I’ve been waiting to see what happens when Generation Selfie and the Working Establishment collide. This story was inevitable.
Pink writes that both in sales and ordinary human interactions, people aren’t likely to be persuaded by your reasons. No matter how compelling your argument, they essentially must persuade themselves to buy, change, or take action.
Pink’s premise for To Sell is Human is that “Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight. Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.”
Empathy, or the ability to put yourself in another person’s place, to imagine what they feel, is one of the most important features of civilized people. Without empathy, we get bullying, violence, and “victimless” crimes. Lack of empathy is one of the definitive symptoms that separate a sociopath from the rest of us. Empathy matters.
Wouldn’t it be great to be a supervisor who could ferret out the truth in all those “he said, she said” situations? Wouldn’t you love to know for sure whether your teenager is telling the truth about where she was last night?
Everyone knows that you have to ace the interview to get the job. Most people focus on the in-person interview, usually one of the last steps in the application process. But you may not get to the in-person interview if you don’t do well in the phone interview.
If you’re a big-picture, inspirational leader, you may rely heavily on your charisma and persuasive skills to win over skeptics. That’s fine, until you encounter a data-driven analytical type who cares more about whether you’ve done your homework than how fine your words are.
When we talk about “good” communication skills, we often mean a single competency: persuasion. The art of persuasion, if you have it, means that you can articulate your thoughts clearly and win over opponents. You can write better copy or make a better sales pitch. You can become the top candidate for a job.