“One More Thing…”
These are the words made famous by Steve Jobs, right before he introduced new products at his Apple events. Words are powerful, small changes to what we say can make a big difference in the human response.
Ace Hardware stores are independently owned. At the store in my neighborhood, I am always greeted with “What can I help you find today?” It immediately trips my brain for the purpose of my visit, and I answer I am looking for ‘X’. Compare that to a big box store, where if you are greeted at all, it is “Can I help you?” This phrase automatically makes me think I don’t need help, or I don’t want to bother anyone. Then I wander around, searching in the vast maze.
Business owners and leaders, here are a few ideas for changing what you say that can have a dramatic impact on the quality and results of your conversations.
When a teammate asks a question:
Instead of answering directly every time, occasionally respond with “I don’t know…what do you think we should do?”
If they answer in a positive manner, let them know you trust them and they have permission to make these calls without you.
When delegating work:
Instead of being tactically directive, say “I’ve been thinking about the next steps, what do you think about this idea?”
It communicates that you are open for input and unleashes the creative energy of the rest of the team. The team will make the plan better, before owning and engaging in the delivery at a much higher level.
When visiting with your clients and customers:
Instead of “Call us if you need anything,” be more tactical – “What problems can we help you solve this week?”
This will signal their brain to immediate pains and may create an opportunity for you to serve them even better.