In honor of several unrelated people who have randomly thanked me in recent weeks for some small story hack that I don't remember sharing but which really helped them in some aspect of their professional lives -- here are 7 story hacks to help YOU relax and be more effective as you get down to business this week.
It's been scientifically proven that if you consistently implement each of these practices every day for 6 consecutive weeks, your Influence Quotient* will go up an average of 72-fold.**
1. When someone interrupts you
Unless it's completely unrelated to what you were saying, welcome it! Smile and nod as though you were waiting for it all along -- a sign that your story struck a nerve. Don't be one of those suckers who competes endlessly for story space; make others feel that their stories are welcome, and yours will have all that much more gravity.
2. When someone brings up a "problem" in a meeting
Let's say the problem is "change resistance" and you know of a strategy that could be used to dissolve it. Don't say "we should do x because it will work." Instead, say: "That reminds me..." and tell the story of another time when the strategy succeeded and got happy results. THEN say: "What if we tried that here?"
3. When someone asks you about "your process"
Before you answer, ask what they would absolutely need to get out of it to make working together worth it to them, and then talk about your process in the context of their goals.
4. On second thought, don't talk about your process, period.
Instead, probe for more details on what they're hoping you'll help them create. Say, "you know, I've got a process I used to walk people through, and we can talk about it if you want. But I've found these things are different for everyone and it will serve you much better if I just adapt it to suit your needs. So, tell me about..."
5. When someone asks for your "qualifications"
Don't reel off your roles and degrees and awards and the fact that you've helped hundreds of millions of people just like them. Don't sing and dance for this question. Instead, tap into the deep well of conviction you have in your own abilities, and tell the story of a past client whose awesome results continually remind you; that you really CAN do what you say you can.
6. When someone undercuts your proposed budget and suggests an insultingly low rate
Don't get mad or resentful or start quietly grinding your teeth while you sleep. Instead, tell them what you can reasonably expect to accomplish inside of their constraints. This is how you can stay in an attitude of helpful service, while also refusing to devalue your work. You are the expert, which means the client is counting on you to know what's reasonable and what's not. Never take a job in resentment -- reduce the scope of work until the resentment disappears.
7. When someone says "I can't afford it."
Realize that what they're really saying is "there is something in the way, and it may or may not be money." Then, instead of suggesting that they think about it while you twiddle your thumbs until they're ready, get curious -- and then make it totally safe for them to be honest with you about what's really in the way. (Even if it means hearing that you're not the right fit!)