Something came up today that made me think about the importance of framing, and how it can be used to influence/persuade to meet your desired outcomes.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

It’s very easy to forget this – I do it all the time – but delivery is important. It can mean the difference between your idea being thrown out, or openly embraced. Sometimes, it’s the difference between burning bridges and maintaining relationships and partnerships.

Take this as an example:

You’ve been approached by a company to come and work for them. This company happens to be a very close partner with your current company. You want the new job, but you don’t want to jeopardise the partnership the companies have, or the relationship.

You might start your email off like this:

$partnerCompany has approached me to work for them, and I’d really like to persue this.

It gets the message across, and it is factually correct. That’s what happened.

But that might not be as well received as:

I’ve been dealing a lot with $partnerCompany recently as part of $project and an opportunity has come up that I’d really like to persue

There’s some, subtle, deliberate differences here:

  1. The first example is framed in a way that suggests that $partnerCompany has poached you.
  2. The second example is framed in a way that suggests that from working closely with them, an opportunity has come up, and it’s your decision to leave.

Why do these subtleties matter? Because you don’t want the partner companies to end up falling out. In both examples, you’re still announcing your intention to leave, but the second example may be less damaging to the partner relationship and thus, achieves your goal of getting the new job, and not damaging the partnership. Winner.

Written by Phil Wiffen

Phil is an IT Professional working in Cambridge, England. He generally blogs about useful solutions that he comes across in his work/play.

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