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Countering “Yes” Men

And women.

Do you ever ask trick questions to figure out if someone is a “yes” person? You know the type. They always agree with your point of view and repeat back to you what you just said without adding anything meaningful. Usually just to land a sale.

I’ve taken to asking questions or offering a wacky point of view in the middle of conversations like this just to see what happens (I only do this with new people, not old friends) and I’ve had some interesting results. Give it a try sometime.

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

7 replies on “Countering “Yes” Men”

Chris —

Man I couldn’t agree with you more! dude you are so on point with this, I’m surprised you aren’t more successful! I’ll tell you what, those “yes” men — and you’re right, women should be included there too pal! — they are something else again! Sheesh, if I had a dime for everytime a yes ma (haha, almost got me there) person tried to get a sale from me simply by agreeing, well — I’d be rich like you!! I never thought about asking a trick question though, man, that is the icing on the old cake there.

You da man! High five!!!

😉

Thanks Mark – Yeah, I don’t know why but it’s fun for me to try to figure these people out. Like a good example would be “people don’t read on the web” and see where that goes. As a blanket statement it says a lot. Then watch the person agree with you. Later on, say you’ve changed your mind and that you think the web isn’t just about pictures, it’s about the content! Then watch them change their position. I had that exact scenario happen during a meeting.

Luciano – I’m afraid I don’t follow your comment?

I think a lot of people are afraid to admit when they don’t understand what you’re saying. Or worse, they don’t want to admit that they weren’t really listening to you because they were checking out some chick across the room, so they nod and agree, and consequently when you change your position two minutes later they have no idea what happened.

That happens alot too Douglas, but I dont think you can equate all those folks in the category of “yes people”.

“Yes people” are phonies. They will enthusiastically involve themselves in your meetings. They are with you up until the point of the sale, or until the project goes awry or overbudget. Then they go Judas on you, betraying you at the notion of having a coin bag dropped at their feet, dumping you off on the side of the road and stabbing you in the back as you get out of the car.

I would say that if you have folks not paying attention in the meeting (staring at the chick across the table instead) it might be worth paying attention to him. For some reason he (or her) is not catching on to the vision. That person might hold the key to what is lacking on your part. I would get that person aside, one on one, and ask what they honestly thought about the presentation — might be a gold mine of honesty flow from that. Something you’ll never get from a “yes person”.

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