With all the crazy going on in the US right now, people are highly triggered and reacting in ways that diminish their power and ability to be heard.
I had an encounter with someone who was blatantly racist and it would have been really easy for me to fly off the handle. But I didn’t. Instead I used my mastery of speaking and storytelling skills to effectively deal with the situation. And so you can – whether it is to deal with influencing people in business or in life.
Here is the video I made about how you can use your speaking skills to heal and influence:
In driving across the south of the US in the last couple of weeks, I have been seeing multiples of gun stores. As a Canadian, it has been making me uneasy so instead of making judgments, I decided to get curious. I have been asking random people why people down here carry guns.
Let me tell you about what happened in Arkansas.
I was sitting in Panera Bread, chatting it up with the woman next to me. I asked her if she carried a gun and if she did, why? Her response was that of course she carried a gun – hadn’t I seen the number of black people in this country? Most people who have similar beliefs to mine, would be up in arms and ready to fight. But this is where my background as a presentation and story-telling coach come into play.
When I’m confronted with potential hot button issues, I take a more assessing role. I step back, appreciate the information and try very hard to look at it objectively. I breathe in my body and stay grounded (like I would teach my clients), because the minute you confront the person the conversation is over; and there is no room for growth, healing or learning.
What I’m saying is that I kept calm and opted to learn rather than argue or be right. Instead, I expressed curiosity and asked her for more details on what owning a gun looks like to her in her life. When she had finished sharing, I acknowledge her point and then shared my viewpoint.
For the last three years, I have had a wonderful companion. He’s from Jamaica. And last year, when I was extremely ill, he brought me into his home, tended me and made sure that I was cared for while I recovered with no strings. I kept asking her questions that would force a YES (like you do in business). For example, “Isn’t that so wonderful that this man took care of me? Don’t you think he is a good soul?”
Then I started showing her the pictures on my phone, my favorite is the contrast of our hands intertwined. She even admitted to the simplistic beauty of it.
I was open and loving and friendly about it. Sharing, not pushing my point of view down her throat. There are so many races, religions – people – in this world and we are all wonderful in our own ways. There are no “bad seeds,” there are just people who have lost their path and haven’t had the love or nurturing the rest of us have been fortunate to have. “Oh yes, oh yes” she responded.
There are a couple of items that became every clear to me over the course of this conversation.
One is that we have the power to heal or to harm. This is why I teach story-telling the way I do – I want people to go out and use it in their everyday lives and change the world.
The second piece is the presentation coaching I give. My degree is in Kinesiology and I focused on relaxation therapy. I show people what really happens in their body so that they can show up as magnetic and persuasive. You know, “in the Zone.”
The woman in Arkansas walked away with a more open mind. I may not have changed her mind, but I used love and kindness to open her mind more to the possibilities.
You can use the same techniques — whether in business or in your personal life.
- When triggered or when you need to influence someone, breathe deep into your belly and ground yourself.
- Ask curious questions while you get your footing.
- Tell a story to show your point of view. Be sure to include questions that stimulate a YES.
You have a voice. Use it wisely. Use it for good.