Set the Frame to Win the Game

A “frame” is simply a way of viewing an interaction. Every communication is done within some frame or a way of looking at the communication. How you set that frame is of vital importance. If you let the other person set the frame you will be playing their game by their rules, yet it is something we allow people to do all the time without a thought. You can create the best frame for any of your communications by asking some of these questions: How do I want them to perceive me? This means to place yourself in the role that will give you the greatest leverage and influence; a helper, an authority, a peer or superior. As a helper, consider uncovering the subjects problem and providing sympathy and hope. By using “we” and “us” as you speak to them you are painting a picture with the two of you working together. It makes it more personal and amiable while still being seen as an authority. The authority frame is set by a presentation and attitude of confidence that is based on long experience. In other words appear to know what you’re talking about. Uncertainty is a killer and destroys your authority. How do I want them to perceive the way I communicate? The way you make your presentation is everything. To be knowledgeable and engaging you can reveal details to the subject that they aren’t aware of (even if they are unimportant) and present them in visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities. How do I want them to perceive my message? To influence you have to consider the presentation style more than just information. Have passion and certainty about what you speak but always leave the final choice in their hands as if you didn’t care whether they went with you or not. This allows you to maintain your authority without them feeling coerced. How can I put in a call to action in how they perceive me, my communication and my message? This can be done by giving them options. If there are multiple options then color the choices to favor what you want them to do. A call to action can further be made by speaking as if its already done “Having done this we’ll have already noticed the benefit.” for example. Understand that the frame of an interaction always begins in your mind. If you are giving a presentation during a seminar the frame could be “I’m helping with the seminar.” or “They have allowed me to speak.” The first frame makes you a peer to the other people in the seminar while the latter makes you a subordinate. Sales people often let the prospect set the frame and look down upon them as a “mere salesman”. Likewise in dating some men consider very attractive women to be “out of my league” Don’t EVERY let this happen. Consider every interaction you have and always ask yourself how to frame the interaction to best benefit you.