better, and it was not helped when I
inadvertently did do something inappropriate. When I
realized it, I emailed her back acknowledging my mistake
and inviting her to call me back when she had
time to let me know what I could do to improve our
relationship, with the hope that we could get to a better
level of understanding and cooperation. She called
me back immediately and pretty frankly told me how
she felt. It was very reminiscent of an exercise you had
us do in your communication seminar. I acknowledged
my mistake and, without rationalizing, explained
what my motive had been. Our relationship has
advanced to a whole new level. So…. thank you
The referenced exercise involves one partner inventing
an issue with their partner and complaining about it.
The listener listens to understand what the complainer
thinks, feels and wants, and repeats their understanding
of it back to the one speaking. Even though people
know the issue is imaginary, they still experience their
“Izzie’s” tensing up. I was happy to hear that the reader
was able to refer back to the experience and stay
detached in action.
She Took Care of It Her Way
One of the things PowerPhrases emphasize is creativity
in your response. You may think your choices are to
either acquiesce or confront. In truth you always have
far more options. This person handled a situation creatively
without bottling or blowing.
Meryl,
At work, I’ve been asked on many occasions to redo
another assistant’s work because of poor printing qual-
Sometimes you
need to let
someone speak
their peace.
POWERPHRASES®
260
ity, typographical errors or incorrect information.
Several times I’ve inquired as to why the assistant is
not held accountable, but have never received an
answer. Rather I’m just asked to please correct her
work. A few weeks ago, I was once again asked to “take
care of it" and my response was a positive and cheerful,
“I’ll be glad to take care of it.” I promptly returned to
my desk and sent a message to the assistant notifying
her that, “at Mr. Brown’s request, please reprint the
brochure with the following changes,” and I listed the
corrections that needed to take place. Needless to say,
the assistant learned to correct her own work; I was
able to get back to my workload. I gained a new respect
from my boss.
Thank you, Meryl, for your newsletter. I have gained
quite a bit of confidence in handling some very challenging
situations.
A Supervisor Finds a Better Language
People often tell me PowerPhrases sound like simple
common sense. They are right. The simplicity of
PowerPhrases is what makes them so powerful. We often
don’t use common sense in our communication.
Instead we let Izzie, our reptilian brain, run the show.
What I love about this next letter is what I call the BFO
this subscriber had. They had a blinding flash of the
obvious. Read on.
Meryl
I used to yell at employees. I established a respond vs.
react policy where we decided as an office to communicate
without yelling.
One time an employee came in yelling, telling me
what to do. I was tempted to tell her a thing or two, but
instead I said,
PowerPhrases
consider options.
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261
• When you talk to me like this, it is hard for me
not to get defensive and yell back. Let’s meet
again and discuss this in the morning.
I heard that she told everyone she was shocked that I
didn’t yell. The next morning she came in and apologized
for how she had spoken. Our relationship
became one of mutual respect, and I found that maintaining
control helped me as a supervisor.
Sometimes all we have to do is discover a different way
of communication, and it becomes the obvious choice
for future communication.
That Liberated Feeling
Every group has its own culture, and every group has its
own verbal prohibitions. It can be risky to bring up an
issue that is considered off-limits to the group, but what
we are afraid to say is exactly what needs to be said.
Many times, by speaking the unspeakable, we become
the group hero, and keep tensions from intensifying. It
has been wisely said that every group is as healthy as its
secrets.
Meryl
I belong to a small group of friends which meets twice
a month. At our last two meetings it was apparent that
there was something really bothering a particular
friend in the group. She had been very quiet during our
discussions. Because she is a friend of mine it had been
weighing on me, so I decided to confront her. I discovered
in talking with her that she had a problem with
the way arrangements had been made for the meetings.
I urged her to speak with the individual with whom she
had the problem. Together we came up with a solution
for the future for scheduling meetings. I also urged her
to come to me with an issue in the future when she has
one. This direct approach is something new for me. I
Many times
when we speak
about what a
group is ignoring,
we become the
group hero.
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262
am generally very non-confrontational. How liberating
this was to get this out in the open and past us. While
amends still need to be made between my two other
friends I am hoping that in my taking this step, she
will do the same. Thank you for giving me the confidence
to face these challenges head on.
Say “No” to Negativity
Many people wait until issues reach a ridiculous level
before addressing them. Then, once they address the
issue, they have a revelation about how simple it can be
to tell the truth. This next reader found setting boundaries
worked well for her.
Meryl
I had a coworker who consistently confided her negativity
to me. I finally had enough of it when I realized
that I was taking it all in and becoming negative
myself.
I called her aside and told her,
• I care about you, but when you complain it
makes me get negative myself. I am happy to
talk with you, but don’t want to hear anything
negative anymore.
It worked, and I don’t cringe anymore when I see her
walk in.
That last sentence is key to me. “I no longer cringe
when I see her walk in.” It is usually better for everyone
when we tell the truth.
An “Inconvenient Disability”
If you have a reoccurring situation, it is particularly
important to have your PowerPhrases ready. I’m sure
every flight attendant in the country has a response
for the question, “What’s for dinner?” Some of my
Even if someone
does not want to
hear the truth,
they usually are
better off when
they do.
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263
subscribers have physical challenges that present regular
communication challenges. Here is an example of one
such situation.
Meryl,
In December 1994 I was in a car accident and fractured
my skull. I lost almost all of my hearing. I wear
a hearing aid which enables me to hear when people
speak clearly.
At work a customer mumbled at me. I asked him several
times to repeat himself and still did not understand
what he was saying. Upon my fourth request for
him to repeat himself, he said,
— What’s your problem? Are you deaf?
I responded in a very calm tone of voice,
• Well, yes, I am deaf. I see it is as inconvenient
for you right now as it is for me.
He slowed down and spoke clearly.
It is easy to resent the kind of unconsciousness required
to make a comment like that. However, it is far better to
use a PowerPhrase to educate rather than retaliate.
Hire the Attitude
Many people do not realize the power they have in
interviews. If you excel in the interview, you are likely to
excel in the job. If you take the initiative in the interview,
you are likely to take the initiative in the job. If you
are confident in the interview, you are likely to be confident
in the job. This is demonstrated in the following
letter.
Meryl,
I applied for a position twice to no avail. A few years
later the position became vacant again.
Educate rather
than retaliate.
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264
I applied and the interview process went through three
levels. I made it to the third level—to interview with a
manager. During my interview, I confessed up front
that I lacked the computer skills they required.
Additionally, I emphasized my good skills: I was
bright, highly motivated and a very quick study. I knew
that the interview had gone well. As I rose to depart
and shake the manager’s hand, I said,
• Hire the attitude and teach the skills; I won’t let
you down.
Needless to say, I was hired. I love my job, my duties
have been expanded and I am very happy.
I Can Hear You.
Often people think the rules are different for communication
with the boss. The only difference is the stakes
are higher. It is obvious that you need to choose your
words with care when speaking to the boss. The truth is,
it is important to choose words with care with everyone.
The following is an example of someone who set a
boundary with her boss while reinforcing his role. She
did an excellent job, and it worked beautifully.
Meryl,
When I worked for a pizza parlor I had a supervisor
who thought I had not been doing my job and came at
me yelling at the top of his lungs. I put up my hand
and said,
• Sam, I know you are my boss and I respect your
authority. You don’t need to yell at me to get
results.
He never yelled at me again.
This was brilliant. She communicated respect while setting
boundaries. Many people would have held on to
Sincerely letting
an interviewer
know how much
you want a job
can pay off.
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resentment and quit rather than speak up about inappropriate
behavior.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive
This next story demonstrates the importance of being a
player in your own performance reviews, as well as the
importance of speaking up, even with your boss.
About a month ago I went through a review process
with my employer. The objective was to discuss my past
year and discuss what my goals were for the next year.
During that process, my employer made it quite clear
that he wanted me to take more of a “leadership” role
and help lead the company in the areas of my knowledge
and expertise. A portion of my job is financial
and 1 week before my review I completed a 4 month
process of redeveloping our financial model and constructing
our budget for 2003. When I presented the
completed budget to him, I expected him to be pleased
that I had resolved the discrepancies and completed it
on time.
He quickly pointed out some small notations that I
hadn’t modified for the forthcoming year and picked
my report apart explaining to me that leadership
meant presenting an “error free” report. I told him I
realized my mistakes and took responsibility for them.
I would be sure that I didn’t make the mistakes again.
I also mentioned that he knew that I had worked very
hard on that project and that I was expecting him to
be pleased with me. He was taken aback. He said (very
sincerely), “Y’know, you’re absolutely right. I am sorry.
You did work long and hard on that project and did
complete it on time. Thank you.” I sat there graciously
receiving his compliment but inside I was stunned that
what I had said had the impact it did.
Many of us would be silent at the review, and then tell
You can make a
difference in a
performance
review.
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266
five friends about the unfairness of it all. This subscriber
took a much better option.
Tardiness Cuts into My Time
I always recommend addressing issues at the peer level
before complaining to management. I also recommend
giving people the benefit of the doubt before making
accusations. A PowerPhrase is as strong as it needs to be
and not stronger. This next letter shows how a difficult
situation was resolved very simply.
Meryl,
One of my co-workers is consistently late to work.
While it is usually only 5 or 10 minutes, this means I
can’t take my lunch until she arrives—which also
means I have to cut my lunch short. If this happened
only a few times I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but
it happens at least twice a week. I told her,
• You may not realize this, but I cannot take my
lunch until you have arrived. This means that if
you’re 10 minutes late, that’s 10 minutes off of
my 40 minute break—which creates a problem
for me. How do you suggest we handle this?
That is all it took. I didn’t even need to involve management.
She came in on time the next day and has
been coming in on time ever since.
Ask Me First Before Reacting
It is important to recognize when we are in reaction and
likely to speak in a way we would regret later. This next
letter comes from someone who managed to control an
angry response and was glad she did.
Meryl,
Recently a coworker sent me an angry email based
on inaccurate information from a third party. I was
Some situations
can be resolved
very simply by
telling what we
think, feel and
want.
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offended and very tempted to fire back an equally
angry response.
Instead, I first gave myself time to calm down and then
went to see him personally. I told him:
• I was upset when I received your email and I
was tempted to fire an angry email back. I
decided not to because I thought I may have
misunderstood you. I was disappointed that you
took someone else’s word for what happened
rather than asking me.
He told me he felt regret soon after sending the email
but didn’t know how to bring the issue up himself. He
was relieved that I said something so we could clear the
air.
Note the final line. He was glad she said something so
they could clear the air. By speaking up, this woman was
doing both of them a favor. Many people would welcome
the discussion of issues…they just don’t know
how.
I Invite Your Stories
What situations have you turned around by Speaking
Strong? Email them to success@speakstrong.com. I will
use it in my weekly newsletter and send you a Pippi
giraffe as an award.
Many people are
open to discuss
issues, but don’t
initiate it
because they
don’t know how.
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269
Silence is the
ultimate
PowerPhrase.
CHAPTER 17:
Silence Is the Greatest PowerPhrase® of All.
The purpose of words is to create silence.”
— Pundit Ravi Shankar
Throughout the book I have been an advocate for speaking
up, and saying what needs to be said. I have written
about the high cost of silence. I have implored you to
say what needs to be said.
Now I will make a case for silence.
When you don’t have anything to say, choose silence.
When you want to punctuate a point, choose silence.
When you can’t be heard over the noise, choose silence.
When everything has been said, choose silence.
Some words create agitation. Some words result in
questions. Some words cause confusion. True Power-
Phrases result in silence.
True PowerPhrases produce peace. True PowerPhrases
resolve questions. True PowerPhrases clear up confusion.
Remember from the introduction:
• Less is more.
Powerful communicators know when to speak and when
to be quiet. Powerful communicators are not afraid of
silence. Silence is the ultimate PowerPhrase.
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Contents:
Acknowledging Comments Without Agreeing
Acknowledgment/Compliments
Advice/Recommendations/Suggestions
Anger—Defusing and Responding to
Anger—Expressing
Apologizing Without Groveling
Complaining Effectively
Compliments—Accepting
Conflict—Addressing
Criticism or Complaints-Receiving
Delegation—Encouraging Buy-In
Delegation—Giving Directions and Ensuring Clarity
Delegation—Offering a Benefit
Disagreeing Gracefully
Listening to Encourage Openness
Negotiation
Put-Downs—Responses To
Questions—Asking
Questions—Responding to Challenging
Refusal/Saying No—ACT Formula
Refusal /Saying No—ACT Formula Applied
Small Talk/Conversational PowerPhrases
271
PowerPhrases® Quick Reference Guide
Acknowledging Comments Without Agreeing
(Particularly Useful to Defuse Anger)
• I can see you feel strongly about this.
• I did not know you felt that way.
• I see. Tell me more.
• What else concerns you?
• The point you made about ___ hits home.
• I don’t blame you for being upset about…
• I hate it when that happens to me too!
• I get angry too when…
• I appreciate you sharing your experience. What else do I need to know?
• That may be.
• I might feel that way if I was in your shoes.
• That’s an interesting perspective.
• I did not realize that you felt that way.
• I had not considered that perspective.
Acknowledgment/Compliments
• I appreciate ___ because…
• When you ___ I felt ___ because…
• Here are the reasons I value you (your)…
• I am grateful because…
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Advice/Recommendations/Suggestions
• What I like about what you did is… There are a lot of things I do differently.
Would you like to hear my thoughts?
• What struck me most is… What I suggest you do to make it even better
next time is…
• Have you considered doing it this way?
• You know your job a lot better than I do, so my questions may be irrelevant.
If so please tell me they are and tell me why. Why do you do
things that way?
• What would happen if you…?
• I think you are good at what you do, and my job is to make your performance
the best it can be. I want to understand your job and to see if
there is anything I can recommend that will make your job easier.
Anger—Defusing and Responding to
• I can understand that.
• I can see why you would see it that way.
• You have put a lot of energy into…
• You’re right, you…
• You do have a right to…
• Are you open to hearing my ideas about…?
• I can understand why you would be upset about…
• ___ is important to you, and my actions violated that.
• I want to resolve this because…
• I’m sorry this misunderstanding happened because I care about our
relationship.
• I value your account and take your concerns to heart.
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• I understand you’re upset and your anger will not get me to change my
policy.
• If I could give you what you are asking for I would without your anger.
I can’t and your anger will not change that.
• I am frightened by anger.
• I am not frightened by anger.
• I want to focus on the issues but I find the intensity of your words distracting.
• It was not my intention to offend you.
• I’m sorry I wasn’t clear.
Anger—Expressing
• I am angry because…
• That makes me angry…
• The reason why my blood feels like it’s boiling when that happens is
because…
• I am furious about…
• I feel discounted because….
• I’m frustrated because (I have been on the phone for over forty minutes
and shuffled from department to department thirteen times and still
don’t have the person who can help me.)
• I feel unvalued when….
• I am embarrassed and feel violated by…
• If this doesn’t change I will…
• I need as much specific information as you can give me because I will
discuss this with my attorney to see what my options are.
• In order to be able to continue here I need…
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Apologizing Without Groveling
• I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.
• I’m sorry. I truly intended to be helpful.
• I apologize. I did not mean to come across that way.
• What I said (did) was inappropriate because…
• Please forgive me.
• How can I make it up to you?
• You were counting on me and I let you down.
• I value our friendship and it makes me sad to know I did something
that weakened it.
• I care about you and what I did doesn’t honor that.
• I hate to see you hurting and hate it even more to know I caused it.
Complaining Effectively
• I need your help. I am not happy with the service/product because…
• I understand that your policy entitles me to…
• If this is not resolved I will…
• This is not what I usually experience with this company.
• I know your company places a high value on customer satisfaction.
• What I want is…
• This is a problem. We need to find a solution.
• This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed.
• I need your help to resolve this.
• I am angry about this delay. How do you plan to get back on schedule
after this delay?
• I have been here for three months and do not have a workstation. I am
frustrated because I lose valuable time reorganizing my papers, supplies
and thoughts at each new desk. My request is that when the next
person leaves, I get the vacated workstation.
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• When you read the paper while I am speaking I feel ignored. I would
like your full attention and eye contact when I speak.
• I sent three inquiries without receiving a response. I think I am being
ignored. Going forward I need a response within two days.
Compliments—Accepting
• Thank you. That means a lot, especially from you.
• Thank you. It helped that I had such great support from my team.
• Thank you. I feel great about it too.
• Thank you for noticing.
Conflict—Addressing
• There is an issue I’d like to discuss. Can we meet?
• ___ is creating problems.
• The effect is…
• I/we feel…
• What happens is…
• I understand…
• I appreciate…
• I want…
• I need…
• I prefer…
• That may be.
• I see this is a big issue for you.
• I didn’t realize that was an issue for you.
• How can we make this work for both of us?
• What can I do to make you want to give me what I want here?
• Let’s see if we can find a solution that works for both of us.
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• Let’s implement what we’ve decided and review how well it’s working.
• I can understand why you would be upset about…
• Accountability is important to you, and by ___ I can see that I was not
accountable.
• If this continues I will…
• If this doesn’t change I won’t…
Criticism or Complaints-Receiving
• I wasn’t aware there was a problem. I want to hear your feedback to
understand what needs to be changed.
• I understand why you viewed it that way. Next time, I will handle it by
doing…
• I want to do whatever I can to strengthen our working relationship. I
consider us a team.
• I will use this information to devise a plan to improve my performance.
• What else would you like to see me do differently?
• Could you be more specific? What do you mean by…?
• Do I understand you correctly that…?
• What needs to be done at this point?
• Thanks for giving me your feedback. It is helpful for me to know how
you view it.
• Tell me more.
• What else do you want to tell me?
• I will consider everything you told me and see how I can apply it.
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Delegation—Encouraging Buy-In
• I am aware of how busy you are. However, I have a request…
• I would never ask you to do something I would not do myself…
• There is an opportunity here for you to…
• I’m asking you because I know I can trust you…
• I have a project I can only trust my very best rep (manager, engineer
etc.) with.
• I need your help.
• I have a project I think you will enjoy that is outside your usual area.
Delegation—Giving Directions and Ensuring Clarity
• I need _______ by _______ because_______.
• Here is what needs to happen…
• I have written out instructions. Let’s go over them together.
• The deadline is ___.
• The quality specifications are ___.
• The budget is ___.
• Of these three, the priority in this project is ___.
• An example of what it will look like is…
• It is crucial that this is done exactly as I show you because…
• I have found that unless we walk through the process, there will be
errors. Therefore, please bear with me as we walk through the process
together.
• Let me make sure my instructions were clear. What is your understanding
of how to do this?
• What questions have I not answered for you?
• What else can I tell you to be sure it’s completely clear?
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Delegation—Offering a Benefit
• What this means to you is…
• This will help you by…
• If you do this for me I will…
• I’ll make sure my boss knows how you made a difference when I really
needed you.
• This will be good, not only for me and the team, but for you because…
Disagreeing Gracefully
• You’re right, and I have a different opinion.
• I see it differently.
• That’s one perspective. I have a different one.
• That may be. What makes sense to me is…
• You may be right. Let’s look at the facts and see.
• That’s an interesting perspective. What if…
• It looks like we are in agreement about a couple of things here…Where
we are still at odds is…
• To really understand your point, I need specific examples.
• What I hear you saying is… Is my understanding correct?
• You just said that … (I lied, I am stupid, etc…) Will you explain what
you mean by that?
• Please continue.
• Your intentions are not clear to me. Can you help me out here?
• I have listened carefully to understand your position. Will you give me
five minutes of uninterrupted time to explain mine?
• You make valid points that make a lot of sense from where you stand.
Please hear me out as I describe how it looks to me.
• Are you ready to hear how I see it?
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• I see it differently.
• You’re right. My thoughts are…
• Help me to understand how you see it that way.
• Can you clarify that?
Listening to Encourage Openness
• I want to hear what you have to say.
• I didn’t know you felt that way. Tell me more.
• I see why that would be an issue for you.
• I can imagine how that might have felt.
• Tell me more.
• What else can you tell me about that?
• That’s an interesting point.
• What did you like about that?
• Help me to understand.
• I’m a bit confused about…
• What were you referring to when you said…?
• I didn’t catch something you said a minute ago.
• Let me make sure I understand what you are saying. I believe you are
saying…
• So when ___ happened you felt___?
• What you need from me is… Am I right?
• I appreciate you being so open with me.
• You can talk to me.
• I want to hear what you have to say.
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Negotiation
• Let’s discuss the situation and come up with a solution we both are
happy with. I do not want either of us to agree to anything that does
not satisfy both our needs.
• What goals do you have for today?
• How would you like to see this discussion turn out?
• Let’s talk specifics and see if there is a way we can make this work.
• In my view, a fair solution would be…
• Do you have any concerns with this proposal?
• Based on my research your offer seems out of range.
• I cannot come close to that because of the cost involved.
• How did you arrive at that figure?
• If you were in my seat would you consider that a reasonable offer?
• While I agree on the whole, I have trouble agreeing with the point
about…
Put-Downs—Responses To
• I thought I heard a dig. Did I?
• That remark hurts because I care about your opinion and it sounds like
you are trying to discourage me. If you have an issue, let’s discuss it
directly.
• I worked very hard to (make this party a success). If I have not met your
expectations, tell me what’s wrong, but don’t take pot shots.
• I think that remark was hurtful and uncalled for.
• I feel disappointed and affronted.
• I want to be treated with respect.
• I think there must be something else bothering you for you to make a
remark like that.
• I feel offended.
• I want to discuss anything that may be creating tension between us.
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• That remark sounded like a dig.
• I am insulted.
• I expect to be treated with respect.
• That’s your opinion. I see it differently.
• I am interested in your opinions, but not in your insults.
• Ouch! How inappropriate…
Questions—Asking
• Have you ever had the experience…?
• What do you do when…?
• Wouldn’t you like to…?
• Can you imagine…?
• How do you do this process?
• What is your understanding of…?
• What do you know about…?
• What I heard you say was…
• I’m interested in learning about… What can you tell me?
• Let me ask you this …
• Help me understand…?
• Could you help me with…?
• Could you expand on that for me…?
• Are you committing to…?
• Are you saying that…?
Questions—Responding to Challenging
• Why do you ask that?
• Are you asking me if…?
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• What specifically do you want to know about…?
• How would YOU respond to that question?
• That question is phrased in a way that sets up the answer. I think a fairer
question is…
Refusal/Saying No—
ACT Formula:Acknowledge/Circumstance/Transform
A) Acknowledge
• Thanks for asking…
• I appreciate you thinking of me…
• That sounds like a worthwhile project…
• I see you need help here…
• I wish I could…
B) Circumstance
• I’m not comfortable…
• I would feel awkward…
• I have other priorities…
• I’m already committed…
• It doesn’t work for me…
• I won’t be able to…
• I don’t want to…
C) Transform/Tag
• Thanks again for asking.
• Maybe next time.
• I hope you get the help you need.
• Let’s do something else sometime.
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Refusal/Saying NO—ACT Formula Applied
• I understand this is important. My situation is… Perhaps next time.
• I appreciate you thinking of me. I have other plans. I’m sure you’ll find
the person you need.
• I wish I could help out here. I’m not well-suited to do what you want.
Here’s an option…
• I see you need help. After looking at my calendar I see I can’t give you
the help you need. Have you considered asking ___?
• I’m honored that you thought of me. After realizing the scope of the
request, I choose to pass. I wish you success.
• Thanks for asking. Not this time.
• Sounds interesting. I have other commitments
• My policy is…
• I know this is important. I’m working on… What can I put aside to
make time to complete this?
Small Talk/Conversational PowerPhrases
• What led you to do the kind of work you are doing?
• What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
• What did you like best about your vacation?
• What do you like about where you live?
• What advice would you give someone just starting in your business?
• Tell me about…
• The turnout is huge! I came for the talk on eWidgets. What brings you
here?
• What got you interested in that?
• I want to get to know you better because…
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• I am here because I am looking for information about…
• I’m looking for a good movie. Got any recommendations?
• What do you do to relax?
• What do you enjoy about your job?
• I’m in the publishing industry. How about you?
• Tell me about your family.
• That’s a lovely necklace. What is the story behind it?
• What would you recommend to someone who has never been here
before?
• What did you do before you worked here?
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POWERPHRASES®
Communication Tendencies Based on Personality
Based on your personality and communication style, some aspects of using
PowerPhrases will be easier for you than others. PowerPhrases are short, specific,
focused expressions that say what you mean (think, feel and want), and mean
what you say without being mean when you say it.
Some personality styles are naturally brief. Others are naturally specific. Some
personality styles only open their mouths with a goal clearly in mind. Some find
it easier to say what they mean and mean what they say than others. Some naturally
consider the effect of their words while others don’t. What is easy for some
is difficult for others.
Take the personality test to determine your style, and then review the PowerPhrases
strengths, weaknesses and recommendations to determine where you need to focus
to enhance your PowerPhrase potential.
Communication Evaluation
The enclosed CD Rom has a link for the test online which will do the scoring
for you.
1. P When I’m in line at the store, I might initiate a chat with the person
ahead of me.
T When I’m in line at the store, I would be unlikely to chat with the person
ahead of me unless they initiate it.
2. T I like to stay focused on the subject at hand and prefer not to go off on
tangents
P I like to go wherever a conversation leads me.
3. C In a buffet line people find themselves waiting for me to finish serving
myself.
S In a buffet line I often find myself waiting for others to finish serving
themselves.
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4. S If I am at a red light at 3 AM with no one around I wait for it to change
to proceed.
C If I am at a red light at 3 AM with no one around I go on through.
5. T I study the research before deciding what to buy.
P I consult my friends before deciding what to buy.
6. C Sometimes people finish my sentences for me.
S Sometimes I finish other people’s sentences for them.
7. C I do one thing at a time until it is completed.
S I work on several things at a time.
8. P I am open about my feelings.
T I am careful about whom I share my feelings with.
9. T I speak on a need-to-know basis.
P I enjoy disclosing who I am to develop relationships with people.
10. T When I get excited, everyone around me knows.
P When I get excited most people can’t tell.
11. C I planned the outgoing message on my voicemail before I recorded it.
S I recorded my outgoing voicemail without rehearsal.
12. P I gladly put aside what I am working on when someone needs help.
T I ask questions about what is needed and consider what I am doing first
before responding when someone needs help.
13. T I have my day clearly planned out early.
P While I may have an idea of what I want to accomplish, I stay flexible
to see how the day unfolds.
14. S I’ll let you know right away if you do something that creates problems
for me.
C I will deliberate carefully over whether or not to let you know if you do
something that creates problems for me.
15. S I decide within five minutes what I think of a movie.
C I am waiting until I have had time to reflect to decide what I think of a
movie.
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16. S If I see something I want at a store I get it right away.
C When I see something I want at a store I wait and decide if I really
want it.
17. P If I want to see a movie I’ll try to find someone to go with me and
won’t go if I can’t get anyone.
T If I want to see a movie I’m happy to go alone.
18. C I get my favorite dishes at restaurants.
S I like to try new dishes when dining out.
TOTAL NUMBER OF CIRCLED
P _______ T _______ C _______ S _______
Add up your P’s, your T’s, your C’s and S’s. Your T’s and P’s should total 9 and
your C’s and S’s also should total 9.
P’s stand for People-Oriented and T’s stand for Task-Oriented, C’s stand for a
Careful Pace and S’s stand for a Swift Pace.
If you have more P’s than T’s you are People-Oriented. If you have more T’s
than P’s you are a Task-Oriented. Record your orientation.
If you have more C’s than S’s you have a Careful Pace. If you have more S’s than
C’s you have a Swift Pace. Record your pace.
If you are: People-Oriented with a Careful Pace you are a Likeable
If you are: People-Oriented with a Swift Pace you are a Visionary
If you are: Task-Oriented with a Swift Pace you are an Achiever
If you are: Task-Oriented with a Careful Pace you are a Reflective
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Read the section below that applies to you, and discover what your PowerPhrase
strengths and areas for development are. We all have some overlap, so review
other sections you relate to as well, especially if you were borderline between
types.
Likeable: People-Oriented with a Careful Pace
You are social and you take your time in life. As a result, you speak in a very personal
manner. It’s not about things for you, it’s about people. You make your associates
your friends and you care about the details in their lives. You measure your
success by the relationships you develop.
The table below evaluates the Likeable communication style according to the
PowerPhrase principles, and highlights your strengths and areas for development.
PowerPhrases are short, specific, focused expressions that say what you
mean (think, feel and want), and mean what you say without being mean when
you say it.
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PowerPhrase Principle
Short
Likeable Strengths
You are very good at listening, and
saying just enough to reinforce
others when they need to be
heard.
Likeable Areas For
Development
Learn to be brief. You like to tell
the whole story, starting at birth
and filling in all the details. You
have so much fun in the process
of talking that you are unconcerned
about making a point. You
will talk for talking’s sake, and you
will talk to make personal connections.
This can be maddening
for someone who is goal oriented.
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PowerPhrase Principle
Specific
Focused/Targeted
Say What You Mean (Think)
Say What You Mean (Feel)
Likeable Strengths
You are very specific about feelings
and no one ever wonders if
you care about them or not. Your
words cause people to feel heard
and understood, sometimes better
than they understand themselves.
People crawl right into your heart.
Your words endear others.
While you do not tend to be goal
oriented overall, there is one goal
that you pursue naturally. That is
harmony.
When your thoughts are in alignment
with others, you let them
know.
When you like and/or appreciate
someone, they know! You open
your heart and let the love, goodwill
and appreciation flow out.
Likeable Areas For
Development
Get specific even if it is uncomfortable
to do so. You don’t like
conflict, and if there is a chance
an issue will cause discomfort,
you tend to be indirect and whitewash
the issue. Therefore things
can fester. Sometimes to avoid a
reaction you will hint rather than
ask for what you want, hoping the
other person will guess.
Get focused on outcome. You can
sound indecisive, and sometimes
you are! You see all sides of an
issue and empathize with the
wants and needs of others so
much that you can find it difficult
to come down on one side and
focus on a goal.
Get real about what you think,
even if your opinions are unpopular.
Too often you wait to hear the
opinions of others to determine
what is safe to say. Your opinions
matter.
Get objective about your feelings.
Sometimes you gush and can
seem overly emotional, which can
reduce your credibility. You sometimes
display emotions rather than
disclose them. Your feelings are
important, but if you speak
FROM your feelings rather than
ABOUT them, you set yourself up
to be dismissed as too emotional.
Sometimes you will be too personal
for the comfort of others.
Likeable PowerPhrase Prescriptions: Below are phrases that you probably don’t
use enough…and need to.
Short:
• I have two points I want to make and I need three minutes of your time.
• I’ll be brief.
• I’ll make a long story short.
• What’s the bottom line on this?
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PowerPhrase Principle
Say What You Mean (Want)
Mean What You Say
Don’t Be Mean When You
Say It
Likeable Strengths
You are very good at speaking
about what other people want.
For example, if your child needs
an advocate, you can communicate
what is needed very well.
You are very sincere in your
acknowledgement for others. You
are reliable in your commitments
except when you over commit.
When it comes to affirming
people, you are there! You have a
wonderful way of building
bridges, creating consensus in
teams and getting everyone
involved. People feel safe with
you because of your extraordinary
kindness and compassion.
Likeable Areas For
Development
Be your own advocate about what
you want. You will agree to things
you don’t want to do rather than
risk upsetting someone. That
either overwhelms you or causes
you to not be able to deliver on
promises. Often you are reluctant
to ask for what you want, hoping
others will guess.
Back your words up with action.
You can over-promise, which
causes you to under deliver.
People learn that you don’t always
back up boundaries you set, and
some realize they can get you to
back down. You think you’re
being nice, but nice is sometimes
a euphemism for “push-over.”
Your lack of directness can cause
you to be passive–aggressive about
communicating issues. You sometimes
bottle and blow.
Specific:
• When you___ the effect was…
• What I want is ___. Can you do that for me?
• That was inappropriate because…
Targeted:
• I have made a decision in this matter.
• What I want to accomplish is…
• Let’s make sure we…
Say What You Mean: Thoughts
• I see it differently.
• This is an issue that needs to be addressed.
• Let me tell you what I think.
Say What You Mean: Feelings
• I feel ___about…
• That upsets me.
• I am frustrated by…
Say What You Mean: Wants
• That doesn’t work for me. What would work is…
• What I want is…
• Would you please…?
Mean What You Say:
• I am holding you accountable for what you did.
• I said what I meant and meant what I said.
• I will not yield to pressure.
• You can file a complaint if you want to, however it will not change my
decision.
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Visionary: People-Oriented with a Swift Pace
You are highly social and like to be on the go. It’s about fun and adventure for
you. You tend to be the center of attention in any group and that’s the way you
like it. You look toward the future and are full of ideas of possibilities. You thrive
on change and innovation. You appeal to the imagination of your listener.
People find your words inspiring and find themselves persuaded by you. You are
idealistic and visionary, and you can inspire vision in others and motivate them.
You also are very fun!
The table below evaluates the Visionary communication style according to the
PowerPhrase principles, and highlights your strengths and areas for development.
PowerPhrases are short, specific, focused expressions that say what you mean
(think, feel and want), and mean what you say without being mean when you say
it.
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PowerPhrase Principle
Short
Specific
Visionary Strengths
You do not overload people with
details.
You are very good at metaphors
and simple ways to describe your
point so that others know exactly
what you mean.
Visionary Areas For
Development
If in doubt, leave it out.
Visionaries enjoy talking. You like
the spotlight, and you like an
audience. Therefore you will talk
whether or not you have anything
to say. This diminishes the impact
of your words.
Just the facts, Ma’am (or Sir). Just
the facts. You often play fast and
loose with facts. You exaggerate
and approximate without realizing
how it loses you credibility. Get
more precise and exacting in your
choice of words.
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PowerPhrase Principle
Targeted
Say What You Mean (Think,
Feel, Want)
Mean What You Say
Don’t Be Mean When You
Say It
Visionary Strengths
Your goals are comprehensive and
inclusive. You always have your
eye on the big picture.
You are open and that creates
openness in others. Your belief is
that truth and openness can solve
all problems, and every issue can
be resolved if you talk it through.
Often you are right, and your
optimism and earnestness breaks
barriers.
You are sincere.
Your natural appreciation of others
causes you to see their best
side and communicate that. You
look for the good and find it if it’s
there!
Visionary Areas For
Development
Pick you desired outcome and get
targeted. While you are great on
inspiration, you can lack followthrough.
Your words are often scattered,
unfocused and lose sight of
the steps required to get results.
Your speech can be tangential,
which is confusing to those whose
speech patterns flow logically.
Get discriminating. You sometimes
say what you mean to a
fault, and can open your mouth
and put your foot right in, diminishing
your effectiveness. When I
tell you to say what you mean. I
am not suggesting you say everything
you mean. There is a time
and place for everything…and
Visionaries can overlook this.
Visionaries like to share every
thought, feeling and desire that
pops into their heads. Balance
your desire to talk and be open
with discretion, and remember
goals and the words likely to support
your goals.
Get dependable. Your eternal optimism
causes you to over commit
and fall short of fulfilling promises.
Your tendency to exaggerate
can build expectations you cannot
realize. Pay attention to what you
promise, and be more attentive to
deliver what you say you will.
Think it over. Sometimes your
haste causes you to be insensitive
to the feelings of others. You can
open your mouth and say things
you would not have said had you
given it more thought.
Visionary PowerPhrase Prescriptions: Below are phrases that you probably don’t
use enough…and need to.
Short:
• Let’s get to the point.
• My point is…
• I’ll summarize quickly.
Specific:
• To be specific…
• The practical considerations are…
• I want to represent the possibilities accurately.
• I don’t want to mislead you.
Focused/targeted:
• I want to complete this before I move on to something new.
• There are three things to consider here. First…
• The relevant facts are…
Say What You Mean:
• I will stick to the relevant details.
• The key points are…
• That information is confidential.
Mean What You Say:
• I promised this, and I will deliver.
• You can count on my word.
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Achiever: Task-Oriented with a Swift Pace
You are very focused and results-oriented. You want what you want and you want
it NOW, with little patience for excuses or social nicety. You are Task-Oriented
and move at a fast pace. “Just make it happen” is one of your mantras.
The table below evaluates the Achiever communication style according to the
PowerPhrase principles, and highlights the strengths and areas for development.
PowerPhrases are short, specific, focused expressions that say what you mean
(think, feel and want), and mean what you say without being mean when you
say it.
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PowerPhrase Principle
Short
Specific
Targeted
Say What You Mean
(Think, Want)
Achiever Strengths
When it comes to being brief, you
are there! You make your point
quickly and in certain terms. You
do not waste any time.
You are sure to tell people what
you want.
You are clear about the results
you are targeting. You keep your
eyes on the goal, and your words
reflect that. You are firm and
resolved in your direction—you
mean what you say. Clarity and
directness are your trademarks.
People do not have to guess what
your opinion is. They know when
you are upset or frustrated and
they know what you want. That
gives them the comfort of knowing
there will not be unforeseen
time bombs.
Achiever Areas For
Development
Get connected. You take brevity
to the extreme. You can be so
brief as to come across as abrupt
and abrasive to those who like to
get a bit personal in their communication.
A few personal and
friendly comments can grease the
wheels for results for you.
Get precise. Sometimes you are
in too big of a hurry to consider
the details.
You can over-focus and miss the
big picture. You can underestimate
obstacles in your path.
Be collaborative. While you are
excellent at informing others of
what you think and feel, you are
likely to be less open to the
thoughts and feelings of others.
Achiever PowerPhrase Prescriptions: Below are phrases that you probably don’t
use enough…and need to.
Short: (Avoid being abrupt)
• No hurry…let’s just visit for a while.
• Tell me more.
Specific:
• What I want precisely is…
• The relevant details are…
Focused/targeted:
• The way this fits into the bigger picture is…
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PowerPhrase Principle
Say What You Mean (Feel)
Mean What You Say
Don’t Be Mean When You
Say It
Achiever Strengths
People know when they have
upset you, so there is no worry of
stepping on a landmine with you.
You have tremendous power of
will behind your words.
People have the comfort of knowing
where they stand with you.
Achiever Areas For
Development
Get vulnerable. You often avoid
expressing appreciation, sorrow,
grief and regret. There are times
where getting vulnerable gets
results.
Avoid being rigid and overly
demanding.
Get compassionate. You underestimate
the needs of others for personal
reinforcement. While you
are rarely deliberately unkind, you
can come across as rude because
you are so focused on results that
you can seem abrupt. You also
tend to order others around and
overlook the need to listen.
Say What You Mean: Think/ Want
• Does this work for you?
• What is your opinion on this?
Say What You Mean: Feelings
• How nice to see you!
• I appreciate the job you did on that.
• I was offended by that remark.
• I’m sorry.
Don’t Be Mean When You Say It
• How are you?
• Don’t worry about it.
• Is there anything you need from me?
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Reflective: Task-Oriented with a Careful Pace
You take your time and focus on the task at hand, information and procedures.
You think things through before you take action and you create systems and procedures
for everything you do. Your thinking is logical and your words are logical
as well. You go from A to B to C to D and it is easy to follow your message.
You choice of words is precise, which minimizes confusion.
The table below evaluates the Reflective communication style according to the
PowerPhrase principles, and highlights the strengths and areas for development.
PowerPhrases are short, specific, focused expressions that say what you mean
(think, feel and want), and mean what you say without being mean when you
say it.
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PowerPhrase Principle
Short
Specific
Targeted
Reflective Strengths
You only speak when you have
something to say.
When you say you’ll be there at
3:32, you are there at 3:32. Your
facts and details are accurate,
dependable and reliable.
You can focus to the depth of precision.
When you study or
describe something you follow it
to the final conclusion without
distraction or wavering. Your logic
in description is impeccable.
Reflective Areas For
Development
Get succinct. You often include
too much detail and find it difficult
to be brief. You need to
abridge your analysis to a brief,
understandable review.
Get simple. Those who do not
have the mind for details that you
do cannot follow your level of
analysis. You need to distill your
words to the most significant
details.
Get comprehensive. You are the
proverbial “Can’t see the forest for
the trees” personality. Oh, you see
every tree, and want to describe
every tree in detail, but need to
make mention of the outcome
and big picture. You also can be
inflexible about alternative views.
You also can get obsessive, and
have trouble letting go when your
world is not in perfect order.
Reflective PowerPhrase Prescriptions: Below are phrases that you probably don’t
use enough…and need to.
Short:
• I will sum this up briefly.
• Here’s the short version.
COMMUNICATION TENDENCIES BASED ON PERSONALITY
301
PowerPhrase Principle
Say What You Mean (Think)
Say What You Mean (Feel)
Mean What You Say
Don’t Be Mean When You
Say It
Reflective Strengths
You consider your thoughts with
care before you speak them.
When you express your thoughts,
they are very carefully formulated.
When you express feelings, you
really mean them.
You are so certain of your facts
that you can bet your retirement
fund on them. (And you are so
cautious you probably did not lose
your principal when the market
tanked.) You do not say anything
unless you can speak with
absolute precision and certainty.
You mean everything you say, and
that’s a fact.
Your considered nature keeps you
from blurting out hurtful things
you regret later.
Reflective Areas For
Development
Your thoughts need to be better
balanced with feeling. You are
likely to wait until you are certain
of your thoughts, which keeps you
from the benefit of others’ input.
Get personal. Your conversation
can sound impersonal and devoid
of emotion. People often have to
guess what you are feeling. (Of
course, you may not know that
yourself.)
You can be rigid about what you
say because you thought so carefully
about it. You need to allow
more room for the fallibility of
others.
Your attention to detail can cause
you to be critical, rigid and
unkind. You are more focused on
tasks than people, and as a result,
you can come across as hurtful.
Specific:
• Here’s the essence of what you need to know here.
• It isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough.
• Let me tell you the most critical details.
Focused/targeted:
• The way this fits into the big picture is…
• This affects us personally by…
• Let’s consider the big picture.
• It’ll show up.
• I don’t think bending that rule will create any problems.
• What this means to you is…
Say What You Mean: Feelings
• It’s great to see you!
• That warms my heart.
• I know the news is disappointing. While I can’t change the facts, I’m sorry
to have such disappointing news.
• I’m excited to tell you…
Say What You Mean: Want
• Here is the action I recommend.
• The conclusion is…
• What I need from you is…
Don’t Be Mean When You Say It
• How do you feel about it?
• It’s not how we do it now, but let’s look at the possibilities.
• I don’t expect you to get it perfect.
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It Does Take All Kinds to Make a World
The tips and recommendations listed here are not intended to make everyone
the same. Celebrate your strengths and consider your weaknesses as areas to
develop to round yourself out. And just for fun, try the phrases that are ones you
don’t often use. See if it works for you, and at the same time, it will allow you to
see what it is like to be someone else!
COMMUNICATION TENDENCIES BASED ON PERSONALITY
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POWERPHRASES®
304
305
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Books
Baber, Anne and Lynne Waymon. Great Connections. Small Talk and
Networking for Businesspeople. Woodbridge, VA: Impact Publications. 1991.
Booher, Dianna. Communicate With Confidence. New York: McGraw Hill.
1994.
Booher, Dianna. The New Secretary. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985.
Breitman, Patti, and Connie Hatch. How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty. New
York: Bantam, 2000.
Caroselli, Marlene Ed.D. Hiring & Firing. Mission, KS: SkillPath Publications,
1991.
Caroselli, Marlene Ed.D. Meetings that Work. Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications, 1991.
Cohen, Herb. You Can Negotiate Anything. Don Mills Ontario: Lyle Stuart Inc,
1980.
Dobson, Michael and Deborah Singer. Managing Up. New York: Amacom,
1999.
Donaldson, Michael, and Mimi. Negotiating for Dummies. Foster City CA: IDG
Books Worldwide, Inc., 1996.
Gamble, Michael & Teri. Sales Scripts That Sell. New York: Prentice Hall
Publications, 1992.
Griffin, Jack. How to Say It™ at Work. Paramus N.J.: Prentice Hall Press, 1998.
Friedman, Paul. How to Deal With Difficult People. Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications, 1994.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
POWERPHRASES®
306
Larsen, Linda. True Power. Sarasota, Florida: Brandywine Publications, 2000.
Levinson, Jay Conrad. Guerrilla Negotiating. New York: John Wiley & Sons,
1999.
Mindel, Phyllis. How to Say It™ for Women. Paramus, N.J.: Prentice Hall Press,
2001.
Nickerson, Pat. Managing Multiple Bosses. New York: Amacom, 1999.
Pollan, M. Stephen and Mark Levine. Lifescripts. New York: Macmillan, 1996.
Rackham, Neil. Spin Selling, New York: McGraw Hill, 1988.
Schiffman, Stephan. Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work!). Holbrook,
MA.: Adams Media Corporation,1990.
Shouse, Deborah. Breaking the Ice: How to Improve Your On-the-Spot
Communications Skills. Mission, KS.:SkillPath Publications, 1993.
Towers, Mark. Dynamic Delegation, Mission, KS: SkillPath Publications, 1993.
Weiss, Donald. Why Didn’t I Say That?! New York: Amacom, 1994.
Videos
Scofield, Carol. Conflict Management Skills for Women. Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications, 1994.
Audios
Covey, Stephen. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Provo, Utah: Franklin
Covey Co., 1989,1997.
Fine, Debra. The Fine Art of Small Talk. Boulder, CO.: Career Track, 1996.
Flemming, Dr. Carol. The Serious Business of Small Talk. Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications, 1996.
Larsen, Linda. 12 Secrets to High Self-Esteem. Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications. 1999.
Speaker’s Roundtable. The Pros Speak About Success. Mission, KS: SkillPath
Publications, 1999.
Walther, George. Power Talking Skills. Boulder, CO.: Career Track™, 1991.
307
Meryl Runion, MSCI
SpeakStrong Inc
www.speakstrong.com
Center for Responsible Communication
www.CenterforResponsibleCommunication.org
Meryl Runion has helped over 200,000 people tell the simple truth with
PowerPhrases through seminars, keynotes, weekly newsletters and books. Her
books have sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. She is available for keynotes,
training and private consultations.
Visit Meryl’s website to sign up for her weekly email newsletter, A PowerPhrase
a Week at www.speakstrong.com/
Watch her inspiring internet movie,
A World of Truth, at www.speakstrong.com/movie.html.
MERYL RUNION, MSCI
308
POWERPHRASES®
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KEYNOTES, SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS
• SpeakStrong Series •
And Your Point Is…?
How to Use PowerPhrases® to Say What You Mean and Mean What
You Say—Without Being Mean When You Say It
Get to the point and say what needs to be said! Designed for both organizational
leaders and their general workforce, this fun and informative presentation
shows you how words can help you get what you want. Do you remember the
last time you had trouble saying no? And Your Point Is…? demonstrates a clear
and direct approach that helps to avoid personal conflicts, provides clarification
of work assignments and reduces misunderstandings, hurt feelings and gossip.
Learn which “PowerPhrases” to choose - and “Poison Phrases” to lose. And Your
Point Is…? teaches how to incorporate a philosophy of simple truth so you can
be clear, concise and effective.
Intended audiences: all staff levels, and senior management
The “SpeakStrong” Supervisor
How to Speak so Employees Listen and Listen so Employees Speak
Your employees need you to lead or get out of their way. Through familiar scenarios
and real-life examples, The SpeakStrong Supervisor demonstrates how to
create an internal dynamic that encourages the straightforward communication
necessary to manage well. Anyone who manages employees or volunteers knows
that how things are said (or what isn’t said) often causes the greatest conflict or
distraction. This presentation teaches managers and supervisors techniques for
straightforward and effective communication with their staff, and equips them to
create a truthful and tactful environment for their subordinates.
Intended audiences: Professionals, managers, leaders and support staff
310
POWERPHRASES®
Because Homicide Is Not an Option!
Get to the Root and Resolution of Conflict
Everyone has a nemesis. Everyone has one person who seems to exist to make
our lives miserable. What do you do when your nemesis does what your nemesis
does? In the end, conflict seems to boil down to: who said what to whom and
how it was received. We can’t change who someone is, but we can avoid destructive
communication that can often exacerbate a potentially touchy situation.
This seminar takes participants through some common and uncommon situations
that lead to conflict and its aftermath. Audiences will learn how to avoid
language that escalates conflict and communication tools to resolve and move
beyond disagreements.
Intended audiences: Professionals, managers, leaders and support staff.
• Leadership & Life Series •
Develop the Leader in You at Work and in Life
You don’t have to have “leader” in your job description to be a leader in life. This
series is designed for and relevant to every level of the organization to develop
the foundation of credibility that effective leaders have mastered. This series is
concrete, practical and fun! It provides the best action steps to optimize anything
and everything that is within your control including: health, self-esteem, purpose,
conflict management, emotions, communication skills, leadership skills,
and career.
Module One—Internal Strength for External Challenges:
How to Optimize Your Thinking, Habits and Behavior
Do you ever have trouble getting your brain in gear? Do you ever forget what you
did five minutes ago? If you've never thought too much about how you think, this
is a don't-miss module.
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KEYNOTES, SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS
Module Two—How to Re-engage, Re-energize and Renew Yourself:
Turn Your Career Back into Your Professional Passion and Get Your
Vitality Back
Do your brain, body and heart want to retire but your bank balance is telling you
it's not time? Do you have less spring in your step than you once did? Have physical
ailments become a favored topic in your conversations? If so, this module
will help you reconnect with your sense of purpose to keep yourself engaged.
Module Three—PowerPhrases to Power Up, Stand Tall
and SpeakStrong:
How to Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say, Without Being
Mean When You Say It
Do you ever think you are being perfectly clear, and people turn around and do
the opposite of what you were requesting? Are you ever stunned into silence
when faced with rude behavior? Do you avoid saying "no" and feel guilty when
you do, or say it in a way that others find offensive? Learn how to say what you
mean and mean what you say to get what you want.
Module Four—Ways to Win with Conflict:
Getting to the Root and Resolution of Disagreements, Discord, and Hostility
As interpersonal rules of conduct become looser and deadlines become tighter,
conflict resolution is gaining importance as an essential skill at all levels. Most
people see conflict as a problem rather than an opportunity, and would rather
run than address it directly. However, effectively managed conflict can actually
promote cooperation and lead to greater harmony and effectiveness. This module
provides the tools you need. Don't turn your back on conflict. Turn conflict
into opportunity with the tools and skills that work.
Module Five—Leaders Aren’t Born, They’re Developed:
Living and Working from a Platform of Strength
When you ask someone to "jump," do they ask how high, do they ask why, or do
they say "Yeah, right!"? Wherever you are in the organization, getting results
through others is a key component of success. Becoming a true leader is not an
event - it's a process. Learn what you need to be, know and do to become a leader
that others are inspired to follow. Whether you are officially in the role of leader
or manager or not, your leadership skills can make extraordinary things happen.
312
POWERPHRASES®
ONE PERSON who speaks the simple truth and
does it well can change a culture. They can
change a family culture, a corporate culture, a
community culture and even impact the world.
Find the words to say what needs to be said.
Meryl Runion
WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING…
“Effective! Simple concepts with huge rewards! Thanks for the eye opener!”
KURT ALLMAN, Amgen
“Outstanding seminar with examples and experiences that are easy to relate to in
business and personal life. Presented in an entertaining and exhilarating style.”
MICHAEL SAUNDERS, Medical Director, Baxter Hemoglobin Therapeutics
“You are the best presenter I have ever seen or heard. I was impressed with
your knowledge of the topic, the way you handled questions with ease, like
there was nothing you couldn't handle. It definitely inspired me. Thanks!”
JULIE FEAGLER, Rhythms Net Communications
“Meryl has brought out the goodness in people that some thought they
had lost. People feel better about working with each other.”
IDA HOFNER, Department of Defense
“I am a trainer for Current Inc., and I was thoroughly impressed with the
presentation. Your skills were unparalleled by any of my previous
experiences. Thank you.”
CHUCK ANDERSON, Trainer, Current Inc.
“Meryl was a fantastic instructor. She touched on all things without losing the
interest of the group. I would attend any seminar Meryl teaches. She was
also very motivating. Well done.”
CAROL NEIDERMAN, Froedterd Hospital
“The most fun and informative seminar I have ever attended. I learned
so much about something I thought I already knew everything about.”
CHERYL BROWN, Endometriosis Association
313
POWERPHRASES®
314
“The difference
between the right words
and the almost right
words is like the
difference between
lightning bugs and
lightning bolts.”
Mark Twain
315
CLIENTS INCLUDE…
POWERPHRASES®
316
Sample Newsletter
317
Books:
PowerPhrases!® _______ $ 29.95 _____.__
The Perfect Words to Say It Right
and Get the Results You Want
—by Meryl Runion
How to Use PowerPhrases _______ $ 12.95 _____.__
to Say What You Mean,
Mean What You Say and
Get What You Want
—by Meryl Runion
The Number One Secrets _______ $ 22.95 _____.__
of Successful Managers
—by Hal Pitt
Audio:
PowerPhrases Amplified _______ $ 69.95 _____.__
6 Audio CD’s and 1 Read CD’s
Shipping:
Add $3.75 for your first item $ 3.75
$1.75 for each additional item _______ x $1.75 _____.__
Sales Tax Colorado Residents add 2.9% _____.__
Total:
Mail form with payment or
credit card number to:
SpeakStrong
P.O. Box 184
Cascade CO 80809
Order online at www.speakstrong.com
Item Quantity Price Total
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Ship to:
Name:______________________________________
Address: ____________________________________
City/State: __________________________________
Zip:________ Phone:_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _- _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _- _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
318
POWERPHRASES®
SpeakStrong Inc.
Mission:
To increase awareness of the need for truthfulness personally,
professionally and politically among the world community:
To provide individuals with the tools and courage to speak
their Simple Truth.
The Center for Responsible Communication
Mission:
To increase awareness of the need for truthfulness personally,
professionally and politically among leaders: To provide leaders
with the tools and courage to speak their Simple Truth.
SpeakStrong and Center for Responsible
Communication Principles:
1) Open communication is essential for health personally,
professionally and politically.
2) When any communication is suppressed it is unhealthy
for all involved and is likely to come back and cost
everyone.
3) We need to elevate the level of discourse personally,
professionally and politically.
4) We have a right to be informed about things that affect us.
5) When we don’t speak up we are complicit with lies, poor
decisions and deception.
A World of Truth
A brief two minute internet movie about
the world as you always knew it could be.
Grab your popcorn, get comfy and enjoy.
http://www.powerpotentials.com/movie.html
A WORLD OF TRUTH
319
Find the
perfect words
to speak your
simple truth
one week
at a time…
SIGN UP TODAY FOR
A PowerPhrase a Week
A FREE weekly email newsletter.
V I S I T:
www.speakstrong.com
IT’S FREE AND VERY FUN,
INTERESTING AND USEFUL!
Watch the new internet movie
A World of Truth
at www.powerpotentials.com/movie.html
POWERPHRASES®
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