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28 2011

The Power of Yes!

Syndicated from: The Essential Message

The Power of Yes! In the interest of complete transparency, I want to be absolutely clear about my intention in writing this article: My aim is to hit you hard and repeatedly with the ‘yes’ hammer until it’s permanently embossed on your head and in your mind. My hope is that you re-wire your knee-jerk reaction for a ‘yes’ auto-response – or better yet, you re-wire your brain so that you consciously choose a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response with no knee-jerking at all! You probably already know that positive people are more fun to be around; that it doesn’t feel good when people say ‘no’ to you; and, that being open-minded is generally better than being critical or close-minded. But what you may not know is just how overwhelming the evidence is a ‘yes’ mentality can help you in almost every aspect of your life and business. In the 2008 movie, ‘Yes Man’, Jim Carrey’s character totally transforms his life (mostly for the better; always for the laugh) by saying ‘yes’ to any and all offers and requests. If you saw the movie, you might have found it funny – according to the film review site, Rotten Tomatoes, many people didn’t – but either way, it probably didn’t convince you to say ‘yes’ more. The original book by Danny Wallace, however, provided a much more compelling and realistic argument. But I digress. Let’s take a look at the overwhelming evidence I referred to earlier. Say ‘Yes’ to Creative Thinking and Better Brainstorming. Although different creativity experts may have different specific processes to facilitate innovation and brainstorming, all agree that a key element involves ‘divergent thinking’. According to Wikipedia, ‘Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.’ Divergent thinking requires suspension of judgment. In other words, just say ‘yes’ to every idea that comes up. Tim Hurson, author of Think Better, says that “‘no’ kills ideas before they have a chance to breathe. The secret of creative thinking is let ideas live long enough to make them better.” Someone with a ‘no’ mindset will tell you why an idea can’t be implemented. Someone with a ‘yes’ mindset will come up with a way for how it can be done. That’s when innovation happens. Say ‘Yes’ to Higher Sales and More Persuasive Conversations. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of how people communicate, think and change behavior at both the conscious and subconscious levels. For this reason, it is used in sales training as well as by some psychotherapists and life coaches. In NLP, we learn that the quickest way to get someone to say ‘yes’ is to say ‘yes’ first. Linda Ferguson, Master NLP Trainer and founder of one of the largest NLP training companies in the country, explains it this way. “Our natural programming as human beings is to match the communication of people we want to understand. People who hear us say ‘yes’ are naturally conditioned to say ‘yes’ back to us.” This is absolutely consistent with the law of reciprocation described in Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. If this sounds obvious, I should add that when I am taking participants through the Sales Telepathy workshop, I get a lot of eyebrows raised when I focus as much as I do on the first step of the process: identifying all the things you genuinely believe the prospect is doing right! After all, salespeople and marketers know that the value they add is directly related to the gaps and challenges that their prospects – so why focus on what they are doing right? Because it demonstrates you honor and respect your prospect, and it improves the likelihood that they will honor and respect what you have to offer. In my years as an Account Executive in advertising agencies, I credit the excellent relationships I had with our clients to my genuine willingness to understand their perspective no matter how different it was to the agency recommendation. I wasn’t just saying ‘yes’; I always pushed myself to see the value of their opinions. Say ‘Yes’ to Better Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. Negotiation and conflict resolution experts tell us that the first step to come to an agreement is to acknowledge the other person’s point of view. This is also true for dealing with difficult people – like a patient who has been not so patiently waiting for six hours to see a doctor in emergency. In order to keep the situation from escalating or in order to stop the other person from digging in his or her heels, you begin by essentially saying, ‘yes, I understand.’ Simply put, others will more likely to listen if they feel heard. Say ‘Yes’ to Better Relationships At Home Too. When you view relationships in the context of a continuous cycle of sales and persuasive communications (“I’d love to go for an Indian curry for dinner tonight.”), negotiation (“But we’ve been to your Aunt Martha’s for the past three holidays!!”), and conflict resolution (You were two hours late picking me up and I got soaked on the street corner in the rain waiting for you!!”), you might begin to see how the same principles discussed above apply at home. Fifty years of hearing ‘no, I don’t like your idea’ can have a detrimental effect on any relationship. In contrast, ‘yes, great idea’ on a consistent basis is wonderfully affirming. This does not suggest you should say ‘yes’ to everything – unless you want to end up in a movie with Jim Carrey. Just Say ‘Yes’ More Often. Corporations and other team environments frequently engage improv trainers, not to help their people be funnier (although that’s another positive outcome), but rather because improv helps engrain a ‘Yes’ mentality. You see, one of the cornerstones of improvisational technique is ‘accepting an offer’, also known as “Yes, and…” Whatever your improv partner says, your job is to say ‘Yes and…’ Accepting an offer is usually accompanied by adding a new offer, often building on the earlier one. Can you see the fundamental principles of better teamwork, collaboration, brainstorming, leadership, listening and productivity in ‘Yes and…’? Come to think of it, can you see how ‘Yes and…’ is the same as accepting what is – which many people would say is also a fundamental principle of being present in the moment, of mindfulness and, yes, of happiness? Are You Ready To Say ‘Yes’ To This Challenge? Do you really have a ‘yes’ mindset? You may think you say ‘Yes’ all the time. In fact, you may think you say ‘Yes’ too often! And maybe you do. But in my experience, many people say ‘Yes’ even though they are thinking ‘No’. ‘No’ may be the automatic first response because it was one of the first words we heard (repeatedly) as babies. Or maybe we tend to say ‘no’ out of fear of change or fear of the unknown or simply out of habit. Whatever the reason, it’s time to take yourself off auto-pilot and become consciously aware of your responses. Here’s the challenge: Walk around with a little notepad or scorecard. Each time you hear the little voice in the back of your head saying ‘Yes’, mark it down on. Each time it says ‘No’, make a note of that too. No one has to see your score but yourself. Try it for one day. Go on, I dare you. Say ‘Yes’. Essentially yours, Michel Neray Chief Differentiation Officer The Essential Message

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