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Tag Archives: speaking confidently

Communicating upward? Think bullet points

I’ve written in the past about how it’s important to modify your approach when you’re communicating upward, including in this column – How to persuade and influence senior management – that I wrote for CFM&D Magazine.  I was reminded of it recently when I overheard a leader in a client organization giving advice to one of his staff.  He said:

“When a senior manager asks you the time, don’t describe how a watch works”.  

I chuckled to myself because it was such an apt description for the deep pit that so many subject matter experts stumble into.

Don’t “vomit data”

As managers rise in the leadership ranks in organizations, by necessity, they need to focus more on strategic issues and less on the minutiae.  So they count on the subject matter experts around them to study the details and make recommendations.  Continue reading

Become more persuasive by applying the action story-telling technique

DramaTriangleI often write in the blog about what it takes to become more persuasive in the workplace (including this column I wrote last year for Profit Magazine).  A few weeks ago, one of my professional colleagues offered me a perspective I’ve never considered before, one that caught my attention enough that I want to share it with you.  She said that when you seek to influence others, you can make your message more persuasive simply by adapting the classic villain-victim-hero action story-telling technique.  Let me explain.

The customary formula for writing an action story requires that you have at least one villain, one victim and one hero.  And you can do the same for the business world.  But when you adapt this formula for the workplace, Continue reading

What does it take to become more persuasive?

Okay, I’m super pumped! Today marks my first column for, the online version of Profit Magazine, a Canadian business magazine aimed at entrepreneurs, focusing on how to find opportunity and seize it, management practices, case studies and access to peer groups. Today’s column is titled How to become a persuasive triple-threat and explores what it takes to get more people to buy your ideas.

ProfitGuide Continue reading

One phrase that can sabotage your credibility

ThumbsDownI’ve blogged previously about how we sometimes use phrases that cause us to be viewed by others as tentative, unsure, and hesitant, and thus inadvertently minimize our power, credibility and impact. See Phrases that diminish your power of persuasion. I heard another one recently – “This won’t take more than just a minute.”

It was said by someone who intended to be helpful, but I observed how this seemingly innocuous phrase not only set the stage for failure, but also diminished the value of what this person was offering. Continue reading

How to persuade and influence senior management

CFMD_OctNov2013As your skills as an exceptional leader and communicator grow, your level of interaction with your organization’s senior management will increase as well.  You’ll find yourself in situations where your ability to persuade and influence others will stand you in good stead.  For continued success, it’s important to realize that how and what you communicate needs to adapt to fit differing audiences.  Specifically, you need to adjust your message and method of delivery so that it’s relevant and meaningful for an audience of senior managers.  And this is exactly the subject of an article I was recently invited to write for the Canadian Facility Management and Design Magazine.

Selling to Senior Executives was penned as part of the magazine’s regular Management Memo column, and in it, I offer four suggestions to significantly increase the likelihood that a facility manager’s message is heard, respected and acted upon.  Continue reading

Phrases that diminish your power of persuasion

PersuasionAre you inadvertently sabotaging your power of persuasion by using words that make you seem unsure, hesitant, tentative, or unassertive?  You might be.  Here are some phrases that you should never have in your business vocabulary:

  • I might be wrong but …: the moment you utter this, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to listen to the rest of what you have to say.  If you might be wrong, then there’s no point in bothering to pay attention, is there?!
  • You know … (as in We need to, you know, report the safety violation): it either gets perceived as you seeking approval, or it comes across as superior and lecturing.  Either way, not an outcome you want. Continue reading

Speaking decisively and confidently improves your credibility?

car-accidentIn a classic 1978 social psychology experiment, researcher Bonnie Erickson and her colleagues had potential jurors listen to a witness give testimony about an auto accident.  Some jurors heard the witness respond in a “powerful” forthright and direct style.  Others listened to the witness provide exactly the same information, but hesitate and hedge in a “powerless” style, using frequent intensifiers, hesitation forms and questioning intonations.  Turned out that what the witnesses said was actually less important than how they said it; the confident straightforward witnesses were rated as significantly more credible and competent than the unsure indirect ones.

Huh, so people are perceived as more credible when they make eye contact and speak with confidence, no matter what they have to say?  That’s a surprise, isn’t it? 😀  But is there a lesson in there for all of us?

When you speak decisively and confidently, you are perceived to be more expert, intelligent and knowledgeable.  Is this information worth considering if you have a difficult message to convey to others?  Or is it too close to “faking” it?  What do you think?

When management doesn’t listen … tips to improve your persuasiveness

CGA0910-2010CoverDear Merge,

Over the past year, I’ve been working closely with my company’s senior management, and at the beginning, I thought this was a great opportunity. But now I’m finding that my voice isn’t being heard, and it’s very aggravating.  I was given this assignment because of my expertise in this area, so you’d think that senior management would value and appreciate my input.  Instead, I feel like they’re ignoring what I have to say. What can I do to get the attention and credit that my ideas deserve?

I answered this not-so-uncommon question in the latest issue of CGA Magazine.  For four specific tips on communicating upwards more effectively, read the entire article here.

What are your experiences and insights?

Persuasive Communication – Live audio event on September 16

When you speak, do people stop and listen? Do they nod their heads in agreement, and then roll up their sleeves to help you accomplish goals and get things done? Can you influence others to come around to your point of view, particularly when their minds are already made up? If you answered yes to these three questions, then congratulations, you’ve accomplished something that most people struggle with!  But … if your contributions in the workplace aren’t getting the attention they deserve and you find that others don’t often come around to your point of view, then you ABSOLUTELY MUST join me at my next live audio event on September 16.  In one fast-paced content-rich hour I’ll give you proven methods and specific language tools to build rapport and bring others on board.  These aren’t academic theories, these are practical useful techniques that you can put to work right away.

Click here to register now.

In one power-packed hour, right from the comfort of your office, I’ll give you specific, practical, and useful tools to improve your track record in getting your ideas recognized, accepted and implemented! You’ll learn:

  • The triple threat of persuasiveness – the three characteristics that individually are potent, but combined are compellingly influential
  • Convincing and persuasive language that you can use to get a job, sell your ideas and bring others over to your point of view
  • Pre-suppositions – what they are, and how they work in bringing others on board
  • The FAB model – a simple (yet sturdy) persuasion technique from the world of advertising
  • The power of the hot button in “making the sale”

Join me on September 16, 2010 at 11 AM MDT. Early bird pricing in effect ONLY until this Thursday September 9!

Click here to register, or for more information.

Communicating with confidence and clarity

Communicating with ConfidenceThe great folks at PDNet and CGA Canada have invited me to deliver a live webinar “Communicating with Confidence and Clarity” on Tuesday September 14, 2010 at 9 AM Pacific Standard Time.   If you’ve never attended a live webcast before, it’s a great way to get focused relevant learning right at your desk.  Using just your desktop or laptop computer, you’ll be able to view and hear the webcast.  Plus, a recorded version of the webcast will be available to all participants for one year.  Priced at just $169 ($139 if you’re a CGA member), it’s a steal!  REGISTRATION CLOSES 24 HOURS BEFORE THE EVENT STARTS. SO DON’T DELAY! To register, or get more information, go to

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