Thursday, January 6, 2011

Never Make a Promise or a Threat You’re Not Prepared to Keep

I learned this 40 years ago, and have tried to follow the sage advice ever since; not always with success, but the times that I have followed have kept me out of trouble.

Bluff and lying are all part of the great game of Poker, and while I don’t know how to play it, I know enough to know that bluff, and hence lying, is involved, and that every player knows this before they start playing.

In business or personal issues it’s a killer.

“I’m not going to talk with you until you …” means that you have left control of that part of your life (communication) with the other party, and right now you are not on good terms with that party. You have just made your own position worse. What’s more, if you capitulate and start talking you have branded yourself as untrustworthy. “This will be my last communication with you” is a threat that will hound you to your grave, literally.

“If you do that one more time I shall scream”; again, when it gets done (and with any other party whose current mental state is that of a four-year old it WILL get done) you have to scream, otherwise you have branded yourself as untrustworthy.

“I will have that on your desk by 9 a.m. tomorrow”; again it better be there, and if it is not then you have branded yourself as untrustworthy.

I find it much easier to promise longer terms and deliver shorter terms.

Now I‘m pretty sure I can get it on your desk by 9 a.m. the day AFTER tomorrow, so “I will have that on your desk by 9 a.m. the day after tomorrow” is still a promise and presumably is still within the bounds of acceptance by the prospect/contact/client. Remember that your innermost thoughts are that 9 a.m. tomorrow is doable, and of course you will strive for that and probably succeed.

Look how good you look when you drop it on the desk a day early with “I’m sorry it’s early; I made better progress on OUR project than I had thought”, compared to “I’m sorry it’s late; the dog ate my homework”.

Talk to Me !

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