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PURRRRR-pose Driven Life

Feline I knew it

I knew it

I knew it

I told ya so!

Seems scientists have just proven that cats use a special purr when they want to manipulate humans.  It's called a solicitation purr.  (I'm a dog person, and they're not maniuplative as much as they're just bossy and demanding.)

I just finished a weekend of working with my graduate students on office politics.  We spent a fair amount of time talking about communication in its various forms.  There's a lot to be said for HOW we communicate things to get our way.  And cats - all of their other obvious flaws notwithstanding - have figured this out.

As far as cats go, I don't have a lot of love.  (My daughter thinks we can't get a cat because they taste like chicken.)  Kudos to the scientists who reinforced what we already suspected: when any living being wants something, they'll figure out how to get it.

We do this a lot in business.  Some of the names are nicer-sounding than manipulation; others, not so much.  We call it sucking up, art of gentle persuasion, sales and marketing, networking, or intimidation.  Others wish they could do it better.  So how does one go about PURRRR-fecting the CAT-aclysmic impacts of communication?  Here are a few tips to help you get your next back-scratching:

  • Coaching - either professional or from a friend, ask somebody to watch how you communicate others and offer suggestions or things you might do to improve.
  • Practice - try role playing an upcoming conversation with you to see where the weak spots in your argument may be.
  • Anticipate - the best way to persuade somebody is to figure out their potential points of resistance.  It is said that truly great lawyers learn to argue the other side's case first.
  • Non-verbals - watch yourself in the mirror or (if possible) videotape yourself.  See firsthand what you do that could undermine your entire message.
  • Debrief - if you don't win your argument, ask the other person what you might have done differently to better persuade them.  If you do win it, ask them what it was that put you over the top.

Communication is key to seizing the accomplishment.  Try a little word of MEOWth and see what you can do to improve your persuasion skills.

(No puns were hurt in the writing of this blog post.)


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Pete Jones - Desmoinesisnotboring.com

Great points Timothy. These are aspects many have forgotten and during a time when many are looking for employment these are great things to remember.


I liked this new discovery and It surely reveal a new world of cats that how they manupulate humans!!
office politics uk

Timothy Johnson

Pete - glad to be of assistance

Philip - just checked out your blog - AWESOME STUFF! You should connect with Franke James of officepolitics.com. Would be fascinating to talk with you some time about how office politics in the UK differs from here in the US. My impressions from what I've read online are that the Brits are even more subversive and cutthroat when playing the game. Bet we could have some fun discussions.

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