This article is actually from the “oldies” shelf, from about five or six years ago. But, I came across it while reviewing some archived articles and wanted to share it with you. I have a feeling the “star” of this article is destined to accomplish great things. 🙂
We all seem to realize that children have an intuitive ability to effectively persuade – what I call, “Win Without Intimdation” – and attain their desired results. After all, unless their parents are extremely permissive, it’s difficult for the typical child to get their way solely through forceful intimidation (i.e. ranting, raving, screaming, manipulatively crying) or through passive manipulation, such as being extra nice and/or cooperative, but with an agenda. Thus, they must be able to get what they want through persuasion; not intimidation.
While speaking at an event in Rock Hill, South Carolina recently, I heard two stories of children which were wonderful examples of the Winning Without Intimidation philosophy. Please allow me to share one of them with you today.
One of my clients, Don and Hannah King, have a granddaughter named Christa, whom I believe is either nine or ten years old. A year or so before the following conversation, Don and Hannah had promised to “some day” take her to Europe with them on one of their many overseas business trips.
In early May, Hannah received a telephone call. I will, in parenthesis, provide my commentary. 🙂
Christa: “Grandma, when are you going to Europe?” (First, she didn’t ask “if”- she asked “when.” By phrasing her question with assumption – also known as “positive
expectation” – she is increasing the odds that what she wants to happen will happen. I realize that, in this case, that probably wouldn’t cause Hannah and Don to go to Europe if they weren’t going anyway, but it’s still a wonderful principle to follow.)
Hannah: “In June.”
Christa: “Is this the year you are taking me with you, as you promised?” (I don’t believe any commentary is really necessary here however, if it were, I’d say that what she was communicating was, “Grandma, whom I love and respect so much; is this the year that you’re going to show me that you are a person of your word who would never break a promise to her granddaughter whom she loves so much and for whom she wants to set an example of honesty and integrity?”)
Hannah: “But honey, it’s only a month away and you don’t even have a passport.”
(Well, that ended that conversation. Two weeks later, however, Hannah again answered her phone, only to hear the following)…
Christa: “Grandma, I’ve got it.”
Hannah: “You’ve got what?”
Christa: “My passport. I’m ready to go to Europe with you and Grandpa.” (Christa lived in the “solution” – not the “problem.”)
Hannah: “Well, you realize that Grandma and Grandpa will be in a lot of meetings, so sometimes you’ll have to have a babysitter who doesn’t even speak English.”
Christa: “I can handle it.” (Is this kid awesome, or what!? Grandma gave her an objection. She answered it.)
According to Hannah, Christa did great, and was a pleasure to take on the trip. (In other words, Christa lived up to her part of the bargain, proving that when she persuaded, she could also come through and do as she promised, thereby making her next attempt at persuading Grandma and Grandpa easier in advance.)
The principles Christa taught all of us in this story bear review many times:
– First, ask in a way that assumes the answer you want.
– Secondly, give the person something admirable to live up to.
– Thirdly, if there is a problem, find the solution.
– Fourth, answer any objections. And…
– Fifth, live up to the promises you made, making persuasion
with that party easier the next time around.
Well done, Christa!
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Well done, Bob! Great article!
We see examples of this intuitive ability – to effectively persuade – in children all the time, and it takes great insight to break down the process, and extract lessons for us all to learn from, and apply to our own agendas 🙂
Great post, really cute. Being a father of two girls, I can relate. So I hope you don’t mind if I add to this Bob?
Its persistence. My daughter Orianna, to get her way, she doesn’t stop asking for something. Even after my wife had already said no. She goes to the other authority figure of the house, me, her father.
Her polite and repetitive saying of the word “Please”, wears me out pretty fast.
And yes, the cute smile, the pulling of the shoulder is the winning touch.
Yes, she has me wrapped around her little finger. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. At least for the most part.
Thank you, Osnat. It was a lot of fun hearing the Grandmother telling me the story, and how proud she was of her granddaughter’s intuitive skills. 🙂
Cesar, sounds like you have a couple of incredibly cute daughters. 🙂 May I suggest something that you are certainly free to ignore.
First, please know that I personally have no children so my thought here comes from a place of ignorance and non-practical experience, thus I could be totally off-base. With that said…
I’m wondering if – perhaps – and as adorable as Orianna is, if it might be a wiser choice both for her and for your marriage (I’ve also never been married so the same disclaimer as above applies) if, after her Mom tells her “no” that you don’t overrule that, despite her persistence and the way she probably does have you wrapped around her little finger. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to say no to her. I’m just thinking that, I know that growing up, it always provided a sense of security to me to know that my Parents were a “united front” even if I didn’t necessarily agree with their decisions.
Which, of course, isn’t to say your wife’s decision couldn’t be changed, as long as your children understand that it was a “joint” decision as opposed to one Parent overruling or simply ignoring the decision of the other.
Again, please take my thoughts with the proverbial “grain of salt” knowing that I hardly qualify to provide advice in this area. 🙂
Bob – you’re always providing such great tidbits. This is a terrific story, glad you dusted it off and shared it! Here’s to your continued success, my friend!