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5 Trust Essentials Because Trust is so Essential

Trust is essential in any relationship, business or personal. The late Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, put it this way, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

It won’t matter how skilled you are in your profession if the people you interact with don’t trust you. And once trust is lost, it’s very, very hard to earn back. I often hear people talk about trust without every mentioning what you can do to build trust. I’m going to take as a given that you’re truthful. By that I mean, you tell the truth and don’t hide the truth. Beyond truth telling, let’s look at five trust essentials.

Give Back

Giving back after you’ve been given to is a trust essential. It’s playing by the rule of reciprocity. Breaking the rules in society, at work, in games, or just about anywhere else is a surefire way to lose trust.

Reciprocity is such a common norm that social scientists agree; every human society raises its people in the way of reciprocity. Giving and getting in return allows people to accomplish far more in life because resources are shared.

When people don’t play by the rule we call them takers. Nobody wants to be around takers let alone give to them. Don’t be a taker! When people give to you, make sure you look for ways to return the favor.

Admit Weakness

Newsflash: nobody is perfect, no product is perfect, and there’s no perfect service. Acting as is if you or your offering is flawless is another surefire way to lose trust. Why? Because any prospective client you interact with knows nothing is perfect.

If you want to gain trust, admit any weakness or shortcoming early. Doing so gains you credibility because you’re viewed as honest. Another benefit of dealing with a shortcoming early is, it usually takes it off the table so you can focus on your product or service strengths.

A wonderful example of admitting weakness is my long-time friend Al. Our first conversation more than 30 years ago started with him telling me he’d just gotten out of a six-week alcohol rehab facility. His admission let me know I could be completely honest with him in return. His admission was a trust builder. And great news – Al never drank again!

Keep Your Word

While you know your heart, people only see your actions. This is important to remember because people judge you not by your intent but by your deeds. If you say you’ll be somewhere or commit to doing something with someone but fail to follow through you lose a little bit of trust. Do it too often and trust erodes quickly.

One way to highlight you’re keeping your word is to occasionally say, “As promised…” then mention what you’re following through on.

  • “As promised, here’s the report you asked for.”
  • “As promised, I placed the order for you this afternoon.”

It’s human nature to notice and remember when things go wrong so people are likely to remember your failure more than the times you followed through. Using a phrase like, “As promised…” reminds others you’re a person of your word.

Take Responsibility

In his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie wrote, “When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.” More than 80 years after Carnegie penned those words his advice still applies.

You gain trust when you step up and admit a mistake before anyone knows about it. Who would you trust more: a) the person who owns up to a mistake proactively or b) the person who knew about a mistake but did nothing about it until confronted? The answer is pretty obvious.

If you’re unaware of a mistake but it’s brought to your attention, own it. The more you try to deny, justify or shift the burden the more you’ll lose trust. I’ve generally found people to be far more forgiving than my irrational fears might have led me to believe. Don’t give in to fear.

Offer Help

Helping when you don’t have to, when you will gain nothing, earns trust. Too often people are seen as helping so they can get something in return. When you have the capacity (time, skill, relationship, etc.) to genuinely help another person do so.

Why would someone help when they don’t have to and they get nothing in return? Most likely because they’re a decent human being. We tend to trust caring people more than those who engage in quid quo pro actions.

Earlier I mentioned don’t be a taker. Now go one step further and be a giver.

Conclusion

Trust is essential for good, strong, productive relationships. It’s too important to leave to chance so be proactive in building and maintaining trust. While there are more things you can do beyond what I’ve noted, these five things are a great starting point.

To Do This Week

Focus on what I’ve shared, consciously trying to implement each:

  1. Give back
  2. Admit weakness
  3. Keep your word
  4. Take responsibility
  5. Offer help

Do so and you’ll become an even more trustworthy individual.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses have been viewed by more nearly 80,000 people around the world! His newest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is now available through LinkedIn Learning.

What Do These Have in Common?

What do these seven things have in common?

  1. Brass name plate
  2. House with a white picket fence
  3. Family playing a game
  4. Ancient map of the world
  5. Giant orange work glove
  6. Airplane flying by
  7. Golf clubs, tennis racquet and a basketball

If you put them together they form a slightly weird, but memorable word picture, and are prompts for questions you can ask when you meet someone for the first time. I learned this ice breaker approach in a Dale Carnegie class more than a dozen years ago. Here’s the weird word picture:

When you look at someone for the first time imagine a big, brass name plate above their head. As you approach them you see a nice home with a white picket fence. You enter the home and see a family playing a game. You look across the room and see a fireplace with an ancient map of the world on the mantle. Magically, you ascend the chimney and there’s a giant orange work glove at the top. As an airplane flies by the glove grabs it by the tail and on the wings you see golf clubs, a tennis racquet and a basketball.

Let’s dissect each of the items to find out how they can help you initiate conversation in a non-threatening way and kickstart the principle of liking.

  1. The brass name plate is a simple reminder to ask someone their name. Once you’ve done that, picture their name written on it to help you remember it.
  2. A house with white picket fence is a prompt to find out where someone currently lives.
  3. The family playing a game is a visual to ask, “Tell me about your family.” This is better than asking, “Do you have any kids?” because that can be a sensitive subject for some people who cannot have children or chose not to.
  4. The fireplace with an ancient map of the world is a subtle reminder to ask where someone is originally from. This question is good because most people don’t live in the same town where they were born.
  5. The giant orange work glove on top of a chimney is a prompt to ask what the person does for a living.
  6. The plane flying by is a trigger to find out, “Do you like to travel?” or “Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?”
  7. Finally, the golf clubs, tennis racquet and a basketball on the wing of the plane can start a conversation around hobbies and sports the person might enjoy.

Why all the questions? A big part of your ability to influence people is contingent on building good relationships. It’s a scientific fact according to principle of liking; the more someone likes you the better your chance of hearing yes when you try to persuade them. With that in mind, here are three big reasons to use this approach:

  • In How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie encouraged readers to show genuine interest in the other person. I’m sure you feel good when someone shows real interest in you so be that person for someone else.
  • Connecting on what you have in common is a simple way to bond with another person. The more you find similarities the easier it is for them to like you and for you to like them.
  • Last, the more you learn about someone the more opportunities there are to pay a genuine compliment. The more you offer genuine praise, the more the person will like you and you’ll like them.

Conclusion

Whenever you meet someone for the first time – be it at a networking event, work, party – it can feel awkward to get a conversation going. But it doesn’t have to be when you have a script to follow. I encourage you to practice each question till they roll off your tongue in a natural, conversational way. Do so and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more people like you and how you’ll come to like others in return.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence. Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 65,000 people! Have you watched them yet? Click a course title to see what you’ve been missing.

Overcome Mistakes, Mend Fences, Restore Trust

In life mistakes happen. In fact, they happen all the time because we’re imperfect humans. Quite often that means we need to mend fences if we want to overcome mistakes and restore trust. If you look up the phrase “fence-mending” one definition you’ll see comes from Dictionary.com; “the practice of reestablishing or strengthening personal, business, or political contacts and relationships by conciliation or negotiation, as after a dispute, disagreement, or period of inactivity.” Because mistakes are inevitable we need to know how to overcome the negative impact they can have on relationships. Let’s take a look at a simple three step process.

Apologize

Step one is to apologize. The good news is apologizing isn’t a skill you don’t possess. Apologizing is a choice any of us can make. It might feel awkward and uncomfortable but we can all choose to apologize if we can let go of our fear and negative emotions.

Ask for Forgiveness

It’s always good to know whether or not your apology was accepted. Simply ask, “Do you forgive me?” I’ve had people say that’s awkward in business so another approach might be asking, “Are we good?” There are two possible outcomes: you’re forgiven or you’re not.

If you’ve been forgiven that’s cool so leave it alone. In sales there’s something called “selling past the close,” and it can be fatal to making the sale. If someone says they want to buy then it’s time to shut up because talking more might cause them to change their mind! By the same token, when someone forgives you it’s time to shut up because your continued talking might reopen the wound you want to heal.

Let’s say the other person doesn’t acknowledge your request for forgiveness or says they don’t forgive you. Take the high road. You might say, “I’m sorry you feel that way. I can’t change the past so all I can do is apologize and try to do better going forward.” If nothing else you can leave the situation knowing you did the right thing. And maybe, just maybe the other person will forgive you in that moment or sometime down the road.

Prove Yourself

If you get the opportunity to prove yourself take it! I also encourage you to make sure the other person knows about your change. Let’s say you got a report in late and that negatively impacted a teammate at work. The next time you have to turn something in look to get in to your coworker a day or two in advance of when they asked for it. When you give it to them you might say, “I know I blew it last time but I wasn’t going to let that happen again so I wanted to get you this as quickly as I could.” Actions speak louder than words but words can be used to highlight your actions and bring them to consciousness for the other person.

Silver Linings

There are a couple of silver linings with mistakes. First, sometimes when you work to correct mistakes relationships can actually improve. For example, some studies show people rate the service higher at restaurants and hotels when there was some mix up but it was corrected to the satisfaction of the customer. Why is that? When you go out of your way to make things right you engage reciprocity. Most people see that extra effort and feel obligated to give a better tip, rating or satisfaction score.

Another silver lining is this; admitting a mistake can make you more trustworthy and enhance your authority with others. Authority is the principle of influence that tells us people defer to those with superior wisdom, knowledge or expertise. Authority rests on two things – credibility (you know what you’re doing) and trustworthiness (you can be counted on). The net positive with enhancing trust is increased authority which means people are more likely to follow your lead or advice down the road.

To Do

This week I encourage you to actively look for your mistakes that impact others. When you see them, don’t wait for someone else to discover them, own up to them immediately. This taps into Dale Carnegie’s advice, “When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.” Doing so will allow you to practice a much-needed skill for interpersonal relationships and make it easier to do when the stakes are higher.

Persuasive Coaching: Ask the Right Questions

A good coach is a lot like a good salesperson. A good salesperson never makes you feel pressured or sold. Using a combination of questions and a conversational tone a good salesperson helps the prospective customer uncover their needs. Next, the salesperson engages the prospective customer so he or she sees the right service or product to meet their needs.

In a similar way, a good coach will have a conversation where lots of questions are asked so the person being coached – the coachee –  feels like they came up with the solution to their challenges.

People who self-generate their own ideas will always be more committed to them than ideas that come from being told what to do. Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, clearly understood this when he encouraged readers to, “Let the other person feel the idea is theirs.”

Why is this approach so effect? Because of Robert Cialdini’s principle of consistency. The psychological principle tells us people feel internal psychological pressure as well as external social pressure to be consistent in what they say and do.

As little pleasure seekers and pain avoiders humans work hard to make sure their words and deeds line up. When we do what we say we’ll do we feel better about ourselves. We also look better to others when we consistently keep our word. Both are strong motivators of behavior.

Being more committed to whatever solution the person being coached comes up with isn’t the only benefit of asking good questions. Asking questions and engaging in dialog also helps shape the coachee’s thinking. The more they learn to critically think and solve their own problems the more self-sufficient they become. That independence usually means they can make more decisions and do so faster.

If you’ve raised kids you know how important it is to help them develop their thinking because mom and dad won’t always be around to answer questions. The same can be said of a coach.

I’ll close with a quote from Tom Hopkins, author of How to Master the Art of Selling. Tom tells audiences, “When you say it they doubt it but when they say it they believe it.” Ask the right questions and the person you’re coaching will believe in the answers they come up with, be more committed to their ideas, and will have learned how to solve their own problems.

My Name is Brian and You Are?

In his classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

There is no word that catches our attention more than our name. That’s why you can be in a noisy, crowded area, straining to listen to someone talk but all of a sudden if you hear your name you can easily tune into wherever it came from.

I share those insights because recently I had an experience because of my friend Loring Mellien, a.k.a. “Pud.” You might recall reading about Pud in a post about a month ago because of the joy he gets in helping others.

Something I’ve learned from observing Pud in the real world is the value of using people’s names. No matter where we are – a bar, restaurant, poolside talking to a DJ, on an Uber ride, Pud will always introduce himself and ask the other person’s name. Conversation instantly flows.

In my new role as Director of Learning at State Auto Insurance, I routinely walk into the building around 6:45 each morning. As I enter I see the same security guard behind a desk every day. He asks to see my ID badge, I ask how he’s doing, he asks how I am then I’m on my way to my office. Very generic stuff.

As I walked in not too long ago I wondered why I’d never bothered to ask his name since we see each other every day and there’s usually no one else around. I started to realize the more time passed the more awkward it would be to ask his name. After all, if a year went by it would be strange to finally ask, “What’s your name?” So I decided not to wait any longer. Taking a prompt from Pud I simply said, “I come in here every day and we say hi and it occurs to me I don’t know your name.” I stretched out my hand and said, “My name is Brian and you are?” He stood up with a smile on his face and said, “I’m Tom,” as he shook my hand. He looked genuinely happy and it made me wonder how many other people have bothered to ask him his name.

Later that day when he was in a different part of the building I waved from a distance and he smiled as he waved back. I’m sure things will be different every morning as I walk in now and that sometimes conversation will ensue instead of a simple hello.

Sharing this reminds me of a time when I was traveling many years ago. I went to Friday’s for dinner while in Nashville for business, sat at the bar with a copy of USA Today when all of a sudden the bartender said, “Hi, I’m Ryan,” sticking his hand out. He continued, “What’s your name?” I told him my name and noticed the whole evening felt different as he said, “How’s your food, Brian?” “Brian, need another beer?” “Thanks for coming in, Brian.” All of these phrases made me feel like a friend was waiting on me. It changed the experience for the good and his tip was better because of it.

Pretty simple stuff but like many simple things in life, we can either overlook them or get to a point where it seems weird or awkward to act on what we know we should do. Even though I teach this stuff it’s not always natural for me to be that outgoing. It takes effort whereas for some people it would take restraint not to be that outgoing. But the more I do it the easier it gets. A simple act like this will make your day better and make other people’s day better too. Not only that, you’ll meet some interesting people along the way and make some friends and that could come in handy down the road if you need a favor because it taps into the principle of liking.

So I challenge you this week – introduce yourself to strangers and ask their name. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

The Immediate Influence of Behavior

Have you ever read Viktor Frankl’s classic work Man’s Search for Meaning? If you haven’t I can’t recommend it enough! It’s one of the most impacting books I’ve ever read. Despite the sobering description of life in Nazi concentration camps the book has sold more than 12 million copies since it was first published in 1946.

I recently suggested the book to several friends, so I decided to reread the book myself…for no less than the sixth time. Each time I go back to it something new jumps out at me and this time the following quote stood out, “The immediate influence of behavior is always more effective than that of words.”

Think about that quote for just a moment. Frankl’s insight from life in with most horrible conditions lines up with other similar observations from other great thinkers.

“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” – Aristotle

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words do matter because they conjure up images, thoughts and feelings that lead to actions. Frankl acknowledged this when he wrote, “But at times a word was effective too, when mental receptiveness had been intensified by some outer circumstances.” However, as someone who wants to be an effective persuader your words will fall on deaf ears if your words and deeds don’t line up. “Do as I say, not as I do,” won’t cut it. After all, if you don’t believe what you’re saying or you don’t adhere to the principles you espouse then why would anyone else?

Nobody is perfect and people don’t expect you to be perfect. When you fail your best bet is to follow Dale Carnegie’s wisdom, “If you’re wrong admit it quickly and emphatically.” I believe most people are forgiving and many times you’ll actually gain credibility when you own up to your mistakes. This taps into what Robert Cialdini calls the principle of authority and the studies he cites show you can gain trust by admitting weakness or mistakes. The sooner you ‘fess up the better.

I observed this not too long ago when State Auto’s CEO Mike LaRocco interacted with employees across the country in an open forum. Since his arrival last May, Mike has encouraged a culture that embraces candor. During the open forum someone spoke up about fear of reprisal from managers when being candid and Mike made a flippant remark and basically blew off the person’s concern. But almost immediately he caught himself and said his response was wrong. He then proceeded to address the concern. Not only did his actions stand out to me, they stood out to many others I spoke with afterwards. He’s talking the talk and more importantly, he’s walking the walk.

So to come full circle, if you want to be effective when it comes to influencing others start with yourself and remember Frankl’s immortal wisdom, “The immediate influence of behavior is always more effective than that of words.” Be a person of consistency and integrity and you’ll enjoy far more professional success and personal happiness.

If You are Wrong – Tom Brady – Admit it Quickly and Emphatically

I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired
of athletes getting caught red-handed cheating or involved in some scandal only
to defiantly maintain their innocence. Pete Rose, Lance Armstrong, A-Rod come
to mind and now Tom Brady has joined the list. Eventually the truth comes out
and each person only compounded his problems with the lies that ensued. Of
course, this issue isn’t limited to just athletes. We’ve all seen our fair
share of politicians, religious leaders, businesspeople and many others go
through the same thing.

Just once I’d like to hear someone say, “I did
it. It was wrong. No excuses and now I’m willing to bear whatever punishment
comes my way.”
The public doesn’t care why they did what they
did because it’s all excuses. My old high school football coach said it best,
“Excuses are like a—holes. Everybody has one and they all stink!” The only thing
people care about is what they did.
Lying after getting caught only compounds
cheating. Thus the well-known saying, “The cover up is worse than the crime.”
When will they learn? I realize a lot is at stake, but had each of the aforementioned
people taken their medicine when they were caught, odds are they’d be back in
the good graces of the public by now. Tiger Woods, as horrible as his behavior
was, fessed up, sought help, and is in a much better place than Pete, Lance,
A-Rod or Tom.
Football is a game of inches. Sometimes the
slightest advantage makes all the difference between winning and losing. But
the point is not whether or not deflating a football a little bit makes a
difference or not, or whether fans and players think the rule is silly,  IT’S THE RULE.
The issue with Tom Brady is twofold. First, he
chose to break the rule and only did so because he felt it would be an advantage
for him. If he didn’t think balls with slightly less pressure would help he
wouldn’t have instructed others to let a little air out. Like the rule or not,
he knowingly broke it.
Second, and more important now, he lied about
it. For most people when everything is on the line we see their true character.
Sometimes people choose to risk life and limb for others but most people focus
just on themselves. That’s the choice Tom Brady made.
In Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People,
he has some great advice under the section Be a Leader (something Tom Brady is
supposed to be):
“When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and
emphatically.”
Carnegie’s advice taps into Robert Cialdini’s
principle of authority. One shortcut to gain credibility with others is to
admit weakness or mistakes before the other person brings them. In doing so
you’ve viewed as more truthful.
If I were in the NFL, I might get flagged for
a 15-yard penalty for “piling on” with this blog post. I don’t dislike Tom
Brady or the New England Patriots. In fact, I was pulling for them to win the
Super Bowl years ago when they had a chance to go undefeated because it would
have been a historic event. But no longer can I root for them at all because it
seems at every turn Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the organization are
embroiled in controversy over the rules. When there’s smoke there’s usually
fire. Admit you started the fire and do all you can to prevent any more from
starting!
Here’s my final thought: Tom Brady needs to
grow a pair and take his punishment like a man. Of course, maybe he already has
a pair but if so, then they’re obviously a bit deflated too.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
influencePEOPLE 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

 

The Messenger Can Make All the Difference

Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it that can make all the difference. And sometimes it’s not what is said but who said it that makes all the difference.

I bet most of you would agree that our children are vitally important to our future. After all, at some point each of us will be retired and the fortunes of our investments and the direction of our country will be in the hands of the next generation – our children.

The late Whitney Houston said as much in her enormously popular hit song, Greatest Love of All. The song opens:

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way

There’s another well-known quote that goes like this, “He alone who owns the youth gains the future.” Any idea who said that? If you’re like most people you probably didn’t know it was Adolf Hitler. I’m guessing despite the reality that children are our future and that you might have even agreed with the quote, it probably doesn’t sit well with you now that you know who said it.

Sometimes the messenger can make all the difference! If Whitney Houston had sung, “He alone who owns the youth gains the future,” and Adolf Hitler had said, “I believe the children are our future.

Teach them well and let them lead the way,” we’d all feel exactly the opposite about the quotes.

This comes to mind because a church in Alabama used the Hitler quote on a billboard to advertise their youth group! There may be truth to Hitler’s words but no one with any gumption about how to persuade would try to use Hitler’s words in a positive way because he’s considered one of the most evil people to ever walk the planet. Would you want to send your kids to a youth group that’s quoting Hitler?

In persuasion the principle of authority tells us it’s easier for people to say yes to those who have superior wisdom or knowledge. To effectively use this principle of influence you need two things – expertise and credibility. Without both you’ll never succeed. For example, Bernie Madoff has expertise. Despite his pyramid scheme, he does know about investing. But would you trust him with your money? I hope not!

On the flip side, you probably have friends you’d trust your life with … but not your money, because they have no expertise when it comes to investing.

Whether it’s investing, taxes, legal advice, etc., we want people we can trust and those we view as having expertise if we’re to do what they suggest.

Authority can also be borrowed. When I present I use lots of quotes from well-known people. I do so for a couple of reasons.

First, if I say something, people might agree with me, but if Dale Carnegie, Ronald Reagan or Dr. Martin Luther King say it, people will more easily agree because their reputations precede them.

Second, my use of quotes shows I’m well-read and that does add to my personal authority. If people view me as well-read then they naturally assume I’m smarter for it and are therefore more willing to listen to what I have to say.

However, when I choose to use a quote I’m conscious of what it says AND who said it. Many infamous people have made true statements (even a broken clock is right twice a day!) but I would almost never use them because the reaction would be the same as your reaction to Hitler’s quote.

Here’s the bottom line if you’re looking to be a master persuader. Keep your reputation intact so people trust you and continue to develop expertise in your chosen field. When you need to borrow authority, make sure the quote and messenger will both be acceptable to your audience. Do these simple things and your ability to get to yes will go up rather dramatically.

Persuading Einstein and Members of AARP

I just finished Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Issacson. Excellent book!
Issacson also wrote another very interesting biography I read a few years ago, Steve Jobs. His book on Einstein was so well
written and portrayed Einstein in such a way that I was sad at the end to read
about his death because I felt like I was just getting to know him.
We all have notions of Einstein from school,
quotes we’ve read, movies we’ve seen and various other sources. Some of what we
learned was true and much was fairy tale or at least exaggeration. What
fascinated me about Einstein was how much of a rebel he was in his youth and
how much he was willing to change as he got older when the facts warranted
change.
As we get older, change gets harder. In some
sense we’ve honed what works for us and those patterns or habits – which
include speech and thought – are no exception. We think what we think and do
what we do because we believe it’s the right way or the best way given the
situation. Dale Carnegie understood this and that’s why one of his tips from How to Win Friends and Influence People
encourages us to “show respect for the other person’s opinion and never say, ‘You’re
wrong.’” Never forget, right or wrong, people have reasons for what they do.
Beyond being stereotyped as “set in their
ways” is there any proof that older people are more difficult to persuade?
Actually there is. A study mentioned in Robert Cialdini’s Influence Science and Practice noted, “in a follow-up study
employing subjects from ages 18 to 80, we found that preference for consistency
increased with the years and that, once beyond the age of 50, our subjects
displayed the strongest inclination of all to remain consistent with their
earlier commitments (Brown, Asher, & Cialdini, 2005).”
So as we age it’s natural to cling tightly to
closely held beliefs, attitudes, values, and ways of doing things. As most of
you reading this know, it can be darn hard to change someone’s mind, especially
as they grow older.
So what’s this have to do with our friend Albert
Einstein? On one hand he seemed to cling stubbornly to his view of the universe
and dismissed some newer science including quantum mechanics. Without going
into detail on either issue, suffice it to say that despite lots of data on
quantum mechanics, there were a few important questions Einstein could not
reconcile in his head. Had someone been able to help him do that he might have
changed his mind and abandoned his search for a unified theory.
Being an analytic personality, Einstein would
naturally cling to his beliefs because he so thoroughly thought them through.
You’d need data to convince him AND you’d need to do so at the points that were
of most concern to him. No scientist could convince him that we can never truly
tell a particle’s exact position and momentum (a tenant of quantum mechanics).
Scientists believe we can only guess at those two things but Einstein could not
reconcile that in his mind so he held to his earlier beliefs about the universe.
On the flip side there was something very dear
to Einstein’s heart that he eventually did change his mind about. He was an
ardent pacifist in his younger days and believed if people would refuse
military service there would never be a need for military action by nations.
His view on this was shaped by the horror of World War I and the unparalleled
destruction it brought on the world at that time.
Through the early 1930s he held onto this
view. However, with the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in Germany he began to
re-examine that view. While he never embraced war, he came to believe people
should enlist to defend freedom. He was also instrumental in getting President
Roosevelt to start exploring nuclear technology and was against unilateral
disarmament towards the end of his life because of the imbalance of power it
would cause.
Why did he change? He was confronted with
facts and the reality was the stakes were too high to be wrong.
As you attempt to persuade people you’d do well to consider where they are in their life cycle. Teenagers and younger people have not developed the same groove older people have. It’s easier for them to experiment and quite often there is much less at stake for them in terms of loss should they make a mistake.
However, as people get older and
responsibilities increase, scarcity – the fear of loss –
also plays into the equation too. Changing jobs when you have a family or child
getting ready for college changes the equation for many people. The stakes are
much higher for a wrong decision.
Helping minimize fear of loss becomes very important,
as does the ability to tie your request to consistency – what someone has
said or done in the past, what they hold as far as values and beliefs. And when
you try to tie into consistency make sure there’s not some other point that’s
most important for the other person otherwise you’ll hear, “Yes, but…” That was
Einstein’s retort to the physicists who pushed quantum mechanics.
As is the case with sales, persuasion comes
down to knowing your audience and their “hot buttons.” Once you know those two
things, crafting you argument becomes much, much easier.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
influencePEOPLE 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
 
 
Cialdini “Influence”
Series!
 Would you like to learn more about
influence from the experts? Check out the Cialdini “Influence” Series featuring Cialdini
Method Certified Trainers from around the world.

 

Listen to Dale Carnegie Tips at CinchCast

Last year I began recording influence and persuasion tips on a site called CinchCast.com. I did this because I realize people have different learning styles.

Now it’s part of my routine each morning to record an influence tip before I start my day. Towards the end of the last year I began sharing Dale Carnegie’s advice on How to Win Friends and Influence People in audio format. For each piece of Carnegie advice I recorded a three to five minute audio clip at CinchCast.com. To listen to the introduction to the series click here.

Below you’ll see the different sections of How to Win Friends and Influence People, the corresponding advice Carnegie shares with readers and links to my audio clips. I encourage you to click on the audio links so you can hear an expanded version of each tip.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1 Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. Audio
2 Give honest, sincere appreciation. Audio
3 Arouse in the other person an eager want. Audio

Six Ways to Make People Like You
4 Become genuinely interested in other people. Audio

5 Smile. Audio
6 Remember their name. Audio
7 Be a good listener & encourage others to talk about themselves. Audio
8 Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. Audio
9 Make the other person feel important. Audio

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
10 Avoid arguments. Audio
11 Show respect for other’s opinions and never say, “You’re wrong.” Audio
12 If you are wrong, admit it quickly & emphatically. Audio
13 Begin in a friendly way. Audio
14 Get the other person to say “yes” immediately. Audio
15 Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. Audio
16 Let the other person feel the idea is theirs. Audio
17 Try to see things from the other’s point of view. Audio
18 Be sympathetic to other’s ideas and desires. Audio
19 Appeal to the nobler motives. Audio
20 Dramatize your ideas. Audio
21 Throw down a challenge. Audio

Be a Leader: How to Encourage People to Change without Giving Offense
22 Begin with praise and honest appreciation. Audio
23 Call attention to mistakes indirectly. Audio
24 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing. Audio
25 Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Audio
26 Let the other person save face. Audio
27 Praise the slightest, and every improvement. Audio
28 Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. Audio
29 Use encouragement and make the fault seem easy to correct. Audio
30 Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Audio

I hope you find this a useful way to learn How to Win Friends and Influence People. Last week I finished a series on building strong relationships. To see those tips just click on the relationship album at the top of the CinchCast page. As I shared earlier, I record a tip each day so look for updates daily on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”