Influencers from Around the World – I Can vs I Did

Most of you long time readers of Influence PEOPLE know Hoh Kim because of his many guest posts to the Influencers from Around the World series. Hoh is also a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT) and has his masters in communication from Marquette University. You can find out more about Hoh by visiting his website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool Communications. You can connect with Hoh on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter
Brian, CMCT 

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

I Can vs. I Did 

are the key differences between more influential people and less influential

participated in the Principles of Persuasion (POP) workshop in 2005. Then, I was trained by Dr. Robert Cialdini to be Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT) in 2008. Since then I have facilitated the two-day (16 hours) POP workshop more than 20 times. Sometimes, I meet some of the past participants of my workshop and discuss how they have used the principles of influence.
who participate in the POP workshop learn the scientific research and practical
application of the six principles of influence, which come from Dr. Robert Cialdini’s lifetime research. Even people who never participated in the workshop or read his book would be familiar with one or some of the Cialdini’s principles, like scarcity; people want more of what they can have less of, or authority, which says that people defer to experts.
But still, even after learning all the principles and tools, there are differences and some people become much more influential while others don’t. What makes the differences?
came to realize there are two types (or levels) of “educated” people: those who say, “I can do it,” vs. those who can say, “I did it.”
  1. “I can do it.”
  2. People get various sources of influence/persuasion; from books, advice from experts, school, seminars or workshop like POP, and so on. Let’s assume that you read the right books, got the right advice, and attended the right classes, seminars, or workshops on influence and persuasion. Once people learn the principles and techniques, they are in the level of “I can do it.” This is a level of possibilities and knowledge. For example, all the POP workshop participants can reach this level. Education and training can put the knowledge into your head but you need more than just that in order to become more influential. You have to move from “I can do it” to “I did it.”

  1. “I did it.”
  2. Over and over, year after year, I found that previous participants of my workshop who have reported they became much more influential and negotiated better outcomes for themselves share one important factor. They said “I did what I learned – at least one or some of the principles and techniques.” These people are in the level of practice (not just possibilities) and action (not just knowledge). They not only have the knowledge in their heads but they actually take actions with their hands.

Less Influential
More Influential
can do it
did it
last slide of my POP workshop says, “All know the ways, few actually walk it.” This is a quote from Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century. The more I think about this quote, the more I come to believe its truth. For example, I know how to lose weight; i.e., eat less, exercise more. But, simply knowing that doesn’t mean I walk the way.
days, we can learn all those “ways” from the Internet and skip school, seminars and workshops. In most cases, the reason we fail to do something is not because we don’t know the way, but because we don’t walk the way we know.
here’s a little tip for all of us as we are approaching Christmas and year-end. This is the opportunity to “practice” the principles of liking and reciprocity.
  1. Allocate at least one “uninterrupted” half-day in December (I allocated two full days for this).
  2. Review your calendar/schedules or business cards/your contact list. Select 30-50 people you really want to thank in the year of 2012.
  3. Write
    down short messages via cards, emails, or even text messages for them. You have to be specific in what you thank them for, not just “thank you for your help!” Praise them as appropriate. For some of the people, you can send little gifts.

the year 2013, let us “walk the way” not just “know the way.” 

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