Your winning in business cannot depend on others taking a lot of time to understand you and what you mean. If you have had a cover letter and resume simply go into the email trash bin of an HR department, without your receiving even an acknowledgment of your existence, you know you haven’t mastered the language of getting attention, much less a positive response.
Saying what you mean – and getting a positive response – is akin to winning at Scrabble or Words with Friends. You have to be strategic in your thinking. You have to play the game, being tactically superior to others.
Words are what make the difference between your getting what you want or not. It’s not your good intentions that gets you a job or a new client. It’s not your sincerity. It’s not your big heart. It’s not your ability to work hard.
You must frame your position, argument or proposition in a winning way, one that generates a specific, positive response.
Here are three wordplay tricks that you might put to use.
- Take out as many pronouns as possible when you tell a story. Make it less about you, and more about the recipient of your effort. Big tip: don’t start with “I.” For example,
I volunteer every Monday evening at the food pantry on Main Street, because I want to give back to people. I am especially drawn to families with kids, who are struggling to get on their feet. I worry they only have that one meal to look forward to, and I want to make a difference in their lives by bringing groceries and serving them dinner.
One out of every six kids in America is “food insecure.” It’s hard to believe, but that many kids wake up not knowing if they’ll have a meal that day. So you’ll find me every Monday evening at the food pantry on Main Street, bringing groceries and serving dinner to families gathered there for perhaps their only meal of the day.
- Lead with what your recipient gets, rather than frame your offer about what you receive. For example,
I want a compensation package of $117,000 annually as well as a modest moving allowance and a guaranteed expense account of $2500 per month for client entertainment.
It’s great to have the opportunity to discuss compensation with you. I can meet all the job objectives as well as the quotas for production you have outlined and arrive ready to work on the day you prefer, for a salary of $117,000 annually as well as a modest moving allowance and a guaranteed expense account of $2500 per month for client entertainment.
- Kill your habit of saying: “like,” “you know,” and “I mean.” For example,
At my last job, you know, I had a lot of responsibility. I mean, I worked overtime like three days a week for like months.
At my last job, the amount of responsibility given to me required my working overtime three days a week on average for several months.
Some people don’t like these types of wordplay “tricks” because they believe it’s not authentic to change your natural speaking pattern. However, consider that your aspirations may have outgrown the way you express yourself. It may be time to strategically approach communication. These three tactical changes may jumpstart your success.
Do you have a worrisome speaking habit or are you looking to frame a delicate issue in the most diplomatic way? Tell me your concern and I will help. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject: Speech
Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. Improving your odds of winning – being lucky and landing a fantastic job, well-paying new clients, a sold-out audience for your workshop, a big promotion or bonus depends on preparation and opportunity. AKA luck.
That’s why some people are always lucky. And, some people have no luck.
There is a trap door you may haven fallen through in life’s journey so far. It’s what puts you below our awareness. It drops you off our radar when we are looking to hire. It makes you invisible when we need someone who does exactly what you do. It makes you appear inferior even when you could be in fact, the very best at what you do. It cripples your good intentions.
That trap door is clarity. For you to be lucky – to be prepared and conscious of opportunities that fulfill your dreams – you must be completely and totally clear about what you want. Or what I call: what you really, really want.
Clarity is a synonym for commitment in this case. As you know, many people are commitment-phobic. You might be accustomed to thinking about commitment in terms of romantic relationships. There are self-help books about falling in love with people who can’t commit. The books all end the same way. The best advice: run away from people who are commitment phobic. You can only lose if you stay attracted and attached to them.
That’s how employers feel. How prospective clients feel. How investors feel.
We can feel your lack of clarity. We can sense your lack of commitment. I don’t mean in a romantic relationship, of course. I mean in a business relationship.
This is what a lack of clarity and commitment sound like:
“I hope I can …”
“I think I might …”
“If someone gave me …”
Having met thousands of people talking about their businesses and careers in this way, I now know why employers, and prospective clients or investors run away from the people who lack clarity and commitment.
You appear to want to burden us with your needs. How? You want us to imagine you. You want us to be clear on what you want. You want us to make your luck.
We don’t want to.
It is up to you describe exactly what you want – what you really, really want – in its most minute detail. The first person you should tell is yourself. Then, go about preparing yourself for exactly what you want. Take the classes or workshops. Do the reading. Follow the thought leaders. Practice and prepare. You’ll be amazed how the right opportunities land right in front of you. And how quickly your dreams become reality.
How should you start getting clear and committed? Be able to answer this question. If I called you up tomorrow, and said, “I have an amazing opportunity for you!” What would I be talking about? Just so you know, over ten years I have asked this question of thousands of people. In a decade, only three have been able to answer it on-the-spot.
What would you say is an amazing opportunity for you? Let me know. I might help you find it. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Amazing
Before you talk to a recruiter or hiring manager, ask yourself: “Am I from another planet?” Because you might be, when it comes to expectations, environment, hierarchy, and all sorts of corporate culture.
The number one reason why most people lose out on bigger salaries, plus a moving allowance, expense account and even a down payment on a house is?
You don’t know to ask for it.
If the “planet” you’re from has a culture that includes “don’t ask for more than we think you deserve,” you are leaving money, benefits, and perquisites on the table.
Your current planet might be a business where you are working, or it might be your family culture, where you never understood how much money came in and where it all went.
If you are a second child, your “family planet” has really compromised your asking ability.
After all, your eldest sibling had the “first mover advantage.”
A second child’s life is lived like you’re behind Microsoft, Apple, Oakley, Iron Man and Henry Ford’s Model T. The eldest child naturally has a winner take all mentality.
If you fall anywhere behind the eldest, you got trickle down everything. Clothes, bedroom furniture, books, music, computer, video game console and pie (or whatever dessert was left over after numero uno was full). Stuff just trickled down on little lucky you.
Of course, your life might not have been that harsh. And, you might be the eldest or only child (like the great majority of US astronauts and presidents).
If you are the eldest, you got treated either too well or too harshly.
The parental units either doted on you or cut their teeth on you.
If you’re an only child, you have been on your own planet for too long. You might lack empathy, patience and agreeableness. That makes you a great mergers and acquisitions executive, but a difficult employee all the way up the ladder to that post.
The truth is: no one has it easy interviewing at a new company. It’s a new planet. You don’t know what to expect. It’s hard to get ready for the unknown.
I worked at seven major media companies and Global 2000 corporations. Each one was a planet onto itself. Some had less gravity, thinner air, and way better perqs. Some had more gravity, thicker air and way less of everything else.
When I became a consultant, I realized that I was on a different planet with every phone call, meeting and strategy session. The ability to recognize that old rules do not apply, is imperative to your success. The ability to read the landscape and the people on it is mission critical.
My advice to you is “stay in the moment,” when you are in conversations with people you do not yet know.
Do not go forward with your old mindset.
You cannot imagine what is so much better and how to get it – if you persist in believing that you know how it is everywhere. And, you won’t know what to avoid, if you’re coming from a happy place and into a darker one.
A basic rule: ask for more than you think you deserve. Ask for a moving allowance. Ask for car service. Ask for a down payment on a house. And, if you think the company’s going to go places, get stock.
What is your biggest salary negotiation question? Ask me and I will answer. Email: Nance@NanceRosen.com Subject line: Salary