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Friday, February 24, 2017
Lesson 5: How To Be A Smooth-Mirror
Skill 2: Mirrors
Mirrors (or mirroring) may be the simplest of all the skills. And it is smoooooooth.
You simply repeat the last three words your counterpart has spoken, or repeat a word or selected three words that you want to amplify/clarify.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Please do not underestimate the power of this skill. Mirrors pull responses out of people even when they know you’re using them. They trigger an almost unconscious reaction.
Be aware - when you first start mirroring other people it’s going to feel awkward. Very awkward. Discomfort with a new skill is the biggest barrier to learning it. Please don’t let that get in your way. Don't worry, mirrors are truly invisible, compelling, and even a surgical at times.
A skeptical colleague was once protesting whether or not mirrors were a valid skill. He said, "I just don't see how mirrors would work. I just don't see how it would be useful to repeat the last three words." My response? - "The last three words?" And he said "Yeah, I just don't see how it would work…Hey wait a minute! You got me!"
Mirroring is great when you are at a loss for words. No matter how blank your mind may feel, somewhere in the recesses of your memory you can pull out the last three words of what someone just said. It's great for helping you get on track.
One member of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (SWAT) who went through the hostage negotiation course would use mirrors to sharpen his ability to label. He would always start each negotiation with two or three mirrors. As he mirrored, you could watch him hone in and he would come up with an extremely effective label. With each mirror his mind focused even more and his listening became more in-depth.
You can use mirrors for "surgical" clarifications. We don't even ask the question "What do you mean by that?" anymore. Instead when someone says something you don't understand, mirror it with an upward inflection (questioning tone). The counterpart will automatically reword what he/she just said instead of repeating the exact same words in a louder tone of voice (very similar to the way many Americans overseas try to get people to understand them).
You can use mirrors effectively with assertive types. This is an actual conversation between a CEO and his Director of Operations (DOO) over a misunderstanding regarding 3-ring binders for a training session. The CEO wanted 3-ring binders but kept referring to them as notebooks.
CEO: “Are the notebooks ready?”
DOO: “What do you mean by notebooks?”
CEO: “Notebooks.” (Exasperated.)
DOO: “What do you mean by notebooks?”
CEO: “Yeah, 3-ring binders.” (Bingo! Clarity!)
Here are a series of mirrors with Wendy the airline employee that got Ryan a seat on an airplane when he was stranded by weather in an airport with a host of unhappy travelers:
Ryan: “Hi, I’m Ryan. It seems like they were pretty upset.” (Note the Label – Lesson #3 & #4).
Wendy responded about how they had missed their connection and then said something along the lines of “we’ve had a fair amount of delays because of the weather.”
Ryan: “The weather?”
Wendy explained to that multiple airports in the Northeast had experienced delays due to weather conditions. “It’s rippled through the system.”
Ryan: “It seems like it’s been a hectic day.” (Label.)
Wendy opened up about a lot of “irritated customers” (like the ones before). She said a lot of people are trying to get to Texas for the two big college games.
Ryan: “The college games?”
Wendy answered about the UT vs Ole’ Miss football game and that “every flight into Austin has been booked solid.”
Ryan: “Booked solid?”
Wendy went on to explain that every flight was sold out through the weekend, but that the weather was likely to “reroute a lot of people through a lot of different places.” She finally gets around to asking, “So, how can I help you?”
Ryan: “Look, it seems like you’ve been handling the rough day pretty well. I was also affected by the weather delays and missed my connecting flight. It seems like this flight is likely booked solid, however, it also might make sense that someone affected by the weather might miss this connection. Is there any possibility a seat will be open because of this?”
At this point Wendy said nothing and began typing on her computer. Ryan kept silent, as he did not want to talk himself back out of what might be done deal. After about a minute, Wendy printed a boarding pass and handed it to him. She explained that there were a few seats that were supposed to be filled by people who would now arrive much later than this flight’s departure. She also placed Ryan in Economy Plus setting (which generally has an upcharge) and mentioned that it was “all taken care of.” (Boom!)
Ryan: “Thank you so much Wendy, I really appreciate it.”
Please begin using mirrors immediately and become comfortable with them. Have fun with them. You’ll find they're effective and powerful. They will serve you well. Make some rain