Influencers from Around the World – Some Acts of Giving Can Span Decades and Lifetimes

This month we have another new guest writer. Like
myself and several other guest bloggers for Influence PEOPLE, Debbie Hixson is
a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer®.
Debbie is a manager in the Leader Strategy and Programs division at Kaiser
Permanente where she’s been for nearly 20 years. She earned her B.A.,
Psychology, has an M.Ed. in Counseling and Educational Psychology, a Masters of
Arts in Human Resources Development and is currently working on her
Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership! I know you’ll enjoy Debbie’s insightful
perspective on influence and persuasion.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Some Acts of Giving Can Span
Decades and Lifetimes
I read in my Sunday paper about a cemetery in Holland where
American soldiers who fought the Nazis in World War II are buried.  It seems that each of the 8,300 graves in
Margraten, a small village in the Netherlands, are tended by Dutch, Belgian or
German families, along with schools, companies, and military organizations. On
Memorial Day this year they came as they do several times a year to place
flowers in front of headstones of people they didn’t know and to honor their
At the
cemetery’s annual commemoration 6,000 people flooded the 65-acre burial grounds
including many descendants of the American soldiers who traveled from all over
the U.S. They came to pay tribute to their parents and grandparents who fought
to defeat the Nazis. And they came to thank the people who had been tending the
graves of their loved ones for over 70 years. Some of the caretakers have passed
the responsibility on from generation to generation. The responsibility is felt
so deeply that there is a list of over 100 people waiting to become caretakers
of the graves.
What would
cause a nation recovering from the trauma of being invaded during World War II and
their own personal losses to adopt the fallen of another nation? And what would
keep this commitment alive all these years later, when the pain and significance
of the war had faded. It is unique in this world, wouldn’t you say?
September 1944, the village of Margraten and its 1,500 inhabitants had been
freed from Nazi occupation. The war was not over and many American soldiers
died in nearby battles with the goal of breaking through the German lines and
trying to capture bridges that connected the Netherlands to Germany. The losses
sustained were heavy and the American nation needed a place to bury its dead.
They choose a fruit orchard just outside Margraten.
The villagers
of Margraten embraced the Americans and grieved for their fallen. They provided
food and shelter for the U.S. commanders and their troops. After four years of
being occupied by the Nazis, they were free. Life could return to normal and
once again they could enjoy the freedoms they had before the invasion. They
realized that they had the Americans to thank for that freedom.
For the
gift of their freedom, the people of Margraten reciprocated by tending year
after year to the graves of the solders who gave their lives to restore it. The
rule of reciprocity, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini,
says that when we receive something, a favor, a kindness, etc., we feel obligated
to repay it. He says that “so typical is it for indebtedness to accompany the
receipt of such things that a phrase like ‘much obliged’ has become a synonym
for ‘thank you,” not only in the English language but in others as well.” Although
obligations extend into the future they can be short lived unless they are notable
and memorable such as the American sacrifice to free the people of Margraten.
In some cases such as this, the obligation is felt so keenly that the thank you
never ends.
We can
see this illustrated in a recent ceremony in Margraten to honor the fallen
Americans. One American conveyed the essence of the bond between the Dutch and
the U.S. His name is Arthur Chotin and the Naaijken family tends his father’s
grave. He said to the audience of Americans and current caretakers, “By making
these dead part of your family, you have become part of our family. You have
created a bond between us that will never be broken. So, from this day forward,
from now until the end of time, a heartfelt thank you.”
In our
own lives we have experienced reciprocity. We all learned as children that when
someone does something nice for us, we do something nice for that someone in
return. It works well for us and in our society to reciprocate. We have not-so-nice
words for people who do not reciprocate. Reciprocating with others establishes
relationships whether they are professional or personal in nature. 
In my
work, I use reciprocity to develop long-lasting relationships with my clients
that are mutually beneficial. Before I make a request of them, I consider
giving them something first. It might be giving time to listen to their concerns,
or sharing ideas to address their problems. In return I ask for their trust to
be completely honest in our coaching relationship. Then I ask them to listen to
my feedback as well as try out my suggestions for addressing their leadership
challenges. Because we keep reciprocating the relationship continues
indefinitely for as long as we work together.
is a powerful tool to influence others. It is based on the idea that we help
those who help us. It begins by giving someone a gift – your time, your advice,
etc. In turn they will usually support your request because the rule says we’re
to give back to those who first give to us. It is a powerful motivator for us
to comply with other’s requests when they have given to us and it’s powerful
because others will do what you ask when you give to them first.
So start
with this thought, “Whom can I help?” rather than, “Who can help me?” Do so and
you will initiate and develop long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Try

Hixson, CMCT®

Influencers from Around the World – One Great Question to Ask: Lessons from Marshall Goldsmith and Patrick Lencioni

This month the “Influencers from Around the
World” post comes all the way from South Korea thanks to Hoh Kim. Hoh and I met
in Arizona early 2008 when we went through training together to earn our Cialdini
Method Certified Trainer designations. To learn more about Hoh visit his
website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool Communications. You can also find Hoh on
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
One Great Question to Ask: Lessons from 
Goldsmith and Patrick Lencioni
How you communicate your weaknesses can define
whether you’re trustworthy or not, according to Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the
world’s foremost expert on the science of influence. Without trustworthiness,
we cannot have true authority in the eyes of others. Many leadership experts
also express a similar concept.
Everyone talks about the importance of trust.
But, do we know how to act to build trust as a leader? Patrick Lencioni, the
author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,
shared some excellent insight. According to Lencioni, when we use the word
“trust,” it normally means “predictable trust.” For example; I know one of my
team members will do a good job, as she or he has been a good performer in the
past. However, Lencioni suggested that leaders should practice what he called
“vulnerability-based trust.” Leaders cannot be strong in every aspect, which
means they also have weaknesses. Leaders should first know what their
weaknesses are, and they should feel comfortable disclosing them to their team.
Leaders shouldn’t be defensive. Instead Lencioni wrote, “In essence, teammates
must get comfortable being vulnerable with one another.”
Everyone talks about the importance of
feedback in developing people. However, Marshall Goldsmith, one of the noted
experts in leadership development, emphasized the importance of “feedforward.”
Feedback is about your behavior in the past and feedforward is about suggestions
for the future behavior. Feedback is in the rear view mirror, while feedforward
is looking into the windshield. To drive your car you have to pay attention to
windshield, what lay ahead, not the rear view mirror, which only shows what is
We all have areas of improvement in our
workplace. If you could choose one area for improvement over the next year,
what will it be? Better listening? Faster decision-making? Better emotional
management? Whatever it is, acknowledge your weaknesses to your team members.
You won’t be seen as a loser. If you stay in your weaknesses you might be
viewed as a loser but when you acknowledge a weakness candidly, and ask for feedforward
from your members and colleagues, you will be seen as a more trustworthy
When you acknowledge weaknesses and ask for feedforward
you make a public commitment to improve. By utilizing the principle of consistency, one of the Dr. Cialdini’s six principles of influence, you will
have a better chance to actually experiencing progress.
How do you ask for feedforward? Take the
Marshall Goldsmith’s advice and simply say, “I want to be better at (listening,
for example). How can I be a better listener?” If your colleagues suggest
something, don’t defend yourself, just respond with a sincere, “Thank you.”
As we approach the end of 2014, it is a good
idea to practice feedforward with you wife, husband, or significant others. Do
you want to be a better spouse? Let me share one of my secrets to be a better spouse.
Once a year I ask to my wife, “Honey, how can I be a better husband? What can I
do better to be a better husband?” So far, my wife has never asked me to buy her
things like a diamond ring or luxury clothing or high-end handbags. She just
loves to be asked.
Hoh Kim, CMCT® 
Founder, Head Coach & Lead Facilitator,

The Cialdini “Influence” Series is Coming Soon!

Are you interested in learning more about the
science of influence directly from the experts? You’re in luck! Beginning
February 13, a seven-part online series begins where you’ll hear from individuals
who’ve been personally trained by Robert
Cialdini, Ph.D
Dr. Cialdini is recognized as the world’s
leading expert on influence and persuasion. His book Influence Science and Practice is on its fifth edition, has sold
more the two million copies, and has been translated into 26 languages. If that
isn’t enough, Influence was also
named “the top sales and marketing” book in The
100 Best Business Books of All Time
There are only 20 Cialdini Method Certified
Trainers® in the world today and you’ll get to hear from seven of them for 30 minutes each in this online series. Here’s your schedule of trainers and topics:

Anthony McLean, a guest blogger for Influence PEOPLE, will cover The Foundation
– What Is The “Influence Difference” And How To Prepare For Persuasion.
March 6 – Dan Norris, the
trainer who led me through my first workshop, will discuss The Principle Of
Reciprocity – How We Can Use This Most Effectively.
March 27 – Brian Ahearn. I
will introduce you to The Principle Of Scarcity – The Hidden Aspects That Can
Help…Or Hurt Our Messages.
April 17 – Hoh Kim, also a
guest blogger for Influence PEOPLE, will talk about The Principle Of Authority
– How To Use It When You Might Not Think You Can.
May 8 – Steve Martin,
co-author of Yes 50 Scientifically Proven
Ways to be Persuasive
, will share thoughts on The Principle Of Consistency
– It’s Right In Front Of You…If You Know How To Use It.
May 29 – Debbie Hixson will
talk about The Principle Of Liking – Helping A Decision-Maker To Like You…It’s
Just Half Of The Equation.
June 29 – Matt Barney
concludes the series with The Principle of Consensus – People Proof…Using The
Power of Many.

There’s no better place to learn about the
psychology of persuasion than from the influence experts. I know many of the
trainers and can say with certainty; you’ll learn a lot about the influence
process and leave with ideas you can implement immediately. Interested? Sign up today!
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Influencers from Around the World – New Guest Bloggers

I’m very excited to introduce readers to a couple of new guest bloggers for the Influencers from Around the World series that’s featured on the first Monday of every month.
Anthony McLean hails from “Down Under” and has the distinction of being Australia’s only Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT). His background is unique, having spent more than a dozen years as a police sergeant and an intelligence officer, he now uses the skills he learned on the job in his study of behavioral intelligence, the role of emotions and most importantly, influence and the science of persuasion. He’s currently the Executive Director of New Intelligence.
Dr. Cialdini had the following to say about Anthony, “In front of a group, Anthony McLean is positively magnetic, drawing from his audience’s levels of attention, comprehension, and insight that are remarkable. What a competitive advantage it is to have him as a teammate!”
Referring to the Principles of Persuasion (POP) workshop in Australia, Anthony said, “There are those in the marketplace who currently deliver Dr. Cialdini’s work as experts, albeit from an Influence: Science and Practice book bought from Amazon. Once I experienced the POP for myself, I thought it important that the Australian market be provided the opportunity to see what the Cialdini Method Certified Training is all about; and it’s important to communicate to clients that it’s beyond the book, and it brings the science to life in a process that will guide participants far beyond their persuasion endeavors. Not only do we offer access to the most comprehensive science in the field, we also have a network of like minded trainers, authors and practitioners, drawn from different cultures and localities which provide an Influence network to our clients that are not available to others.”
In addition to his CMCT certification, Anthony is one of only two accredited trainers in the southern hemisphere with the Paul Ekman Group in the field of emotion and micro expressions. Paul Ekman is the inspiration for the character Cal Lightman on Fox’s hit television show Lie to Me.

I’ve read the newsletter Anthony shares with his POP graduates and was so impressed I asked if he would share some of his wisdom from Down Under with all of us. If you’d like to learn more about Anthony you can find him on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Cathrine Moestue is an organizational psychologist who lives in Oslo, Norway. She too is a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT) and like Anthony she is unique because she is the only person in Scandinavia to have received this certification from Dr. Cialdini.

Dr. Robert Cialdini says this about Cathrine, “She has the rare ability to deliver seminar material in a way that is both hard (because she obviously knows the facts) and soft (because of her graceful presentational style). As a result, audiences respond eagerly to her message.”

Cathrine worked many years in the advertising industry as a creative consultant then as a manager before earning her psychology degree at the University of Oslo. She has taught classes in the Psychology of Perception at Westerdals School of Communication and held seminars at the University of Oslo on conflict management, work psychology, stress and health in organizations.
Today she owns her own company, Moestue Consulting, and delivers seminars and coaching on her favorite topic – Ethical Influence – to both individuals and large international companies such as Telenor and Siemens.

As is the case with the other guest bloggers, you can also connect with Cathrine on Facebook and LinkedIn.
With the addition of our new friends you now get to hear perspectives on persuasion from Australia (Anthony McLean), Ireland (Sean Patrick), Italy (Marco Germani), Scandinavia (Cathrine Moestue), South Korea (Hoh Kim) and Spain (Yago de Marta). I know you’re going to enjoy reading what Anthony and Cathrine have to share about ethical influence from their unique vantage points in the world. Look for Cathrine’s first article on March 7th.
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

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


Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

Interview with Dr. Cialdini’s Organization INFLUENCE AT WORK

I had the good fortune of recently being interviewed by Dr. Robert Cialdini’s organization, INFLUENCE AT WORK. Below is the lead in to the interview from his blog, Inside Influence Report.

INFLUENCE AT WORK has over 25 CMCT’s worldwide. These CMCT’s are the only trainers endorsed by Dr. Robert Cialdini and allowed to facilitate the Principles of Persuasion (POP) Workshop®. All CMCT’s must go through rigorous training in order to earn and maintain this prestigious certification. Our goal in this CMCT spotlight feature is to help readers become more familiar with our CMCT’s background, expertise, and insights. Click here if you are interested in more information on our CMCT’s. If you would like more information on our POP Workshops, click here.

This month we are featuring Brian Ahearn, CMCT a corporate trainer for State Auto Insurance Companies from Columbus Ohio. He has been studying Dr. Cialdini’s research and the influence process for 7 years.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”