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Bel's thoughts

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Thank you Lucio.

It's incredibly helpful to know when I'm going overboard with these thoughts of mine.

So it may be ok to keep distance and even to talk the truth about other people, including family: it depends on the situation and on whether the person I'm talking to:

  • is aware or not
  • is a friend of mine or of the manipulator
  • is a stranger or an old acquaintance or a common acquaintance
  • and many other variables.

I think I was coming to this conclusion because a common theme in my life has been people "talking good" of me while "power-moving" me.

And the technique you suggest is also incredibly helpful:

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on November 28, 2022, 2:35 pm

If you wanna stop short of being totally frank and straight, then you can go for the "I'm just saying it but don't believe it compliment" or "yeah-yeahing" their positive comments about someone.

...

Frank: Omar says good things about you
Scarface: Yeah, Yeah, well Omar is OK

Didn't break rapport or create any strange social vibe, but he's also not lying and being straight because it's clear that the sub-communication is "Omar is a piece of shit".

If indeed I say "X is ok" and I am talking about, for example, a close family member, the message will come out loud and clear, but nobody will be able to pin me on saying something bad. Powerful stuff!

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Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from Bel on November 28, 2022, 12:02 pm

Send the resume or not?

I went to dinner with a relative of mine who works in a bank at a central middle level-position.

During the dinner we talked about our work.

At one point she asked me if I have a resume that I could send her, as (she said) she wanted to forward it to a contact of hers to ask him if he could keep me into account as a lawyer for future work.

I said "of course".

Then, later, I didn't send her my resume.

I believe that:

  • if I had sent her the resume, that would have lowered my "lawyer" status in her mind, as I would have been given a vibe of "looking for work"
  • instead I wanted her to consider me as a possible professional to engage, and build possible referrals from her directly.

Some days later, she asked me for my lawyer opinion on something.

The fact is: every person I meet can be a possible source of work, and I can never know who can turn out to be the person that will help me into the "success-breaking point".

Yes, great and agreed: best not to.

I do the same with TPM, when it comes up in conversation and people ask to see it, I always say "I'll send you a link", but never send anything unless they directly ask again on a second occasion or as we're talking electronically.

Bel has reacted to this post.
Bel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on November 28, 2022, 2:45 pm
Quote from Bel on November 28, 2022, 12:02 pm

Send the resume or not?

I went to dinner with a relative of mine who works in a bank at a central middle level-position.

During the dinner we talked about our work.

At one point she asked me if I have a resume that I could send her, as (she said) she wanted to forward it to a contact of hers to ask him if he could keep me into account as a lawyer for future work.

I said "of course".

Then, later, I didn't send her my resume.

I believe that:

  • if I had sent her the resume, that would have lowered my "lawyer" status in her mind, as I would have been given a vibe of "looking for work"
  • instead I wanted her to consider me as a possible professional to engage, and build possible referrals from her directly.

Some days later, she asked me for my lawyer opinion on something.

The fact is: every person I meet can be a possible source of work, and I can never know who can turn out to be the person that will help me into the "success-breaking point".

Yes, great and agreed: best not to.

I do the same with TPM, when it comes up in conversation and people ask to see it, I always say "I'll send you a link", but never send anything unless they directly ask again on a second occasion or as we're talking electronically.

Thank you, this is really helpful!

I wonder if there is also an "other-side" principle here:

  • when asking for something that is motivated by interest in a person, it may be worth asking twice, the second time after some time has passed;
  • the other person may not go forward the first time because of not wanting to come across as needy or because of treating the first demonstration of interest as perfunctory.

This could also apply to getting clients by showing genuine interest. If I say to a potential client, who's speaking about an issue he has,

If you want to send me this document, I'll have a look at it

and he sends me nothing, may be worth making one more try later.

Or maybe I'm just superimposing two different situations here.

Because, asking again in this "work" case when I have something to "gain" might make me needy.

So maybe the idea could apply only in situations where there could be no short-term benefit to the "asker", and the potential benefit is only slanted in favor of the "asked".

Just for my ease of reference, repeating here - with some additions - what I wrote in the Typos thread in the spur of the moment - and Lucio, feel free to delete it from there if off topic:

On how to avoid the "You're bean-counting" defense when a taker is a friend or family member, or in any case has pre-framed the relationship as a "friendship" or "family"

One thought: what if the takers are in fact "family" or "close relationships"?

(Or if they have framed the relationship as a "close friendship" or "family" precisely to then be able to criticize fair value marketing as bean-counting)?

Which is something that, I now understand, has happened to me lots of times. Including here: this guy had emphasized the (fake) "friendship" frame precisely to accuse me of bean-counting when I asked to be paid.

How to avoid them then framing our "reminding them of the value one gives/has given" as "bean counting"?

Example 1:

This is precisely what my former boss did to me when I started (unconsciously) trying to pre-frame the relationship as an "independent work relationship".

I now realize he was in fact a master of framing my asking for payment as "bean counting".

He did so with tone of voice and facial expression, without verbalizing it.

When I started working with him from the outside, I would say:

Me: We need to agree on a fee here before me doing the work.

Him: Of course you'll get paid!!! Nobody works for free here!

(facial expression and tone of "how dare you insinuate I am taking anything from you!" and "you're so venal!")

I was at a loss there.

Solution 1: surface their past debt while showing magnanimity

I think if this happened to me again, I could either go surfacing, as in

Him: Of course you'll get paid!!! Nobody works for free here!

Me: Nice you say that, as last time I did this, this and this and I think we both forgot that I should have received a fee for those things. But don't worry, that was then and this is now, let the past be in the past 🙂

(trying to subcommunicate: not only you are totally off the mark in framing me as bean-counting, but you still owe me, even if I'm so kind as to let your debt in the past - for now)

Or maybe one should dismantle the "friendship frame", I think the ideal could be to remove it from the case at hand (not altogether, which could be seen as nasty).

Solution 2: disassemble the connection between the "friendship frame" and the work, by emphasizing the complexity of the work

Tentative alternative to your suggestion in the thread above, to check if I'm starting to understand how to handle this:

Taker: Considering you worked for a shorter time than foreseen, I am sad that you didn’t give me a discount on this, not even in consideration of our friendship/our being relatives.

Me: Of course you're my friend, and when I can I'm totally glad to be of help - as I did many times in the past. But in this case, the work was very complex and high-responsibility, and actually took longer than foreseen. So please proceed to pay my fees.

Here below some new ideas I added:


Solution 3: do the same with respect to the "family frame"

I think in the past I subconsciously also tried to emphasize the complexity of the work to counterbalance the "family frame" - before getting to know TPM - with some close family members who wanted to make me do a very complex work for free, even though they later made me waive my fees due to repeatedly guilt-tripping me:

"Yeah [family member], when I can I'm glad to help you, but in this case I cannot do that as it's very complex and high-responsibility".

Shame that later I still fell for the guilt-tripping and told them I wanted nothing.

Later again, when I went no contact, then they wanted to pay me for this work.

Which shows they probably were aware both of what they were doing, and of the "unfairness" of it.

Solution 4: visible discount to take into account the family/friendship frame

Another solution is to apply a "visible discount" at the end, as you suggested in that thread above.

Solution 5: with the most manipulative takers, maybe point out how they are manipulating the frame

Me: X, I’m usually happy to make discounts or even work for free for family or friends who offer to pay and appreciate my work and favors. But I’m not happy to do so when it’s a “given” that I should work for free. So here is the fee quote for this.

(kind of a take it or leave it, but where the subcommunication is: you are trying to manipulate the frame, so no favor for you)


This is one of the most important learnings for me here, as I feel this "family/friendship frame manipulation" was something that many clients used on me.

Getting a hold of this could be something that removes a stumbling block as to why many clients felt "off" and/or went away.

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Lucio Buffalmano
By the way, on this:
Quote from Bel on November 28, 2022, 8:29 pm

Or maybe one should dismantle the "friendship frame", I think the ideal could be to remove it from the case at hand (not altogether, which could be seen as nasty).

In my desperation in front of my former boss, I once even did the above, ie try to dismantle the friendship frame altogether!

I now understand why I did it: I sensed unconsciously he was manipulating it.

But I was too blunt, and that made me come across as nasty:

Him: We have a professional friendship.

Me: You're not my friend.

Unbelievable how this guy was driving me crazy!

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Lucio Buffalmano

Largely, yes!

You stressed the main points right:

Do not attack the friends/family approach not only because it would seem nasty but also because, often, that's also good for you:

At the very least, a friend or family comes back to work with you.
And exceptions to the most rotten POS apply but, generally speaking, people are less likely to cheat and shortchange you within a friend/family frame.

As a matter of fact, I'd even stress that frame:

Yes, thank you for saying that, we're business-friends/family indeed and I appreciate you and your work.

Then go on to rebalance the exchange with whatever other approach you prefer, including:

  • Preframes
    • Exceptional help
    • Out of your busy schedule
    • Competing with your other priorities
  • It took longer than expected
  • You had to postpone other work
  • You provide great value because you're a great professional
  • Reframes
    • "I actually leave tips or invite for dinners when I use family's business and services because I'm happy to see them doing well" (but this is nasty, I wouldn't generally do it)
  • Etc. etc.

Anything that makes your current price or request for upfront fee negotiation seem fair.

Of course, in the case of your boss, he was a rotten POS so it'd be better not to work with him at all.

Still, if one wanted to deal with that, this is an option:

Him: Of course you'll get paid!!! Nobody works for free here!
You: Yeah, right, right, I know we're good on that X, and I appreciate us working together.
It's not about getting paid or not, it's just about the different approach. I prefer if we set the fees in advance, makes it easier and simpler (for me)

The frame changes from "getting paid" to "how to go about it".

If you add the advantages for you and then add "for me", then it's easier for you to defend the position: he's being unfair to your preferences if he keeps pushing for "work now, agree on the fees later".

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Bel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you Lucio,

it makes much sense.

You need to subcommunicate it

Yesterday I was re-reading this book on lawyering that suggests to say something out loud, when responding to phone calls, to let the client understand how I value professional secrecy.

I remember reading the exact same passage, two years ago, and thinking, “why should I say out loud something that is assumed of a lawyer”.

Facepalm.

This “you need to (subtly) show it” principle is something I only learned from The Power Moves and PU.

To elaborate more on this: what differentiates The Power Moves from other sources on this is that The Power Moves teaches “how to show it” without bragging and without inadvertently subcommunicating the opposite by advertising it too “out loud”.

I also realize that, before getting here, I was progressively going into more and more silence in front of many things in life, because the ways I tried to address things had shown to be counterproductive or useless.

It was a liberating experience to find TPM.

Responding publicly when my professional behavior is implicitly put into question

A client sent me an email asking me if I had news on something she had asked of me a week ago. And she put in copy two other people in the company.

I had already responded by email 6 days ago, but she has obviously not received it.

Before TPM, I would have responded to her privately mentioning that I had already sent her an email, and then I would have responded publicly to all three by sending my answer as of now (without showing to the other two that I had already answered).

In other words, I would have assumed on myself the “public cost” of her not receiving my email.

Now I knew better: I answered to all three that I had answered 6 days ago, I mentioned I was forwarding it again, and kindly asked for confirmation of receipt. Then I thanked her when I received this confirmation.

There are some situations where a small “damage” to the other party is unavoidable if I am not at fault and want to incur no damage myself.

Responding to vocals from clients

I used to always respond with text messages to vocals.

Now I find myself tending to respond to vocals with vocals, when they don’t involve work but just social pleasantries (ie “good day! How are you?”).

I thought it was unprofessional, but now I think it may be a way of accepting the “closeness bid” and also a way of not showing a different level of “investment”.

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Kavalier
Quote from Bel on November 30, 2022, 11:41 am

 

Responding publicly when my professional behavior is implicitly put into question

A client sent me an email asking me if I had news on something she had asked of me a week ago. And she put in copy two other people in the company.

I had already responded by email 6 days ago, but she has obviously not received it.

Before TPM, I would have responded to her privately mentioning that I had already sent her an email, and then I would have responded publicly to all three by sending my answer as of now (without showing to the other two that I had already answered).

In other words, I would have assumed on myself the “public cost” of her not receiving my email.

Now I knew better: I answered to all three that I had answered 6 days ago, I mentioned I was forwarding it again, and kindly asked for confirmation of receipt. Then I thanked her when I received this confirmation.

There are some situations where a small “damage” to the other party is unavoidable if I am not at fault and want to incur no damage myself.

On second thought, maybe here my previous behavior wasn't totally wrong. I need to reflect about this. Maybe a midway stance between the two behaviors is better.

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Kavalier
Quote from Bel on November 30, 2022, 2:18 pm
Quote from Bel on November 30, 2022, 11:41 am

 

Responding publicly when my professional behavior is implicitly put into question

A client sent me an email asking me if I had news on something she had asked of me a week ago. And she put in copy two other people in the company.

I had already responded by email 6 days ago, but she has obviously not received it.

Before TPM, I would have responded to her privately mentioning that I had already sent her an email, and then I would have responded publicly to all three by sending my answer as of now (without showing to the other two that I had already answered).

In other words, I would have assumed on myself the “public cost” of her not receiving my email.

Now I knew better: I answered to all three that I had answered 6 days ago, I mentioned I was forwarding it again, and kindly asked for confirmation of receipt. Then I thanked her when I received this confirmation.

There are some situations where a small “damage” to the other party is unavoidable if I am not at fault and want to incur no damage myself.

On second thought, maybe here my previous behavior wasn't totally wrong. I need to reflect about this. Maybe a midway stance between the two behaviors is better.

Ok, just for my future self, here is what I should have done:

- first, contacted her privately, asked her if she had received the email, and tried to find a way to let her come out of it with an acknowledgment of her own;

- only then, if necessary, I should have answered to all, mentioning (subtly) that I had already sent the answer and re-forwarding it.

Instead I jumped again to the opposite side of my prior behavior… hopefully lesson learned.

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Kavalier
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