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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

How To Shock In a Good Way

I was shocked in a meeting with my book publisher this week when someone threw out an F-bomb. It wouldn't have been shocking if it had just been the two of us talking but there were several other people in the room. This isn't an article about it being bad to cuss in business conversations - let's face it - I hear lots of colorful language in my clinical practice and when consulting with companies. However, I believe we should all be cautious when using "dirty mouth" language. That kind of colorful expression can be shocking and leave a lasting impression in a bad way. People in the Smart Zone know how to shock and surprise people in a good way. I was totally stunned and pleasantly surprised this week when I toured the LIVESTRONG headquarters in Austin, Texas: It was eye opening and enlightening to see the attention the people of LIVESTRONG have given to their message. They are true to their mission to help people affected by cancer, their commitment to healthy living and the trust they instill in their employees. Now that's how people in the Smart Zone shock people! Here are five Smart Moves for how to shock people in a good way:

  1. Respond faster than you promised. How excited are you to hear that your car that is being repaired is ready a day early or that your internet service is up and running now vs. tomorrow? It's the classic "under promise and over deliver" mentality. Go out of your way to help people get what they need faster than they expect and they will be shocked!

  2. Tell someone, "You are absolutely right." Listening is an art but it also has financial impact. Studies show that physicians who listen to their patients for at least 3 minutes have significantly fewer malpractice lawsuits against them. When you are eager to make a sale or get your point across you are less likely to listen. When someone objects to what you think resist the urge to defend your point and trying saying this, "You are absolutely right, I should consider that."

  3. Really get to know people. Learn what excites your employees, coworkers and customers. What are their goals? What stresses them out? Don't pry too deeply - but show an appropriate interest in your colleagues and their well-being.

  4. Laugh at yourself more than others. In other words, have a sense of humor! Be willing to laugh at yourself and your short-comings. Practice humility. People will trust you more if they see you are willing to laugh at yourself.

  5. Don't step on Superman's cape. When others have high aspirations, encourage them to go for it. The only way dreams are achieved is for someone to have them. You can be the voice of reality and still encourage others to achieve success.

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