Monday, March 29, 2010

An Online Beat Down

Wow, I turn 46 in a few days! That sounded so old many years ago but not so much now. I'm an April Fools baby. I still get teased about that and my reply is always the same, "I may be a fool but I'm not stupid." With 46 years behind me I like to believe I'm a little wiser but actually I do still make stupid mistakes sometimes and I'll be sharing one this week.

I started thinking about this post weeks ago when something happened online. First let me step back and share this sad but true fact; I've been in two fights in my life and I'm 0-10. That's right, two fights but 0-10 because so many guys beat on me! I joke and tell people that's why I got involved with taekwondo but truthfully I took up the sport to spend time with Abigail.

I don't view myself as an aggressive person although I am competitive. While I was in college I was a bouncer ("crowd control engineer" was how it was listed on the resume) but never once did I get in a fight. I was proud of that considering I worked every Saturday and Sunday for a year and a half. I knew other guys who looked at the job as a license to beat on people who got drunk and acted up but I wasn't that kind of guy.

My fights occurred when emotions got the best of me, aided by some cheap beer, and I jumped in where I had no right to. Both times there were about five guys taking me on because in my younger days I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter, weighing anywhere from 220 lbs to 240 lbs. But size didn't matter because I didn't know anything about fighting.

For the most part I think I've learn my lesson not to let my emotions get the best of me and to not jump into situations that are none of my business. Having shared that, I recently I got smacked down pretty good...online. A friend shared something about a Web site and I was curious so I visited the site. What I read reminded me of Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street where he said, "Greed is good." This time it wasn't greed that was being exulted, it was arrogance. My take was that the author was extolling the virtues of arrogance at the expense of humility so I wrote the following response:

"Wow! It’s good to know there’s someone out there so much wiser than all the great thinkers of history who espouse the virtue of humility. Sure, we can work hard and accept the praise that comes with achievement but there is far too much outside our control that helps shape who we are to not have some measure of humility. Humility is attractive because it shows people understand who they really are relative to other human beings. Arrogance on the other hand is never attractive."

My first sentence could have been less antagonistic but I thought my point was valid. I have to admit, I was not ready for what ensued...a good old fashioned beat down! I thought someone might jump in and defend humility over arrogance but no one did. Every response made me out to be some kind of loser or villain. One person wrote, "If you have a problem with another’s lack of humility, I’m going to guess it’s just one of many problems from which you suffer. Humility is affected and your desire to see it in others only belies your own lack of self-worth." Ouch! I was really surprised someone could form such a character judgment based on four sentences. I'm human, have many faults and have done things I'm not proud of but maybe that acknowledgement leads to some measure of humility. As for self-worth, I have it in abundance and it's affirmed daily by friends and family.

I did feel a bit better when one person tried to convince readers that Jesus was arrogant because at that point I felt they were all out of touch. I guess I need to reread The Bible because I could have sworn it talked about how he humbled himself to the point of death on a cross. The people who thought He was arrogant were the very people who sentenced Him!

I've not shared the Web site on purpose because I don't want anyone visiting it and stirring up the pot any further. I accept that different people have different opinions. The point for me writing this blog post is not to debate the issue because that would be a waste of time. Since I'm someone who tries to help others communicate better I have to look at myself and see what I can do differently next time. Here are some things I have to remember if I want to be a more persuasive person:
  • Pick my "battles" wisely. Sometimes it's apparent you won't change another person's mind so it's pointless to waste time and effort. One friend put it well when he said arguing with them, "would be like teaching a pig to sing: wastes your time and annoys the pig."
  • Check my emotions. Humility doesn't need me to defend it. Far too often reacting to emotion rather than choosing to thoughtfully respond only leads to trouble.
  • Be tactful. As I shared, my opening line didn't open communication it was antagonistic.
People often say experience is the best teacher. There is some truth in that statement but there are many things we'd be better off not having to learn from experience because the stakes are too high. I'd rather not have to burn my hand to figure out whehter or not the stove was hot. So count this as your experience and perhaps my post can save you from "burning your hand" at some point down the road.

One last note, a big thanks to Micheal Franzese for the cool drawings. Check out his blog FranzeseInklings for more drawings and his interesting thoughts on just about everything.

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear "Yes!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is Expert Advice Always Worth the Price?

A few weeks ago I took the day off to blog and do other social media related things but as the hours passed I had writer's block. Nothing was coming to me until I read a very interesting article, Chris Brogan - Anchoring and Social Proof - Influencing Your Audience, by Paul Hebert. The article talked about how Chris Brogan, a social media guru, publicly stated his $22,000 a day fee for his consulting services. The angle for Paul's article was how this publicly stated price impacts what other consultants can charge because of the anchor that's been set.

The article also explores the principle of consensus (a.k.a. social proof) because undoubtedly other social media consultants will move in the upward direction as they see peers begin to do so. It's a very interesting article so you should take a look.

Here's my question for you (please feel free to comment below) - Would the advice Chris gives be worth $22,000 IF you or I could give the same advice but we charged significantly less only because we're not as well known? In other words, is the advice more valuable just because it comes from Chris Brogan as opposed to me or you?

As I pondered this it brought to mind an article I wrote last year, Golf Advice from Corey Pavin. My wife Jane is an avid (addicted?) golfer! In that article I explained how I shared some golf advice with her. It was sound advice based on psychology but it went in one ear and out the other. However, weeks later she read a quote from Corey Pavin that was almost exactly what I had told her and she acted as it if was a revelation! For her it was more believable because it came from Corey Pavin. After all, he's an authority having won the '95 US Open.


But think about it for a moment, that fact that he said it didn't change the reality that the advice was the same and should have worked every bit as well for Jane whether he said it or I said it. His expertise and track record make him an authority, giving him more credibility than I have when it comes to golf, but if you are going to pay for something based on authority shouldn't you get something more for your money? Shouldn't the expert give something that's new or unique in some way?

I'm sure a golf lesson from Corey Pavin would include other tips and insights most people couldn't give and that would make his higher fee worth it for the average weekend golfer. By the same token, Chris Brogan probably brings additional perspectives other less savvy social media folks won't have. My point is not to say Chris Brogan isn't worth his fee, it's to get you to think.

Part of the influence process is establishing your authority because it makes you more believable and as a result you'll hear "Yes" more often. I have two points for you to consider when it comes to being influenced by a perceived authority:
  1. Is this person really a legitimate authority? Chris Brogan has authority status having written Trust Agents (a very good book by the way) on using the web to build influence. Because of his work and time in the social media arena he's recognized as an expert in the field. But that's not always the case. For example, many spokespeople on TV have no real expertise and yet we're subconsciously swayed by them.
  2. Is the advice something I could get elsewhere for less (money, time, effort, etc.)? Isn't it disappointing to visit the doctor only to hear, "Rest it and take some Tylenol"? An expert - yes - but worth the money? Probably not when we all know rest is helpful and Tylenol reduces pain and discomfort. Or maybe you've attended a conference with big name speakers only to walk away thinking, "I didn't learn anything new." Worth it? Probably not because we expect something more from the expert.
The mind is an amazing thing. If someone believes Chris Brogan's advice, or Corey Pavin's, more than my advice or your advice (and lets assume it's the same advice) then they'll probably work harder to implement it. I know Jane will stay on the driving range for many more hours trying whatever Corey says, as opposed to what I might suggest, and she will be a better golfer as a result of her extra effort. Businesses will likely do the same with Brogan's advice and that will legitimize his fee. Maybe that's some of the value they offer?

The question of value reminds me of the experiment that showed kids prefer food in McDonald's packaging and rate it as better tasting than the same food in plain packaging. As a parent, if it makes them eat the food then it's probably worth the extra money and fewer hassles. If a customer is gung ho about the advice some authority gives vs. the same advice given by an average Joe then they'll work harder to apply the guru's advice and realize more benefit from it. If that happens I think you can legitimately say the expert advice was worth it.

In closing I'll share a fascinating resource on this subject of value, the book Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value and How to Take Advantage of It. I read the book not long ago and it was an eye opener about how people value things. I highly recommend it because it will change your outlook as a consumer.

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear "Yes!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Influencers from Around the World

Some of the best things about blogging for me have been meeting new people, making friends and learning about other cultures. Many of the people I've come to know through blogging are from all parts of the globe because people in more than 95 countries have taken time to read Influence PEOPLE! That stat blows me away!

Because the audience is becoming so diverse I've decided to try something new. I contacted several people in other countries who also have a deep interest in ethical influence and persuasion to see if they would write guest posts for Influence PEOPLE from time to time. They said "Yes" (see, persuasion works!) so I'd like to introduce you to four gentlemen because you'll be reading their thoughts on influence in future posts.

Marco Germani calls Italy home. Marco reached out to me through Facebook and we quickly realized we had much in common. Besides the bond of influence, Marco has been an avid martial artist for many years. He recently wrote a book on persuasion in Italian, I Meccanismi della Persuasione, and has a blog by the same name, I Meccanismi della Persuasione.

A chemical engineer by training, about 15 years ago he became passionate about the study of personal growth. Over the years he’s channeled that passion by attending dozens of seminars and training courses around the world, learning from some of the best international coaches. An avid reader, he’s read countless books on subjects like persuasion, time management, coaching and goal setting.

He’s lived in France, Belgium, the USA and China while working as a technical manager and as export manager for several multinational companies in various industrial fields. During that part of his career he had the opportunity to take part in and manage negotiations in several international business deals. He presently works as a consultant for business internationalization, with a focus on Asian markets.

Marco has always been passionate about persuasion, negotiation and ethical sales. His personal mission is to create a high value for others by living his life with passion and total integrity. He realizes the key in this pursuit is the constant striving for self-improvement. He's pictured above with his wife Monika. Marco is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter if you'd like to reach out to him.


Sean Patrick resides in Ireland. Although we both enjoy good ale we didn't meet in a pub. We met because of this blog and Facebook. After having read my blog Sean reached out to me on Facebook and we started chatting then exchanging massages because of our interest in training, particularly influence. Thanks to technology (Skype) we now video chat with some regularity.

Sean has more than 15 years experience in generating high value, high turnover strategic business. He has worked in roles ranging from inside sales, account management, new business specialist, and sales management. He's been a business owner in six different companies in the technology sector. He's managed multiple teams of salespeople in different geographic locations across the UK and Irish Republic. His reputation for ruffling feathers and getting business in the door quickly is legendary. In addition, he's coached and continues to coach salespeople from all industries because he is passionate about the art of negotiation and customer service.

Sean's interest in persuasion began in the late 1990s. He wanted to know what motivated people to buy and what factors made people hesitate to say "Yes" even if price was irrelevant. As if this isn't enough, Sean is master practitioner in NLP. Well-read and familiar with leading persuasion authors, Sean also enjoys reading academic papers on psychological persuasion. He believes it is important to explore what we know and what we learn. He advocates putting everything into practice as often as possible while continuing to learn from those with whom we interact. You can find Sean on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

To learn more about Sean visit his training site, Sean Patrick Training, and check out his blog, Professional Persuader.

Yago de Marta hails from Spain but gets around quite a bit having conducted lectures, seminars and training sessions in Spain, Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Bolivia and Colombia. He contacted me because of his interest in persuasion and possibly pursuing the CMCT designation. His list of current undertakings is quite impressive: Consultant and trainer in personal communication and persuasive oratory; Trainer of Directors and Spokespersons; Political Candidates trainer in Spain and Latin America; Debate coach for teams from the University of Zaragoza, Pablo Olavide, Seville, Cordoba, Diego Portales (Chile), Uniminuto (Colombia), CIDE (Mexico) and American (Puerto Rico).

For 12 years Yago has being training people and candidates to speak fluently and persuasively in areas such as parliamentary debate. He’s a fiery competitor, having received major awards for his debate skills in Spain and world-wide competitions. He was a champion runner-up in 2005 and 2004 Spanish debates and runner up in 2005 and 2004 in the World Debate in Spanish.

The technique Yago applies in his training is derived from his experience working with thousands of different personalities who are trying to become good speakers in complex situations. His style relies on practical learning where participants take into account their potential as they sift through weaknesses and improve strengths. The results obtained can be seen within the first hour of training because the tools used match up to the ability and style of each individual participant.

In training workshops led by Yago people develop techniques to enhance their emotional intelligence, NLP, Social Psychology and Persuasive abilities, ethnomethodology, Institutional Communication Techniques Enterprise and, of course, classical rhetoric. All this requires a keen sense from Yago for detecting the skills and qualities that can be improved in each person.

Yago has prepared many political and parliamentary leaders, sales teams and managers. He has explored the application techniques of debate to the teaching of bioethics, has improved the teaching skills of teachers and students, and has personally coached leaders in important positions responsible for many different projects and companies. Feel free to connect with Yago on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Hoh Kim is from South Korea but we met in Arizona in January 2008. We were both there to go through Dr. Cialdini's certification training. Hoh is one of the two dozen Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCT) in the world and he's the first person to present the Principles of Persuasion (POP) workshop in South Korea. He is the founder & head coach of THE LAB h, where he counsels business executives and high-ranking professionals in government and medicine to positively influence their stakeholders.

With over 10 years of experience in strategic communications consulting, executive media coaching, and crisis simulation and workshop design/facilitations, Hoh is one of the most sought after consultants, coaches and speakers in the area of crisis communication management and crisis leadership. His client base ranges from local non-profit organizations to consumer electronics companies in Korea and multinational companies listed on Fortune Global 500. Find out more about Hoh at his website, THE LAB h , or by visiting his blog, Cool Communications. You can connect with Hoh on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Globalization is here to stay, even if we never move. In all likelihood it will only accelerate as the world seems to get smaller with technology. We will be interacting with people all around the planet and because cultural differences impact the persuasion process it is good for us to learn about those differences. I hope you enjoy exploring the different perspectives on influence and persuasion from this group if international experts. Look for the first guest post on April 5th and the first Monday of each month thereafter.

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear "Yes!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Upcoming Interview on BlogTalkRadio

Save the date! On Wednesday April 7th (12-1 pm EST) I will be the guest of the group Inside Influencers on BlogTalkRadio. The topic will be the principles of influence and how to apply them to everyday situations at work and home. You can listen in through the BlogTalkRadio website or by phone 646-381-4430.

The show has multiple hosts who work directly with employees and various distribution channels. I met one of the hosts, Paul Hebert, in the summer of 2004 when Dr. Robert Cialdini was a guest speaker at
State Auto Insurance. At the time Paul worked for the company that helped plan the agency events featuring Dr. Cialdini. Paul is now the Managing Director of I2I, a validation and incentive planning consulting company. He also writes a blog called
Incentive Intelligence. Paul and I reconnected last year when found me online through my blog.

Make plans to grab your lunch and join us on Wednesday April 7th at noon EST. If you're unable to listen to the show live no worries because it will be recorded. I'll make sure to post the link on
Influence PEOPLE sometime after April 7th. If you have questions about the show feel free to contact me at
BFA654@gmail.com.

Brian


Helping You Learn to Hear "Yes!"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Listen to Dale Carnegie Tips at CinchCast

Last year I began recording influence and persuasion tips on a site called CinchCast.com. I did this because I realize people have different learning styles.

Now it's part of my routine each morning to record an influence tip before I start my day. Towards the end of the last year I began sharing Dale Carnegie's advice on How to Win Friends and Influence People in audio format. For each piece of Carnegie advice I recorded a three to five minute audio clip at CinchCast.com. To listen to the introduction to the series click here.

Below you'll see the different sections of How to Win Friends and Influence People, the corresponding advice Carnegie shares with readers and links to my audio clips. I encourage you to click on the audio links so you can hear an expanded version of each tip.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1 Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. Audio
2 Give honest, sincere appreciation. Audio
3 Arouse in the other person an eager want. Audio

Six Ways to Make People Like You
4 Become genuinely interested in other people. Audio
5 Smile. Audio
6 Remember their name. Audio
7 Be a good listener & encourage others to talk about themselves. Audio
8 Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. Audio
9 Make the other person feel important. Audio

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
10 Avoid arguments. Audio
11 Show respect for other’s opinions and never say, “You’re wrong.” Audio
12 If you are wrong, admit it quickly & emphatically. Audio
13 Begin in a friendly way. Audio
14 Get the other person to say “yes” immediately. Audio
15 Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. Audio
16 Let the other person feel the idea is theirs. Audio
17 Try to see things from the other’s point of view. Audio
18 Be sympathetic to other’s ideas and desires. Audio
19 Appeal to the nobler motives. Audio
20 Dramatize your ideas. Audio
21 Throw down a challenge. Audio

Be a Leader: How to Encourage People to Change without Giving Offense
22 Begin with praise and honest appreciation. Audio
23 Call attention to mistakes indirectly. Audio
24 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing. Audio
25 Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Audio
26 Let the other person save face. Audio
27 Praise the slightest, and every improvement. Audio
28 Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. Audio
29 Use encouragement and make the fault seem easy to correct. Audio
30 Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Audio

I hope you find this a useful way to learn How to Win Friends and Influence People. Last week I finished a series on building strong relationships. To see those tips just click on the relationship album at the top of the CinchCast page. As I shared earlier, I record a tip each day so look for updates daily on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear "Yes!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Careful What You Say Because It Affects Everything

For those raising kids, especially those with teenagers, I think you’ll appreciate this week’s post. My daughter Abigail is 14 years old, a very typical teenager in most ways. She’s very athletically gifted, far more than she realizes. She learned to swim at just two and a half years old and was on the swim team by the time she was six. She did quite well until she decided getting in a cold pool at 8 a.m. wasn’t any fun. She already has her black belt in taekwondo and more recently tried out for and made a club volleyball team. I watch her and I know she can be anything she wants to be, do anything she wants to do. There’s only one thing in life that can hold her back – Abigail.

Like most teens, left to her own devices she’d spend all day at the mall, watching television, chatting on Facebook, checking out YouTube videos or texting friends. She’s also no different when it comes to homework or practice…she’d rather do anything but! My dilemma, like every other parent, is this – how do I get her to do what I know is best for her?

There's a quote from former Dallas Cowboy football coach Tom Landry that went something like this, “My job is to get men to do the things they don’t want to do so they can accomplish what they've always wanted to accomplish.” That could be the job description for a parent. We want to help our kids be ready to successfully fly the nest.

I’m trying to teach Abigail a lesson we’d all do well to remember; our attitude affects everything. I’m not so old that I can’t remember wanting to do things other than homework or go to practice. But I have an advantage she doesn’t have, three more decades of experience under my belt. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is this, where I choose to place my thoughts and the words that come out of my mouth impact how I feel and ultimately behave.

Parents, haven’t you heard this, “I don’t want to go to practice. I’m tired and its boring.” Or what about this, “I hate school.” I know a few well place questions reveal it’s not school she dislikes, it’s the homework. She likes lunch, recess, certain subjects, her friends and going to sporting events. Like I said, she pretty much likes everything but the homework.

Perhaps you’re thinking about something you don’t like. Your job? Your significant other? Maybe a neighbor or boss? We all have things or people we’d say we don’t like and yet, there are probably some aspects of the person or things that aren’t so bad.

As adults we know this truth; throughout life we will have to do things we’d rather not do and deal with people we’d rather not be around. Let’s take a task for example, maybe cutting the grass or some work around the house. If we approach the chore focusing only on how much we dislike it we’ll never put much effort in and only prolong our pain as we drag our feet and take longer than is necessary.

Oh, how I want her to understand this! I know she’d enjoy life more, do a better job and finish up the things she doesn’t like so much so she could move on to what she really enjoys. Too often we have to learn the hard way and much too much time passes by. Maybe that will be the case for her or maybe through repetition peppered with some good influence techniques I’ll get through to her.

I hear people say when kids are young they think mom and dad are the smartest people in the world. When they become teenagers they become the smartest people in the world and we’re relegated to the status of “dumb.” But something happens and they grow up and come to realize their parents were actually pretty smart. After all, they think how could their parents have raised such a great person if they didn’t have some smarts. I look forward to that day but in the meantime I’ll keep sharing what I know to be true, and what’s in her best interest because I love her.

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear "Yes!"