Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.


Think of it as, ‘the extra I give you to thank you for the business’.

It’s pronounced ‘lany ap’ and comes from Spanish with some French influence. You’ll hear it in the southern states of America.

If you were buying, say a couple of pounds of tomatoes from a roadside stall in Louisiana, the owner might measure the two pounds carefully, then add another tomato as lagniappe.

So why do we need some weird foreign word in our business?

It will help your team focus. It may not be easy to spell, but it’s easy to say and it sums up a valuable idea in a single word.

Make lagniappe a routine part of your culture. For many people it's a new way of thinking about their relationships with customers - not just providing what they expect, but focusing on what else they might value.  

Be constantly thinking of ways you could add an extra service, or even a treat your customers will appreciate. Surprise them.

A few words of caution    
It's not lagniappe if it's an obvious marketing ploy. Lagniappe costs you. 'Buy one, get one free' or '20% off for our Club members' are just ways to sell more, There's no surprise or generosity. It's just a deal.

Make lagniappe generous (though not necessarily grand), surprising - and also right for that particular customer.

Are you thinking that facts will always win an argument?

Facts and data have limited power to persuade. Present us with facts and we'll start filtering. We'll quickly accept facts that support our view of the world and forget or reject facts that don't. We'll even be working on counter-arguments while you are talking.

Intelligent people wouldn't do that? Intelligent people are more likely to come up with creative counter-arguments.

So what's the solution?

Find common ground. Present your argument in ways that show we are aiming for the same goal.

The classic case is persuading parents to immunise their kids. 'Immunisation is safe' and 'Immunisation doesn't make kids autistic' won't work as well as, 'Here's a way to ensure our kids are safe from the big diseases'.

Want to persuade your executive team to spend money on a more expensive machine than the Kamakuza model they think will keep their costs down? Focus on 'return on investment' - things like efficiency, reliability (so keeping production uninterrupted) and lower maintenance costs.




About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

Professional Speakers Australia has awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP. He has since been made a life member of Professional Speakers New Zealand.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

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