By Steve Goodier
We've all been there. We want to encourage a child to do
her homework, or a spouse to complete his project, or a colleague to complain
less and act more. How can we encourage without criticizing, berating or pushing
Here are three techniques that can help you nudge without
* Show appreciation.
Novelist Arnold Bennett had a publisher who boasted about
the extraordinary efficiency of his secretary. One day while visiting the
publisher's office, Bennett asked her: "Your boss claims you're extremely
efficient. What's your secret?"
"It's not my secret," said the assistant, "it's his." She
went on to tell him that her boss always acknowledged and appreciated everything
she did, regardless how insignificant. That was why she worked so hard for him.
Her boss' appreciation nudged her toward constant improvement.
* If possible, keep it light-hearted.
The careful use of humor can work in any relationship
where nudging may be required. One wife used it effectively when she found
herself on the verge of nagging her husband to repair the lawn mower. He had
promised to fix it, but the grass grew ever taller while he procrastinated.
Then one day he came home and found her seated on the
ground snipping grass with sewing scissors, one blade at a time. He watched in
amazement and then went into the house. When he returned, he handed her a
toothbrush. "Honey," he said, "when you finish cutting the grass would you mind
sweeping the sidewalks?"
They both laughed. And, more importantly, the mower was
* Be polite and respectful.
Sometimes it's more about how you say it than what you
People respond best when they are respected and valued.
Elizabeth Harrison stated, "Those who are lifting the
world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize."
Try these simple techniques next time you want to nudge
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