Recently I was approached by a very talkative and persistent salesperson who is trying to sell me a certain product. We all have gone through this - a non-stop chatter who strives to highlight the quality of the product while outlining the ten reasons why you should buy it right there and then.
However, the impact was quite the opposite. As I was developing an initial interest on the product, his continuous talk actually put me off! He kept on highlighting the same thing over and over gain and pouring over the details, oblivious to the strong unpleasant body language that I was displaying.

What he actually succeeded was only to make me feel small, ignorant and yes, unintelligent. I know all the benefits of the product already but that does not mean that I will drop every thing else and buy it immediately. What the salesperson failed to understand that everyone has his or her priorities, issues and problems that are screaming for their attention. By creating a new need through a pressure tactic, it will just cloud the potential customers' minds with yet another problem.

A better strategy would have been to talk less and listen more. I would even go as far as saying that a good salesperson is the one who talks for 10 percent and listen for 90 percent of the time. Only then he would be able to realize that while his product has several benefits, they are meaningless if they do not provide any solutions to the current issues a client is facing.

I call the insight as a "10-90 Rule." It exists not only in selling but also in many other aspects of life such as parenting. It is also important we understand these aspects and the impacts the rule brings. We can then reapply it in the daily situations to get the best results of our parenting efforts.

10 Percent Talking, 90 Percent Listening

My favourite kind of salesperson is the one who talks for only 10 percent and listen for 90 percent of the time. I avoid the pushy ones who already decided what is good for me, without really listening to my needs, situations or issues. They forgot that we are where we are because of our intelligence and responsible behaviours.

Try to do the same to our kids and we will find that they too will feel the same. If we keep on blindly telling them what to do without stopping to check for their feeling, the children will feel defensive and withdrawn. Even if what we said are true, the bad feelings and personal ego will be the major hindrances. The elder ones would be left wishing to be treated “like adults” while the little ones find the incessant talks to be meaningless.

By stopping to listen, we prove that we truly care about them more than our needs to “sell our ideas” of what is good for them. We can understand their situations and then offer solutions that meet the conditions. In return, the children would be much more willing to buy the ideas and fully cooperate with us.

10 Percent Nagging, 90 Percent Loving

My experience with the salesperson was akin to being nagged to. I did not enjoy it and I doubt if anybody does. After a while, my brain just shut down and started thinking about something else.

Same goes when interacting with our kids. It is little wonder that kids shut down very fast the moment they recognize a nag is coming. They feel that they are under attack and will automatically defend themselves.

People nag because they just need to get things off their chest. It is the way for them to respond to things that are happening around them. Instead of solving anything, they just pass the stress to another person.

A better strategy is to stop talking, analyze the situation and accept the situations as they are. Try to change them if you can; otherwise, just smile and move on. When the kids are home, avoid the urge to nag and complaint. Instead, lovingly remind them of their responsibilities, motivate them to do their work and shower them with lots of praises if they carry out their responsibilities.

10 Percent Instructing, 90 Percent Empowering

Creative thinking can be forged when we empower our kids to do things their way. Instead of churning out instructions after instructions, why not let them do it their way, as long as things get done? By empowering them, we trust their ability to make decisions, treat them like intelligent persons and most importantly, train them to be ready to face the real world.

On the contrary, children of rigid parents will lose a lot of opportunities to experiment, be creative and learn from their mistakes. Their self esteem might even be affected because of the little training in real-life problem solving.

We will be surprised at their ability to think creatively in finding the solutions. In doing so, they will also learn and relearn from their mistakes. The empowerment will build up their self confidence, one task at a time.

10 Percent Complaining, 90 Percent Responding

In life, we are faced with many situations when the 10-90 rule will become handy. Lou Holtz, a famous American Football Coach, once said, “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” We cannot control what happens around us but we certainly can control how we react to them.

Instead of complaining “Why me?” the energy is much better spent to respond to the situations. Take the bull by its horn and bring it down. Avoid feeling like we are the victims of circumstances. Rather, find things to be grateful about and move on with lives.

Train our kids to do the same. Appoint them to be the leader of their own lives and respond appropriately and positively to the challenges that come their way.

10 Percent Frowning, 90 Percent Smiling

Last but not least, do not let the daily business of life to bring us down. Unhappy parents are not good for the families. They are the ones who would be nagging, criticizing, instructing and complaining all the times.

Make a commitment to smile more often than frowning. Enjoy the family while they are still around and need us. Even if you don’t like a situation or a person such as a pushy salesperson, smile and wave goodbye rather than letting them spoil your day. After all, life is ten percent what happens to us and ninety percent how we respond to it.

Author's Bio: 

Zaid Mohamad is a Certified Parental Coach and bestselling author of two parenting books, Smart Parents, Brighter Kids and Smart Parents, Richer Kids. Get free parenting tips and join parenting discussions at www.SmartParents.com.my. Together we can change the world…one kid at a time!