Real world examples of soft skill power strategies in sticky situations.
New examples are added at the bottom of the list.
“It was rush hour, and when the bus finally arrived. it was packed. I tried to force my way on but no one would budge, even though there was ample room in the back. Then the bus driver took over.
‘Excuse me, ladies and gentleman,’ he shouted. ‘Will all the beautiful, smart people please move to the back, and all the stupid, ugly people stay up front?’
I was soon on the bus.”
Nanette Nicotra Gingo in the New York Times
All In A Day’s Work
February 2004, page 74.
When someone says “Happy Holidays”
instead of “Marry Christmas”,
they’re not doing it because of
They do it out of respect.
From the 20th of November to January 24th,
there are at least 14 different religious holidays.
So, when someone says Happy Holidays to you,
Because they don’t know what you believe in.
It’s called respect,
Not a war on Christmas.
D. Kendra Francesco’s comment on the post:
“I worked retail, and we said it all the time. Did I get scolded, railed and yelled at,
and receive otherwise rude behavior? Yes I did.
Stopped several in their tracks when I pointed out that I had no idea what their
Some would stare at me, anger most of the time often accompanied by “there’s only one
true religion.” Sometimes, it was a stare of, “I never thought about that.”
In any case, after putting the brakes on the “there’s only one” car, I’d ask what they wanted
me to say. Then I’d say that.”
D. Kendra Francesco has almost 40 years of retail experience.
A blind member of Toastmasters figured out how to maintain eye contact during her speeches.
“All of the experts agree: Eye contact with your audience is crucial. This is impossible for me, but I have an effective workaround. Early in my speech, I try to say something funny. Once I get a laugh, I remember where those laughs came from and then look in that direction from time to time. I translate ear contact into eye contact.”
“Speaking in the Dark”
Mary Hiland, ACS, CL
May 2014, ,pages 26-27.
“My uncle was in his 90s when he saw a doctor about his bum leg. After examining him, the doctor said with a shrug, ‘You know, Mr.Whitney, at your age you have to expect things like this.’ Uncle Charlie wasn’t buying it. ‘Doc,’ he said, ‘my other leg is the same age, and it don’t hurt.’
Life In These United States
June 2023, pages 13-14.
“Dealing with the Network”
“[While we were shooting Lucky Louie], HBO asked us why there was no nudity. What they really meant was, Why wasn’t Pamela Adlon, who played my wife, nude? When I hired Pam, I didn’t tell her she was going to be doing anything like that. It wasn’t supposed to be that kind of show. So I said, ‘You know what, I’ll do it.’ And I did that episode, and they were like, ‘Okay, we have plenty of nudity, thank you.’”
September 2011: page 167.
“Neil Leibovits, president of Ajilon Professional Staffing in Saddle Brook, New Jersey agrees. When I first became president, staff morale was extremely low and our turnover rate was very high,” he says. But after Lebovits sent employees to the beach for one meeting and scheduled in time for them to “just goof off” together, the turnover rate dropped and productivity immediately improved.”
“Hit the Schmooze Button”
Working Mother Magazine
June/July 2003: page 42.
“While there’s a common belief that diversity in culture, expertise or thinking styles can be a boon to innovation and creativity, Livermore’s research found that this is true only if individuals exhibit cultural intelligence.
‘We’ve found that if diversity is simply left on its own, it can do the reverse and lead to gridlock and frustration,” he says. “The key is that there has to be an intentional way of nurturing and tapping creativity, rather than presuming it’s going to happen on its own.’
Livermore once worked with a global pharmaceutical company on a campaign designed to get employees to contribute new ideas about improving the company’s products or services. The campaign was called “Speak Up.” While some leaders thought employees would jump at the chance to voice their opinions, they found that employees in regions like Asia-Pacific were resistant to the idea.
‘Employees in that culture had concerns about their ideas being judged, losing face or being viewed as incom- petent if their ideas weren’t accepted,’ Livermore says. To adjust, the company created more discrete ways for people to contribute ideas, so they wouldn’t have to participate in open brainstorming with colleagues.”
“Other speakers adapt their audience- participation techniques to other cultures. Weech, the Foreign Service Institute specialist, is a fan of using interactive exercises in his leadership training sessions. But when conducting training in Kenya, he encountered some resistance to an exercise where participants were asked to work in small breakout groups and then report their findings to the larger group.
“Because they live in a hierarchical cul- ture, the Kenyans didn’t have much interest in hearing their peers present,” Weech says. “When their peers were speaking, people ignore them and keep working.” So Weech made a change and instead asked each breakout group to report first to him, and then he presented that group’s findings to the whole class.
“They viewed me as more of an authority figure because I was the instructor, so when I said something, they paid attention and wrote it down.”
“Why You Need Cultural Intelligence”
May 2014: pages 24 and 25.
© Paula M. Kramer, 2023
All rights reserved.
Updated November 12, 2023.