Influencers from Around the World – How to Persuade Yourself to Re-set Your Priorities in Life

Hoh Kim has been a guest blogger for Influence PEOPLE since I began the Influencers from Around the World series seven years ago. Hoh and I became friends when we went through the Cialdini certification training together.

Hoh has his Ph.D. in Culture Technology from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; his dissertation title was “Psychological and neural influences of public apology on audience responses in corporate crisis situations.” I know you’ll enjoy his post that reflects on life and death.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


How to Persuade Yourself to Re-set Your Priorities in Life

Death has power. Even thinking about death influences our emotions. What power will it have for you? Thinking about my own death makes me to reflect my life. Yes, my life as a whole, not just the career success or marriage or kids, my whole life as a “grand picture.”

If you reflect from the future and look back on your life as a whole it will let you know what your priorities should be. Think about it for a moment; if I die at the end of this year my colleagues will not be a priority but my closest friends and family will be. If I die in the next year a promotion will not be my priority but spending more time with my loved ones, traveling, or happy times in the my home will be. If I die in three years, networking dinners or cocktail parties will not be my priorities but learning carpenter skills, which I’ve wanted to do for many years, will be. But I didn’t take action…

Of course, I don’t mean you have to quit your job right away and travel around the world with your friends and family starting tomorrow. Thinking about my death expands my viewpoint on life as a whole because I look at the big pictures and priorities.

There is a tool that can help you to think about your death: Obituary written by yourself before you die (here, “before” could mean from one year before to 40+ years before).

Visit your preferred news website and find your preferred people who already passed away. Read their obituaries and try to write your own one. You may already read the story. Some people actually wrote their obituaries before they die.

I have a draft and sometimes I revise it. It helps me to think about my life as a whole and set my priorities. Even you can ask trusted friends and loved ones to write your obituary from their perspectives.

What is it to do with the persuasion? Writing your own obituary and thinking about your death in the future will persuade you to reset your current life priorities. Your death has a real power because thinking about death makes us think about life.

HohHoh Kim, Ph.D.
Founder, Head Coach & Lead
Facilitator, THE LAB h

Influencers from Around the World – Paradox of “The Bridge of Life”

Hoh Kim has been a guest blogger for Influence PEOPLE since I began the Influencers from Around the World series more than five years ago. I met Hoh when we went through the Cialdini certification training together. At the time Hoh had his MA but it’s with great pleasure I can now say Hoh now has his doctorate, as well! Hoh received his Ph.D. in

Culture Technology from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; his dissertation title was “Psychological and neural influences of public apology on audience responses in corporate crisis situations.” I know you’ll enjoy his post on the paradox of “the bridge of life.”

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


Paradox of “The Bridge of Life”

On September 1, 2015, Seoul city metropolitan government announced that they would discontinue “The Bridge of Life” which was established in August 2012 by cooperation between Seoul city metropolitan government and Samsung Life Insurance. Cheil Communication, the largest advertising agency in Korea, a subsidiary firm of Samsung Group, developed the idea. The idea and project received positive spotlights from both local and international media. “The bridge of life” received more than 30 international awards including Titanium Lion winner at Cannes Lions and Clio Awards in 2013.

What is the bridge of life? It is an interactive storytelling bridge and as you walk across the bridge, the bridge talks to you. Click here to watch a short video.

For your information, Korea has unfortunately been the number one country among OECD (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) in terms of the number of suicides for more than a decade.

Mapo Bridge is one of the 31 bridges crossing Han River in Seoul, and it has a notorious nickname — “the bridge for suicide” — as more people tried suicide on this bridge than any other in Seoul. That’s why city government made the bridge of life. What were the results? In 2012, 15 people “tried” suicide on the Mapo Bridge. Then, “the bridge of life” was established. Surprisingly 93 people “tried” suicide on the bridge. There is an argument. In 2012, 60% of the people who “tried” suicide on the Mapo Bridge were saved, but in 2013, 94.6% (85 out of 93) was saved from the suicide attempts. In 2014, 184 people “tried” suicide on the bridge (I don’t have the number of people who survived in that year). Regardless, the survival rate, it was clear that many more people tried suicide in “the bridge of life.”

What was the problem? A possible explanation can come from “side effects” of social proof principle. When Dr. Cialdini explained the principle of social proof – i.e., people follow the lead of many/similar others – he warned to be careful not to use it with negative information. Even though I have lived in Seoul for more than 40 years, I came to know the fact that more people tried suicide on the Mapo Bridge than any other bridge in Seoul through the “Bridge of Life” campaign. I think the side effect of social proof influenced the surge of suicide trials on the bridge. However, to be honest, when I first heard about the campaign around 2013 from TV News, I thought the idea of the bridge was fascinating, and could not predict the side effect of the social proof principle.

What are the lessons out of it? Two things. First, when we design a campaign, we have to look at closely at whether there are any side effects of the campaign. How can we do that? The “red team” from the American soap opera “Newsroom” might help. Red team is a sort of Devil’s advocate. Red team intentionally attacks an idea so that we can cross check whether there is any downside of a project.

Second, the Bridge of Life project was a persuasion project where the campaign tried to influence to reduce actual suicide and suicide attempts. When there is any persuasion project, the best reference would be six principles of influence by Dr. Cialdini as he reviewed influence psychology of more than 60 years and found six universal principles.

By applying and checking against the principles, you can create a better persuasion campaign and avoid any pitfall of the campaign. When I first heard about the Bridge of Life, I should have carefully thought about the campaign against the principles, both their applications and side effects.

Hoh Kim, Ph.D.
Founder, Head Coach & Lead
Facilitator, THE LAB h


Influencers from Around the World – “Tiny Habits” and Principle of Consistency

The April “Influencers from Around the World”
post comes to us from Seoul, South Korea, thanks to my good friend Hoh Kim. Hoh
and I earned our Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® designations together in
2008. Hoh is an incredibly intelligent individual and an expert when it comes to
ethical influence. I encourage you to check out his website, The
Lab h
and his blog, Cool Communications. Hoh is also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so reach out to connect with him.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

“Tiny Habits” and Principle of Consistency
Many of you may have heard about a recent
bestseller, The small Big, by Steve
Martin, Noah Goldstein, and Robert Cialdini. I recently co-translated this book
into Korean language and it is now in Korean bookstores too. Big differences
influencing others can come about from small changes. The “small big” principle
also applies when I want to create a new habit. Recently, I participated in a
program called “Tiny Habits for Work” by Liz Guthridge. Liz uses “tiny
habit” methods created by Dr. B.J. Fogg. The program was interesting and
quite useful. Let me introduce what I learned from the program about “tiny
habits” as it may be quite useful for you too.
When a new year starts, we normally think
about creating a new habit such as to stop smoking, eat less, exercise more,
read more, etc. Normally, in the first week of January, our motivation to try
new things is quite high, but then doesn’t last long. Probably, by the end of
January, we return to “normal state.” Motivation is not reliable, and you
should not try things based solely on your motivation. So what we have to try are
“tiny habits.” According to the handout of the program, tiny habit
can be defined as follows: 1) you do at least once a day; 2) that takes you
less than 30 seconds; 3) that requires little effort.
Then, there is a recipe for tiny habits. You
need to combine “anchor” behavior (which you already established and do every
day) and new “tiny habits.” Liz recommended I come up with three tiny habits,
and here they are:
— AFTER my feet touch the floor, I will state
my one big intention for the day.
— AFTER I hang up the phone, I will take
three deep breaths.
— AFTER I lay down at night, I will think of
one thing about work for which I’m grateful.
Do you get the idea? You link new “tiny habits”
to behaviors you naturally do every day. Some of the other examples given were,
“After I get in the car, I will think of one thing I can do differently and
better at work today” and “After I walk through the office door, I will smile
at the first person I see.”
Among the three tiny habits, the second tiny
habit didn’t work well. I kept forgetting it. So, Liz shared an explanation with
me. As I would take too many calls, it might be hard to do every time. That being
the case, we looked to see if I could change to something I do once a day such
as “AFTER I return to office from a lunch time…”
While participating in this program, I thought
about the principle of consistency. When influencing
others, it often is useful to leverage small commitment. The tiny habit method
is also in line with the “foot-in-the-door” technique. You start small (tiny
habit), and if you can do the tiny habit continuously then you can move to a
bigger habit.
We are already into April so perhaps it is
good time to reflect our New Year’s resolutions. If there’s something that didn’t
work out as planned, perhaps you might be interested in trying the tiny habit.
By the way, among the six principles of influence, the principle of consistency
has an important difference from other five principles. It is about
Hoh Kim
Founder, Head Coach & Lead Facilitator,
Address: THE LAB h, 15F. Kyobo Bldg. Jongno 1,
Jongno, Seoul 110-714, Korea
Phone: 82-2-2010-8828


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,

Influencers from Around the World – You Think You Don’t Have Authority? You’re Wrong!

Our “Influencers from Around the World” post
this month is courtesy of Hoh Kim. Hoh has been guest writing for so long I’m
hard pressed to tell you something that hasn’t been said before so I’ll tell
you this – I am very thankful I met him in January 2008 when we trained
together under Robert Cialdini. Hoh and I have remained friends ever since and
I’ve enjoyed our communication and getting to know each other even more. I
encourage you to visit his website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool
. You’ll also find Hoh on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

You Think You Don’t Have Authority? You’re Wrong?
Do you ever find yourself thinking you don’t
have any authority because you’re not the boss, a C-suite executive, a celebrity
or something else like that? I’m here to tell you that you do have some
1. Let me ask you this question first. Do you
have experiences? Of course you have experiences. If you have experiences then
you must have some expertise. Seth Godin, one of the world’s most respected
marketing experts said, “Everyone’s an expert (at something).”
So ask yourself, in what area do you have
better, deeper and more experience? One good way to find your expertise is to
write an “experience resume.” A typical resume will show you where you worked,
which school you attended and what jobs you’ve held. An experience resume lists
experiences, maybe up to fifty, you’ve had during your lifetime. It could contain
trips, work, cooking, art, baby-sitting, reading, etc. You will find your
expertise from the list by looking for patterns in the experiences or through
connecting the dots among experiences.
Here is a personal example; I like to teach
and I like communication consulting in business as opposed to working as a full
time teacher in a school or university. By combining those two I became a business
coach. Also, I enjoy workshop facilitation and I like LEGOs so I learned LEGO
Serious Play, a method of using LEGOs for business strategy development. Now
LEGOs are one of the major teaching methods I use during my workshops.
2. Once you identify your expertise you need
to consider what evidence or symbols give other people proof of your expertise.
Without having some evidence your expertise will not be perceived as such by
your customers.
Questions to be asked include: a) What
advanced education or certification have you earned in your area of expertise? b) What awards or recognition have you earned? c) Have you written articles,
books or contributed to other publications in your area of expertise?
Don’t worry if you do not have enough evidence
to support your authority yet. That means it should be part of your plan to
obtain that evidence moving forward. Someone might say, “I don’t need evidence!”
Perhaps. After all, neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates graduated from college. However,
most of us are not Steve Jobs or Bill Gates! They now have tremendous evidence based
on their amazing business results and great product innovations. That is the
evidence to support the fact that each is a respected authority. Each of us has
to have some evidence if we want to be recognized as experts in certain areas.
3. Lastly, to build your authority you need to
have E3 = Experiences, Expertise and Evidences. If you’re a manager
here is one more very important tip. One of the key roles for managers is to
help build their team member’s authority. Ask the above questions to your
members and help them to identify their personal authority. If they need more
evidence to support their authority you can come up with a plan to help them,
including training or a project assignment. If you’re good at this you will be
a successful manager.
Here’s the bottom line – Authority is waiting
for you to use! It just needs to be discovered then developed.
Today’s column is based on my recent webinar “The
Cialdini’s Influence Series for Managers.” In that webinar I talked about the
principle of authority and while preparing I received help from two people with
many experiences – Bobette Gorden of Influence At Work and Brian Ahearn.
Hoh Kim, CMCT® 
Founder, Head Coach & Lead Facilitator,

A Good Way to Spend a day in November


This month’s guest post comes from South Korea’s
Hoh Kim. I met Hoh in early 2008 when we went through the Cialdini Method
Certified Trainer® training week together. In addition to his CMCT® Hoh
also has his masters in communication from Marquette University. Find out more
about Hoh by visiting his website, TheLab h, and his blog, Cool Communications.
I encourage you to reach out to him on LinkedIn, Facebook
and Twitter.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
A good way to spend a day in November
In December 2012, the Harvard Business Review published an interesting article titled “Your
Company’s History as a Leadership Tool,” by John T. Seaman Jr. and George David
Smith. In the article, there was a story about how Kraft Foods successfully
managed “fierce resistance to the acquisition” from Cadbury’s, a British
Many employees of Cadbury worried about the
loss of their long and valuable tradition. First of all, Kraft Foods respected
the tradition of Cadbury, and started to look for what they had in common. Their
research uncovered “similarities” in both companies in terms of their quality
tradition, founding spirit of giving back to the communities, brand history,
etc. They kept promoting the similarities via a new intranet they called “Coming
Together.” They also used training sessions, speeches, press releases, and so
on, and it proved quite effective in reducing the fear from Cadbury employees.
Earlier this year, I attended a presentation
workshop in San Francisco. There was a slide indicating the 12 most persuasive
words in the English language. 11 persuasive words from the number two through 12 were: Money, Save, New, Results, Health, Easy, Safety, Love, Discover, Proven,
and Guarantee. What would be the number one? It was YOU.
The word YOU as the most persuasive word gives
us pretty good insight and the Kraft Food case shows the lesson in action. Kraft
first respected the Cadbury’s tradition (YOU), and started to find what the two
companies had in common which allowed them to start to building trust based on
similarities – the principle of liking.
If Kraft Foods simply focused on its agenda
without thinking much about Cadbury’s tradition and concerns, the results surely
would have been different. Stewart Diamond, author of Getting More, and a negotiation expert from the Wharton School of Business
at the University of Pennsylvania, says the other party at the negotiation
table is the most important party, then
comes you or me.
Another way to describe the importance of the
other person comes from one of my favorite quotes from John C. Maxwell, “People
don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Let me change
this quote a bit to a persuasion context – “People will not be influenced by
you until they know how much you care about them.”
One of my friends who just joined a new firm asked
me how he can increase his influential power within the company for years to
come. As a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer®, my answer was simple – “Do not focus on you.
Focus on others. The best way you can increase your long-term influence is to
help others whenever it is possible and as much as possible. When someone asks
you to help, that’s an opportunity to increase your influential power. Help
them. They will reciprocate sooner or later.”
As we approach year-end, here’s a way you can
apply the lesson during November. Fix a day in November when you don’t have any
appointments. Here’s what you need: 1) your calendar, whether it is a Google
calendar or your diary, showing your schedule in 2013; 2) 20-30 thank you cards
or nice blank paper; 3) your contact list. Review your schedule from January through
October 2013 and list the top 20-30 people you want to thank. Write a brief,
authentic letter to each and try to include a short story that shows why you’re
truly thankful for each person. Show them that you sincerely care about them.
That will make them feel nice and warm and they will again support and help you
whenever they can moving forward.
Of course, what’s more important is this:
Every day or every week, even for five minutes, whenever you find someone you
can truly help, approach them and help them. You might not get back the direct
benefit of reciprocity, but, some of them will help others as they received
help from you. That will make a world better place to live. Click here to watch a short
video that exemplifies this.
Hoh Kim
Founder, Head Coach & Lead Facilitator,
Address: THE LAB h, 15F. Kyobo Bldg. Jongno 1,
Seoul 110-714, Korea
Phone: 82-2-2010-8828


Influencers from Around the World – An Accountability Partner Can Help Your Life

Readers of Influence PEOPLE know Hoh Kim
because of his guest posts to the Influencers from Around the World series over
the years. Hoh is also a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® (CMCT®) and I actually met him when we trained together under Dr.
Cialdini. In addition to his CMCT® Hoh has his masters in communication from
Marquette University. I encourage you learn more about Hoh by visiting his
website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool Communications. You can also connect
with Hoh on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Brian, CMCT® 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
An Accountability Partner Can Help Your Life
Places to See Before You Die
by Patricia Schultz is one of my favorite
books. It has been the ultimate travel guide for me for many years. What are
your “100 things to-do before you die” or perhaps more appropriately, “100
things to-do while you live”? If you need a reference, check the book 2 Do Before I Die: The Do-It-Yourself Guide
to the Rest of Your Life
by Michael Ogden and Chris Day. On your to-do list
could be driving from Boston to Seattle, quitting your job and opening a
restaurant, or countless other things.
Do you have a “10 things to do every day”
list? It’s easy! Here’s my example:
1. 30-minutes of exercise.
2. 30-minutes reading a classic book.
3. Help my wife.
4. Help one person outside of my home.
5. Plan for the next day.
6. Control my eating.
7. Not allow myself to be interrupted by SNS
or my blackberry too much.
8. Focus one important thing for the day.
9. Not hurt someone by saying something bad or
10. Praise someone
You’ve probably heard of this kind of list
from friends or seen it in movies like “The Bucket List” with Jack
Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Having your “lifetime 100 to-do list” can help
you live a more full life and your “daily 10 to-do list” can help you day by
day. But, having lists is not enough. You need one more thing if you really
want to achieve something on your daily life and lifetime – an accountability
Here is an example of what an accountability
partner means. Everyday at 10 pm I have a five-minute phone call with one of my
friends. The call is simple. We ask each other about the “daily to-do list” we’ve
shared beforehand and simply tell each other whether we fulfilled our 10 items
or not. In this case, the friend becomes your accountability partner.
I got this idea from an article where Marshall
Goldsmith, one of the best leadership coaches in the world, was interviewed.
The term “accountability partner” came to my attention in the article, which was written by
Natalie Houston.
Dr. Cialdini had said many times, “People need
to publicly commit in order to leverage the principle of consistency.” This can happen when trying to persuade
others and when persuading yourself. To better persuade yourself to do
something, you need to commit to that something publicly, and having an
accountability partner is an excellent way to do that.
So, why don’t you grab a pencil and notebook,
and start to develop your top 10 things you must do every day. Next, find your
accountability partner and commit to check-in with each other. It may sound
simple but, if you DO it daily, you will improve your life and experience more
happiness and joy.
Hoh Kim, CMCT®
Founder & Head Coach, THE LAB h

Influencers from Around the World – I Can vs I Did

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

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

I Can vs. I Did 

are the key differences between more influential people and less influential

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

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

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

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


Influencers from Around the World – Where Do You Focus: Problems or Successes?

If you’ve followed Influence PEOPLE for any length of time then Hoh Kim should be
a familiar name to you because of his contributions to the Influencers from
Around the World series. Like me, Hoh is a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT). In addition to that prestigious certification, Hoh also has his masters
in intercultural communication from Marquette University. You can learn more
about Hoh by checking out his website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool
. I encourage you reach out to Hoh on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter
Brian, CMCT 
Helping You
Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Where Do You Focus: Problems or Successes?

In my last guest article I posed a question to
readers about what they would do in a particular situation. This time I’d like to do a follow up of sorts, only
in a slightly different context which I will elaborate on.
Many people make mistakes by highlighting negative social proof, rather than the positive ones. This is not only a phenomenon in surveys
but everywhere. I am sure you are very familiar with a general business term, “problem
solving.” Yes, we all want to solve problems and in order to solve “problems”
we should identify and analyze in depth what the problem really is because most
of us think we can solve problems once we know what the problem is.
Is that true? Not always. Maybe it is true for medical
doctors when treating patients’ diseases, and perhaps for engineers when fixing
a machine’s problem but what about problems in human beings and organizations?
Recently I attended the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) workshop
and heard a real story. Once, an organization had a “problem” – only 79% of
their customers were satisfied with their service. So the company did some
research to figure out what the problems were for the 21% of non-satisfied
customers. They found it and announced it to the organization. What happened?
Executives and employees started to blame others for the problems and the
satisfaction rate dropped even further!
The CEO was disappointed so he changed the strategy. He
conducted another study to figure out why 79% of their customers were satisfied. Yes, their success cases.
Next, the company tried to spread the cases within the organization. The result
this time? The satisfaction rate shot up to 95% within eight months!
Chip Heath, from Stanford, and Dan Heath, from the Aspen
Institute, wrote a great book called Switch.
One of the secrets to switch people’s behavior, according the brothers, is to
find ‘bright spots’ rather than focusing on problems. They wrote, “Don’t solve
problems. Copy successes.”
The Heaths quote the late Insoo Kim Berg (1934-2007) who was
a globally known psychotherapist who pioneered the Solution Focused BriefTherapy method. When Kim counseled her clients, she didn’t spend time asking
what their problems were or analyzing them. She simply focused on identifying
solutions. If a kid has the problem of not focusing at all during class she
would approach the child not to find out why she or he acted in that way, but
trying to find the conditions in which they pay attention to the teacher during
the class. Sometimes the child follows one specific teacher well, then, Insoo
Kim Berg would analyze why that was the case. On an interview, Kim Berg said,
“You don’t need to know what the problems are. You just have to know what the
solutions are.” It sounds like a joke but during my recent consulting work I
have applied these “bright spots” concepts and it has worked well. Here’s a
quote from the AI workshop, “If you focus on problems, you will create more
problems. If you focus on successes, then, you will create more successes.”
We work with different bosses, colleagues, staff members,
clients, consultants, etc., and see that some of them focus on bright spots, while
others focus on the “dark spots.” Each side has pros and cons but you will see most
people say things like this, “That’s the problem” or “This is the problem,”
without ever suggesting solutions. It’s true that criticizing problems is easy
and offering solutions can be difficult but I think the real problem are the “people
who always talk about problems only” and fail to offer solutions.

Influencers from Around the World – You’re the Manager – What Would You Do?

Hoh Kim has been contributing to Influence PEOPLE for more than two years. One of only two Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCT) in Asia, Hoh also has a masters in PR/intercultural communication from Marquette University. His website is The Lab h and he also writes a blog called Cool Communications. You can make contact with Hoh on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter

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

the Manager – What Would You Do?

Imagine you are the HR manager of a pharmaceutical company. Last week, your company held a two-day off-site workshop, inviting all 221 employees. You had several busy months leading up to the workshop due to being charged with organizing the event; i.e., selecting the venue, accommodations and food, inviting guest speakers and setting the agenda. Now, it’s over and the HR director, your boss, asked you to email a survey to the employees asking for their feedback. This is important because the survey results will be considered for your upcoming performance review. Your boss said something very important, “As this is internal survey, the response rate should be over 60%. With your encouragement, people will respond.”
So you developed a survey with a dozen questions and sent it Tuesday to all 221 employees. The deadline to wrap up the results is next Tuesday at 10 a.m. Friday morning you checked the online survey system to find out how many employees responded. On the first day, Tuesday morning, as soon as the survey was sent 25 employees responded. Not a bad start. By Tuesday afternoon an additional 14 employees responded.
Wednesday morning only five employees responded and from Wednesday through Friday morning, no one else responded! Only 20% have responded and you have to have an additional 40% to meet your boss’s expectation. You have many things to handle and you know you can have only one follow up email to encourage more participation. How could you write the email?
I have observed similar cases at companies and schools where
employee participation is encouraged via email and then followed up the same way. It is easy to find people who sent emails that read like this, “Last week I emailed employees asking you to participate in a survey and only 20% responded. Would you participate so that we can improve our workshop next year?”
What would Dr. Cialdini do in this case? One of the principles of influence at work is social proof (a.k.a. consensus); people follow the majority. But, Dr. Cialdini warns to be careful with negative social proof. Normally, it’s better not to use social proof in negative situations. Think about it for a moment. People follow the majority and your complaint stating “only 20% have responded” lets people who didn’t respond to the survey know that they are in the majority, not the minority. Employees will not be persuaded to respond when most other coworkers are not responding.
So what should you do? Pick some positive responses – fast, concrete, and constructive ones – and use them in your follow-up email. To test this I did a small experiment a few years back when I facilitated in a customized Principles of Persuasion workshop for a small group of top performing employees in a Korean company. Before the workshop I sent an email survey to learn their interests and concerns about the workshop. As soon as the survey was sent, 23% of the participants responded. Not bad. On the second day there was no response. Third day? None. On the fourth day I realized I had to do something so I wrote another email. The new email said, “As soon as the survey went out, there were people who responded to the survey by providing a very detailed and constructive feedback. I appreciate that. If you have not had a chance to participate yet, please do so by clicking on the link. It is a very short survey!” Of course, I didn’t say, “only 23% responded…” What happened? For the next two days, the response rate tripled, going from 23% to 69%. Not bad at all!

So what’s the point? When using social proof to persuade be careful how you use it because you might unknowingly hurt yourself when you think you’re doing the right thing.