Arouse an Eager Want

Question: Would you rather do something of your own free will or be forced? I’m going to guess all of you said you’d prefer to exercise your free will. That’s not to say we all can’t stand a good kick in the seat of the pants every now and then. I’m thinking of my old high school football coach as I type that! We can always be pushed to do a little more than we think we’re capable of but that’s not what I’m talking about here. What’s important is this difference; if I’m forced to do something I’ll probably stop doing it the moment the force, or threat, is removed. However, if I do something of my own free will I’m likely to continue in that behavior, especially if I enjoy some benefits.

Dale Carnegie also understood that people want to exercise their right to choose and that’s why he encouraged readers to arouse in the other person an eager want. It’s usually fun and enjoyable to do things when we want to do them but quite often people don’t want to do what’s asked of them. So how do you make someone want to do the thing you’re asking of them? A few thoughts come to mind.

In sales we jokingly say everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM. That stands for “What’s In It For Me” and it’s where everyone’s attention is tuned in almost continually. Let’s face it, first and foremost people think about how they will be impacted by things. I once heard a psychologist build on the WIIFM concept by adding everyone’s favorite song to the mix, a derivation of Willy Nelson’s classic, “You were Always on My Mind.” Paula Butterfield, addressing a leadership group at Franklin University several years ago said people’s favorite song was, “I was Always on My Mind.” Every person you meet is thinking, “How will this affect me?” That means you have to think about how to put things in terms that will appeal to them.

Understanding the other person and what they want, hope for, desire – what motivates them – is key. While this seems simple, how many times have you seen people try to motivate others in ways that motivate themselves? It’s not about YOU, it’s about them. If making more money is your thing that’s not necessarily someone else’s carrot. The same could be said for title or position. Not everyone wants to be a VP, company owner, head coach or some other highly visible position. For some people that motivation is easily seen and tapped into but when it comes to others you have to pay close attention. What do people talk about? What do you observe in their office or home? For some people the motivation is a sense of belonging, knowing they’re making a difference, family, hobbies, etc.

Once you know what that motivation is, your next step is to align your request with it somehow. This is the concept of consistency; the principle that says people are likely to act in ways that are consistent with what they’ve said or done in the past. If another person sees how what you’re asking ties into what’s most important to them then they’re likely to tackle it with more enthusiasm and more likely follow through. That’s the principle of consistency at work. For example, many kids don’t enjoy the work that comes along with college but they might have career aspirations. Tying in how coursework or grades might help them realize their dreams will make them a little more eager to do well.

Sometimes making something seem special, something not many people can have, or do, is what does the trick. This taps into scarcity, the principle of influence that tells us people are motivated to action when they fear losing an opportunity. This isn’t new to the human condition. Mark Twain wrote of Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, “He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it – namely, in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” This came about because Tom didn’t want to paint a fence. He convinced the other kids to do it when he made it seem special. All of a sudden they all wanted to do it.

So we’ve now covered three fundamental techniques for handling people:

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

In the weeks to come we’ll explore Dale Carnegie’s six ideas to get people to like you. In the meantime, I’ve love to hear your thoughts about arousing an eager want in another person so feel free to leave a comment below.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

Give Honest, Sincere Appreciation

Last week we looked at some simple advice from Dale Carnegie; avoid criticism, condemnation and complaining. That could be shortened to “Bite your lip” or “Shut your mouth.” This week we move on to Carnegie’s next fundamental technique for handling people — give honest, sincere appreciation. This is one simple way to tap into the principle of influence known as liking.

So the call is to express appreciation, a grateful recognition for something, with two caveats – the expression needs to be true and it should be genuine. While flattery does endear people to the flatterer…even when they know it is flattery…because this blog is about ethical influence being honest and sincere in your praise is a must. Flattery is disingenuous, whereas appreciation is real.

Who doesn’t like to be recognized in a positive way? I know I like to hear, “Well done,” and I bet you do too. I think we all want that. I’m of the opinion that the person who gruffly says, “I don’t need a pat on the back to know I’m doing a good job,” needs it more than anyone! I make that assertion because they probably never get praise and their reaction is a self-defense mechanism. It would stink to acknowledge you want praise but never get it.

So remember to give honest, sincere appreciation when appropriate. This benefits you too, because if you look for something genuine to compliment someone about, you tend to change your own thinking about that person. If you don’t particularly like someone but consistently make the effort to look for, and point out, good qualities they have, eventually you’ll find yourself thinking, “They’re not so bad after all.”

Here’s the really cool thing — if you keep it up long enough you might actually start to like them! That’s right; you will actually come to like them. After all, how can you not like someone you consistently find praiseworthy?

What naturally follows is they start to like you in return because they can tell you genuinely like them. Believe me, it’s much easier to persuade people to your way of thinking when you like them and they like you.

Wouldn’t it be great if every person you interact with tomorrow you actually like? Sure it would. While that might not happen 100% of the time it can occur a lot more than it’s happening right now but it’s up to you. If you take this advice and nothing else happens other than you come to like people more, even those who seem unlikable, then you’ll have better days.

Since this post is about honest, sincere appreciation I’ll put that advice into practice by taking time to express gratitude to people who’ve influenced me when it comes to this blog.

First let me start with those of you who read this each week. It amazes me that people in nearly 50 countries have taken time to read what I write each week. That excites me!If it were not for a coworker, James Seay, I never would have ventured into the online world. I took a personal branding class from James and he talked about the need for an online presence. He got me going on Facebook and LinkedIn. He’s also given me really good blogging advice. Click here to learn more about James.

Next is a man named George Black. I probably never would have started this blog had it not been for a conversation I was having with George about social media. Give him a follow on Twitter @GeorgeBlack because he’s a good man.

Mike Figliuolo, founder of thoughtLEADERS, gives me great ideas every time we have lunch together. Mike’s a smart, funny, insightful guy. We’ll be swapping blog posts so you’ll see more of him in the months to come. In fact, he will be the feature article next week. You can also follow him on Twitter @Figliuolo.

Thanks to my high school buddy Michael Franzese who’s given me some very cool drawings for this blog, like the one above. Take a look at his blog, Franzeseinklings, to see more cool pictures as well as his funny, interesting insights on life.

Debbie Conkel is a lady I’ve worked work with for many years. Debbie has proofread my work for more than 15 years and graciously proofreads every one of these posts on her own time. If you like my writing style Debbie has a lot to do with it. If you don’t like my style then it’s probably the parts where I didn’t take her advice.

Last but not least, I have to thank my wife, Jane, and daughter, Abigail, because they give me so much great content to write about and just roll with it. When I published the article on Reverse Psychology and the Vacation Bathing Suit Jane wasn’t thrilled. In fact, she emailed me to say, “You MIGHT want to ask my permission before writing a story about me. No girl wants her picture in a bathing suit on the Internet.” My response, “I’m just glad you’re a reader!” Really, I was just happy she was reading. Now she reads my posts every week…just in case.

As for Abigail, she hasn’t read many yet, too boring for a 13 year-old, so I can pretty much write what I want about her. You’ll learn all about raising a teenager in the years to come as I test all these psychological principles in the real world!

With all sincerity to any and all reading this week, thank you! I would only ask one thing before I leave you – would share this blog with a few other people? I’d love to write an article someday telling you people in 100 countries are readers.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain

Last week I introduced Dale Carnegie’s tips from How to Win Friends and Influence People in conjunction with Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink as a way to help you be more influential. The more I thought about that post the more I came to the conclusion it might be good to start digging even further into Carnegie’s advice because it’s timeless wisdom about how to influence people.

Did you know How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published way back in 1935? Believe it or not, it’s sold more than 15 million copies! The fact that nearly 75 years later you can still find How to Win Friends and Influence People in bookstores is a testament to this truth: people know Dale Carnegie’s advice works!

Carnegie didn’t have social scientist or behavioral economists to test his hypotheses. Instead he observed what the influential people of his day were doing and reflected on hi
s own successes when compiling his thoughts.

He started by encouraging readers regarding three fundamental techniques everyone should remember when dealing with people:

  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Give honest, sincere appreciation.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want

First up for our consideration is “don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” This should be obvious for one reason – nobody likes to be around anyone who is constantly criticizing them or complaining about their behavior. Okay, so you’re sick and tired that your boss, spouse, kid, employee or someone else won’t change. I’ll bet a light bulb didn’t just come on and you thought, “Perhaps if I nag enough that will do the trick.” No, in most cases if people were honest they’d admit the “advice” they’ve been giving ranges from subtle jabs to flat out complaining. People say, “You never…” or “You always…” as if saying it louder or repeating it more will bring about the change they want to see.

Newsflash: Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working then perhaps it’s time to try something different…unless nagging is your way of releasing frustration.

On a more subtle level, we often fail to remember everyone has reasons (even if we think they’re poor ones) for doing what they do. Kids will justify cheating in school because everyone is doing it. Thieves will tell you they steal because they can’t get a job or life has been unfair to them. Famous people cave into all kinds of temptation because, “You don’t know what it’s like to have all this pressure.” I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. Right or wrong, everyone has reasons for doing what they do.

Here’s another newsflash: We are emotional beings, not logical, rational creatures. The vast majority of people act on emotion then try to justify their actions with some amount of logic. Salesman and marketers figured this out a long time ago. If you want to see great examples of “rational” people acting irrationally pick up Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational.

So here’s what Dale Carnegie realized – if we “attack” people by criticizing them or complaining about their behavior they’ll only dig in their heels and justify why they’ve done something. It’s like having two people stand face-to-face with their hands pressed against one another. As soon as one person applies a little pressure the other person automatically does so too. The result; the hands are in a state of equilibrium and remain in the same spot.

Now apply that concept to the person you’ve been complaining about, criticizing or condemning. They’ve probably applied equal and opposite pressure and have remained the same. In the end we sabotage ourselves because our own behavior only makes it harder to persuade them to bring about lasting change.

What’s the answer? Dale Carnegie’s already told us, “Stop criticizing, condemning and complaining!” You protest, “But then they’ll never change!” That might be true but at least you won’t have wasted your breath and frustrated yourself in the process. And remember, we’re going to be looking at nearly three dozen other ideas, including nine ways to encourage people to change without giving offense so hang in with me and look for another post next Monday.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

Blink to Win Friends and Influence People

How can you become more influential in the blink of an eye? This week I’m going to show you how can you use a concept from Malcolm Gladwell’s best selling book Blink in conjunction with Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People to become a more persuasive person. And the best part is this; it’s so simple it will take no more than 10 seconds a day!

In Blink Gladwell discusses a psychological concept known as “priming.” He cites several studies that clearly show people’s behavior can be influenced by mere exposure to words, even though they are totally unaware of it. I encourage you to pick up the book and read for yourself how NYU students became more, or less, patient depending on certain words they saw. Or perhaps you’ll be more interested to read about people acting older just because they read a few words associated with the elderly.
One other fascinating study showed people were smarter by focusing on smart things immediately prior to playing the game Trivial Pursuit.

So here’s how I’ve used Blink in conjunction with How to Win Friends and Influence People to be more persuasive. In order to be persuasive you have to put into action what you know. Unfortunately we forget a lot of the cool stuff we learn. Although I read and study a lot because I teach a variety of sales courses, I have to admit, my memory is not the greatest. Even though I’ve taught Dale Carnegie’s material dozens and dozens of times I could not recite all of his tips from memory. To overcome this I’ve taken his tips and dropped them into a recurring task in Microsoft Outlook so now, every morning when I log on at work, the task opens automatically and I’m exposed to Dale Carnegie ideas. I don’t read all of them each day — remember, I said just 10 seconds — I just take them like a vitamin, one a day.

Whatever day of the month it is, I simply read the tip for that particular day. For example, if it’s the 16th of the month I scroll down and read, “Let the other person feel the idea is theirs.” While I may not have all 30 tips committed to memory I know because of priming that mere exposure to Carnegie’s sound advice will positively impact my behavior. Over time it starts to become second nature to to avoid arguments, focus on people’s names, dramatize ideas, etc. In essence I’m doing it without even thinking about it.

Below are Dale Carnegie’s tips and to the right you’ll see how some correspond to Dr. Cialdini’s principles of influence. I encourage you to copy the list and put it somewhere that will allow you to see it daily. Do so and you too can become more influential…in the blink of an eye.

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

Six Ways to Make People Like You
4 Become genuinely interested in other people. Liking
5 Smile. Reciprocation
6 Remember their name. Liking
7 Be a good listener & encourage others to talk about themselves. Liking
8 Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. Liking
9 Make the other person feel important. Liking

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

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

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

When You’re Wrong, Admit it Quickly and Emphatically

“When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.” If that sounds familiar it’s becau
se it’s advice that been around since 1935, the year Dale Carnegie published How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie observed the lives of successful people during his day and looked at what worked for him when he wrote that classic book. I call it a classic because so many books come and go but you can still find How to Win Friends and Influence People at any bookstore today, more than 70 years after it first came out! I highly recommend it.

The reason I chose this topic this week is twofold. First, admitting when you’re wrong shows weakness and vulnerability. Contrary to popular opinion, admitting weakness can actually help enhance your authority. The principle of authority tells us people typically look to those with superior knowledge when making decisions. If you want to be persuasive you need to establish your authority so people will listen to you. Authority is established by conveying expertise and credibility. You’re seen as more credible when you show your humanity, that you make mistakes and are honest enough to own up to them.

Dale Carnegie didn’t have social science experiments to fall back on when he told people to own up to their faults quickly but what that advice did was tap into the principle of authority. That’s why owning up to mistakes can be so powerful.

The other reason for this topic at this time is because of a mistake I recently made. I was working with my boss to send an email to some insurance agency owners. They were personalized with the name of each agency owner and agency name on each email. Without getting into technical detail, we used Microsoft Word and the “track changes” feature was left on. Every email went out with the correct name…and the incorrect name crossed out right next to it! Needless to say, as the one with the “technical expertise” on the project I was shocked. My boss was none too happy either since the email went out under his name.

We did the only thing we could; we got a note of apology out immediately. The email that followed said we were trying to add a personal touch to the original email and then acknowledge our mistake. While there were a few snippy replies to our original email with the error, we were flooded with replies to the second email…all positive!

I really believe in this day and age, when so many prominent people fail to simply admit their mistakes, these agents found it refreshing that someone finally admitted to a blunder. One agent told my boss he ought to run for public office.

Think about this for a moment; what if Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) had admitted to Katie Couric during that now famous interview that he indeed had taken steroids? I believe baseball fans
would have said, “Finally, someone who doesn’t have to get caught, go before Congress or have a scandal to force the truth.” Had he done that, I believe A-Rod would have been put on a pedestal and admired as an example of how to handle yourself once you’ve blown it and you know you have. An admission followed up by hard work in an effort to restore his name would not have left him as tainted as he is today.

I’m not saying you can always come up smelling like roses but you probably are far better off than waiting to get caught. On a personal note I’ve seen this to be the case on many occasions. I remember one occassion in particular where I could have treated a store Wal-Mart manager better than I did. While I never said or did anything I was ashamed of, I let my anger at the situation, which was out of his control, show and I’m sure it made for a bad evening for him.

I called him a couple of days later and apologized for how I acted. His first response was, “You didn’t act bad compared to other customers.” I told him that may be true but it still wasn’t the way I know I should have acted. His response was great, “You just made my day. No, you made my week. If you ever need anything you just ask for me by name.”

I could have blown that off but then his day, his week, would not have been as bright. It also made my day and taught me a valuable lesson. That lesson has been passed on to my daughter (she was with me when I got mad), to many people I’ve taught and now it’s been passed on to you. So, next time you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically!

Teaching You to Hear “Yes!”

Why Influence is all about PEOPLE

In my first post I shared my perspective that Influence is all about PEOPLE. I say that because we don’t try to persuade things. Dale Carnegie had it right when he wrote, “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you’re in business.” When it comes to PEOPLE I encourage you to think about the about:

Opportunities to
Persuade that are
Lasting and

Let’s examine the PEOPLE perspective in more detail today.

Powerful: Who says influence is powerful? Take a look at what a few well known people from history had to say about persuasion.

“Persuasion is often more effective than force.” Aesop
“If I can persuade, I can move the universe.” Frederick Douglass
“Persuasion is the art of getting people to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.” Aristotle

In addition to those intelligent people, today we have more than 60 years of social science, including Dr. Robert Cialdini’s research, to tangibly prove just how powerful persuasion can be.

Everyday: Unless you’re Tom Hanks in Castaway you interact with people every single day. Quite often in your communication with others you make requests hoping to hear “Yes!” Nobody goes it alone, especially the highly successful. Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO said, “Nearly everything I’ve done in my life has been accomplished through other people.”

Here’s something I love about persuasion; what you’ll learn applies at work with your boss, direct reports, coworkers, vendors and customers. And, it applies equally well at home because influence helps with your parents, significant other, children, neighbors and anyone else you come in contact with.

Opportunities: In virtually every communication you have there will be opportunities for you to do seemingly little things just a bit different and reap big rewards. For example, wouldn’t you be interested to find out what the Cancer Society did to increase their volunteer rate 700% in one area of town or how Easter Seals doubled the number of donors?

Lasting: Sometimes your interaction with another person is “one and done” but quite often it’s an ongoing relationship. In those relationships you don’t want to go back to the drawing board time after time. No, you want to have communications that change people’s thinking and behavior for the long haul.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower understood the power of persuasion to create a lasting effect when he said, “I would rather persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.”

Ethical: According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary one definition of manipulate is, “to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner” which isn’t so bad and yet another is, “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.”

Manipulation – the word makes most of us bristle because it connotes taking advantage of another person. I’m confident in writing this next statement – no one likes to be manipulated. I’m reasonably certain the vast majority of people don’t want to be known as manipulators either.

Think about the following quote from The Art of WOO by Richard Shell & Mario Moussa, “An earnest and sincere lover buys flowers and candy for the object of his affections. So does the cad who succeeds to take advantage of another’s heart. But when the cad succeeds, we don’t blame the flowers and candy. We rightly question his character.”

What you will learn about influence and persuasion is powerful stuff and in the wrong hands it can lead to taking advantage of others. But the people who would do that would also try to manipulate others apart for learning persuasion techniques. I’m going to help you see it can be done right, allowing you to keep your self-esteem in tact and your head held high.

I appreciate you taking another step on this journey with me. As always, I welcome your feedback.

Brian, CMCT 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.