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!