Monday, October 11, 2010

Another NSTer — Another Influence Attempt

"I know I shouldn't say this stuff to myself, or even worse, to other people, but I've been doing it all my life. It just comes rolling off my tongue, and before I know it, I've said it out loud." A friend said this to me following a sequence of self put downs, and an annoying reminder to her, from me, that even mild negative self-talk produces bad feelings.

She had said "This outfit doesn't look very good, I know," "You're all so much better at organizing than I am," "I never remember how things should be done." I had said, "You know that my mission is Handbook #1 for Intelligent Women: Break the Negative Self-Talk Habit. I wish you could stop doing that to yourself." She said, tiredly, "I know. I know." She does know, but isn't willing or able to make the effort, doesn't want to, or doesn't know how to stop the NST.  She's also probably sick of my reminders to give it up; as perhaps are my blog readers, other friends, family members, and writing group buddies.

I know that my persistence can generate resistance, which is definitely an undesirable outcome. The phrase, "like a dog with a bone" has been used about my occasional, overzealous pushiness about this topic — and others as well. I'm giving some thought to how I might better deliver (or not deliver) my message, in person, one to one, in a way that increases the likelihood that it will be received rather than resisted.  Maybe I need to reread The Power of Indirect Influence (my 2000 book) or refer back again to the master of influence, ASU professor, Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.

The goal requires more study.  I'm reminded of an article in the NY Times several Sundays ago advocating new studying practices. They are supported by new research and counter to the "tried and true"; useful for all kinds of study, for all ages and genders. Yes, it's a leap, a change of topic, but still relevant — I think.

•  Instead of sticking to one study location, alternating the room/space/setting where a person studies improves retention
• Studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single topic or focus also improves memory
• Spacing study sessions over time and length of time, quizzing yourself now and then, helps in retaining information. "When the neural suitcase is packed carefully and gradually, it holds its contents for far, far longer."

I'll try these out myself as I study anew communication, resistance, influence and breaking habits. I'd also like to hear your opinions about communicating in a way that doesn't generate resistance. I just started reading Being Wrong, Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz. H-m-m-m.
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