PERREAULT Magazine October 2014 - Page 47

SK: As you eloquently said, “A well-developed sense of empathy is key to your mastery of Ultimate Influence.” Please tell us the difference between empathy vs sympathy.

BB: Great question. While the two are related, they are not quite the same. More than anything, the difference between the two is in the focus. Typically, when you have sympathy, you feel badly for another person. And, while of course that’s admirable, it’s really more about how you feel than how the other person feels. Empathy, which can be defined as identifying with another’s feelings, is about the other person. In other words, you are doing your best to look at the situation from their point of view. And, it’s not necessarily a matter of solving their problem for them. Often, simply by communicating that you understand how they feel, or that you understand they are feeling something that is distressful to them, you can help them to feel better about it. It’s so important, as a human being, to feel understood. And, people who can communicate genuine empathy tend to be very strong in the area of people skills.

SK: How to say No graciously and affectively?

BB: The key is to do so in such a way that you both communicate respect for the person you are having to say “no” to while also communicating your personal boundaries. When you don’t know how to do this then saying “no” can be very difficult. Most of us want to please others. And, we don’t want to offend that person, either. Thus, what many people do is tell a little fib so as not to hurt the other person’s feelings. But, this will usually backfire.

For example, pretend someone has asked you to serve on a committee you don’t want to serve on. If you say, “I would but I don’t have time” (you might even believe that but really it’s that you simply don’t want to) they’ll often respond by showing you where time is not an issue. Now, you either have to admit that you were fibbing because you really don’t want to do it (which will make them angry and make you feel badly about yourself for having been caught in a fib) or, in order to save face, you must accept the committee position. Neither way is optimum.

Instead, simply say, “Thank you so much for asking. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored I am to be asked.” This way, you very, very politely let them know that your answer is “no” but you made them feel honored and respected. Remember; do not make an excuse. Simply say “no” as above. It works in person, on the phone, and even in email.

SK: What is the role of conscious awareness?

BB: It simply allows us to make choices based on active thought rather than on unconscious programming. Since most of us do things unconsciously throughout the day, it’s important “to be conscious of the fact that we’re not usually conscious.” 

SK: Any final words for PERREAULT readers?

BB: To always remember that if you really want to master people skills and win people over, to focus on bringing value to them! That’s what it’s all about.

Perreault Magazine - 47 -