Every person is a world. Life at work, in business and even in the family is full of complex relationships, where each person has their own agenda, their own history and particular dimensions.
As we have seen previously, the projects that go ahead are not always the best; And those people who are right are not the ones who win the discussions, because the most important element in a communication process is not the content or the technique but, above all, the relationship and connection.
To be completely clear: your success doesn’t just depend on your talents or your ideas; Above all, it depends on you knowing how to forge relationships . Talent and ideas are necessary, but the relationships you form along the way give them direction, direction, power and dimension.
However, in the process of making our projects come true; be it our own businesses or projects in our company, we constantly find:
- Closed doors.
- People in high positions or unreachable.
- Inaccessible uncomfortable people.
- Adversaries or people who do not want us to do well.
- People we would like to address, but we don’t know how.
How can we break down social and personal barriers to build bridges with people who can be part of our path?
A powerful phrase
The answer lies in this magical phrase that took me years to discover, and that today I am happy to share with you, hoping it will be useful to you. Remember that with great power comes great responsibility .
The opener phrase is this: Can I ask you for advice?
“Can I ask you for advice?” It is a simple and short phrase; easy to say, remember and repeat. It is a phrase that can be used constantly without losing its validity and, above all, has behind it the power of science to open the doors that until then were closed.
I have used it at different times where it seems to me to be in a dead end; where I lack answers or in which I feel that I need to form a closer relationship with a colleague, a superior, a subordinate and, even, someone who perceives me as his enemy.
After using it for a couple of years – with excellent results – I started recommending it to other people, who also reported their own success stories. Now I am sure that this is one of the most useful phrases in my professional life … and that it can also be in yours.
It is not about magic, but about communication and science. How does it work?
- To find out more: My business was generating millions a month, but I left it: ‘It was dangerous to lead other people the way I was’
1. The Ben Franklin effect
The Ben Franklin effect is a known psychological effect to change the perception that others have of us by allowing them to do us a favor.
Yes, you heard right: let them do you a favor; not you to them.
It is, at first glance, counterintuitive. We may think that, to please, we must “do” favors, but it turns out that when others do us favors, it is proven that their perception of us improves, since considering ourselves worthy of their time and attention forces them to see ourselves in a more favorable light , as valuable and kind people.
They must be favors that are not heavy, annoying or expensive. For example, asking a colleague for a ride or letting him buy us a coffee… and simply thanking him, without making him feel bad and without seeking to pay him immediately. Receive a favor … and thank you! opens more doors than applause and flattery.
2. An elegant compliment
When asking for advice, the Ben Franklin effect is activated; But that is not all.
On the one hand, a tip is a favor or a service that costs nothing: it is free. Maybe they can deny you -for whatever reason- a ride or a coffee, but who can deny advice? Until now, for many years of using this phrase, I have never encountered someone who refuses to give advice that is asked with kindness and humility.
But there is still more! When it comes to asking for advice, we are asking for a favor as well as making a compliment. We are telling the other person that they are smart, that they are brilliant, that we respect them, and that their opinion is important . It is a gift to your own ego – a gift that no one will stop receiving. People, in general, like to be heard and taken into account.
That is why this phrase is magical. It seems like a favor, but it is also a gift.
3. Let the other shine
It can be personal advice, about work, about a project, or about an important decision. The key is to state the advice simply and clearly and then let the other speak, always respecting the 80/20 rule . When it comes to asking for advice, we are placing the conversation firmly on the other person’s court, letting them speak and express their own personality and history.
When you have asked for advice, do not make excuses or explanations. Answer the question they ask you, but soon return the voice to the other person.
A rule of life: everyone likes to talk about themselves. So it will also allow you to get to know him more and forge – without feeling forced – a real human relationship, one of friendship and trust. Without his realizing it … now they are part of the same team.
4. Peripatetic effect
When we ask another person for advice about something that interests us and we get them to be interested in it, it is possible that due to the effect of mirror neurons , which generate empathy and neural alignment between two people, both can find a solution to a real problem.
In this way, you will not only have strengthened the relationship, but you will also have a practical answer or tangible progress in your project. The best of all? The other person will feel that the idea was theirs – let them take all the credit! – and will defend and promote it with passion.
This is not a manipulative system, but a method of thinking called peripatetic , in which, through questions, we can help other people reach conclusions that they feel as their own . It is widely used in communication and negotiation. It can also be your great ally with the magic phrase.
5. Create real conversations
We waste too much time in innocuous and empty conversations, small talk to fill the time. But how much real conversations are needed! It is impressive what you can discover and achieve if you learn to master the art of conversation .
Nobody asks for advice on worthless things. We ask for advice on things that matter and concern us, that can peek into our privacy or explore big issues. The best friendships are born – says CS Lewis – when one person says to another “How? Do you also think that way? I thought I was the only one! ”
Asking for advice is one of the five avenues of wealth in silence and will help you forge business, personal and friendship relationships that will pave the way for a better life.
So now you know. When you find a closed door, the best key is to ask for advice.
For businesses, this could mean: creating new ideas, new product development through research and development, or improving existing services. Innovation can be the central focus of a business and this can help them to grow and become a market leader if they execute their ideas properly. Businesses that are focused on innovation are usually more efficient, cost-effective, and productive.
Successful innovation should be built into the business strategy, where you can create a culture of innovation and drive forward creative problem-solving. Success is the state or condition of meeting a defined range of expectations. It may be viewed as the opposite of failure. The criteria for success depend on context, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system. One person might consider a success what another person considers a failure, particularly in cases of direct competition or a zero-sum game.
Similarly, the degree of success or failure in a situation may be differently viewed by distinct observers or participants, such that a situation that one considers to be a success, another might consider to be a failure, a qualified success or a neutral situation. For example, a film that is a commercial failure or even a box-office bomb can go on to receive a cult following, with the initial lack of commercial success even lending a cachet of subcultural coolness.
The fields of probability and statistics often study situations where events are labeled as “successes” or “failures”. For example, a Bernoulli trial is a random experiment with exactly two possible outcomes, “success” and “failure”, in which the probability of success is the same every time the experiment is conducted. The concept is named after Jacob Bernoulli, a 17th-century Swiss mathematician, who analyzed them in his Ars Conjectandi (1713).
The term “success” in this sense consists in the result meeting specified conditions, not in any moral judgement. For example, the experiment could be the act of rolling a single die, with the result of rolling a six being declared a “success” and all other outcomes grouped together under the designation “failure”. Assuming a fair die, the probability of success would then be 1 / 6…
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