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  • Writer's pictureStu

Change ONE word to shift your conversational presence

Conversations with some senior stakeholders or customers can do a number on our confidence. It doesn’t matter how senior you are; there are just some conversations that push our buttons. It may be because of the stakes involved or just because the last conversation was tough.

Who doesn't want more calm for that tricky conversation?

Earlier this week we kicked off a commercial influence programme for WSP New Zealand Limited. A big thanks to the cohort of 20 senior engineering professionals for an enthusiastic start to our four-week journey.

We started our session by exploring some of the Moments of Truth we face in our commercial conversations. These are the moments that test us, like an unfair demand, an unexpected response or having to raise an emotional hot potato.

In these moments our performance is being examined. Will we pass the test?

As we explored different strategies for bringing more calm, we discussed how changing one word can make all the difference to our presence 😎 and performance 🚀.

It's what happens when we swap "need" for "want":

➡ I don't NEED this conversation to go well, I WANT it to go well;

➡ I don't NEED them to accept this offer, I WANT them to;

➡ I don't NEED to be liked by them, I only WANT to be liked.

Can you feel the change in energy? This is an example of how we can use reframing to make a hard situation feel easier. It helps us to approach a challenging conversation from a more stable footing.

As Jim Camp counselled many years ago, save the word "need" for genuine needs like the love of your family, food in your belly and a roof over your head. You certainly don't "need" to be liked by your conversation partner.

The need to be liked is a perpetual challenge. It's good to be liked - it's actually quite influential - the problem is when our want to be liked slips into a need to be liked. That puts us on thin ice. All it takes is one grumpy comment or look for us to lose our composure and for our performance to suffer.

So, how about trying a little reframing before your next big conversation?

Do you really NEED them to love your proposal ... like having a roof over your head? Probably not, so how about reminding yourself, "I don't need them to love this; I only want them to."

Phew. That feels a little easier, doesn't it?


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