Are You Talking to the Right Person?

One of my favorite American “philosophers” was former New York Yankee catcher and later manager and coach, Yogi Berra.


Aside from being an iconic ball player, he is known for his wonderfully mangled quotes and aphorisms, such as:

  • “Baseball is 90% mental; the other half is physical”
  • “You’d better cut the pizza in four pieces, because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
  • “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
  • “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”


And my favorite for today’s purposes:

  • “It’s like deja vu all over again.”


Because that was my experience on a recent customer service phone call.


At first, I was grateful that I got through to a human being. Unfortunately, that human being had minimal expertise and zero authority to fix my problem.


After spending a lot of time walking him through the history of the problem, and getting put on hold several times in the process, he finally had to transfer me to his manager.


She was also very polite as I recounted the entire situation to her, and after putting me on hold only twice, STILL had to transfer me to her manager.


Fortunately that third person was able to solve my problem, but only AFTER I had to go through the entire story yet again.


I hung up the phone, relieved that it was done but utterly exhausted, knowing that something that took all of five minutes to resolve required over an hour of going round in circles because I wasn’t talking to the right person.


Don’t you wish there were a way to shortcut the process and identify up front who does and does not have the ability, power, and/or authority to make key decisions?


This was a major theme of my conversation on this week’s Speaking to Influence podcast episode with Kurt Luidhardt, Co-Founder of the Prosper Group.


If you don’t know who the decision makers are, chances are you’re not talking to one of them. At best, you’re seriously extending the amount of time it takes to get anything done; at worst, you’re utterly wasting your time.


How do you figure out ASAP who the key decision-makers are? Who needs to be in on the discussion, and how soon can you speak with them? What do they need from you in order to get involved?



A messaging expert, Kurt also shared insights related to:


  • The importance of putting subtitles on social media videos
  • How to remove qualifiers from your speech
  • How to initiate an accountability discussion with someone in a way that doesn't feel confrontational
  • Why and how to inquire about someone's personal wellbeing without seeming like you're prying
  • Three ways to keep problems from festering at work (and at home)


Listen to the conversation here or watch it on YouTube here.