Monday, 28 November 2016

[HM:258549] Learning to Control Your Emotions

Learning to Control Your Emotions

Some of us have great control over our emotional responses, and some of us struggle. Doing or saying the wrong thing in the midst of an emotional meltdown could have very negative effects. Say something your boss doesn't like and you could be out of a job.

Gain control of your emotions with these strategies:

1. Realize that negative emotions simply don't last. If you're angry about something right now, you'll probably be over it by next year, next week, or even by tomorrow. But emotions tend to focus our attention right here and now. We don't consider the potential long-term consequences that a temporary emotional state can create.

  • Who hasn't done or said something in the heat of the moment that's caused great remorse? Your anger, fear, resentment, or other negative emotion will fade quickly enough. Your rash response may not.

2. Examine your emotions. Learn to notice when you're getting emotional. When you notice yourself reacting strongly, ask yourself why. Try to label the emotion.

  • Analyze why you're feeling that particular emotion and then admit it to yourself. This way, you can avoid rationalizing your behavior, which is a nice way of saying "lie to yourself." If you know the real reason you're feeling the way you do, you're more able to do something about it.

3. Create space. Many of the challenges created by our emotions could be eliminated if we could just take a moment before reacting. Getting upset isn't something that happens to us. It's something we do to ourselves, and some of us are very good at it.

4. Find a role model. Would you take stock tips from a homeless man? Probably not! Learn emotional control from those that maintain their composure regardless of the circumstances.

  • When you find such a person, ask them how they do it. The answers you receive could make all the difference.

5. Find a healthy way to release negative emotions. Our actions can influence our moods. If you're feeling bored while watching TV, there's no reason to continue watching TV. Immediately get up and go for a walk. Go to the library and find an interesting book. Call a friend. Exercise is a great way to release energy.

  • You don't have to passively accept your mood. Go do something else and change it!

6. Try altering your breathing. Many people assume that emotions are entirely psychological, but there is a physical component. Realize that all emotions are ultimately experienced as physical feelings in your body. You've just learned to label certain body feelings with names like "anger" and "fear."

  • The only part of your physiology that can be easily controlled is your breathing. Take a look at how you're breathing during a strong emotional response and change it.
  • A few ideas you can try are holding your breath for 5 seconds, breathing deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, breathe in slowly and breathe out even more slowly. Think about your breathing and count your breaths. Focus on the physical feeling of the air moving in and out of your body.

If you're used to being controlled by your emotions, you know that it's not easy to maintain your composure. But you can choose to respond differently to your emotions and make wiser choices. Negative emotions exist to inform us that something might be amiss. They are not there to control us.

The post Learning to Control Your Emotions appeared first on My Self Improvement Daily.

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Sunday, 20 November 2016

[HM:258548] Business: Measuring Customer Satisfaction

NPS-Definition copy

A Trusted Anchor for Your Customer Experience Management Program

   Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®, measures customer experience and predicts business growth. This proven metric transformed the business world and now provides the core measurement for customer experience management programs the world round.

The NPS Calculation

Calculate your NPS using the answer to a key question, using a 0-10 scale: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?
Respondents are grouped as follows:

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
  • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the Net Promoter Score, which can range from a low of -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (if every customer is a Promoter).


A Core Metric for CEM

Use your NPS as the key measure of your customers' overall perception of your brand. Because NPS is a leading indicator from growth, it provides the best anchor for your customer experience management (CEM) program. Complement NPS with other metrics and insights from various points along the customer journey, and you have a comprehensive, actionable view of your customer experience performance.


Trusted by Your Workforce

Straightforward and easily understood by everyone from the corner office to the front line, NPS provides a touchstone for engaging your workforce in your customer experience program.

Source: netpromoter

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Monday, 14 November 2016

[HM:258547] 9 tricks to appear smart in meetings

The following is an excerpt from Sarah Cooper's new book, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings (October 4, Andrews McMeel)

In a brainstorming meeting, the pressure of coming up with incredible new ideas can be debilitating. Luckily, the last thing most corporations want is new ideas.

During these largely pointless exercises, the point is to contribute using the mere gravitas of your presence, make other people's ideas seem like your ideas, and look like a true leader by questioning the efficiency of the whole process.

Here are 9 tricks to make you look like you're the creative force on your team.

  1. Leave to get water and ask if anyone needs anything


Just before the meeting starts, get up and ask if anyone needs anything. People will think you're so thoughtful, kind, and giving, plus you'll be able to disappear for 10 minutes no questions asked. Even if no one wants anything, return with bottles of water, soda, and snacks.

Your colleagues will feel compelled to start drinking and snacking, and your foresight will make them think you can really predict the future.


  1. Grab a pad of sticky notes and start drawing


While the topics are being introduced, grab one of those sticky note pads and start drawing meaningless flowcharts. Your colleagues will look over at you with worried interest, wondering how you're coming up with so many complex ideas even before you know what this meeting is for.


  1. Make an analogy that's so simple it sounds deep


When everyone is trying to define the problem, make an analogy about baking a cake, or something just as completely unrelated. Your colleagues will nod their heads in agreement, even if they really don't understand how what you're saying is related to what they're talking about. Talking completely over their heads will make you seem wildly transcendent and intimidatingly creative, even though the truth is you really just like cake.


  1. Ask if we're asking the right questions


Nothing makes you seem smarter than when you question the questions by asking if they're the right questions. If someone responds by asking you what you think the right questions are, say you just asked one.


Sidebar: How to strategically shoot down small ideas

Wonder if an idea seems too small so your colleagues see you as a big thinker and a gamechanger.

Use one of these phrases:

  • But how is it disruptive?
  • Is this 10x?
  • Is this the future?
  • I thought that was dead.
  • What's the big Win?
  • But isn't Apple doing that?


  1. Use an idiom


Using an idiom to question an idea is a subtle, smart way of questioning it. Here are some idioms to choose from:

  • Isn't that gilding the lily?
  • Isn't that putting lipstick on a pig?
  • Seems like we're polishing a turd.


  1. Develop a quirky, creative habit that 'gets your juices flowing'


Develop a quirky habit that 'helps you think' and 'gets your creative juices flowing.' This could be anything from showing up in your pyjamas, meditating on the floor, jogging on the spot, throwing a ball against the wall, air drumming with your favourite drumsticks, or all of those things at the same time. Even if you're not actually coming up with any ideas, your colleagues will be intimidated by your uncontrollable creative energy.


Sidebar: How to strategically shoot down big ideas

Wonder if an idea seems too big so your superiors see how much you care about company resources.

Use one of these phrases:

  • Is it too disruptive?
  • How does this fit into the roadmap?
  • This seems like a pivot.
  • Isn't that a non-starter?
  • Isn't that out of scope?
  • But how would you test that?
  • Will that work internationally?


  1. Say how you think the CEO would respond


Make your colleagues think that you have a very close relationship with the CEO by bringing up how you think she would respond to an idea. Mention your CEO by her first name. Say you might run this by her during your next powwow. Congratulate everyone for coming up with something she'd like. By associating yourself so closely with the CEO, people will start to think of you as some kind of CEO-in-training.

  1. Ask if we're creating the right framework, platform, or model


You will always appear as if you're thinking bigger than everyone else by bringing up a framework for moving forward, or a model of thinking, or how we can turn this into a platform. It's a very meta way of blowing everyone's minds and masking the fact that you have no idea what everyone's talking about.

  1. When everyone seems to like an idea, yell out 'Ship it!'


There'll come a point when everyone seems to be really excited about an idea or direction. At this point you should try to be the first person to yell out 'Ship it!' Sure, it's a funny thing to say that will make people laugh, but doing this will also convey some authority on your part to both end the meeting and make a final decision, even though you have no power to do either.

100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings will be released October 4th. Pre-order it here and read more at

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Sunday, 13 November 2016

[HM:258546] Having A Bad Day?

We almost always never see it coming. It crawls up on us like a night thief and ends up stealing our joy the whole day.

Whether it's an unproductive day at work, boring day at school or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed, a bad day can leave you wishing you could fast-forward time.

Since you're not an alien from Jupiter or in possession of a time travel machine, you're better off facing reality.

These tips should set you off in the right path.

Accept The Situation: This might not seem as the best thing to do – since a bad day leaves you in denial. But the more you try to fight the situation, the bigger it comes back attacking you from different angles. Accept the obvious and you'll reduce the extent to which the misfortunes will affect you.

Relax Your Mind: While this might prove impossible at the time when the world seem to be upside down (In your mind), if you eventually manage to get your mind settled, you're two steps towards getting over everything. Listening to good music can get you quickly into a calm state. You can go deeper by meditating.

Confront The Situation: We are often times the engineer behind a bad day. Figuring out the possible reason(s) behind it is arguably the quickest way to putting smile back on your face. Think a little deep about it. Could it have been the extra stress at work? Or as a result of a break up? A bad day could also be caused by pressure or excessive thinking and worrying. If you're able to figure what started it all, pat yourself on the back, you're good to go.

Drink Tea: No, not tea exactly, but if that's what gives you good feeling and takes away negative energy, get on with it. For some, its chocolate, ice cream, alcohol or taking a shower (no pun intended). Do whatever gives you positive vibes and viola – you're good to good.

These are just a few ideas about dealing with a bad day. Hope you don't mind sharing what works for you?

  • Henry Nnaike
source: Sterling

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

[HM:258545] Setting Goals And Becoming Productive

2011 article in the Academy of Management Review business journal stated that stretch goals "serve as jolting events that disrupt complacency and promote new ways of thinking." They can elevate aspirations in teams, organizations and individuals, and spark energy. They encourage innovation, playfulness, experimentation or broad learning. Thus, a stretch goal can enhance creativity and innovation, and make us remarkably productive.

However, it can also prove counterproductive. A stretch goal can cause panic and convince people that it is too big to achieve. It can crush morale and push people on the back foot before the task begins.

So how can this challenge be addressed?

According to psychologists, there is an alternate path, one that is more concrete and specific: setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

SMART is an acronym commonly attributed to Peter Drucker. It is one of the longest-lasting, popular goal-setting frameworks. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, they should be:

S – Specific – The more specificity in a goal, the clearer it is. "WH" questions are a good place to start.

M – Measurable – Can your goal be measured? What gets measured gets done.

A – Achievable – Is the goal achievable or a pipe dream?

R – Relevant – Is each task connected to the end goal you have in mind?

T – Time Bound – Set a deadline for yourself to achieve the goal.

Let's consider, for instance, that you want to earn more money in the next few years. For this goal, the S.M.A.R.T. technique could look like this:

  1. Specific: How much money do you want to earn? How many years do you want to earn it in?
  2. Measurable: How will you measure progress? And, if you deviate, what specific steps will you take to course correct?
  3. Achievable: Which steps will you follow to achieve this goal?
  4. Relevant: Will the steps you follow contribute to achieving your final goal of earning more money?
  5. Time bound: Set a deadline for yourself to complete each step. 

To-do lists and concrete action plans are examples of SMART goals. They're great when optimized.

Unfortunately, S.M.A.R.T. goals can also pull us away from the bigger picture. The gratification felt when we finish more tasks can make us place more emphasis on quantity. Because it makes us feel good, we jot down easy items on to-do lists, and then cross them out quickly. We add more tasks which can be completed in five minutes. In the process, we sideline the genuinely important ones which demand time and attention. We would prefer answering thirteen short emails than carefully drafting an effective template to reach out to people we want to connect with.

But that's the wrong way to create to-do lists, according to Carleton University psychologist Timothy Pychyl. These lists are used for mood repair instead of becoming productive.

What is Productivity?

In modern mythos, productivity is believed to be "working more or sweating harder". Overtime, multi-tasking, doing more each day, being available 24/7 – these are yardsticks of productivity. Batman, the ever-present superhero cum businessman, always fighting crime and saving cats stuck on trees, is the epitome of productivity.

But Batman exists in just one place – imagination. Okay, comics and movies too. But we don't live in imagination and comics. We live in the real world, where resources are limited. It sucks, but it's true.

Productivity is not about spending longer hours at your desk or making bigger sacrifices. That's just being busy. According to New York Times journalist and author Charles Duhigg, productivity is "the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort…… It's about getting things done without sacrificing everything we care about along the way."

"The way we choose to see ourselves and frame daily decisions; the stories we tell ourselves and the easy goals we ignore; the creative cultures we establish as leaders: These things separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive." – Charles Duhigg

How You Can Set Goals and Achieve Them

An effective way to improve your productivity and quality of accomplishments is to combine stretch goals and S.M.A.R.T. goals. People who master the ability to break goals down into concrete plans are better equipped to achieve stretch goals.

Begin practicing S.M.A.R.T. goals. You might lose sight of the bigger picture for some time. That's okay. Trust me, you have time if you know how to use it.

Once you feel comfortable with setting concrete action plans – could take 6 months, a year, or even two – step back. Set a stretch goal. It doesn't have to make others think you are crazy. But it must be audacious enough to make you go beyond existing means.

Stretch goals make you smarter. They force you to expand your perspective, and contextually apply what you know. They force you to innovate, to combine seemingly unconnected concepts and develop something novel. The SMART technique helps you steady yourself and start walking before you run. Your ability to achieve stretch goals is larger when you implement the SMART technique. This has a positive cascading effect on every aspect of your life - professional and personal.

Which goal setting techniques work for you? Do leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.


P.S. Do connect with on Twitter. I love having discussions on such topics.​ 

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Thursday, 10 November 2016

[HM:258544] Increase Your Browsing Speed by Changing DNS Settings



I was facing slow browsing speed at home although speed test was showing good bandwidth. Then I tried updating DNS settings on router level as per this article and Booooooom. Browsing is much faster after this update. Thanks Google!



Why does DNS matter?

The Domain Name System (DNS) protocol is an important part of the web's infrastructure, serving as the Internet's phone book: every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading, so your computer may be performing hundreds of lookups a day.


Try it out

  • Configure your network settings to use the IP addresses and as your DNS servers.
  • Or, read our configuration instructions (IPv6 addresses supported too).

If you decide to try Google Public DNS, your client programs will perform all DNS lookups using Google Public DNS.

In addition to traditional DNS over UDP or TCP, we also provide DNS-over-HTTPS API.



Google Public DNS IP addresses

The Google Public DNS IP addresses (IPv4) are as follows:


The Google Public DNS IPv6 addresses are as follows:

  • 2001:4860:4860::8888
  • 2001:4860:4860::8844

You can use either address as your primary or secondary DNS server. You can specify both addresses, but do not specify the same address as both primary and secondary.




DNS settings are specified in the TCP/IP Properties window for the selected network connection.

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Windows 7

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings.
  3. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:
    • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, right-click Local Area Connection > Properties.
    • To change the settings for a wireless connection, right-click Wireless Network Connection > Properties.

If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  1. Select the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and then click Properties.
  2. Click Advanced and select the DNS tab. If there are any DNS server IP addresses listed there, write them down for future reference, and remove them from this window.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Select Use the following DNS server addresses. If there are any IP addresses listed in the Preferred DNS server or Alternate DNS server, write them down for future reference.
  5. Replace those addresses with the IP addresses of the Google DNS servers:
    • For IPv4: and/or
    • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844.
    • For IPv6-only: you can use Google Public DNS64 instead of the IPv6 addresses in the previous point.
  6. Restart the connection you selected in step 3.
  7. Test that your setup is working correctly; see Test your new settings below.
  8. Repeat the procedure for additional network connections you want to change.




Every router uses a different user interface for configuring DNS server settings; we provide only a generic procedure below. For more information, please consult your router documentation.

Note: Some ISPs hard-code their DNS servers into the equipment they provide; if you are using such a device, you will not be able to configure it to use Google Public DNS. Instead, you can configure each of the computers connected to the router, as described above.

To change your settings on a router:

  1. In your browser, enter the IP address to access the router's administration console.
  2. When prompted, enter the password to access network settings.
  3. Find the screen in which DNS server settings are specified.
  4. If there are IP addresses specified in the fields for the primary and seconday DNS servers, write them down for future reference.
  5. Replace those addresses with the Google IP addresses:
    • For IPv4: and/or
    • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844.
    • For IPv6-only: you can use Google Public DNS64 instead of the IPv6 addresses in the previous point.
  6. Save and exit.
  7. Restart your browser.
  8. Test that your setup is working correctly; see Test your new settings below.

Some routers use separate fields for all eight parts of IPv6 addresses and cannot accept the :: IPv6 abbreviation syntax. For such fields enter:

  • 2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8888
  • 2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8844

Expand the 0 entries to 0000 if four hex digits are required.



Test your new settings

To test that the Google DNS resolver is working:

  1. From your browser, enter a hostname URL (such as If it resolves correctly, bookmark the page, and try accessing the page from the bookmark.

If all of these tests work, everything is working correctly. If not, go to step 2.

  1. From your browser, type in a fixed IP address. You can use (which points to the website) as the URL.1
    • If you are using Google Public DNS64 on an IPv6-only system, use http://[64:ff9b::d8da:e477]/ as the URL instead. If this test does not work, you do not have access to a NAT64 gateway at the reserved prefix 64:ff9b::/96 and cannot use Google Public DNS64.
    • If you are using an IPv6-only system without Google Public DNS64, use http://[2001:470:1:18::119]/ as the URL instead.

If this works correctly, bookmark the page, and try accessing the page from the bookmark. If these tests work (but step 1 fails), then there is a problem with your DNS configuration; check the steps above to make sure you have configured everything correctly. If these tests do not work, go to step 3.

  1. Roll back the DNS changes you made and run the tests again. If the tests still do not work, then there is a problem with your network settings; contact your ISP or network administrator for assistance.

If you encounter any problems after setting Google Public DNS as your resolver, please run the diagnostic procedure.

1 Google thanks Jason Fesler for granting permission to use URLs for browser DNS testing purposes.



Switch back to your old DNS settings

If you had not previously configured any customized DNS servers, to switch back to your old settings, in the window in which you specified the Google IP addresses, select the option to enable obtaining DNS server addresses automatically, and/or delete the Google IP addresses. This will revert your settings to using your ISP's default servers.

If you need to manually specify any addresses, use the procedures above to specify the old IP addresses.

If necessary, restart your system.


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Sunday, 6 November 2016

[HM:258543] Become More Optimistic in Just Two Weeks

Become More Optimistic in Just Two Weeks

Do you spend a lot of time contemplating how badly situations can turn out? If so, it sounds like you're a bit of a pessimist. In your mind's eye, you picture the world crashing down around you. You always expect things to go in favor of another person instead of you.

It's easy to fall under the spell of negative thinking. This is especially true when you've had some negative experiences. Now is the time to get out of that negative mindset.

With the pointers you're about to read, you'll successfully be able to turn from a pessimistic person into an optimistic one. The best part is that you can actually become more positive and less negative in two weeks or less!

Implement these strategies to become a more optimistic individual:

1. Count your blessings. Take a moment and write down all the blessings you've received in your lifetime. Write the small ones as well as the mammoth ones. Have you run out of paper or gotten blistered fingers? Both are signs of a multitude of blessings!

  • A pessimist has no place counting blessings! Therefore, put aside your negative thinking and celebrate the positives that have happened in your lifetime.
  • How many times have you confidently achieved success? It's probably because you believed in yourself. If you did it then, you can do it now.
  • Use your past positive experiences to fuel your drive to become a more positive person.

2. Recite your strengths in the mirror. Self-doubt brings about feelings of inadequacy. Then, you end up believing that you may not be good at anything. But is that really the case? When was the last time you took a moment to consider your strengths?

  • Stand in front of your mirror today and recite your strengths. And yes, you have them! Your positive attributes are what got you all those blessings in the first place!
  • Think about ways in which others have counted on you in the past. Why do you think they chose to rely on you? Because they know you have a great skill set.
  • If you used a particular strength in the past, you can use it again for another mission.

3. Search for the good in situations. Even when things seem to be at their worst, there's always a bright spot or a lesson to be learned. If you take the time, you'll find that there's something good in each of life's situations.

  • Even though something may cause you to feel sad, consider the possible joy of having a weight lifted off your shoulders.
  • It may seem to you that you've failed at something. But truth be told, you may have succeeded at finally finding the right path for yourself.

4. Accept life's journeys. Remember that you may not have everything going your way. That's just the way life is. Accept the journey you're on, knowing that you're meant for that path.

  • The sooner you accept a particular outcome, the easier it may be to move on and start fresh.
  • Rejoice in the positive outcomes of others. You're meant to live in harmony with the rest of the world. Use their joy as an opportunity for your own happiness.

5. Remember the sun rises. Bear in mind that the world doesn't end with your negative experiences! After the disappointment, you go to bed and awaken to a new morning. Each sunrise provides another opportunity to succeed!

As you can see, it's all about adjusting your thoughts. Changing how you process experiences can make it easier to become optimistic. Avoid allowing the outcome of one experience to determine how you'll handle the next. Take each situation at face value with a bright smile and positive outlook!

The post Become More Optimistic in Just Two Weeks appeared first on My Self Improvement Daily.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

[HM:258542] How to Negotiate with a Liar


  • Leslie K. John
  • Robust social psychology research indicates that people lie—and lie often. One prominent study found that people tell, on average, one or two lies every day. Negotiators are no exception. Judging from studies done in 1999 and 2005, roughly half of those making deals will lie when they have a motive and the opportunity to do so. Typically they see it as a way to gain the upper hand (although it can actually cause backlash and prevent the kind of creative problem solving that leads to win-win deals). Deception is thus one of the intangibles that negotiators have to prepare for and take steps to prevent.

    Many people assume that the solution is to get better at detecting deception. There's a widespread notion that one can reliably spot a liar through subtle behavioral cues—or "tells," in the parlance of poker and other games that involve bluffing. But the evidence doesn't support that belief. One meta-analysis (a study of studies) found that people can correctly identify whether someone is telling a lie only 54% of the time—not much better odds than a coin flip. Even the polygraph—a technology specifically engineered to detect lies in a controlled setting—is riddled with problems and comes to the wrong conclusion about a third of the time. Humans are particularly inept at recognizing lies that are cloaked in flattery: your boss's promise that a promotion is coming any day now; the supplier's assurance that your order is his top priority. We're wired to readily accept information that conforms to our preexisting assumptions or hopes.

    Is there anything you can do to ensure you're not duped in a negotiation? Yes, if you focus on prevention rather than detection. There are several science-backed strategies that can help you conduct conversations in a way that makes it more difficult for your counterpart to lie. Though these methods aren't fail-safe, they will leave you better positioned in your deal making and help you to create maximum value.

    1. Encourage Reciprocity

    Humans have a strong inclination to reciprocate disclosure: When someone shares sensitive information with us, our instinct is to match their transparency. In fact, simply telling people that others—even strangers—have divulged secrets encourages reciprocation. In a series of studies that I conducted with Alessandro Acquisti and George Loewenstein, we presented readers of the New York Times with a list of unethical behaviors, such as making a false insurance claim and cheating on one's tax return. People who were told that "most other participants" had admitted doing those things were 27% more likely to reveal that they had done likewise than were people who were told that only a few others had made such admissions.

    Humans are particularly inept at recognizing lies that are cloaked in flattery.

    Reciprocity is particularly pronounced in face-to-face interactions. In experiments led separately by Arthur Aron and Constantine Sedikides, randomly paired participants who worked their way through a series of questions designed to elicit mutual self-disclosure were more likely to become friends than were pairs instructed to simply make small talk. (One couple assigned to the disclosure exercise eventually married!) Inducing a close relationship is not the primary goal of most negotiations, of course. But other research, by Maurice Schweitzer and Rachel Croson, shows that people lie less to those they know and trust than they do to strangers.

    A good way to jump-start reciprocity is to be the first to disclose on an issue of strategic importance (because your counterpart is likely to share information in the same category). For example, imagine you are selling a piece of land. The price it will command depends on how it's developed. So you might tell a potential buyer that you want to sell the land for the best use. This could prompt her to divulge her plans; at a minimum, you are encouraging a conversation about interests, which is critical to creating mutually beneficial deals. This strategy has the added benefit of letting you frame the negotiation, which can enhance your chances of finding breakthroughs.

    2. Ask the Right Questions

    Most people like to think of themselves as honest. Yet many negotiators guard sensitive information that could undermine their competitive position. In other words, they lie by omission, failing to volunteer pertinent facts. For example, consider an individual who is selling his business but knows that vital equipment needs replacing—a problem imperceptible to outsiders. It might seem unethical for him to withhold that information, but he may feel that by simply avoiding the topic, he can charge a higher price while still maintaining his integrity. "If the buyer had asked me, I would have told the truth!" he might insist.

    The risk of not getting the whole story is why it's so important to test your negotiating partners with direct questions. Schweitzer and Croson found that 61% of negotiators came clean when asked about information that weakened their bargaining power, compared to 0% of those not asked. Unfortunately, this tactic can backfire. In the same experiment, 39% of negotiators who were questioned about the information ultimately lied. But you can go a long way toward avoiding that outcome by posing your queries carefully. Research by Julia Minson, Nicole Ruedy, and Schweitzer indicates that people are less likely to lie if questioners make pessimistic assumptions ("This business will need some new equipment soon, right?") rather than optimistic ones ("The equipment is in good order, right?"). It seems to be easier for people to lie by affirming an untrue statement than by negating a true statement.

    3. Watch for Dodging

    Savvy counterparts often get around direct questions by answering not what they were asked but what they wish they'd been asked. And, unfortunately, we are not naturally gifted at detecting this sort of evasiveness. As Todd Rogers and Michael Norton have found, listeners usually don't notice dodges, often because they've forgotten what they originally asked. In fact, the researchers discovered that people are more impressed by eloquent sidestepping than by answers that are relevant but inarticulate.

    Dodge detection is improved, however, when listeners are prompted to remember the question—for example, when it is visible as the speaker replies. In a negotiation, therefore, it's a good idea to come to the table with a list of questions, leaving space to jot down your counterpart's answers. Take time after each response to consider whether it actually provided the information you sought. Only when the answer to that question is "yes" should you move on to the next issue.

    4. Don't Dwell on Confidentiality

    Research shows that when we work to assure others that we'll maintain their privacy and confidentiality, we may actually raise their suspicions, causing them to clam up and share less. As early as the 1970s, the National Research Council documented this paradox with potential survey participants: The greater the promises of protection, the less willing people were to respond. This relationship holds up in experimental research. In studies conducted by Eleanor Singer, Hans-Jürgen Hippler, and Norbert Schwarz, for example, fewer than half of the people who received a strong confidentiality assurance agreed to complete an innocuous survey, whereas about 75% of those given no such assurance agreed to do so.

    My colleagues and I have discovered that strong privacy protections can also increase lying. In addition, we've found that when questions are posed in a casual tone rather than a formal one, people are more likely to divulge sensitive information. Imagine you are negotiating a job offer with a prospective employee and would like to assess the strength of her other options: Does she have competitive offers? She's likely to be more forthcoming if you avoid or at least minimize confidentiality assurances and instead nonchalantly broach the topic: "We all know there are tons of great firms out there. Any chance you might be considering other places?" Of course, you should still properly protect any confidential information you receive, but there's no reason to announce that unless asked.

    5. Cultivate Leaks

    People inadvertently leak information in all kinds of ways, including in their own questions. For example, suppose you are in charge of procurement for a firm and you're about to sign a contract with a supplier who has promised to deliver goods within six months. Before signing, he asks you what happens in the event of late delivery. The question could be innocent, but it might also signal his worries about meeting the schedule. So you need to pay attention.

    When people leak mindlessly, the information tends to be accurate. Astute negotiators realize that valuable knowledge can be gleaned simply by listening to everything their counterparts say, even seemingly extraneous or throwaway comments—in the same way that interrogators look for statements from criminal suspects that include facts not known to the public.

    A version of this article appeared in the July–August 2016 issue (pp.114–117) of Harvard Business Review. Source: HBR

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