Talking to Others

Did you know that you can say just about anything to just about anyone and have it well received? Absolutely true.

It is not what you say, instead of how you say it.  I have taught so many classes and given so many line training sessions in my career that I have learned how to do this.

No one can run into a strange situation with a bunch of strangers, just say something and expect them to understand and agree with what you are saying. You need to be a known quantity who cares for and respects your audience.

I think it’s time I told you the secret, and also let you in on a secret of mine.

There is a tone that you can use when speaking to people. It’s the same tone that you use when you talk to a puppy dog. If you want a puppy dog to pay attention you have to speak to the dog nicely. You need a calm voice and an easy-going cadence. We start off telling the puppy dog that it is a good dog and you know that it is doing good things.

When you first start doing this do not go over and try to pet the puppy dog. That is how people end up with the nickname lefty. Rather, talk nicely to the puppy dog, and fairly soon it will come to you and nuzzle your hand for a pet or lick your hand. I usually speak to puppy dogs through a fence. When I do so, at some point, whether it is 10 minutes or 10 days, the puppy dog will put its front paws up on the fence, and then I can cautiously offer it my hand.

The same is true with humans. Talk to them nicely, tell them you appreciate what they do, let them know you’re here to help and give them enough space that they feel comfortable. Use the same calm voice and consistency. Understand their problems and explain that you are here to help them.

The humans probably will not lick your hand. If they do, it may be the time to involve HR. You will be able to tell you are making a good impression on the humans when they start trusting you enough to ask why, or they start to participate in the activities.

For you, this is a learned activity. The more you work on the way you talk, the easier it will become. Like everything else, start slowly at first and build upon your successes.

My secret? I used to be very embarrassed to tell people they needed to talk to other people like they should talk to puppy dogs. Actually, I got that wrong. You should talk to puppy dogs like you should talk to other people.