If you want to attract people to you and your ideas, there are two broad ways to accomplish this: by force and by persuasion. In this newsletter I will focus on improving your skills in the latter area, as I assume you’ve seen enough evidence of the long-term challenges using the former. There are five principles of Ultimate Influence™ outlined in the book Adversaries into Allies by Bob Burg, the author of the sales classic, Endless Referrals and coauthor of the Go-Giver series. These five principles resonated with the challenges I’ve observed in my personal experience and with corporate clients as well:
- Control your emotions. Aim to make “calm” your default setting, even when others aren’t. I know this is easier said than done but make a commitment to yourself that your new default setting will be calm. Visualize yourself staying calm and try it in your next meeting. Even if you fail, keep trying. Celebrate your victories.
- Understand the clash of belief systems. Don’t assume that the person you are trying to influence thinks in a way that is similar to yours. When in doubt, ask for clarification. And as outlined by Stephen Covey three decades ago, seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Acknowledge their ego. Avoid unnecessary criticism and embarrassment. Highlight the positives in others. Look first for areas where you agree with the other person so they don’t get defensive. Then, and only then, try to persuade.
- Set the proper frame. This is where I found the biggest growth opportunity and perhaps you will too. Take the initiative and ensure the most productive frame for your interactions is set (or reset). For example, if the other person is framing the discussion as a choice between two alternatives, neither of which you find attractive, you can reframe it by adding a third option to choose from.
- Communicate with tact and empathy. Listen more, talk less. To inspire trust and likeability, find similarities with the person(s) you are trying to influence.
Follow these five principles to become an Ultimate Influencer and avoid resorting to force to attract people to you and your ideas. Persuade by focusing on what’s in it for the person you are trying to influence, instead of “what’s in it for me.”