Mastering the Art of Business Seduction
Written by CareerBuilder for AOL
You might consider Mark Jeffries a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac ... if you want to woo a new boss or potential client, that is.
In his new book, "The Art of Business Seduction: A 30-Day Plan to Get Noticed, Get Promoted, and Get Ahead" Jeffries shows readers how to reinvent their business personalities and become successful by blending networking, psychology, language, observation, interpretation, intelligence and interest.
We asked Jeffries to explain some of the more intriguing points of his book and how you can become a seducer or seductress in the boardroom.
CB: Can you explain the L-WAR?
Mark Jeffries: I like to refer to the L-WAR as a square of influence. "L W A R" represents the common sense skills of listening watching anticipating and reacting. As long as you surround your "target" with this smart and essential guide to communication, you will instantly start to increase your influence and your ability to business seduce.
CB: Why is the L-WAR so important?
Jeffries: People no longer listen effectively. We are so focused on what we want to say, that we forget to actually listen. Whether you are in front of a potential boss, new client, colleagues or co-workers you need to actively listen. People reveal so much about themselves, their needs, objectives and targets, that to truly sell -- to effectively "seduce" -- we need to actively listen to that essential data BEFORE we reveal our hand.
People also reveal their true feelings and responses through body language. The key to L-WAR is ensuring you find the time to watch the signals people are streaming out at you. Are they sitting back, checking their watch, nodding more frequently, crossing their arms, checking their Blackberries, pouring endless coffee? These are all signals to observe and then most crucially use as data points in order to adapt your approach to directly suit them.
The natural result of this observation is to anticipate and react. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were them right now, what would you want to hear? What would you need to see? All of this added together allows you to then react in a way to directly suit the situation and person involved.
Jeffries: This is a style of communication that should be employed at all times. We need to focus on the business needs of others in order to get ahead. People love to buy, but they don't like to be sold to. So make it easy for them to buy whatever it is you're selling (and we all sell something) by setting aside what you think is important and using your powers of observation to quickly understand what they think is important. Sometimes it's just a simple shift in emphasis or language that allows you to close a deal that you may not have won. At the start point in every communication always use a full and informed consideration of what your target most likely needs and then work it back to what are trying to sell.
CB: What is the "Law of Language?"
Jeffries: The law of language is a reference to how crucial every single word is that you choose to "broadcast." It's also about how your tone is received and most importantly whether what you say matches the communication of your target or can raise their interest in you. When visiting with a client or potential employer, go on their web site and check out how they communicate to their clients and staff. Look at the words and messaging and then subtly attempt to emulate some of that tone and language within your own words. It will quickly create the impression that you are already one of them.
Listen to some of the great political speech makers and figure out which phrases, which wordplay and which tones really resonate with their audience. Picture yourself as a broadcaster on the radio. Would you enjoy listening to yourself? And remember: Less is more. End your comments just before they expect you to. Go on too long and you lose people; end it early and they often want more.
CB: You say that, in an interview a job seeker should reveal the benefits and values he or she can bring to an organization. Is there a technique one can use to identify the unique benefits and values they can provide to different employers?
Jeffries: Value (V) and Benefits (B), never Process (P). P is the approach of telling someone exactly what you do hour-by-hour in your job. No one is very interested in this. What they really want to hear is how teaming up with you could be of V & B to them.
So, be brutal with yourself. Ask yourself what your real benefits are. What is the value of having you on the team. Make sure you are always ready with a brief list of these values and benefits. Working hard, answering the phone and staying late are nowhere near as impressive as great client relationships, driving innovative idea sessions and well connected with talent in the industry!
CB: What is an NBB?
Jeffries: People like to spend time with others who are very similar to them. Finding that connection in business can often pay dividends. An NBB is a "non-business bond," a connection formed in business that is not reliant on business. It's a powerful moment when you quietly discover something key about your target as a person.
Remember people buy people, so your job here is to make yourself someone who they would actually enjoy spending time with. AN NBB -- in other words a shared interest, activity or lifestyle -- could be an obsession with golf, a love of sushi, weekends spent with kids, or a passion for restaurants or movies. Once you have discovered what your target's interest is, you should subtly weave your interest in the very same thing into your discussion. It's important, though, not to reveal that you knew this about them as that might look like you are trying to cynically set up something. It should simply be presented as something you do or like and your target will instantly react with a positive comment about how similar you both are.
CB: You suggest setting up a mind buffer and consciously force every action and word through your own personal screening process before it's seen or heard. Won't this take a long time to do when you're in a conversation? How do you do this without long pauses?
Jeffries: This is something which not only happens in micro-seconds but also forces us to apply a gentle brake to the speed at which we speak. Appearing more thoughtful when selecting words, phrases and ideas creates the impression that you think deeply and that you care about what is being presented. Our minds can only operate at a certain maximum speed. Fractionally slowing your personal presentation style gives your mind the valuable opportunity to enhance HOW you speak and think. It is a win-win and a simple discipline that will always pay dividends.