Influencers from Around the World – The Determination of the Illusionist

This month’s Influencers from Around the World article is from Yago de Marta. If you’ve been a reader of Influence PEOPLE for any length of time then you’ve no doubt read some articles by Yago. I know you’ll find his insights on communication and influence thought provoking and challenging. You can find Yago on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Brian, CMCT


Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

The Determination of the IllusionistHave you ever seen an illusionist? Have you wondered how he’s capable of doing so many tricks? How is he capable of influencing the entire theatre? That’s what we are going to discover together in this post. The determination of the illusionist is the most powerful tool of influence aside from his self-esteem. To be determined – to decide to do something and be convinced you’ll succeed – is the key! The tennis player “knows” the ball will be in before he hits it; the poker player “knows” he will win before the game begins; and the surgeon “knows” that everything will turn out well for the patient. The result doesn’t always matter because the most important thing is the will of the practitioner. Let’s imagine together for a moment that we want to convince 200 people to put their arms up in the air. Well, you say, that’s easy because we’ve seen “persuaders” like Norma Barretta and Tony Robbins to do that many times. When they want people to put their arms in the air, they do it first! Okay, that’s a good explanation, but not good enough. We have talked about our product to the crowd. We have explained all its attributes and advantages. We want people to approve the product by putting their arms up. There is no doubt your product is perfect. Can you feel it? Remember my article “Anti-Social Proof” where I said there are always one or more people who don’t like you? No matter what you say, no matter who you are, some people won’t like you, your opinions, or anything related to you. Why? No worries because it doesn’t matter! That’s just the way it is so, accept it right now and move on. The people who don’t like you are like a “fifth column” of the public. Like a virus that inhibits what you display in the stage, these people don’t care what you say and they are your first “wall” so to speak. They are structural, always existing…but you can deal with it! There is another group of people. These are the ones who hear what you say, like what you say, and even care about what you say, but they won’t lift a finger! You know those people? There are a lot of them around. They can’t decide anything because they are passive, always waiting for something else. And they “slow” the movement of the whole crowd. They are the “inertia” of the group that you have to break, the group you have to change. They are your second “wall.” Wow, I have been talking about problems, limitations and “walls,” but how can we “take the castle”? Well, if we do like Norma Barretta, talking about our product and when we ask for approbation, and we put our arms up in the air while we are ordering people to do that, what do you think happens? Yes, about 50% of the public puts up their arms. What about the rest? The rest don’t want to do that, or rather, they don’t know they want to do that. But, as I wrote earlier, the most powerful tool of influence is the determination. So, what can you do? Well, if you want everyone to put their arms up, be determined. Wait. You are supposed to do it and you will do it! Insist, smiling or shouting, but insist. Suddenly, you’ll see that another 30% put their arms in the air because it’s normal. They wanted to see that you really care. They needed to see you believe and that you have a high level of physical activity. Congratulations, because you’ve broken a big part of the second wall. You knew who they were and knew that they needed to be pushed a little. Now, for the rest. If you insist, some of the rest will put their arms up. The group of “convinced” people is growing because social-proof (a.k.a. consensus) is growing every second. You are growing stronger and bigger but you’re still not there. The most important thing is not to give power to the “fifth column” of people. Just reframe the group as resistant but not-yet-convinced. You see? Be calm, I know it’s not easy to resist the “failure” and you can feel it easily. But remember, determination. Determination, determination, determination! And pride. You have to start showing a kind of pride. The fact is there are still people that haven’t been moved but this is a victory. You only see the ones who are convinced. Let’s move them slowly but with energy. Make the not-yet-convinced to feel alone. Remember, you are a type of illusionist and your “trick” always succeeds because you’ve decided what it is! At the end, there are only two or three people still in their chairs. Don’t worry because it’s normal, remember? We are surrounded by modern August Landmessers but it is okay because we understood that beforehand. So, we can predict the result and we get to define success. If you have the determination you’ll move the masses, you will move the crowd. We have an impulse that makes us follow those who know, or makes us believe that they know, where they are going (authority). We have an impulse to move like the other when he moves decidedly (liking). We have an impulse to do what the others do (consensus). We have an impulse to do what the other insist to do (consistency). We have an impulse to continue doing what the other appreciate (reciprocity). And you have the map, you know the rules, and have the determination. Just do it. Just do it. Just do it. Yago de Marta

International Speech and Media training expert

Influencers from Around the World – Influence in the Hell of Auschwitz

With this month’s Influencers from Around the World we get the honor of hearing from my friend Marco Germani again. Marco has written several guest posts for Influence PEOPLE and always has something very interesting to share with us. I know you’ll enjoy Marco’s insights on Influence in the Hell of Auschwitz. I encourage you to reach out to Marco on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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


Nazi death camps during the Second World War were without a doubt among the darkest moments in human history. What happened in those places, reported to us by the few who had the incredible good fortune to survive, is beyond all human logic and any rational understanding. Among the many poignant written evidences of the tragedy of the Holocaust, some can be placed alongside the literary masterpieces of our time. It is the case of the famous book “Se questo è un uomo” (If This Is a Man) by the Italian Primo Levi, which contains a remarkable attempt at a psychological analysis of the dynamics engaged among the prisoners within that scary context. I have read his book many times already and each time it doesn’t fail to touch a chord within me and to engage me in deep reflections about life and human behavior. The last time I read the book, my attention was caught by a short profile of one of Levi’s companions in misfortune, simply referred as Eng. Alfred L.

Levi writes: “L. ran in his country a very important chemical plant and his name was (and is) known in industrial circles throughout Europe. I do not know how he had been arrested, but I know he had entered the prison camp as everyone else did: naked, alone and unknown.”

Although apparently that particular situation presented no way out, L. had decided not to surrender before his time had come and, on the contrary, he implemented a precise strategy to save his life. Levi continues: “…no one had ever heard him complain. Indeed, the few words he let fall were such as to suggest resources to a powerful secret and solid organization. This was confirmed in his appearance. L. was impeccable: the hands and face perfectly clean, he had a rare dedication to wash his shirt every two weeks, without waiting for a change every two months (we note here that washing the shirt means to find the soap, find the time, find the space in crowded laundry; adapt to closely monitor, without taking off his eyes a single moment, the wet shirt and wear it, of course, still wet, at the hour of silence, when the lights go out in custody). L. had obtained essentially the entire appearance of a prominent long before becoming one: since only much later I learned that all this apparent prosperity had been earned by L. with incredible tenacity, paying each individual service and purchase with the bread of his own rations, undergoing additional inflicted hardship.”

The plan of L. was clear; through the principle of authority, he had decided to appear in the eyes of his captors as a powerful person. Someone strong, that would be saved, even if it meant standing for hours with a wet shirt in the snow with 10 C degrees below zero during appeals. Even if it meant giving up the daily ration of bread which each time, pushed only a few steps away death from starvation, for the Auschwitz prisoner. In Levi’s words: “L. knew that between being and becoming powerful the distance is short, and that everywhere, but particularly among the general leveling of the camp, being respectable is the best guarantee of being respected.”

As it usually happens, the disciplined efforts of L. finally paid off: “When Nazi established the Chemical Kommando, L. realized that his hour had come. He needed no more than his clear shirt and his gaunt but shaved face in the middle of the herd of the sordid and the slovenly to convince the Kapo and Arbeitsdienst that he was a truly saved, a prominent potential. So (who has will be given) he was undoubtedly appointed chief engineer at the Kommandos and assumed direction of the Buna lab as an analyst in the Department of Styrene.” In other words, salvation from death by exhaustion from physical work, from exposure, starvation or selections for the gas chambers.

Despite this methodical and disciplined application of the principle of authority, which saved his life, strangely Levi closes the story with words that reveal a degree of moral condemnation to what L. had implemented. “I do not know more of his story, but I think it is very likely that he escaped death, and lives his life now as a cold, firm and joyless ruler,” making it plain to the reader that the plan of L., had contemplated some kind of vile acts toward others convicted, omitted in the description made to us in the book.Marco

Influencers from Around the World – Apologies: The Language of Losers or Leaders?

This month’s article is from Hoh Kim, CMCT. Hoh is one only 27 Cialdini Method Certified Trainers in the world. I wish you all had an opportunity to meet Hoh as I did when we got our CMCT designations together several years ago. He has a wonderful, warm, and engaging personality so I know you’d enjoy spending time with him. Being a native of South Korea he gives us a unique perspective on the differences and similarities between the Asian and American cultures when it comes to influence and persuasion. I know you’ll enjoy what he has to share this week.

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Apologies: The Language of Losers or Leaders?
One of Dr. Cialdini’s six principles of influence is authority which tells us people say “Yes” to people who have authority or expertise. That’s why people care about professional titles, academic degrees, and awards. But, this is not the whole story. According to Dr. Cialdini, to have authority, you need two things: expertise and trustworthiness. Most people know how to build expertise in their area with education, professional experiences, degrees, etc. But what about trustworthiness? Dr. Cialdini says one way it can be gained is by how you communicate your weaknesses, rather than strengths. Credible people share their weaknesses first before others and quite often competitors do. I’ve been helping corporate executives learn how to communicate in crisis situations such as product recalls, scandals, etc. In my field there’s a term know as the “paradox of transparency” and it perfectly aligns with Dr. Cialdini’s theory about authority. According to the paradox, when a company makes a mistake or wrongdoing, they have a tendency to behave in a “non-transparent” manner, such as keeping a silence or lie. However, these “non-transparent” approaches make their crisis situation worse, not better. So, they “add” more tags like “liar” or “not responsible” to an already bad situation. It is a paradox since transparency helps, not hurts, the wrongdoers. Crisis management is not about covering up what happened; rather it’s about what you do with what happened. People pay attention how you behave after you make a mistake. Since 2008, I’ve been studying public apologies of leaders in the PhD program at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology), and recently, I published a book call Cool Apology (in Korean language) which was co-authored with my advisor, Dr. Jaeseung Jeong. While studying apologies I realized it is a language of authority and trustworthiness. Back in 2007, I met Doug Wojcieszak in St. Louis. He is the founder of Sorry Works! Coalition. They’ve been actively spreading a “disclosure” program, which applies apologies in managing medical malpractice. In the past, when there was a medical malpractice case, hospitals often took “deny and defend” approaches which usually ended up in painful lawsuits. Harvard, Stanford, the universities of Virginia and Michigan, and Johns Hopkins all took different approaches. They transparently investigated the incidents and if there were any mistakes they provide apologies to victims, or their family members, and compensated them fairly. The results? In the Michigan hospitals, where the disclosure program was introduced in 2001, claims and lawsuits numbered 262 in a single year. However, after six years the number had dropped significantly, to just 83! At the University of Illinois hospital there were 37 cases where medical doctors transparently disclosed their errors and apologized and only one patient filed a lawsuit. For a story on this click here. Apologies reduce lawsuits and even save money, but what about leadership? In 2006 Tucker et al., published a paper “apologies and transformational leadership” in the Journal of Business Ethics. They ran experiments to measure how people view their bosses’ leadership when the boss apologizes and when they don’t. They found that leaders who apologized when they made a mistake consistently got higher leadership scores. Right apologies strengthen your leadership. Now you might wonder how to best apologize. It will help you to know different languages of apologies. For further reading I recommend Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman. Let me briefly share with you the six languages:

  1. Regret – “I am sorry”
  2. Account – “I am sorry for being late”
  3. Responsibility – “It was my mistake”
  4. Repetition – “I wouldn’t do it again”
  5. Recovery – compensation or actions to recover
  6. Forgiveness – “Will you forgive me?”

You can choose different languages in different situations but try to include regret, account, and responsibility at a minimum when you want to apologize. If you have a boss and he or she makes a mistake with you what would you expect? “Ignore and deny” or “apologize and recover?” I think the answer is obvious. Apologies are the language of losers when leaders hide their mistakes, but now we live in the age of Twitter, the iPhone, and WikiLeaks. You no longer can hide your mistakes so it’s becoming critical to communicate your mistakes. Apology is becoming the language of leaders in the 21st century. Hoh Kim, CMCT

Influencers from Around the World – Split Second Selling

If you’ve been a reader of Influence PEOPLE for any length of time Sean Patrick is a familiar name to you. Sean is my good friend from Ireland who is in the sales training arena like I am. Sean is going to give you insight into Split Second Selling in this month’s Influencers from Around the World Series.

If you’d like get to know Sean there are many ways: visit his website, Sean Patrick Training, take a look at his blog, Professional Persuader, or look for him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Brian, CMCT
influencepeopleHelping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Split Second Selling
Whether you know me as a sales trainer or not doesn’t matter, what matters is whether you’re reading this to be entertained, to see how laughable the content is or to scan read for a take-away that you can implement into your daily routine.
As some of you know, I write my own blog and articles for various other blogs. I am often asked to write for other people. And if you already follow me then you’ll know the content I deliver is very “niche,” to the point and content rich. This one is going to be a little different. In fact this article is going to nail one point directly and very firmly on the head in a simple, easy to grasp language that even a non-English speaking tourist from Mars could understand.
This little nugget is highly effective for people who cold call or who have to prospect for a living. As some of you already know, I am a hardened prospector and very much a relationship type of sales guy. For those of you who sit on the same bench as me, you’re in for a serious free money making and kick-ass tip you’re going to want to use. You’d be hard pushed to actually find a social media trainer who would know how to teach you this. Read on for what I believe is a very important tip about LinkedIn!
Here’s how to use LinkedIn and get appointments so you can exponentially close more business by using reciprocity.
  1. Target your contacts; e.g., HR, FD, CEO, CIO, etc.
  2. Research your contacts perceived pain points and vertical market trends
  3. Grab a piece of paper and write out a quick two sentence introduction that you can insert into the friend request that is relevant to person and pain point (hence the research)
  4. Now think about what you can give to them that is relevant to your research in order for them to increase the likelihood of saying YES to your following request.
  5. Send friend requests to each and every contact you wish to do business with while ensuring you insert your offer to give in order to receive; e.g., Whitepaper, invitation to a breakfast briefing but make sure the gift is relevant.
  6. When you have identified your new contacts (the ones that came back to you), repeat, but this time asking for their work email address. See examples below of how I use this effectively and tell them you have more important information to share. By this time, this is when I start receiving DDI and cell numbers to have actual selling conversations, but go to the next step when this doesn’t happen for you.
  7. Once I have sent at least two emails to my target contacts, I then proceed to call those contacts that hadn’t come back to me. I remind them on the call that I am the person who sent them valuable information that I thought pertinent to share with them and ask them straight out when they can book a time to either see me or commit to a phone call. Before I end the call, I repeat our next appointment out loud and ask them for the last time if this is definitely OK with them.
Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.
Are you interested to find out how companies who have discovered X, have benefited from Y that has given them Z. Please add me if interested
I would like to offer you a white paper on how companies like yours have benefitted from X! Please add me if you want to learn how. Please ignore if not appropriate or add me to find out.
I’m currently networking with people similar to you that work within your vertical because I can give you new information on how to X that results in Y.
Just a quick note to point out that our objective is not to increase our LinkedIn network, although this will happen anyway. Our objective is to get to the person we want to sell to, either face to face or via the phone. This little tip is a cold call “killer!” Now, for those of you people who are lucky enough to be in the B2C space, this same principle works even better and without the need for LinkedIn.
Whenever you make a cold call, frame your call so that you are there to help the other person, recognise their voice patterns if they are harassed or busy, and tell them you can give them a couple of days to think about it. Then tell them how they can help you either by referring you to others or by finding out if they actually need to buy from you. You know what it’s like to be frazzled and hassled and can call back in two days time in order to help them out.
Repeat above method of gaining commitment by gaining mutual agreement before the call is ended.
Voila, no cold calls, thanks to Mr. Cialdini and his fabulous principle of reciprocity with a little dose of commitment and consistency thrown in for good measure.
Survey Still Open – if you’d like to participate in a 10 question survey you still have time. Results will be shared later this month.
  • If your last name starts with a letter between A and I click here for your survey: Survey A
  • If your last name starts with a letter between J and Z click here for your survey: Survey B
Brian, CMCT

An Interview with Anthony McLean

A little more than a week ago Anthony McLean, CMCT, the newest guest blogger for my Influencers from Around the World series, wrote his first post for Influence PEOPLE. His initial article was about Influencing in Australia.

I just learned that Anthony was interviewed on Sky News in March when he was asked how the principles of influence relate to the behavior of investors in the stock market. I thought this would be a great way to further introduce readers to Anthony. I hope you enjoy this clip.

Brian, CMCT

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Influencers from Around the World – Influencing in Australia

This month’s Influencers from Around the World article is the first guest post from Anthony McLean. Like myself and several of my guest bloggers, Anthony is a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT). In fact, he’s the only CMCT in Australia and he’s going to share with us how to best influence should you find yourself in Australia or dealing with an Aussie. I encourage you to connect with Anthony on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.Influencing in AustraliaAs a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer I often get asked what principles work best when influencing people from other countries. In joining Brian’s Influencers from Around the World I thought I would discuss the influence culture within Australia.Many of you may already know about Australia and our culture. Perhaps you know Aussies, have done business here or with Australians abroad, have visited our far away shores or watched Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) or Crocodile Dundee on the big or small screen.Internationally Australians have a varied reputation from being laid back and casual to being beer guzzling loudmouths. The actual fact is Australia, while only having a population of 23 million, is a rich multicultural tapestry. Apart from Indigenous Australians we are all immigrants, some more recent than others; therefore, in such a large and diverse country each principle still applies.Liking – we prefer to say YES to those we know and like.
In World War I and II, Australians found themselves standing side by side with like-minded countries including our close neighbours and friends, New Zealand. It was in the caldron of battle that the ANZAC tradition was forged. We fought together, came from a similar part of the world and had similar values, attitudes and beliefs. This attitude of standing by your mates is still strongly identified with today and like many siblings, Australia and New Zealand have a fierce but friendly rivalry.

Australians are very parochial, whether it is our sporting teams, our political parties, our choice of beer or even the city or suburb we come from. Identify with the things you have in common with an Australian and you are well on your way to making a connection. If you find an Aussie who is not a sports fan, commenting on the fanatical nature of sports fans and the delusional commitment to this activity will also generally strike a chord.Many Australians are willing to give new things a go. In order to create a relationship, look to the experiences or activities you can share with us and it will be this common interest and cooperation that is sure to succeed in building a relationship based on Liking. If all else fails simply make a joke at the expense of a New Zealander or try and say “G’day” and this will generally spark a smile if not raucous laughter.Reciprocity – we prefer to give back to those who have given to us firstAn integral part of Australian society is helping out your mates. While Australians and New Zealanders love to give each other a hard time, when the chips are down that spirit of camaraderie comes to the fore. No better example was seen than during the recent natural disasters in the Asian Pacific rim. Queensland experienced a near one-in-one hundred year flood, then within weeks the biggest cyclone to ever cross our shores hit North Queensland and not surprisingly the first offer of help came from New Zealand. When the earthquake hit Christchurch it was not a consideration of if we would help but how much help we would send. Similarly with the recent earthquake in Japan, Australian search and rescue crews were dispatched immediately to support the teams on the ground because they have done the same for us in the recent past.Reciprocity is a core element to all societies and it is no different in Australia.In the outback it is not uncommon for your nearest neighbour or town to be several hours away. If you were driving on a remote country road and someone needed a tow, or a spare part, or whatever, you would stop and lend a hand because you never know when it may be you who needs some help. If you want to build a relationship with an Australian, going first is the key. Whether it is a kind word in the train, a helping hand with tipping (as we are not very good at it) or buying the first beer; these simple gestures will often ensure you have a friend for life. If nothing else you know we will be there if and when you need us.Consensus – we look to those like us to guide our behaviour when we are uncertain
In the multicultural mix that is Australia we have found that collective Asian-based cultures are becoming a greater influence in our society and connectedness a greater part of our lives. We have people from all over the world flocking to enjoy our beaches, climate and lifestyle. When trying to influence an Australian in a situation where they are not sure of what to do, don’t miss the opportunity to show us what others like us are doing. Whether it is in a work or social setting, highlight what those who are most like us, i.e., those who live or work near us, have the same job, other supporters of our sporting teams, other members of our social or age group are doing in this situation. Show us this and we will be keen to join in.

By way of example in the recent Queensland floods, reports of tens of thousands of volunteers rushing into the streets to help their neighbours spawned even more volunteers to show up until the officials asked volunteers to stop coming as they couldn’t transport all the people to the affected areas.
Authority – when we are not sure of what we should do we look to those with knowledge and wisdom we do not possess.In Australia we suffer from the “tall poppy syndrome,” where those who rise from the bunch can tend to get unnecessarily cut down. It is unfortunate but true.That being said, we are attracted to those whose actions speak louder than their words. Often the person who tends to say the least is listened to when they speak and we even have affectionate names for them like “Rowdy” (i.e., a sarcastic play on the fact they don’t often make much of a fuss). So in demonstrating Authority to influence an Australian, do what you say you will, present yourself as a knowledgeable source that is willing to listen and this will gain our respect. Like others, we are guided by Authorities, but we will expect you to do more than turn up in a big car, tell us you are from a bigger more sophisticated town than ours and name drop.Those who are an Authority will quickly gain our respect; those who rely solely on their position of Authority may not have the same success.Consistency – we are compelled to live up to the commitments that we make.Australians love to exaggerate in telling a good story, so if you want us to live up to what we say, just make sure we aren’t joking when we say something. That notwithstanding, in a country as big and sparsely populated as ours those who fail to live up to what they say they’ll do are quickly identified and are not positively thought of. It is unusual to find people who take great pride in failing to live up to the things they say they will do – it flies in the face of standing by your mates. Therefore, if you want an Australian to follow through with something, align your requests or proposals with the things they already stand for and you will have little problem getting us to do what we say we will.Scarcity – we are motivated by those things that are rare or dwindling in availabilityEven though Australia is often referred to as the lucky country, we cannot stand to lose the things we need any more than someone from overseas can. In a broad brown land that is often plagued with drought we understand the importance of seizing the opportunity when it presents. Therefore, when influencing an Australian show us what we stand to lose and we will be motivated to act. As keen sports people, show us we are in competition with others for your services and we will certainly take notice.One last point — to influence an Australian remember that we don’t tend to take ourselves too seriously. So feel free to share a smile, a joke or a kind word. Tell us when you make a mistake and show us how we can fix it. Treat us with respect and you will always be welcome to come around for a barbeque.Finally, replace the word Australian with wherever you come from and you’ll see that we are not that different to you. The principles of persuasion work all over the world, but they are about influencing people not countries. With the global village getting smaller every day, do your research on the person you are trying to influence and once you find out what types of things they stand for don’t bungle the opportunity to improve both of your positions.Anthony McLean, CMCT


Influencers from Around the World – The Happiness Hypothesis

This month’s Influencers from Around the World article is from Cathrine Moestue. I introduced you to Cathrine last month along with Anthony McLean as new members of my Influencers from Around the World group. I know you’ll enjoy Cathrine’s exploration of reciprocity, especially those of you who are fans of The Godfather. I encourage you to reach out to Cathrine on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter.Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.The Happiness HypothesisI don’t know if you have read The Happiness Hypothesis but if you haven’t, then I recommend it. It is an extraordinary book on the human condition and writing about such you cannot miss out on the work of Robert Cialdini, PhD. Dr. Cialdini is the most cited living social psychologist in the world today and famous for his book Influence Science and Practice, where he enlightens readers on the six principles of influence.In The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt dedicates the whole of chapter three to one of the principles; the principle of reciprocity. He opens up the chapter and our understanding of reciprocity with a scene from The Godfather that I thought would give us a vivid understanding of reciprocity. Even though the scene is about “reciprocity with a vengeance” it is extraordinary how easy it is for us to understand this complex interaction in an alien subculture. The opening scene of The Godfather is an exquisite portrayal of reciprocity in action. It is the wedding day of the daughter of the Godfather, Don Corleone. The Italian immigrant Bonasera, an undertaker, has come to ask for a favor; he wants to avenge an assault upon the honor and body of his daughter, who was beaten by her boyfriend and another young man.Bonasera describes the assault, the arrest, and the trial of the two boys. The judge gave them a suspended sentence and let them go free that very day. Bonasera is furious and feels humiliated; he has come to Don Corleone to ask that justice be done. Corleone asks what exactly he wants. Bonasera whispers something into his ear, which we can safely assume is “Kill them.” Corleone refuses, and points out that Bonasera has not been much of a friend until now. Bonasera admits he was afraid of getting into “trouble.” The dialogue continues:CORLEONE: I understand. You found paradise in America; you had a good trade, made a good living. The police protected you and there were courts of law. And you didn’t need a friend like me. But now you come to me and say, “Don Corleone, give me justice.” But you don’t ask with respect. You don’t offer friendship. You don’t even call me Godfather. Instead you come into my house on the day that my daughter is to be married, and ask me to do murder for money.BONASERA: I ask for justice.CORLEONE: That is not justice; your daughter is still alive.BONASERA: Let them suffer then, as she suffers. (pause) How much shall I pay you?CORLEONE: Bonesera…Bonesera…What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you had come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would be my enemies. And then they would fear you.BONASERA: Be my friend. (bows) Godfather? (kisses Corleone’s hand)CORLEONE: Good. (pause) Someday and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day…accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.We intuitively understand why Bonasera wants the boys killed, and why Corleone refuses to do it. We understand that in accepting a “gift” from a mafia don, a chain, not just a string, is attached. We understand all of this effortlessly because we see the world through the lens of reciprocity. Reciprocity is a deep instinct; it is the basic currency of social life.Bonasera uses it to buy revenge and Corleone to manipulate Bonasera into joining his extended family, the consequences of both will be detrimental. But we can learn how to use the principle of reciprocity wisely by first understanding it and second to practice becoming more of a “detective” of influence, not just a bungler or a smuggler. The extraordinary truth is that if we learn to use the principle ethically and understand how to properly invest in others, we will also be more effective in life.Sounds interesting? I recommend attending a “Principle of Persuasion” workshop, or reading Cialdini’s book on Influence Science and Practice.Zigong asked: “Is there any single word that could guide one’s entire life? The master said: “Should it not be reciprocity? What you do not wish for yourself, do not do unto others.”
– Analects of ConfuciusCathrine Moestue, CMCT
Organizational Psychologist

Influencers from Around the World – New Guest Bloggers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Influencers from Around the World – The Unavoidable Influence of Death

This month’s Influencers from Around the World article is from Yago de Marta. If you’ve been a reader of Influence PEOPLE for any length of time then you’ve no doubt read some articles by Yago. I think you’ll find his perspective on influence and death intriguing. I encourage you to check out his website and reach out to him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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

The Unavoidable Influence of Death

Some months ago a very popular person from my hometown died. His name was Jose Antonio Labordeta. The purpose of this article is not to remember his life because media all around the world, especially in Spain, have already done that. The article that appeared in The Guardian (UK) made me ponder the following questions about death’s influence on the living:
What involves death that makes it so influential? Why does death go beyond our daily affairs and routines? What is the mechanism of death’s influence?In Labordeta’s case there is an element which allows us to follow his influence. In 1975 he composed “Song to Liberty” (Canto a la Libertad). At that moment and many times since there were people who proposed this song as the regional anthem of this area, Aragón. And from that time forward the song was sung in different historical events.
However, on September 19 Labordeta died and from that moment on everything changed. Google tells us about the great number of people who attended his funeral. Maybe some of them had never heard of his songs but the crowd of people shows us the way individuals and associations mobilized to make “Canto a la Libertad” the anthem of Aragón.At this moment the song hasn’t officially become the anthem so it’s difficult to give a final valuation on the way Labordeta’s death will influence his works. Nonetheless, we do observe most of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence in death and that’s what this article is really about.
Reciprocation: Yes, it’s true that the dead cannot give us anything to invoke reciprocity but in some way, if we show ourselves to be understanding and kind with the dead, we hope others will show empathy with us when we die. One of the most common activities of the human mind is to wonder, “Who will come to my funeral?” Taking this idea, if we are kind with the dearly departed then we think people will be kind with us when we pass on.Commitment and Consistency: From childhood on, we are told to be respectful of the dead. This has happened since the origins of humankind. This expectation causes a kind of fixed attitude toward death in our minds throughout life. Even when we are older, if somebody dies we show ourselves to be sad and sorrowful. We are that way partly because we are expected to act like that.Social Proof (Consensus): This is very remarkable in the case of film or pop stars. Regardless of whether you liked or disliked Michael Jackson’s music, or regardless of the fact that some months before he died many people thought he was a pedophile, when he died almost everyone felt something different; they felt a little sad and depressed. And most people around the world felt similarly. Knowing and seeing how others felt was like a multiplier effect.Liking: We are going to die, every single one of us. Such is life. This obvious idea is what makes us identify with a person who dies. We don’t always identify in the same way, but every time somebody dies around us we get this feeling. Further, the mirror neurons come into effect, when we identify with the person who has just died. We tend to be more empathetic, softer and kinder.Authority: Myths are built in death. It happens this way with famous painters, writers and even politicians. Death tends to make the principle of authority grow. When somebody dies, his or her personality reaches highest levels because we are more respectful with the dead. It could also be because of traditions or culture, but respect is a form of authority.Scarcity: There’s nothing in our whole life that creates more scarcity than death. When we die everything we could have said, made, painted or sung seems to be not enough. Life is short and limited. Before dying we can keep on painting, singing or doing whatever we please but from the moment of death it is no longer possible. And so there you have from my perspective, how we are all influenced by death. Death’s influence, like death itself, is unavoidable. Yago


Influencers from Around the World – Berlusconi and the Principle of Liking

To start the New Year the Influencers from Around the World post is from my Italian friend Marco Germani. I had the pleasure of talking to AND seeing Marco the day after Christmas. I didn’t go to Rome, instead we used our iPhones. I also got to “meet” his wife Monika and their six month old son Martin. Technology is amazing! I’m sure you’ll enjoy Marco’s insights on how the principle of liking helped a famous politician in his native Italy. Feel free to reach out to Marco on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.Berlusconi and the Principle of LikingHe did it again. I am talking about one of the most famous prime ministers of the world, often for all the wrong reasons, my fellow-countryman Silvio Berlusconi. I guess his fame crossed the ocean and even in the U.S., people are aware of his tendency to have affairs with teenage girls and being caught. This already cost him his marriage and a number of scandals in the press. I guess President Clinton in comparison was a saint, or at least a bit smarter in not being caught so often. A few weeks ago, a 17-year old girl called Rudy, confessed to the press she has been invited several times in the previous months to attend parties with Silvio and friends and she gave to the press sordid details of what was going on in the Presidential Palace during those nights. Hot stuff, I tell you! Let’s see how Silvio took advantage of the principle of liking to turn the public opinion in his favour, even in a very compromising and critical situation.
When informed of what the girl just said, he didn’t try to deny it. He didn’t get upset or promise legal battles to his political enemies, who this time also were paying a girl to speak false against him and destroy his political figure. He stated instead: “I love life, I love women, I am like this, this is my nature.” Surprisingly, a majority of the public in Italy took Silvio’s side and, most surprisingly still, many Italian women started to defend him! What happened? Two different effects:
1) By not trying to lie or deceive Italian people, Silvio appeared as an honest, sincere person, who was not afraid to display his weaknesses and, by the way, is loving life and loving women really a weakness? 2) Many men, who also cheat on their wives or have affairs, saw their behaviour legitimized by an authority figure; i.e., the prime minister. If the highest official of the Italian government can do it, why can’t I? Maybe I am not so evil, this is ordinary behaviour, and everybody does it in the end. Women also, are often very intrigued by a man who can’t control his passions and must feed them continuously, even putting his political power in danger because of them. Power attracts women and a person with power who passionately loves women is a strong attraction for many of them. One famous Italian actress, Lory del Santo (the former wife of Eric Clapton, by the way), publicly proposed to Silvio as a lover, after his statements, writing a poem to him and telling him she could bring him to unattained before heights of pleasure. By using the principle of liking, Silvio saved face again and avoided the risk of being swept away by the scandal. Probably he did it on purpose, maybe not. What counts is that it worked!MarcoSome people have emailed me about the ethics on this article. Here’s what Marco shared with me: First of I all, it is my duty as an Italian citizen to specify that, culturally, in Italy it is NOT OK for the nation’s leaders to have this kind of behavior. Let us not forget we have the Pope and Rome has been the hearth of Catholic Church in the world for centuries now, which should give some hints about the morals standards over here…. On the other hand, I personally see the study of the principles of persuasion as a science, whose objective is to understand them and, at the same time, being able to use them and defend ourselves from them when used in an unethical way (like in this case). Knowing that Berlusconi is using the principle of liking, gives us the option to understand what he’s doing and seeing it for what it really is, beside the natural feeling of liking we can feel toward him, given by the power of this principle. In my article, I never say what he did was right or wrong, I am only observing it as a scientist, and then everybody can draw their own conclusions.Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.