Archives For Donald A. Laird

Be Brief to Clear Up Troubles. 

Be brief in conversation. Keep your stories short; don’t drag them out. Skip a lot of the details you might want to include. Make each a short short story. It is the timing—coming to the punch, or the end, quickly and almost unexpectedly—that keeps people interested.

If you cannot interest others in what you say, you may be fairly certain that you are taking too long to say it. Make it brisk, not long-winded. Most of us are more long-winded than we realize. I had to learn this the hard way. Now I don’t bore audiences because I have notes for many more things than I can possibly say in the time allotted. So I have to breeze through the meat of the talk and have no time to pick daisies or cut paper dolls by the wayside.

Being brief keeps conversation interesting. If you want the minute details, read a book.

~ Donald A. Laird , The Technique of Handling People

Ask people for their opinions, to help their self-confidence.

Ask them for favors, to arouse their cooperativeness.

Ask them “and, in addition to that?” to get to the bottom of things.

Try giving orders in the form of questions to keep cooperation.

Make suggestions to the boss in the form of questions.

Ask questions that will let people talk themselves into a cooperative attitude.

~ Donald A. Laird , The Technique of Handling People

Ask Questions to Win Cooperation.

You should know about reverse questions. They are the ones to use when questions are directed to you. An inexperienced salesman, for example, was making the common error of answering customers’ questions completely so that the sales interviews died on first base.

“Which pattern do you think I should get?” the customer ask.

Now a smart leader would reverse that question and not try to answer it himself. He would reverse it—turn it back to the asker—by asking:

“Well, let me see, what will you be using it for?”

Edison learned early, as we have seen, to reverse questions. When asked how much he wanted for an invention he replied, “What will you offer me?”

In other terms, let the other fellow carry the ball while you direct the plays by reversing questions for him to answer.

Benjamin Franklin was an inveterate question asker and adapt in reversing questions. So was Socrates. So are most leaders. Bosses tell them—leaders ask them.

~ Donald A. Laird , The Technique of Handling People

Ask Questions to Win Cooperation

This is a positive book. We are interested in what people should do to be better leaders of others—and of themselves. The wrong things we shall mention seldom. It’s better to keep our minds on the best ways. From time to time, however, it is wise to give passing mention to possible pitfalls. In asking questions, for instance:

Don’t pry into personal affairs.

Don’t ask questions unless you are pretty certain the person addressed can answer them.

Don’t ask questions that seem to cross-exam.

Don’t ask questions to show off yourself—ask those that help the other fellow show off.

~ Donald A. Laird , The Technique of Handling People (1943)

Ask Questions to Win Cooperation

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Be Brief to Clear Up Troubles

We learn by listening, not by talking.

When we are brief and listen, we bolster the other person’s ego.

When a situation is tense, listen.

When someone is angry, be brief, let him talk.

When someone is argumentative, be brief and listen to win the argument.

When someone is unhappy, be brief and listen.

~ Donald A. Laird , The Technique of Handling People

Be Brief to Clear Up Troubles.

Half a dozen top-flight corporation executives at the Union League Club were discussing the apparent dearth of young men capable of taking on higher responsibilities with their firms. They agreed that there was no shortage of men with intelligence, who knew details of the businesses, who had sound ideas.

Their problem was to discover men they could trust, men who did not talk too much. Too much talking gives away business secrets, jams deals.

This was what Einstein had in mind when he gave the formula for success as;

x + y + z = Success

He said that x represented hard work, y represented play. Someone asked him what the z stood for.

“That,” said the genius, “is the ability to keep your mouth shut.”

~ Donald A. Laird , The Technique of Handling People