Guest Post by Daniel Pink

Note from Bob:  Click on Daniel’s photo above to view his 136 second Pinkcast Video. Below is the transcript of his video!

Hi Everyone and welcome to another edition of Pinkcast.

Today I want to talk about self talk. Those are the silent words we say to ourselves before doing something important like going to a big pitch meeting or trying to persuade someone to do something or going to a job interview.

What should your self talk sound like before these kinds of encounters?

The conventional view is that it should be positive or affirmative.  Saying to yourself you can do this! You got this!

And the research shows, Yep, that’s actually a pretty good idea.  Certainly better than saying nothing.

But there is a third option that we don’t use often enough that is also supported by the research. And that is something called Interrogative self-talk.

Instead of saying to yourself, You can do this.  You ask yourself a question:

Can you do this?

And if so, how?

The reason this is so effective has to do with the power of the Interrogative.  Questions by their very nature elicit an active response.

So when I say to myself, let’s say I’m going out to pitch a new book. Dan, you can do this. You got this!  Yeah, it pumps me up a little bit.  I like telling myself I’m awesome. I love hearing from myself that I’m awesome.

But, when I ask a question, Dan, you can you see yourself doing this? And if so, how? I have to respond.

So I have to answer that question in some way.

Can you do this? Yeah! I can do this.  I’ve pitched books many times before.

Can you do this? Yeah, this is a really good idea. I can make sure I emphasize these three points.

Can you do this? Sure, I can do this, but I have a tendency to talk too fast so this time I’m going to slow down and really try to listen.

That is the power of the Interrogative.  It forces you to think, to plan, to summon your intrinsic motivation.

So the next time you are trying to get ready for something just once, don’t pump yourself up and say, You can do this! You got this! Instead ask yourself,

Can you do this?

And if so, how?

You might find Interrogative self-talk is a terrific performance enhancer.

Thanks for watching the Pinkcast.

Daniel H. Pink is the author of five provocative books — including three long-running New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell is Human. His books have been translated into 35 languages and have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.  You can connect with Daniel on his website:


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