Influence #5

It’s astounding to me to see the thousands of people that show up to the various concerts at the Jiffy Lube Live Center.  What is that common factor inside every concert goer that drives them to show up that night.  It can’t be just that they like the artists music. Is it?


Why do you want to influence others? Well, everyone desires something.  I can’t think of any decent person that just wants to sit by and let luck decide their life..  It is important to believe in something.  I mean to be passionate about a cause.  Whatever that cause is find it.  If you are passionate about something, then you definitely do it more than once a week.  For instance, politicians jobs are to influence their constituents. Lobbyist’s jobs are to influence the politicians.  We as citizens influence the politicians as well.   It’s all an accepted circle. So much so, that there is a business out of it.  There are people who get paid to negotiate and fight on your behalf.  My goal is to teach you the basics of how to do that yourself.  The best politicians can be friends with you even if your beliefs aren’t the same. Most people can at least tolerate those types of politicians.

The goal of this chapter is to influence others regardless of their beliefs.  Some people try to win influence or likeability over others by riding the fence on issues. To me there is nothing more distasteful than someone who can’t commit to a stance on a major issue.  This is an ameture mistake. You are no longer an ameture. Now, there are some people who truly can’t decide on one thing like religion, or political affiliation and that is fine. But, for those that intentionally hide, skew, or split their views to please others, it is unattractive.  I encourage you to be empathic those those with opposing viewpoints. You will win more friends with a tongue of sweet honey than a tongue of fire. Practice communicating your feelings to friends.  Let them know how you feel about something caring they did for you.  They will appreciate that and keep on giving.  You can leverage your friends trust in you to make more friends and influence more people.  Trust creates credibility. Credibility creates desire, more trust, and deeper relationships.  My friends I’ve had for years share and do way more things for me than the friends I just met  six months ago.  I’ve taken time to build trust, establish connections, and lend a helping hand. In return, my friends have shared their knowledge, experience, and assets with me.

The simple truth is that most people like friendly, warm personalities.  The best way to get friends that will connect with you is to treat people how you would want to be treated. People who are similar in behavior to you will gravitate towards you without you even trying. It should be natural to be yourself right?  Actually it’s not easy for a lot of folks.  With enough practice, you will realize that being yourself in life is a lot less stressful than trying to be someone you are not.

Even though my advice is to look similar to those you want to attract, I am by no means advocating dressing poorly. If it just so happens that the individuals you hang around like to wear tattered clothing and that is the style. Then so be it. However, in most cases, your classiness of dresses directly correlates with your level of quality in people’s minds.   It’s automatic. We naturally see someone in nice clothing and assume they are big shots.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been treated differently when going into a store two times wearing two different types of clothing. Some time ago, I nailed an interview wearing a Goodwill suit that cost me eight dollars . This was for a supervisor position at a big corporation in Washington, DC.

We also feel important when we surround ourselves with good looking, aromatic people.  In my research for this book I met a couple different people who employed a strategy that is the exact opposite of mine. These people prefered to go out on the weekends with acquaintances who looked less desirable than them so that they would be more attractive by comparison. I don’t recommend this because then the focus is too much on judging the looks of your friends. You should focus on looking good in public and surrounding yourself with others who care about their personal image. This includes basic hygiene, body language, and social cue awareness.

Another thing that we instinctively do is compare things. We compare cars, homes, significant others, toys, pets, you name it.  That’s the reason why comparative bargaining works.  When you are trying to persuade someone to do something for you it’s often hard to find out their limits directly. A lot of times they don’t know. What I like to do is ask them for whatever favor I need at a level that’s just barely absurd. A level that I know they don’t have time or ability to complete. Then when they say no, I debate that offer with them for a bit. If they still say no, I ask for that same task but at a moderate level.

Let’s say you need a housemate to clean a room in the house.  Well I won’t ask for them to clean the whole house but I’ll ask them to clean two rooms in one weekend. Then if they say no, I’ll convince them why they should clean two rooms.  If that doesn’t work, which it probably won’t, I’ll ask if they can clean just one room and i’ll clean the other room.  At that point they would say yes because cleaning one room is way better than cleaning two rooms.

Which brings me to my next piece of information.  People are more compassionate and willing to perform favors when they see you pulling your weight.    They want to see that the requestor is doing his or her share. They are also more willing to return a favor.  Favors and small gifts are important to give to new friends.. My favorite types of gifts are information. For instance, showing someone who likes coffee a cool new cafe or someone who likes yoga, a great yoga website.

You can leverage social media to “help” friends commit to something that they have agreed to do with you.  Publicize someone’s commitment to helping you with whatever you desire so they feel committed to helping you. They will not want to let you down for fear of public scrutiny or the guilt in their mind.  Their reputation and image are on the line.

Make the person feel smart for accepting your ideas by saying things like, I can tell you are a smart guy.  It’s not just common flattery. it’s they must be dumb if they don’t go along with your plan.  In emotional relationships, even professional relationships people like to feel they are in control even when they aren’t. If you can master this facade then you will win a majority of arguments and decisions.   You will achieve more win-win scenarios because the other person will think they call the shots and you will get the outcome you desired.  Guys especially, like something more when they work to get it. Even if what they achieved isn’t that monumental.

People trust someone who shares similarities with themselves. Similarities attract each other.  If you want to attract someone who likes yoga then you need to dress like you do yoga. Simple as that.  As simple as this fact is, a lot of people don’t realize. I’ve had friends come to me, asking why they can’t get so-and-so to date them.  Well one person looks like they just came from a GWAR  concert while the other is a ballet dancer.  In this respect, you need to focus on what others identify you as not what you identify yourself as.

Personal contact and collaboration go along way in initial meetings.  Give someone a tip on something early on as a peace offering then they may be more likely to give you something later. Keep the ante up on the favors and soon enough you will be trading cars.  A canadian  named Kyle MacDonald, was inspired by a book he read as a child to trade his way to the top. He started with a red paper clip and ended up with a house once he was done trading. His first trade was the paperctoo for a fish-shaped pen. His last trade was a movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Canada.

Increasing your social status is a quick way to increase your influencing power.  There are a lot of professional clubs and associations that cost less than $50 annually.  You can also make your own club for whatever interests you. You can post flyers on craigslist, church bulletin boards, apartment complex bulletin boards, and at local shops.  Social clubs, professional organizations, and associations It’s no secret that social status brings influence.  Check your community center’s online page for clubs.  A lot of churches and businesses have clubs related to sports, travel, or food. Even though you might not be the CEO or the preacher you can still be a big influence in the social scene..

The last but most important key aspect of influence is to allow yourself to be influenced.  This means break down the barriers that you put up to keep people away.  Don’t make excuses for being anti-social.  Make an effort to engage in community events at the club house or pool.  Letting go of your pride and ego will allow you to be vulnerable to influence and reason.  A peer is defined as someone who is equal to you in things like status, ability, qualification, age, and other characteristics.  A friend is generally your peer and sometimes the words are used interchangeably. You can’t be someone’s peer if you think you are better or more important than them.

Tools -Storytelling

The most powerful tool for influencing others is your story. Telling a captivating story can motivate others, recall lost feelings, and promote self-reflection.  How did you get to where you are right now? That is what is interesting to new acquaintances.  They want to know what makes you so important? What is your claim to fame?  In instances where someone has heard about you before, maybe they are a mutual friend, they will want to know details to confirm what they have heard about you.  Hearing a story activates tons of sensors in our brain. It creates images, feelings, and smells.  Stories can be as descriptive as you make them.  The feelings that stories create are engaging and captivating. In 2010, researchers at Princeton University found that the person’s brain telling the story synchronizes with the listeners when fully engaged.   The same waves and sensors fluctuate at the same time.  The researchers also discovered that we think in cause and effect. That is exactly what a story is. We think of our daily lives as stories. The same study concluded that stories are the best way to attune listeners to your ideas.  This is why when you have a dream about an idea you feel so compelled to follow it. The dream story activated sensors in your brain that made it seem real.

If you have been following this guide by been going on adventures then you should have plenty of great stories. People desire to relate their stories to other’s experiences.

Storytelling is so powerful that there are professional consultants who make a living teaching business leaders how to motivate employees using this art. Storytelling can mesmerize listeners by building a bridge into their mind.  The memories that you make with others will be the glue that holds the friendship together.  You can use stories to prove your stance on an issue or a trial you have passed.  Stories are great in the beginning of relationships and friendships. After a few months into a relationship it is safe to easy off on storytelling because by then you will have made great connections with your potential friends. Try not to artificially inject stories into every conversation or else you will be overbearing.
Skill-Charisma and Authority

So you have decided that you want to be more charismatic.  Now it’s time to start acting like it.  Developing charisma is one of the most controversial social science topics out there. Some say great minds are born charismatic like presidents, religious leaders, and business tycoons. I challenge that notion with this exercise.   Try leading dinner plans or evenings out with family. They are perfect test subjects because they know you, they are forgiving, and they are willing to trust you.  The next night or outing try suggesting someone else take lead then be interested in the plans they come up with. Practice being eager to go through with their plan but not too eager or it will seem staged. share some of your short 10 second videos with people at work.  Once you get good at hosting dinner outings then start hosting at your own house.  Make it a bi-weekly routine to get everyone in the habit of making your place the social spot of the week.  After a few good times they will be looking forward to it.

Another key to charisma is a great smile. You need a genuine electric smile. Your neighbors should be able to feel your presence when you enter the room. You should be able to feel this presence because the feeling starts with you. If you don’t feel amazing then no one will.    At the end of the day you want people asking you, “why are you so electric!”?  This warming presence will lead to more attention and magnetism from your audience.

You also need to be aware of the tone of your voice and your facial expression. Speak loud but don’t yell. Don’t cover your mouth when you talk.  Periodically raise your eyebrows in interest when listening to someone’s story. Nod your head in agreement from time to time to show that you are keeping up with the topics at hand. Watch other people’s facial expressions to make sure you don’t look too excited or too depressed.  Don’t repeat old content. Keep the conversations moving. Speak at a steady pace, not too slow or fast.  Keep your stories short as well. When you respond to other people, appeal to their topics using colorful words and insightful questions.  Alter your voice volume  to keep the audience interested.  If you talk in one pitch then people will start to lose focus.  Throw in dramatic pauses with your sentences to give your audience a chance to reflect.  Also, remember to stand tall like a president and talk with your arms for maximum engagement. Don’t be stiff.  The first part of delivering a message is the message, the second part is how you deliver the message.

With charisma, we can use comparisons to our advantage again.  Metaphors and contrasting statements will leave lasting effects on listeners.  Metaphors and contrasts draw correlations between opposites.  Contrasts force listeners to reflect on statements that contradict the normal human behavior.  Comparisons cause listeners to realize the distance between two points.  It is equally important to listen to what others have to say. Facilitation of the conversation is an easy way to appear in control with minimal talking required.  Refer to the graphical  guide for tips on facilitation.

Power #2

My mom and my grandfather always used to say knowledge is power. Read, read, read. Talk seldom, listen often.  More people read less today than 30 years ago. Newspaper sales have decreased while online news subscriptions have increased.  I had two friends who worked for the Virginian pilot for a couple years until they got laid off after the 2008 recession. The recession just tipped the bucket for a lot of businesses that were sitting on the edge of decline already.  We leave in a marvelous age where we can report and read news in real time. We can also look up almost any information within seconds thanks to powerful search websites.  The internet is and will continue to morph into an efficient outsourcing of our brain. There’s no need to carry around a Rolodex anymore or remember phone numbers and dates of birthdays because we can store those in our phones.  Powerful people, in a social sense, know a wealth of information.  The ancient powerhouses like Michelangelo, Leonardo Di Vinci, and Albert Einstein knew about various different fields of work.

Powerful people don’t have to be heard. The best influencers are powerful listeners.  If you just sit back and listen to people they will teach you a lot. Loose lips sink ships. Sometimes if you just sit back, listen, and ask the right open ended questions, you can find out the scoop at the office or the next big change with the school board.  This information can be used as leverage for something later down the road.

I love talking to senior citizens, they have so much knowledge and insight on the ways of the world.  Some have a story for everything.  A lot of times we might look at a person’s outer image to judge the usefulness of their stories. This will cause us to miss out on useful connections. Two of my favorite bands, Kiss and Metallica, are considered weird amongst certain clichés of people, not in the heavy metal scene. Yet, they’ve sold out hundreds of shows, millions of albums, and toured all around the globe.  Obviously, their message resonates with someone.  It is apparent people understand them and are gravitated towards them.  No matter what your message or passion is, there is at least one person out there who understands you. There is someone who can level with you. You just have to keep your eyes open.

It’s good to learn things about the world but let’s start with the easiest thing, yourself. What do you know? What things are you good at? What is your specialty.  Are you a master or a specialist?  The skill that you are freakishly good at, that would blow the minds of students at a high school talent show, will be what we want to focus on.  This is the trick you can whip out at a small dinner party to show off your entertainment skills.    A few years ago I was at a pretty intimate dinner party with neighbors in the riverside community where my friend lived. We were all gathered in the kitchen as the food was finishing up cooking.  There was a young girl there named Samantha, who worked as an accountant. When the current conversation seemed to die down she told to check out a neat trick.  We watched as she went into the cupboard to grab four different glasses. She listened for the sound of crystal with the tap of her spoon.  Next, Samantha filled the crystal with different levels of water.  She delicately dipped the tips of her fingers in some of the water then rubbed them around the edges the crystal.  We watched and listened intently and after a couple notes we could make out a tune.  When Samantha was finished we all clapped in astonishment.  From that point on, she was the highlight of the party. Everyone wanted to know the 5W’s.

So, find out what you are good at. See if there are any clubs for that at your school or in your community. Join the club, take the class, master the course, and take over the scene. I’ve always been good at creating art with my hands. I’m good at organizing colors on things like furniture, clothes, and posters.  In high school, I started with basic art classes to work myself up to ceramics class.  By the time I got to the top classes I was the only guy in the class.  My artwork also had a reputation for being unique. A few classmates would always have something interesting to see about my work or petition me for advice on theirs.

Now, I take jewelry making classes at a local bead gallery downtown.  I’m still the only guy and I receive lots of petitions for jewelry design ideas.  I’m always meeting new people there. My guy friends are surprised when they find out I made some of the jewelry lying around my home.   Interesting art pieces are always a talking point.  It is good to have a few laying around your home. When I was growing up, my mother asked for my opinion on her clothing and shoe choices because she wasn’t good at it but she knew I was.

Subtleties of Black

Being assertive means standing up for yourself. These type of people are seen as powerful.  They stand up for what they believe is right without stepping over others.  They are the lions of the group, that believe, encourage, and fight for their friends.  If you apologize for little things quite frequently, try analyzing what you are apologizing for and if it is really necessary. Are you really sorry that you forgot to leave the orange juice out for your wife?  Does she care that you are sorry?  You can look more confident by laughing things off. Do your peers feel that your apologies are legitimate? Accept that bad things happen, people make mistakes, then move on.  If you never apologize for anything, then it’s time to start taking responsibility for your actions.  New friends will be attracted to your mature desire to take the high road.  Stand proud when you own up to something that you did. The opposite sex loves that. If you  are considered over-assertive then try to take time to observe other people’s viewpoints.  Find the positives in their ideas.  Take a chance on someone. Get to know them as a person then you will be able to trust them easier.  When in a negotiation, practice being silent, let someone else voice their ideas, and evade conflict with employees.  Your coworkers will notice how silent you have been. You will have more attention on you that way versus being aggressive. Dr. Ames and research assistant Mrs. Wazlawek from Columbia Business School conducted a psychological survey that found that the key to developing the right amount of assertiveness is self-awareness.  When engineers build bridges they can look at the math and tell that there is too much structural support in one section of the bridge.  However, it is hard for us to notice how overly assertive we have become.

Skills to use – Reverse Psychology and Courage

Reverse psychology not only works on kids but adults as well.  This behavior works the best on people with sensitive ego’s and people who hate being ordered around. Managers don’t like being told what to do because they are used to telling other people what to do. If you have an awesome idea at work and your boss isn’t as open minded as others, try telling him how bad it would be if we went with in direction ABC.  Tell him you don’t care what direction we take the project in as long as it’s not going ABC because that would just ruin things.  Sometimes the quickest way to acquire something isn’t the most direct way.  Part of dealing with different personalities is learning who you can directly ask for things with and why you have to work through some hurdles with first. Truthfully, we are all little kids at heart. As the average life span increases we strive to look younger. Everyone has a little childhood left inside them. It’s just buried under the mundane responsibilities of our daily lives. We want to be held, adored, etc. we are curious, greedy, and naive by nature. Being original takes courage. Lots of major media heroes are revered for their courage like Asland, Thor, and Elsa. Everyone liked those characters because they could count on them. Their courage affected their persona, making them look more powerful. You could have something in common with them.  As you go about your day look for someone you can help. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. It is surprising how little things are appreciated by some people.  People remember the strangest little things about you that you wouldn’t have even thought twice about. Talk, listen, observe, find out what is on their mind, and you will get your chance to shine. Spying Turquoise
Elicitation is something that you may or may not have done unknowingly. I did it before I even knew it was an important skill.  It is the process of covertly extracting information from someone through conversation without letting them know the intended purpose of the conversation.  If mastered, you can use this skill to find out things about people to use for later.  I’ll let you decide what to use the information for. A master will also be able to detect and deny elicitation techniques used against him or her.

The FBI practiced elicitation before I did though, take some tips from their online counter-intelligence training.  Serious businesses use this tactic for non-public information gathering from competitors.  It is a combination of body language, poker face, and great conversation skills.  To practice your elicitation skills, try planning a surprise party for someone. If it is someone you don’t know then it will make the exercise more challenging.  Discover their food tastes, gift ideas, likes, and dislikes without them knowing. Here are some personality traits that are the most common to exploit: politeness to newcomers, appealing to an inflated ego, desire to feel knowledgeable about a topic, and  tendency  to gossip.