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PAVE Your Way to Success in 2019!

If you’re like many people then you’ll be making New Year’s resolutions and if you’re like most people you’ll break your resolutions within a week or two. According to one study, more than half the people who make resolutions are confident of achieving them, yet barely more than 10% do so.

That’s unfortunate because most resolutions are good! Here are a some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:

  • Prioritize family
  • Lose weight
  • Begin exercising
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce debt
  • Get organized
  • Stop drinking

The list is admirable so why are these goals so difficult to achieve for 9 out of 10 people? There are probably as many reasons as there are resolutions and dwelling on those reasons would not be as beneficial as giving you scientifically proven ideas that can help make 2019 different from those that came before. I’ll share an influence technique that can help you PAVE the way to success in the New Year.

In the study of persuasion there’s a powerful motivator of behavior known as the principle of consistency. This proven rule tells us people feel internal and external psychological pressure to act in ways that are consistent with their prior actions, words, deeds, beliefs and values. When we act in consistent ways we feel better about ourselves and other people perceive us in a more favorable light.

There are four simple things you can tap into in order to strengthen the power of consistency in your life. These simple ideas will help you PAVE the way to success because they’ll dramatically increase the odds that you’ll follow through on your New Year’s resolutions.

Public – Whenever you make a public statement, whether verbally or in writing, you’re putting yourself and your reputation on the line. The mere fact that another person knows your intention and might ask you how you’re doing is often enough motivation for you to follow through.

Recommendation #1 – Share your New Year’s resolution with another person, or group of people, and ask them to hold you accountable.

Active – You have to actively do something. Merely thinking about a resolution, just keeping it to yourself as some sort of secret, will lead to the same results as people who don’t make any resolutions. In other words, nothing will change. This came to light in a study with a group of students who wanted to improve their college grades. One group was asked to write their goals down, one group kept their goals in their heads, and the last group had no specific goal whatsoever. As you can imagine, the group with the written goals succeeded, with nearly 90% of students increasing their grades by a full letter grade! With the other two groups the results were identical and poor. In each group fewer than 1 in 6 students improved a full letter grade. It’s worth noting, they were all given the same study materials so they all had the same opportunity to better their GPA.

Recommendation #2 – Make sure you have to take some active steps. It could be as simple as buying a book to help you learn more about the changes you’re hoping to make or writing them down.

Voluntary – This has to be YOUR goal, not someone else’s goal for you. If you’re trying to do something – quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape – it’s not likely your motivation will last if someone told you that you have to do it. The goal has to come from you because if it’s forced on you it’s not likely your willpower will last long. Samuel Butler said it best when he wrote, “He who complies against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Recommendation #3 – Make sure it’s something you really want to do of your own free choice.

Effort – It was already noted that you have to actively do something. In other words, making the commitment should require some effort on your part. The more effort you expend setting up your goal, the more likely you are to succeed. Something as simple as writing down your resolution can make a difference, even if you don’t share it with anyone. But, taking the time to share it also fulfills the public requirement, which gives you more bang for the buck! Robert Cialdini puts it this way, “People live up to what they write down.”

Recommendation #4 – A little more effort, like committing pen to paper, will increase your chance for success significantly.

So to recap the four recommendations:

  • Public – Share your resolutions with others.
  • Active – Make sure to take some active steps.
  • Voluntary – Make it your goal and own it.
  • Effort – Commit pen to paper.

None of what I just shared is new but I’m guessing you may not have tried to PAVE the way to success before. If you’ve failed at your resolutions in the past then give this approach a try. If you fail again you’re no worse off but this different approach might just be your key to success in 2019. Good luck and Happy New Year’s!

 

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. His Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed 150,000 times! The course teaches you how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process. Not watched it yet? Click here to see what you’ve been missing.

 

Jeremy Maclin, Jack Nicklaus and the Power of Commitment

Jeremy Maclin might not be a familiar name to many of you but he’s certainly a rising star in the NFL and adored by the football fans in Philadelphia.  In early August he was not in the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp because he’d been battling an undisclosed illness. The story came to my attention in late September as I was watching Chris Berman talk about Maclin on ESPN’s Sports Center.

What really caught my attention was near the end of the story when Berman declared Maclin his new “favorite player” because of his outlook in the midst of what he was dealing with. Then Berman shared that despite the uncertainty of his future Maclin participated this summer in a couple of youth football camps. Berman relayed that when he asked why he did that Maclin said, “Because I made a commitment.”
Commitment is a powerful, powerful thing when it comes to influence. Why is that the case? Because of something Dr. Cialdini coined “the principle of consistency.” Consistency alerts us to the reality that people feel internal psychological pressure to remain consistent in word and deed. Very few people like to say one thing then turn around and do another. It’s not just the public pressure because of perception; it’s rooted in how we are raised. People who don’t do what they say are quite often the recipients of negative labels: flip flopper, liar, wishy washy, inconsistent, and unreliable, to name just a few.
Here’s another example of the power of consistency. This one comes from the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (Goldstein, Martin, and Cialdini). On March 2, 2005, Jack Nicklaus’ 17-month-old grandson Jake accidentally drown in a hot tub accident. The tragedy was only one month out from the biggest golf tournament in America, The Masters. Jack Nicklaus has won more green jackets (6) than any other golfer in history but when asked if he would play Nicklaus said the chances were between “between slim and none.” However, not only did he play, he played in two other tournaments as well. When asked why he did so in the midst of the family tragedy he said, “You make commitments, and you’ve got to do them.”
Wow! Two high profile people dealing with personal and family tragedy and yet they feel compelled to do what they said they would do. If consistency is such a powerful psychological principle the question for us is, how can we ethically tap into this principle to help move our agenda ahead? It’s actually pretty simple and can be summed up in one word – question.
Too often people tell each other what to do instead of asking. Here are a couple of examples:
“I need the board report by Friday.”
“Clean your room before lunch.”
Simply turning these statements into questions taps into consistency:
“Can you get me the board report by Friday?”
“Will you clean your room before lunch?”
There are a couple more things that can be done with each statement to increase your odds of success: 1) give yourself a fall back option, and 2) use the word “because” to tag each with a reason. Here’s how I’d approach the board report request incorporating both:
“Can you get me the board report by Tuesday because I have to get it to communications for proof reading before I finalize it?”
Notice I moved the date up from Friday to Tuesday. If the answer is “no” then I can retreat by saying, “Can you get it to me by Friday?” This taps into reciprocity because people usually respond with a “Yes” immediately after telling you “No.” Studies also show the odds of hearing “Yes” go up rather significantly when the word because is used and a reason given.
So here’s my take away and something I share in workshops – stop making statements and start asking questions. Do so and you tap into the power of consistency because an affirmative answer creates a commitment on the part of the other person just as it did with Jeremy Maclin and Jack Nicklaus.
Brian, CMCT
influencepeople 
Helping You Learn to Hear
“Yes”.

“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel”

Many of you reading have seen Sean Patrick’s name before because he’s written several posts for my Influencers from Around the World series. I asked Sean to write another post to generate interest because he’s in America this week. He’s visiting Columbus, to attend the Principles of Persuasion workshop I’m leading.If you’d like to meet Sean, stop by The Pub at Polaris at 6 p.m. on Friday October 8. In the meantime get to know a little about him by visiting his website, Sean Patrick Training, blog, Professional Persuader or just look him up on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel”
Warren BeattyPersuasion is defined by many as the ability to move a person or a group from one level of thought or abstraction to a level the person performing the persuasion wants to move them to. Aristotle, often regarded as the founding father of persuasion, devised a simple equation of how persuasion can be both defined and performed with the outcome of moving a person or a group from point A to point B.The process of persuasion, according to Aristotle, needed three elements in order for the movement of abstraction to happen. When these three elements are blended together, this then represents a potent mix of persuasive behavior. And what are the three elements?Pathos – Emotional appeal Ethos – Ethical, character and reputation Logos – Logical
Pathos relates purely to the emotions felt by the audience. As Aristotle put it, persuasion may come through the hearers when the speech stirs their emotions. In other words it is essential to appeal to the emotions felt by your listeners in order to be persuasive. You need EMPATHY.
Ethos related to the speaker and his or her character as revealed through the communication. For the message to be believable there has to be a source of credibility which is something that exists in the minds of the listeners. So it’s the trustworthiness that the speaker has in the eyes of the audience. It relates to the person and refers to the sincerity that exudes from the individual.
Logos refers to the actual words used by the speaker. Choice of words and use of stories, quotations and facts are important in moving the audiences over to your point of view.
I think it’s a great idea to take a look at ourselves and the way we present ourselves to the world. Do we use all three of these elements? Notice how other people present and broadcast their thoughts and ideas. More importantly look for those around you who use all three of these elements and model their behavior. Look at these people as a benchmark for your own communication style. It’ll be worth the effort.
When we look around today, pathos and logos mean nothing when a politician speaks. For example, do we believe the politicians when they tell us that our young men and women need to leave for some distant shore and potentially give up their lives for the good of the country? How about when tax increases are said to be necessary because the banks need more liquidity? Conversely this same rule applies to every other aspect of our lives and notably our personal relationships.
Aristotle’s pathos defines empathy toward the people we share our lives with either directly or indirectly. Showing empathy is a way of providing proof that we both “understand and know how it feels.” And showing this ability to perceive the true feelings of other people that you deal with is at the heart of every successful relationship.
Empathy is the ability to identify and understand the other person’s feelings, ideas and situation. It’s listening with your heart as well as your head; i.e., the ability to read emotions in others. Many people who train in the art of persuasion today, or even people who are professional persuaders prefer to use the term “connection” where empathy is concerned. Empathy is based largely on trust and before this can happen we move to ethos – source credibility or proving sincerity towards an individual or group.
This is essential if any form of persuasion is going to take place in today’s world where people have become increasingly suspicious and have developed a hardened sense of skepticism towards advertising and politics specifically. Sincerity is what allows us to attain a level of trust between people and without this process every other element in Aristotle’s model of persuasion is nullified.
Some people will emit trustworthiness more easily than others and this has been validated by the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, as illustrated in his persuasion principle known as “Commitment and Consistency.” This is where we grow accustomed to a person because his/her actions are consistent with how we expect him/her to perform, which in turn allows us to trust this person and grow to like them. In essence the more supportive you are, the more a person will allow their true inner feelings, thoughts, desires and fears to surface. And this is a two-way street;the more we are deemed to be trustworthy towards another person the deeper and more personal will be the feelings, thoughts and desires that the person shares with you.
In NLP this is known as “going there first,” specifically within a therapeutic sense, whereby the practitioner will demonstrate empathy and sincerity by going into a genuine state so the client can then follow along and open up to a much deeper level. This same principle applies to every aspect of our lives; it is how we are wired as humans.
These core qualities have recently been highlighted as being “emotionally intelligent.” Having empathy and sincerity are the two things alone which will make you stand out as a persuasion artist even more so than brushing up on technique or presentation of your communication style. If you cannot get to the core of this principle nothing else will ever work. Our interpersonal skill is our ability to understand and act out with other people how they feel, their likes and dislikes and their motivations. The person with this ability can almost predict how others will act and is therefore able to interact with them effectively and be very persuasive. When we look around us we notice how politicians, sales people, hypnotherapists and people who outwardly social animals have this innate sense of developed intelligence.
Sean
Again, if you’d like to meet Sean stop by and see us Friday evening at The Pub at Polaris. Until then, cheers!Brian
influencepeople
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”

PAVE the Way for New Year’s Resolutions

If you Google “New Year’s resolution” you’ll find it’s generally defined as a commitment someone makes to do something, or stop doing something, in order to better his/her life in some way. For example, here are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions people make:

  • Spend more time with family
  • Lose weight
  • Start exercising
  • Quite smoking
  • Quit drinking
  • Get organized
  • Get out of debt

Since these are all very good things, why are they so hard to follow through on? There are as many reasons as there are resolutions, and because you’ve probably heard just about all of them I won’t spend any time on them. Instead I’ll take a different approach, one that might just PAVE the way for success in 2010.

Usually I talk about the principles of influence as a way to motivate other people, to get others to say “Yes!” to you. That’s not what I’m going to share this time. What I’ll share is a way for you to tap into consistency to motivate yourself. Almost all resolutions involve forming or breaking habits. You have to start doing something regularly or stop doing something you’re currently doing to better your life in some way. We’ll take a look at consistency as it pertains to you and four key ways to strengthen its use.

In the study of the principles of influence there’s a powerful motivator called consistency. People feel compelled to act in ways that are consistent with their beliefs and values. They also feel compelled to act in ways that are consistent with what they’ve said or done in the past. When we act in consistent ways we feel better about ourselves and people perceive us in a more favorable light.

Here are the four keys to strengthen consistency, PAVE the way to success, and increase the chances that you’ll follow through on your New Year’s resolutions.

Public – Any time you make a public statement, whether verbally or in writing, you’re putting yourself on the line. The mere fact that another person knows your intention and might ask you how you’re coming along with your commitment is quite often enough motivation for people to follow through. Share with another person or group of people, your New Year’s resolution AND ask them to hold you accountable.

Active – You have to do something. Merely thinking about a resolution but keeping it to yourself will lead to the same results as people who don’t make resolutions. In other words, nothing will change. This came to light in a study with a group of students who wanted to improve their grades. One group was asked to write their goal down, one group kept their goal in their heads and the last group had no specifics whatsoever. As you can imagine, the group with the written goals succeed, with nearly 90% of students increasing by a full letter grade! With the other two groups the results were almost identical. In each group fewer than 1 in 6 students improved a full letter grade. It’s worth noting, they were all given the same study materials.

Voluntary – This has to be YOUR goal, not someone else’s goal for you. If you’re trying to do something, like quite smoking, lose weight or get in shape, because someone told you to, it’s not likely your motivation will last. The goal has to come from you because if it’s forced on you then your desire will not last. Samuel Butler hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “He who complies against his will is of the same opinion still.” If you voluntarily make the commitment you stand a better change of succeeding.

Effortful – It was noted above that you have to actively do something. In other words, making the commitment should require some effort on your part. In fact, the more effort the more likely you are to succeed. Something as simple as writing down your resolution can make a difference, even if you don’t share it with anyone. But, taking the time to share it also fulfills the public requirement which gives you more bang for the buck! Dr. Cialdini puts it this way, “People live up to what they write down.” Commit pen to paper and you’ve greatly increase your odds of success.

So there you have it, a slightly different way to approach some positive changes for the New Year. If you’ve been one to make resolutions and fail then give this approach a try. If you fail again you’re no worse off but you never know, this change in approach might just work for you. And think about how much fun it will be to spend more time with family after you’ve lost that extra weight, started exercising, quit smoking and drinking and have organized a plan to get out of debt! Okay, maybe that’s a bit much but accomplishing at least one would be nice.

I wish you a very happy and successful New Year!

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”