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Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
So that weekend made me think about love and reciprocity. I can’t manufacture something like that weekend for Jane but I found myself wanting to give to her however I could. It ended up being simple; finding a card that expressed much of how I feel for her. Because no card can perfectly express our feelings I added a few words of my own to the card. Of course a card with a note can never encapsulate all I feel but sometimes it’s the effort that counts. The point is, because of what she gave I wanted to give back in some way.
My encouragement to you this week is to love somebody. That doesn’t necessarily mean romantic feelings but rather look for ways to unconditionally give to another or do something that genuinely benefits someone else without expectation of anything in return. If they feel the need to do something in return then direct them to someone else and have them pay it forward. If we all do this some wonderful things can happen this week.
The principle of consistency tells us people want to be consistent in word and deed. Once a person takes a stand on an issue, be it through word or action, they feel internal psychological pressure to be consistent with what they’ve said, done or believe. Therefore, understanding what someone believes, values, and has said or done can be a powerful tool for persuasion if you can align your request appropriately.
Authority, on the other hand, has to do with expertise and trustworthiness. If you can bring expert opinion into your request you significantly increase the odds that the other person will say “Yes” because people typically look to experts for advice. We do this because we simply don’t have the time or energy to research every decision. The good news is, things generally work out for the best when we rely on trustworthy experts. For example, accountants can prepare our taxes faster, more accurately and save people more money than the average citizen so many of us turn to accountants to prepare our taxes.
No one I’ve ever trained has had a problem understanding either principle I’ve just described. The problem isn’t with the knowing, it’s with the doing, the application.
When you think about trying to persuade someone using the principle of consistency you need to think about them, not you. Quite often I’ll hear workshop participants say something like, “In order to persuade them I’m going to talk about how I consistently…” Your personal consistency can be an important tool in persuading another but it’s not using the principle of consistency as I’ve defined it above.
When you try to persuade someone and you consider the principle of consistency as a means to do so you need to think about the other person. What have they said in the past? What have they done in the past? What are their personal beliefs? If you know the answer to one or more of those questions and can align your request with those answers you stand a much better chance of hearing them say “Yes!”
Here’s an example. In sales we talk about an “up front close” as a way of making more sales. As a salesperson, if I do a good job asking questions and listening then it’s very likely a prospective customer will tell me exactly what I need to do to earn their business. But it’s not enough to just hear them because I need to use this new understanding in conjunction with the principle of consistency to increase my chances of earning their business. To do this I might say something like, “If we can get the car in the color you want, with the DVD player and matching floor mats at the price we’ve been discussing, will you buy the car from us?” If the customer has told you exactly what they want and the price they need, and you can meet all the criteria then it’s only logical that they would answer your question saying, “If you can do all that I’ll buy the car from you.” But the key is asking them because once someone says they’ll do something they feel their own internal pressure to live up to their word.
I usually ask people how they feel when they give their word and have to break it. To a person, they tell me they feel bad even when their reason is perfectly legitimate. I’ve had people tell me they felt bad missing weddings because a close relative went into the hospital. I’m sure the bride and groom understood and yet the person still felt bad. That’s the power of consistency!
Let me come back now to your personal consistency because I said earlier that it is importance when it comes to influencing another person even though it’s not using the principle of consistency. When you are consistent – always return calls promptly, hit deadlines consistently, perform to a high level all the time – that increases your trustworthiness and thus your authority. If you always do what you say people come to rely on you and that opens lots of doors. However, please take note of the difference between this and consistency as outlined above because it’s important.
Using the principles will only help you be more persuasive if you use them ethically and correctly. If you don’t then you’re likely to fail and abandon your attempt to use them in the future. Bad idea because these are scientifically proven ways that can help you be more persuasive.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
As a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer I often get asked what principles work best when influencing people from other countries. In joining Brian's Influencers from Around the World I thought I would discuss the influence culture within Australia.
Many of you may already know about Australia and our culture. Perhaps you know Aussies, have done business here or with Australians abroad, have visited our far away shores or watched Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) or Crocodile Dundee on the big or small screen.
Internationally Australians have a varied reputation from being laid back and casual to being beer guzzling loudmouths. The actual fact is Australia, while only having a population of 23 million, is a rich multicultural tapestry. Apart from Indigenous Australians we are all immigrants, some more recent than others; therefore, in such a large and diverse country each principle still applies.
Liking - we prefer to say YES to those we know and like.
In World War I and II, Australians found themselves standing side by side with like-minded countries including our close neighbours and friends, New Zealand. It was in the caldron of battle that the ANZAC tradition was forged. We fought together, came from a similar part of the world and had similar values, attitudes and beliefs. This attitude of standing by your mates is still strongly identified with today and like many siblings, Australia and New Zealand have a fierce but friendly rivalry.
Australians are very parochial, whether it is our sporting teams, our political parties, our choice of beer or even the city or suburb we come from. Identify with the things you have in common with an Australian and you are well on your way to making a connection. If you find an Aussie who is not a sports fan, commenting on the fanatical nature of sports fans and the delusional commitment to this activity will also generally strike a chord.
Many Australians are willing to give new things a go. In order to create a relationship, look to the experiences or activities you can share with us and it will be this common interest and cooperation that is sure to succeed in building a relationship based on Liking. If all else fails simply make a joke at the expense of a New Zealander or try and say "G'day" and this will generally spark a smile if not raucous laughter.
Reciprocity - we prefer to give back to those who have given to us first
An integral part of Australian society is helping out your mates. While Australians and New Zealanders love to give each other a hard time, when the chips are down that spirit of camaraderie comes to the fore. No better example was seen than during the recent natural disasters in the Asian Pacific rim. Queensland experienced a near one-in-one hundred year flood, then within weeks the biggest cyclone to ever cross our shores hit North Queensland and not surprisingly the first offer of help came from New Zealand. When the earthquake hit Christchurch it was not a consideration of if we would help but how much help we would send. Similarly with the recent earthquake in Japan, Australian search and rescue crews were dispatched immediately to support the teams on the ground because they have done the same for us in the recent past.
Reciprocity is a core element to all societies and it is no different in Australia.
In the outback it is not uncommon for your nearest neighbour or town to be several hours away. If you were driving on a remote country road and someone needed a tow, or a spare part, or whatever, you would stop and lend a hand because you never know when it may be you who needs some help. If you want to build a relationship with an Australian, going first is the key. Whether it is a kind word in the train, a helping hand with tipping (as we are not very good at it) or buying the first beer; these simple gestures will often ensure you have a friend for life. If nothing else you know we will be there if and when you need us.
Consensus - we look to those like us to guide our behaviour when we are uncertainIn the multicultural mix that is Australia we have found that collective Asian-based cultures are becoming a greater influence in our society and connectedness a greater part of our lives. We have people from all over the world flocking to enjoy our beaches, climate and lifestyle. When trying to influence an Australian in a situation where they are not sure of what to do, don't miss the opportunity to show us what others like us are doing. Whether it is in a work or social setting, highlight what those who are most like us, i.e., those who live or work near us, have the same job, other supporters of our sporting teams, other members of our social or age group are doing in this situation. Show us this and we will be keen to join in.
Authority - when we are not sure of what we should do we look to those with knowledge and wisdom we do not possess.
In Australia we suffer from the "tall poppy syndrome," where those who rise from the bunch can tend to get unnecessarily cut down. It is unfortunate but true.
That being said, we are attracted to those whose actions speak louder than their words. Often the person who tends to say the least is listened to when they speak and we even have affectionate names for them like "Rowdy" (i.e., a sarcastic play on the fact they don't often make much of a fuss). So in demonstrating Authority to influence an Australian, do what you say you will, present yourself as a knowledgeable source that is willing to listen and this will gain our respect. Like others, we are guided by Authorities, but we will expect you to do more than turn up in a big car, tell us you are from a bigger more sophisticated town than ours and name drop.
Those who are an Authority will quickly gain our respect; those who rely solely on their position of Authority may not have the same success.
Consistency - we are compelled to live up to the commitments that we make.
Australians love to exaggerate in telling a good story, so if you want us to live up to what we say, just make sure we aren't joking when we say something. That notwithstanding, in a country as big and sparsely populated as ours those who fail to live up to what they say they'll do are quickly identified and are not positively thought of. It is unusual to find people who take great pride in failing to live up to the things they say they will do - it flies in the face of standing by your mates. Therefore, if you want an Australian to follow through with something, align your requests or proposals with the things they already stand for and you will have little problem getting us to do what we say we will.
Scarcity - we are motivated by those things that are rare or dwindling in availability
Even though Australia is often referred to as the lucky country, we cannot stand to lose the things we need any more than someone from overseas can. In a broad brown land that is often plagued with drought we understand the importance of seizing the opportunity when it presents. Therefore, when influencing an Australian show us what we stand to lose and we will be motivated to act. As keen sports people, show us we are in competition with others for your services and we will certainly take notice.
One last point -- to influence an Australian remember that we don't tend to take ourselves too seriously. So feel free to share a smile, a joke or a kind word. Tell us when you make a mistake and show us how we can fix it. Treat us with respect and you will always be welcome to come around for a barbeque.
Finally, replace the word Australian with wherever you come from and you'll see that we are not that different to you. The principles of persuasion work all over the world, but they are about influencing people not countries. With the global village getting smaller every day, do your research on the person you are trying to influence and once you find out what types of things they stand for don't bungle the opportunity to improve both of your positions.
Anthony McLean, CMCT