Tag Archive for: Shakespeare

Influencers from Around the World – Could Shakespeare give Women Career Advice?

This month’s guest blogger in the Influencers from Around the World series is Cathrine Moestue. Cathrine hails from Norway and is one of only 27 Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCT) in the world! In addition to her intelligence and business savvy Cathrine is a lot of fun to engage with. If you’d like to connect with her she’s on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I know you’ll enjoy “Could Shakespeare give Women Career Advice?”

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Could Shakespeare give Women Career Advice?

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; and one woman in her time plays many parts.” William Shakespeare, As You Like It.

This quotation has several meanings. First, and most simply, it means we all have roles to play. We like to think we are independent, and that we choose how we act, but in reality we have many unconscious habits that can jeopardize our true authority in the workplace. It is not just about doing a good job it is also about both looking and sounding the part.

As a corporate trainer and business coach, my success depends upon my clients reaching their goals after having worked together. In this blog post I want to share some insights and tips from the science of influence along with my experience coaching women in their careers.

Recently I have encountered a problem with competent business women  dressing in a way that makes me perceive them more like “girls,” rather than looking the part their professional roles would dictate.

They all shared with me that they were passed over for career opportunities they wanted and were qualified for. Not all of them to the same degree or even in the same way, but this was a shared experience. Could this be because of the way they looked? I think so.

I have always been fascinated with the phrase “perception is reality” because it challenges us to take a mental step back and do a reality check on our automatic reactions in any given situation. It is true – there is no reality, only people’s perception.

If you want to be more empowered and increase your influence skills, it is wise to do a “reality check” on your beliefs and spend time learning what behaviors increase your effectiveness. The best place to look is the science of influence.

Robert Cialdini, PhD, writes in Influence: Science and Practice, that our authority is communicated through cues, which include all your nonverbal cues, the way you look and the sound of your voice are more important than you might think. These are the small things that make the big differences.

One study found people were 350% more likely to follow a 31-year old jaywalker into traffic when he was wearing a suit compared to when he wore trousers and a work shirt. Our clothing provides an efficient, effective shortcut, useful for both simple and complicated decisions. Clothing is one thing, but your tone of voice is just as important, and together they can be more important than what you actually say.

What “cues” do you wear that might increase or decrease the perception of you as an authority in your work environment? If you don’t want to miss the next chance for a promotion or you just want to be taken more seriously, make sure you don’t make any of the following mistakes.

Career bungling #1 Believing the best and the smartest are always rewarded accordingly.

Wrong. Those who are competent and look and sound professional are those who smoothly maneuver themselves up the corporate ladder. Competence is not enough although you most certainly need it. It will only serve you to get your foot in the door but will not move you forward. If you accept this and take responsibility to play your role professionally you have already increased your chances of reaching your goals sooner. Luckily, how you look is one of the easiest things you can address on your way to become a more effective agent of influence.

Career bungling #2 Dressing inappropriately.

Informal fashion has made it more difficult to find the right job outfit but you can follow this rule: dress for the job you want and not for the one you have. Short skirts, seductive styles, and high heels that are too high will not get you were you want to go – at least not in the business world. Like it or not, people notice both the quality and the style of your dress and make mental notes about you. There are exceptions to this rule and you can find successful women who break them, but their attire is overlooked because they’re probably geniuses in their fields. Remember, they are the exception, not the rule.

Career bungling #3 Grooming in public.

When was the last time you saw a man check his hair after lunch? Or file his nails in management meeting? Just the thought of it is ridiculous. Even if you are discreet, this behavior will get noticed and it will not enhance your credibility. Long hair is back in fashion but be prepared to lose the “Alice in Wonderland” look if you want to be taken more seriously.

Don’t make the mistake of judging the apparent simplicity of these errors, because small things really do make big differences when it comes to others’ perception of us.

Imaginary but new coaching advice from Shakespeare

Make yourself aware of your business role, accept it and learn the difference between the private you and the corporate you.

  • Dress like your clients or colleagues +1.
  • Do your grooming in the bathroom, not in the board room.
  • Look at successful women and notice what they’re wearing. Also pay attention to women in positions you aspire to because that’s how you should dress.


The most effective authority is the credible authority – a woman with both expertise and trustworthiness. Meryl Streep wins Oscars because she both looks and sounds the part. I know you aren’t an actor but it’s not about the acting profession. What I’m talking about is understanding the psychological principle behind being perceived as an authority – being competent and looking the part. Don’t forget, hearing “yes” to a job promotion for many of us is like winning an Oscar in our everyday lives.If you’re viewing this by email and want to leave a comment click here.

Cathrine Moestue
Empowering Women to hear YES

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

It was in Hamlet that William Shakespeare penned the famous line, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” I came across this quote while doing some research for a training class I’ll be leading on attitude but the more I thought about that simple sentence the more I thought about how persuasion differs from manipulation. Some people are uncomfortable with the psychology of persuasion because they think using that knowledge gives them an unfair advantage over others.

It’s true that understanding how people’s minds work and knowing more effective ways to get someone to say “Yes” gives you an advantage. However, I don’t see that being any different than good looking people having a leg up when it comes to modeling, math whizzes doing better in fields like accounting, or people with great voices having a better chance at a singing career.
In each case those people possess something most others do not but we don’t consider it an unfair advantage. To be sure, if a good looking person uses their looks to take advantage of you or if the math genius knowingly confuses you with numbers to get the best deal then we’d say those people were not acting in a fair manner.
Shell and Mario Moussa, authors of The Art of WOO, have a wonderful quote that goes to the heart of the matter so to speak. They wrote, “An earnest and sincere lover buys flowers and candy for the object of his affections. So does the cad who succeeds to take advantage of another’s heart. But when the cad succeeds, we don’t blame the flowers and candy. We rightly question his character.”
Flowers and candy are neither good nor bad because, as Shakespeare rightly pointed out, we are the ones who ascribe meaning to them. Flowers can be wonderful when a man gives them to a woman when he asks her to marry him. They can also signify profound sadness when displayed at a funeral. Candy might not be so good if
you’re on a diet but it’s usually received with great joy by little kids on Halloween.
what does this have to do with understanding the psychology of persuasion? The six principles of influence as defined by Dr. Cialdini are neither good nor bad. They simply describe how people respond to one another and each can be used in positive ways or each can be used to take advantage of another person. Let’s take a brief look at each principle to see how this can happen.
Reciprocity tells us people feel obligated to return the favor when someone first does something for them. This is a great principle to know if you helped a friend move and need help down the road because your friend will be very likely to want to return the favor and help you. Of course there are always people who give you things or do things for you just so you’ll feel obligated to help them in some way.
Liking is the natural inclination to enjoy working with or being around people we like. Finding ways to like other people and get them to like you makes life much easier. Don’t you enjoy working with people you like? Sure you do. And I bet you want to like your neighbors and hope they like you. Deceitful people will tap into this principle by flattering you just to get you to do what they want.
Consensus is the tendency for us to go along with the crowd. Much of the time this is the right thing to do because “there’s safety in numbers” and “everybody can’t be wrong.” A dishonest person might try to sway you by telling you how “everyone” is doing something because they understand you’ll feel a psychological pull to go along with the crowd.
Authority is all about our reliance on people we view as experts. When you don’t have time to do a lot of research it’s a big time saver to defer to an expert. For example, most people don’t want to do their own taxes so they hire an accountant. On the flip side, there are people who prey upon this by creating a false impression of authority just so you’ll trust them.
Consistency is all about people doing what they say they’ll do or doing what you’ve done in the past. That’s very good because we can rely on people to continue in a consistent manner when we engage them. Of course, the manipulator seeing that can dupe the unsuspecting person by referring to something they said just to take advantage of this principle.
Scarcity comes into play when people’s actions are impacted by the thought of something becoming less available. Quite often this is good because we don’t miss out on opportunities that might go away. However,
this can be used against us when untrustworthy types create a false sense of urgency to get us to act in the moment rather than giving us time to consider all options.
As you can see, each of the six principles has an upside. In fact, I’d say the upsides are huge because they typically help us make good decisions faster. After all, if they didn’t lead to good decisions most of the time we’d quickly figure that out and stop responding to the cues. But just as flowers and candy aren’t
always good, the principles can be used in manipulative ways by some people who are only looking to get their way no matter the cost to the other, unsuspecting person. Just like the honest and sincere lover and the cad, it comes down to the motive of the person wielding the principles. I trust that you as a reader have come to see my focus is on the ethical use so win-win situations are created. Even if you don’t see yourself as the influencing type, understanding the principles will also help you protect yourself from the cad.

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

“Consistency, thou art a jewel,” Shakespeare

“Consistency, thou art a jewel,” is a well known quote sometimes ascribed to William Shakespeare. Whether or not it originated with him isn’t nearly as important as the reality that consistency can be a jewel when it comes to your ability to persuade people.

As a principal of influence consistency tells us people want to be seen as consistent in what they say and what they do because generally people feel better about themselves when their words and deeds match. That simple understanding gives you a great opportunity to persuade people because if you can align what you are asking for with something someone has previously said or done then the odds of hearing “Yes!” increase dramatically.

When I teach the 2-day Principles of Persuasion workshop it’s not uncommon for people to misapply the use of consistency during the learning process. This happens when they think about their own consistent behavior and try to use that as a lever to get someone to say “Yes!” You consistently doing good work, good deeds, being on time, etc., are great attributes, but that’s really not the application of consistency as a principle of influence. Going back to our definition, the principle tells us that other people want to be seen as consistent in what they say and what they do. Therefore we need to align our requests to match their prior words or deeds to increase our odds for success.

When you’re consistent in the things you say and do that builds credibility for you in the eye of others. It enhances your personal authority and becomes a reason someone might ask for your assistance. For example, if you’re a consistently high performer at work people come to depend on you. Or, if you’re always meeting deadlines people see you as a go to person when they need something done right away. Those can help your career immensely but that’s not applying the principle of consistency because in neither situation are you trying to persuade the other person.

However, when you need to make a request of someone else, tapping into their prior actions can be a powerful way to get them to do what you want. As an example, if a customer talks about how much they like your company, or a particular product, those would be perfect to incorporate into your request to get them to try a new product. Consider the following: “Sally, I really appreciate you sharing all the things you liked about our Bass-O-Matic. It makes me feel great to hear how happy you are with it. Since you’ve enjoyed it so much I naturally thought you’d want to be one of the first to try the Bass-O-Matic 2.” While Sally might try the new product without you referring to her prior words you’d have a much better chance of making the sale by reminding her of how satisfied she was with the prior purchase.

So maybe you’re thinking, “This sounds good but I don’t know if it will really work.” Influence People relies on science rather than good advice so here’s a study that was done that shows how potentially powerful consistency can be.

On a beach in the New York City area some social psychologists arranged to have a person lay down a blanket near a stranger then set a radio on the blanket. Next the person got up to take a walk on the beach and soon after they left, someone associated with experiment came along and “stole” the radio. The experimenters wanted to see how often the unsuspecting person would say or do anything about the robbery they were witnessing. On day one only four out of 20 people said or did anything about the theft in progress.

The experiment was repeated on day two, doing everything exactly the same except for one thing. On the second day, just before the person was to head off for a walk, the person turned to the stranger near them and asked if they would, “watch my things.” Naturally everyone agree to this simple request. Now, when the thief came along 19 out of 20 people intervened and a few people even tried to physically restrain the would-be thief!

Think about this for a moment; the only difference between day one and day two was a simple question. How would you feel if the person came back, saw their radio gone and asked, “What happened to my radio?” and you had to tell them someone stole it. “But you told me you keep an eye on it?” If you’re like most people you’d feel pretty bad and that’s the motivator because no one wants to feel bad when they can avoid it.

This is one simple application of this principle of influence. If you keep reading Influence People you’ll learn how to tap into this principle. Do so and consistency will truly become a jewel for you because it will help you hear “Yes!” far more often when you make requests other people.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Probably one of the most famous lines ever penned was from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The saying conveys this – what really matters is what something is, not what we call it. It’s true that a rose would smell no different had we called it anything else.

But, names do matter, even if they don’t change the thing being described, because they change us and how we think and respond. Here’s a nice example; Chilean Sea Bass, a popular dish, wasn’t such a hot seller when it was referred to by its real name, the Patagonian Toothfish. That name’s not too appealing and fish eaters didn’t think so either. Ah, but sales took a turn for the better when it was renamed because Chilean Sea Bass sounds interesting and exotic.
Let’s focus on Dale Carnegie now because he said, “The sweetest sound to anyone is the sound of their own name.” We’ve all met people who wish they’d have been given a different name. Johnny Cash made that notion famous when he sang about A Boy Named Sue. However, despite complaining, most people who wish they had a different name will never change their name.
Making it a point to use someone’s name can help you win friends and influence people for lots of reasons.
Most people get a sense of importance when their name is used. This makes me think about my college days when I worked as a valet a Muirfield Village Golf Club, the place where Jack Nicklaus hosts The Memorial Tournament each year. One summer a car pulled up and as I opened the door one of Jack’s very close friends, a founding member of the golf course, got out of the car and what he did next I’ll never forget – he simply said, “Thanks, Brian.”
As I type this I still remember how this important man, Jack Nicklaus’ friend, using my name made me gasp a little. I couldn’t believe he knew who I was. Then I noticed my name badge, the one worn by all valets. But that didn’t change the reality of how I felt and that I still remember it 25 years later!
If you want to make someone feel important, maybe even make their day, try using their name. Give it a shot next time you’re checking out at the grocery store or use your server’s name when you eat out next time. I bet you’ll also get better service in both instances.
Using another person’s name also creates sense of relationship. Once when I was traveling I stopped in a TGI Friday’s for dinner. The server behind the bar came over, said, “Hi, I’m Ron. What’s your name?” Then he stuck out his hand to shake mine. As we shook I told him my name and he replied, “Brian, I’ll be your server tonight. If you need anything just let me know.”
Each time Ron came by to check on me it was, “How is everything, Brian?” or, “Can I get you another beer Brian?” Whenever he addressed me it was by name. So there I was in a different city, sitting in a restaurant where I didn’t know anyone but I felt like Ron and I were friends. I have to believe he enjoyed his job a little more because he felt like he was waiting on friends. And I’m sure he got much better tips too because he engaged Liking.
One more reason to use people’s name is simply this; it gets their attention. Imagine you’re at a crowded event where there’s lots of background noise and talk going on. You’re not paying any particular attention until you hear your name. It’s amazing how good your listening becomes at that point as you try to figure out if it’s you someone is talking about.
This applies to email too. Several years ago I sent an email to about 300 people who’d been through some training I’d conducted. In the email I asked for some success stories but got none! I didn’t hang my head and think the training was ineffective because I knew it was good stuff. I concluded the culprit was a psychological phenomenon known as “diffusion of responsibility.” Because my email wasn’t addressed to anyone in particular, everyone thought someone else would respond and ultimately no one did.
So after about a week of no replies I changed my method. The next communication was a “personalized” email. Using the Microsoft mail merge feature I simply included people’s first names from my training database. Rather than print letters I merged into an email so 300 separate emails went out in the span of about two minutes. Each person’s name was at the top and I asked a question about the training. The result – within a week I had 125 replies and got dozens of great success stories! Taking away the impersonal nature and including a question was all it took.
So to quote Dale Carnegie, “Remember their name,” because this engages Liking and builds relationships.
Have you found it to be the case that you feel and act differently when people use your name? Have you seen people respond differently to you when you use their name? If you answered “yes” to yourself on either of those leave a comment below so we can learn more.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”