Pippin Power = IQ + EQ + SQ
Speak Smart, Speak Sweet, Speak Strong for Communication Skill

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True power
True power is power that does not create unnecessary resistance. You can overwhelm someone with faulty logic, but if you impress them with your reason and good sense, they’ll want to know more. You can criticize someone, but if you graciously tell them what you’d rather they did instead, they’ll feel better about making the change. You can force an employee to work late, but it might be strategic to incent him to work late, because he’s likely to do a better job.

And if you incorporate all three approaches – reason, positive emotions and strategy, your words will have maximum power. It’s what I call Pippin Power. Pippin SpeakStrong is the giraffe that I give people who send me communication success stories. She stands for Talking the High Road.

Pippin Power = IQ + EQ + SQ. That’s intelligence quotient + emotional quotient + strategic action quotient. When you display IQ + EQ + SQ, you’re using the three power centers that are at your disposal.

Pick the right power center
Most situations call for favoring one power center over another. Academic situations call for intellect. Romance and friendships call for heart. Marketing calls for strategy. If you use the wrong power center (for example, if someone writes you a poem and you respond by editing it) you will not be as effective as you are when you use the best one.

It’s good to know what power center to lead with, but it’s also important to let the sub-dominant centers guide and inform the dominant ones. A purely analytical presentation is dry, too much emotion can leave you feeling like you’re drowning and strategy that isn’t guided by reason and emotion can be destructive.

An imperfect balance
Last week I was speaking about the three power centers to a technical group. I presented my information in the form of a fable. Stories appeal most to the emotional power center. I had presented to this group a few times before, and found them to be receptive to a more emotional playful approach despite the fact that most of the presentations were highly analytical. Last week’s presentation went well, but I lost a few people. I wrote a poem about the experience.

Many voices
Should I have listened to my instinct that said, “Don’t rock the boat.
Give ‘em what they’ve had before. With action steps and quotes.”

Should I have listened to my intellect that said, “Just analyze.
Give ‘em facts and figures. Be serious and wise.”

Instead I honored intuition, which said, “Please help them see…
They need to take their hearts to work. They need to work with me.”

I appeared to win them over with the tale I had to tell,
And when they broke into applause, I thought, “Now, that went well.”

But then I listened to a critic, who said, “That didn’t fit.
Your fable’s not professional. I have no use for it.”

And I listened as the moderator took a public poll.
Though it was my tale they graded, it felt more like my soul.

My critic was outnumbered, but he wasn’t quite alone.
There were some other listeners who preferred their comfort zone.

And while I’ll never bat a thousand…I’ll never please them all,
Such a public ranking left me feeling bruised and small.

So I listened to my mentor. I took out my healing pen.
And next week when I’m back on stage, I’ll tell my tale again.

There are many voices speaking, they each clamor to get through –
And in the end, we each decide who’s best to listen to.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda
Whenever things don’t go quite as well as people hope, I recommend reviewing the situation to see what you should have said. Many people do that kind of review to beat themselves up. I recommend the review to gain clarity. If you find the perfect words for what you could have said in the past, you’re more likely to have those words for what you want to say in the future.

Another value is that finding the best words can calm ruffled emotions. That’s why I wrote the poem above.

The main lesson of my presentation came to me after I wrote the poem. The problem was less that I favored the emotional center with a technical group. The problem was more that I didn’t frame the fable in a way that this group understood. In the past years I had explained why I was there, why I took the approach that I did and how it would benefit them. This year, I just dove into the tale.

Had I opened with intellect by telling them what my logic was in using the approach I did, and had I spoken about action and told them how they could use the information, I would have kept more of my listeners. That’s called framing. And that’s also called using all three power centers.

That’s Pippin Power.

So amp up those action centers and Speak Strong!

I talk a lot about the action centers in my new eBook, Unite and Concur.

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Meryl Runion and Speak Strong (SpeakStrong) provides Power Phrases (PowerPhrases) and other tools to help you improve communication skills at work and at home. You can read more about her at www.speakstrong.com.

Meryl is the author of six books on communication that have sold over a quarter million copies worldwide, including Speak Strong, PowerPhrases!, How to Use PowerPhrases, Perfect Phrases for Managers and Supervisors, and How to Say It: Performance Reviews. You can reach her at 719-684-2633, or by email:

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