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“What is that?’
“My Lunch”
“Does it taste good?”
“Yes it does.”
“Can I have some?”
“No, because it is my lunch, and if I gave you some, I would have to give some to everyone, and I would have no lunch.”
“What is that?”
“Cheese.”
“Does it taste good?”
“Yes, very good.”
“What is that?”
“A cracker.”
“Does it taste good?”
“Yes, it tastes very good.”
“Can I have some?”
“No, because it is my lunch.”
“That looks good.”
“Yes, it is very good.”
“I am hungry.”
“I am hungry too, that is why I am eating my lunch.”
“What does it taste like?”
“It tastes like cheese and crackers.”
“I like cheese and crackers.”
“That’s great. Cheese and crackers are better for you than candy.”

He kept asking questions until I took my last bite. Of course he did get his after school treat like all the other kids who finished their homework, but he did not get my lunch.

My question is this. How may “adults” do you know who like to ask the same question over and over in hopes of getting a different answer? And how does your response empower them?

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A student recently sent me the following question:

Re: Personality Types

I’m confused because I see myself in all of these.

Here was my answer:

I tend to get this question a lot, so your confusion is not unusual. Two elements of personality tend to explain the confusion away.

1. You are near the center of the Personality Matrix.

2. You have developed a Behavioral Mask.

Perhaps it is both. Let me explain each.

First the Personality Matrix: Few people are all tentative or all impulsive. People tend towards one or the other and fall somewhere between on the graph. The closer you are to center of the graph the more you will want to get it done, yet worry about getting it right. Likewise, few people are completely introverted or completely extroverted. The closer you are to center, the more likely that you will feel a pull towards people on some days, and need to get away from people on others.

The key here is to remember that not everyone is motived in the same way, and knowing the basics of their personality allows you to understand what motives them and why. Also realize that there are grades of personality variations all along the matrix, depending on how close they are to the center of the matrix.

2: The Behavioral Mask: I have a short section on this in my course. The key is behavior versus personality. Personality is born in us; behavior is learned during our lives. We can be Choleric, yet learn to care about the feelings of others in order to get things done. We can be Sanguine, yet learn to pay attention to details in order to keep our lives from falling apart. We can be Phlegmatic, yet learn to take charge in order to keep our relationships safe. We can be Melancholic, yet learn how to engage better with the people around us.

The key here is to remember what you were like as a child. Think back to what you were like in kindergarden, and before you were taught the lessons of life. This can often give you an insight into your personality without its Behavioral Mask.

Finally, Behavioral Mask are a good thing. Many students get worried when I use the word “mask” because they think, “So I am not being myself?” Let me be clear, everyone develops behavial masks as they mature, and learn how to play well with others.

Hopes this clarifies your confusion. Feel free to write again.

Lynn

Here was her reply to my reply:

Thanks Lynn,

Reading your explanations I think I may fall more towards the center of the personality matrix, I want to get things done so badly, but get held back by the obsessive need to get it right and as you describe about introversion, extroversion. So how do center people learn to find balance in their interactions?

Thanks

My Reply to her reply:

You have already begun Francine, by simply realizing the complexity of your personality. One of my favorite quotes has always been, “Know Thyself.” This was carved above the Great Oracle of Delphi nearly 500 years before the birth of Christ.

As far as introvert vs. extrovert goes, you need to schedule time to be alone and think, just as you need to find time to hang out with friends. Take control of your time, and spend it wisely. My guess is that you already know when you need your friends, and already know when you need to be alone. You just need to feel comfortable setting those boundaries.

As far as Impulsive vs. Tentative, you need to set deadlines and consequences for yourself. Deadlines will always get a tentative moving, and they come naturally to an impulsive. The need to get things right often means that you never get things done, but getting things done often means they are not always right. Be honest with yourself. Know thyself, and you will find balance in the center.

And remember that consequences can also be a reward for meeting your deadline.

Lynn

PS: Another thought Francine. People who are Tentative, often hate speaking up for themselves. Remember they want to get it right, and they hate getting it wrong. If this is true in your case, start by learning to ask questions. You never go wrong by asking a sincere question, and within that question you also can find a chance to get to the information you need to both get it right and get it done.

And her final reply:

Thanks Lynn

This is helpful and you are right the tentative part of me hates speaking up for myself and end up feeling resentful sometimes, I will try the questions thing, learn the art of asking questions. I do actually have a good handle on the introvert/extrovert, I know when I need my friends and I know when I need to be alone, I also know how long I can actually tolerate being in a group setting before I become highly agitated. It’s the tentative/impulsive part that gets me. But I will make an effort to make deadlines for myself.

Funny i used to think it was the introvert/extrovert thing that was my biggest issue, maybe because i link introversion to tentativeness and extroversion to impulsiveness your course helped me to realize that it’s not as black and white as that.

Thanks again

Francine

Member Question:
Dear Navigator,
I have some scenario questions I wanted to put to you regarding persuasion. These are all have have experienced in my life but don’t really now how to deal with, although after listening to the course I have a better idea.
1. Lets say you are interviewing someone or being interviewed. What questions should you ask to find out a persons personality/compatibility and credentials how should you respond to these question to persuade someone to give you the job?
2. Let us say you have a roommate who does not clean up after himself in the common area, The food he eats decomposes and can potentially cause sickness. If you ask him to clean up he often try to divert the subject to things you don’t clean up, even though I rarely use it between 2 other roommates. This individual is not particularly receptive of criticism and so it is important to get it right. Again out of the three people that use the room he is the the most responsible for messes in the common area (and possibly others getting sick).
3. The question of ultimate questions (and the one I find so fascinating) how do you persuade someone of your political opinion? Stereotypically, I can now see why certain personality types migrate to certain political philosophies (whether wrong or right), which tells me how to correct my rhetoric, but how can you tailor your questions to  a least convince someone to investigate the idea further (like read a book). I know this question isn’t easy, but at the very least it is an interesting exercise to consider persuading someone about something linked to core values and beliefs -in other words the ultimate feat for a persuader.
Thanks for all the help and the course ( and perhaps some ideas for a new one),
I am already using those question
John
My Answer:
 
     First I must apologize of not responding earlier, but my computer crashed, and this question was far to complicated too answer with my cell phone’s text messaging.
     Now to your questions:
     Answer to question 1: Determining personality has less to do with asking questions, and more to do with observing behavior. If you are the interviewer, you notice how quick they are to speak. You notice how quick they are to respond. Are they tentative or impulsive? You ask them about their goals. Do they care more about people or ideas? Are they more extroverted or introverted?
     If you are the one being interviewed, you are best off being yourself.
     That being said, you can often judge the personality type of your interviewer, so if they are Choleric get to the point and tell them why you are their best hire. If they ay are Melancholic, take your time and share with them what you would like to do for them. If they are Phlegmatic, again take your time and show them how you will benefit their relationships. Finally if they are Sanguine, let them talk until they are thrilled to hire you.
     Answer to question 2: It all depends on who holds the lease. If your roommate holds the lease, you are stuck unless you move.
     I would recommend that the lease holder ask for a group meeting to discuss the situation. At that meeting, rules of cleanliness in common ares be defined and agreed to, as well as consequences should the agreement be ignored. I once ran a boarding/roommate house in Portland. When some of us got tired of cleaning up after the others, I raised everyones rent in order to pay for a cleaning woman to come in once a week. They all agreed to it. I also gave some roommates their walking papers when they failed to live up to our house rules.
     Answer to question 3: Great question, and I find it as fascinating as you.
     Remember, you cannot persuade anybody that you don’t understand. The key is to understanding is your ability to ask open ended and nonjudgmental questions unlit you can actually express their opinions better than they can. You need to get them to say, “Yes, you understand me.”
     Once they feel understood, they will be more open to what you have to say. You have to be careful though. Through your new understanding, you should know their prejudices as well as their preference. Be sure to offer your new alternative in a way that intrigues them.
     And remember all the steps of persuasion  Approach them at the right time, ask for permission to ask questions, confirm your understanding, confirm the problem, offer authority, offer a solution, get an agreement, follow up.
     Also remember the 80/20 rule. Not everyone can be persuaded, so spend your time on those you can.
     Best wishes
     Lynn
Member Question:
Good morning Madam Sager,
First of all, i would like to thank you for the free course in Udemy, it was very interesting and rich in information.
I have two questions:
– What kind of personality fit perfectly the position of a manager in a company? is it “phlegmatic”? or more Choleric?
– What is the basic question that i can ask anyone and based on there response, know what kind of personality or masked-behaviour they have?
Thank you.
Best Regards.
My Answer:
     First I want to apologize for taking so long to answer, but my computer crashed a while ago, and I was forced into temporary retirement.
     Now to your question:
     Truthfully, I think your best manager would be a Choleric with a Phlegmatic mask. But then again, I am a Choleric with a Phlegmatic mask, so perhaps I am prejudiced.
     Phlegmatic people find relationships important. Choleric people find goals important. I believe managers need to understand the importance of both; so basically you want at Choleric with a Phlegmatic mask or a Phlegmatic with a Choleric mask.
     As to a “basic question” that you can ask, you are better off noticing body language and listening between the lines, rather than asking a basic question.
     There is no “basic question” to discover personality, other than the two I mentioned in my course. We answer these questions by paying attention to behavior. Do they seem tentative or impulsive? Do they seem introverted or extroverted? If you are not sure, they probably have developed a behavioral mask.
     Remember behavioral masks are not bad. Behavioral masks show that the person has developed talents beyond their natural tendencies.
     Finally, when hiring a manager, you are probably better off not worrying so much about personality and paying more attention to an honest resume and references.
     Hope that helped,
     Lynn

Question from a member:
 
Hi There,
    I read How to Delegate, the seven steps and I’m impressed how my mother was actually following these steps naturally with me.
    My reason of writing to you is that I was wondering if I can use this method with my husband who has a gambling problem but can really see it as a problem.
    Now that we are expecting our first, I was thinking if you can guide me using the seven steps to help him see his problem as I and others see it and reach an agreement with him to stop or at least lower the times he goes to a casino.
Thanks so Much
 
My Answer:
     First I wish to apologize for taking so long to answer. My computer crashed a while ago, and I was forced to take some time off.
     Now to your question.
     Yes, you can us the persuasion method with your husband, but it will take time, strategy, patience, and understanding. (Not Delegation, but the Steps to Persuasion)
     Approach will be important. Do not bring up the problem unless you have permission to do so. Simply ask him if you can ask a few questions so that you can understand why he loves gambling so much. Be sure to keep the questions open ended. Your goal at first is to understand why he gambles as he does, and perhaps why he does not see it as a problem. Do not judge, just seek to understand.
     Be sure to confirm your understanding with a close ended question like, “So you love to gamble because……is that right?”
     People gamble for different reasons. Some are hoping for the million dollars that will change their lives; other are stuck on the adrenaline. You ned to understand the why before you can offer a solution.
     Once you understand the problem, you can later build a presentation to offer an alternative, and when dealing with addiction you must be able to offer an appealing alternative. Once you understand the “why” of the problem, look for alternatives, investigate facts, (Does he understand how the odds are stacked against him? Look up the odds and show him—but only after you have showed him that you understand.)
     Find him a better place to put his money.
     Finally, always remember that some people just don’t want to be persuaded. That is on them, not on you.
     Good luck, and congratulations on your upcoming child.
Lynn

Recently, I had an old roommate stay with me, so she could be close enough to visit her hospitalized son. At the same time as her visit, I was busy perfecting an Online Udemy course based on Rule Thirteen in my book, which delves into the Power and Principles of Persuasion.

I was about to upload the required promo when I thought that I might ask my ex-roomate/house guest for a final opinion. On the whole her reaction was favorable, but when it came down to the nitty-grity and I asked her bluntly, “But would it make you want to sign up for the course?” her answer was a bit surprising.

“Yes,” she laughed, “If I really needed to learn about persuasion, but when I tell my kids to do something, they do it.” With that, she gave a little nod of her head, along with a clap of her hands, and then headed out  of the room.

I almost laughed out loud, but contented myself with an inward laugh, a tiny sigh, and a nearly silent mumble, “I guess that is one way to define persuasion.” I could not help thinking back to the thousand times I had witnessed her kids not doing what she had told them, or the countless arguments I had seen her have with them.

I myself prefer not to argue, demand, or order. I prefer the elegance of persuasion, delegation, and well defined boundaries—which is of course why I chose not to argue with her.

Too many people define persuasion as, “Getting people to do what I say.” These same people use arguing, complaining, condemning, manipulating, criticizing, advising, and a whole lot of other misguided techniques to get their way.

Persuasion is entirely different. Persuasion takes time, understanding, agreement, patience and planning. Persuasion requires that you acknowledge and be open to the opinions of others before you go asking them to be open to yours. Persuasion requires that the person that you are trying to persuade acknowledges a problem before you go offering a solution.

So anyway, my Udemy course on The Principles and Power of Persuasion has been accepted, and I am now an Official Udemy Instructor—within one day I already have 117 students from around the world. Sadly, many of the people who need this course will probably not bother to take it because they don’t see their own need.

In the meantime, I find comfort in the wisdom of Aristotle who said, “Only a fool attempts to persuade me with his ideas, while a wise man persuades me with my own.”

And in this case, I am no fool.

P.S. I have decided to keep the course free for one week, so if you want to see what I have been up to visit this link now, and feel free to give me a five star review. All joking aside, I would love your honest feedback. Next week, the course will cost $24.87…so this is your one and only chance to view it free.

aabull

I found another article that I think the reader who asked about alcohol dependency might find interesting. Here it is:

The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous, an article by Gabrielle Glazer that was featured in The Atlantic. Image by Dan Saelinger

In the article, Ms Glazer says regarding AA, “Its faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.” I have to admit that having looked over the evidence, I agree with her.

So if you have problems with alcohol dependency, I suggest you print this article out and take it with you the next time you visit your doctor.

Best of luck to my reader, and I hope this adds to his understanding. It absolutely added to mine.

Lynn