The Yes Factor: Three Little Letters, Once Colossal Word

Tonya Reiman
February 07, 2013

Tonya Reiman

Body Language Expert, Author of The Power of Body Language & The YES Factor


You are the most important product you will ever sell.

With a loud and long display of pants, groans, gasps, hair ruffling, caresses, table pounding, and ecstatic release, she yells: “Yes, Yes, YES! YES! YES!”

  When Harry Met Sally


In your perfect world, you would ask for what you want the most, and would receive a resounding, “Yes!”  And within that same realm, that little word would bring with it something more powerful than conquest, victory, or triumph.  

  • It would bring with it the limitless possibilities that, until its utterance, had only dared to exist just outside your reach.  
  • It would bid others to jump onboard, grab an oar, and paddle you to your next YES.  
  • It would be the exclusively cut key with which you could open doors that had, until the YES, been locked to both you and your competition.  
  • It would be the spoken manifestation of you…a fascinating, confident, and authentic YOU.

Okay, snap out of it.  There’s no such thing as a perfect world…we all know that.  But there is such a thing as YOUR perfect world.  Your perfect world might not be John’s or Debbie’s or Martha’s perfect world; it might not be a world in which every day is simple, breezy, and effortless.  But, in your perfect world, you would receive affirmation for the things that are most important to you:  the job promotion, the big sale, the even bigger first date.  You would get a YES to the things that you will one day remember as milestones.  

Yes is extremely critical right now with 10% unemployment and people more anxious than ever about their jobs as well as going into job interviews. 

And in that perfect world, that YES would be no accident.  It would be the calculated result of a series of events that were under your steerage; the product of your careful aiming at your YES target.  It would be the predictable product of a performance that had, all along, been under your direction.

You have that power.  You can be in control without being controlling.  You can shape the world in which you live – your world.  And the power comes when you get the YES:  which is, in my opinion, the single most potent word for giving you the unbridled permission to succeed.


The Body Language YES

93 percent of communication is non-verbal (including both body language and paralanguage).  That means that by transcribing your interview, your presentation, or your conversation, onto paper, you would lose 93 percent of your communication ability.  Imagine the scene from When Harry Met Sally, when Sally is dramatizing an orgasm in a crowded restaurant.  That scene is filled with yeses, being noisily emitted from Sally’s every pore.  It would be difficult for any man to meet her display with a “No.”  

Now, imagine that same scene on paper, without action tags, adjectives, or descriptive language of any type.  “Yes, yes, yes!”  Holds little drama, and gives us very little information about the feelings that the speaker (or the screamer) is trying to convey.  You simply have to be in front of the screen to fully appreciate the scene.  

When you discount the power of body language and paralanguage (the tone, inflection, pitch, tempo, and volume of your voice), you effectively discount the largest portion of your communication power.  And worse, if your body language is not aligned with your spoken intentions, the remaining 7 percent of communication is discounted, forgotten, and even viewed an untrue.  When you align your non-verbal with your verbal, in the thirst for a common goal, you greatly increase the probability of scoring a parallel and straight-shooting YES.


Your USP (Unique Selling Point)

M&M’s melt in your mouth, not in your hand.  Burger King does it your way.  What would your billboard on Highway 99 say?  Unless you know what your unique contributions will be, you cannot expect to be able to convey those points to others.  

How do you feel when some says, “Tell me about yourself”?  Does the spotlight turn on, the sweat start to bead, your mind start to race down empty roads and deserted back alleys?  When you know how to answer that question with an elevator pitch (a 90-second summary of why you’re unique, branded, and unlike any other), you’ll welcome it…even wish for it to come.  When you know and believe in your USP, you will embrace the opportunity to run down the synopsis of YOU, in a likely quest for the YES.


The YES Frame Shop

Would you purchase a Picasso and frame it in a plastic frame from the dollar store?  I would think not – doing this would devalue the painting, and reduce believability in its authenticity.  Effectively, that’s what you do if you fail to find a positive spin on a circumstance that could be manipulated to contribute to your personal YES factor.  

We all run into situations that could be framed with a negative or a positive connotation.  The choice not only affects the way you view situations within your own life, but can frame situations in ways of your choosing when communicating with others (the parties from whom you want a YES).  Mastering this skill can be used to bring others into a frame that complements your goal.  By using words that harmonize with, and put your desired spin on, situations, you can shine your own spotlight on any situation and pull others into your desired frame.

To the untrained eye, an amateur painting that has been custom-framed with a high-quality, solid wood frame is more appealing than the cheapened Picasso.  In this example, the frame is more powerful that the picture contained within it.  The same applies to your quest for the YES.  


Making Connections for the YES

Your journey to getting a YES is about planting seeds that conjure positive notions about you and your goals, so that you are able to pave a walkway that is effortless, even enjoyable, for your audience to follow.

  • To get your final, and most important, YES, orchestrate a YES set.  Get someone on a roll with yeses, and you’re more likely to keep it going.
  • Use the Pygmalion Effect to set expectations of others.  Numbers tell us that they’ll live up to those expectations.  Expect a YES, and you’re more likely to get it.
  • Diagnosing communication style (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory) opens paths for connecting with those from whom you want a YES.  When you learn to recognize the language that gives away a person’s communication, thinking, and learning preferences, you can then use that pathway for direct connection.  No hurdles to jump, no tolls to pay…just a direct flight to YES.
  • You’ve likely mirrored before without a thought (when you see a yawn, you yawn; your mouth falls open when watching a passionate movie kiss).  Not only is this a natural reaction for you, but it can be utilized to draw connections that will lead to YES.  The mirroring of speech, communication type, body language, gestures, breathing, blinking, and words is a priceless connection tool that builds rapport; and although it’s an innate ability, it cannot be honed without practice.  To turn the unconscious tendency to mirror into a conscious quest for YES, you must establish trust with mirroring, take the lead…and only then can you grasp that response that you so desire.  
  • Anchoring with memory connections is a powerful tool for connection.  When you find a commonality between you and your audience (of one or one thousand), you can use that connection to persuade toward a YES by creating intentional anchors.  You can also learn to create anchors for yourself, so you can easily call up feelings of confidence and a winning attitude.  
  • Getting the YES also requires that you be a powerful motivator – one who elicits emotion without being overcome with emotion him(her)self.  It requires that you be a virtual communication wizard, that you learn to read others’ body language (to know when to proceed and when to back off), that you know how to respect and use personal space (proxemics) to cajole, that you know what seats in a conference room or dinner table will give you the clearest path to YES, and that you know how to springboard and sustain good conversation, complete with good rapport and appropriate touching.
  • Connections are stronger when common goals and common enemies are found, when credibility is established, and when setting (bar, conference room, or church) is considered.  When you can learn to defer an issue, but not niche power, to another Alpha, you can maintain your YES factor without ruffling feathers.  When you know how to read the signs of impending YESes, you can forge on.  When you know how to approach a group, motivate a team, and tell stories that forge emotional bonds, you move closer to the YES.  
  • It’s not sexist to proclaim that the sexes differ in their speech, their perceptions, and their thought processes.  Knowing of those differences can aid you in moving toward a YES from a male and a YES from a female.  

Establishing yourself as the one to get the YES involves your entire package.  The way that you carry yourself, the way that you dress, your gestures, your listening ability, and a plethora of other YES-worthy attributes (a.k.a. learned behaviors) will open minds to the connections that you strive to make.

In order to get the YES, it’s uber-helpful to grasp the power of these concepts, plus the unique steering control that perceptions, truisms, false memories, labeling, subtle presuppositions, and positive nominalizations have in shaping opinions about you and your agenda.  When you capture the YES factor, you make YES the only logical answer.  


The Psychological Sway for YES

Psychology teaches us that YESes don’t have to be strong-armed.  They don’t have to be products of manipulation.  Instead, they can be offerings from willing participants; who realize that, not only is resistance useless, but it would go against their sensibilities.

When your words are powerful, when your halo shines, and when your decoy works better than a mallard on a glistening pond, you have opened cognitive channels that welcome the YES.  When you create obligation, set expectations that only you can fulfill, and learn to steer your clients, coworkers, and love interests into the pocket, you’ll get the YES.


Magnetism is Your YES Factor

First impressions occur within 1/10 of a second.  They occur without conscious cognition, but can be orchestrated by you.  Magnetism is one of those intangible items that simply cannot be defined…but it can be achieved.  When you have that “certain something” that no one can explain, and most cannot resist, you are a dead-ringer for getting your more-than-fair share of YESes.  

People who have this magnetism have first said YES to themselves.  The confident person whose persona begs others to jump onboard believes in himself.  The dynamic person whose energy is impossible to resist believes in herself.

Getting the YES means listening, communicating through channels you have learned to uncover, taking bold steps outside of your comfort zone, and understanding the psychology of summoning that little word that can transform your world.

We’re all tired of hearing that this economy is a tough place to exist, but in a YES Factor frame, these tough times present a unique opportunity for all of us with the desire to conjure YESes in the faces of what can seem, to the pessimist, a chain of serial NOs. 

Every time you identify a YES that you want to receive, and get it, you open another door.  And not only do you open a door, you close it behind you.  You secure your position.  Once you gain the power to get the YES, you hold the power to conjure another, and another, and another.

YES has the power to transform a stumbling block into a milestone; a beta into an alpha; and YOU into your most confident, fascinating, and authentic self. 

What will your first YES conquest be?  



Tonya Reiman is a Fox News Channel contributor, a WPIX Channel 11 Reporter, one of Dr. Drew's Official LifeChangers, a keynote speaker, consultant and corporate trainer. In addition, she has authored three books: The Power of Body Language, The YES Factor and The Body Language of Dating.


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