Quarterly Newsletter

It’s hard to believe 2019 is over and we’re into 2020. I hope 2019 was great for you on a professional and personal level. It was for me and I look forward to an even better 2020. I hope you do too. As always, I appreciate you giving me a few moments of your time to catch you up on what’s happening with Influence PEOPLE and to share resources that can help you become a more persuasive person.



What’s Influence PEOPLE all about?

Why – Help you enjoy more professional success and personal happiness.
How – Teach you the science of ethical influence.
What – Speak, write, train, coach and consult.
Who – We work primarily with sales-people, business leaders, coaches and attorneys.

The move to Influence PEOPLE full time was tougher than I expected in some respects but much more satisfying than I ever would have imagined! The autonomy, and opp-ortunity to focus on what I deem most important every day,  is wonderful.

It’s very different working for yourself with no one to be accountable to except you. Several things stand out when I think about it vs. my time in corporate America.

First, removing the distractions and meetings that come with a big company increases your ability to accomplish meaningful work. If I spend three or four hours at Starbucks I easily accomplish more than what I would have done in eight hours at the office.

Second, having to do everything yourself is hard but highlights how much waste there is when you work for a big company. Work has a very different feel when it’s your time, money and effort on the line. It’s the difference between thinking like an owner versus being an employee.

Third, time feels different. This was highlighted around the holidays. I used to get excited about extended breaks for the holidays. Not having an office to go to, and not “taking time off” were strange feelings.

Here’s to a great 2020. I hope it’s your best year so far and that each one only gets better and better.

Here’s What’s New

TED Talk in March!

I’m thrilled to tell you I’ve been selected to present at the TEDx New Albany event on Sunday, March 22, 2020. Giving a TED Talk is something I’ve aspired to for more than a decade so I’m beyond excited! My talk will be about how to set the stage for more success and happiness using pre-suasion. If you’d like to attend in person click here for details on time, location and tickets.

Audio Book will be available this month!

Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical came out in paperback and eBook in August. My goal in writing the book was to give you tangible ideas you can use immediately to enjoy more professional success and personal happiness. I was thrilled when it made the top 10 in Amazon’s Casualty Insurance and Insurance categories. It also cracked the top 50 in Sales & Selling. Now I’m excited to let you know the audio version should be available by the end of January. In the meantime, if you prefer paperback of eBook click here to order your copy.

New Podcasts

I was a guest on a dozen podcasts in the fourth quarter and nearly three dozen during the year. I’ve learned getting on podcasts is like compound interest – the more you’re on, the more you get on because podcasters listen to other podcasts. If you want to catch any episodes from 2019, there are links to each on my website. Click here to find the ones you’d like to listen to.

New LinkedIn Courses

In 2019 I had three new LinkedIn Learning courses go live:

  • Persuasive Coaching
  • Building a Coaching Culture
  • Advanced Persuasive Selling

I cannot say enough great things about the folks at LinkedIn. They’re awesome people to work with! Click here to check out short previews for each course.

Best of…

Do you enjoy learning but find it difficult to locate good content? Time is your most valuable commodoty so don’t spin your wheels searching. To help you save some of that precious resource below are some great books to read, podcasts to listen to and TED Talks to watch.


Messengers: Who We Listen to, Who We Don’t and Why by Steve Martin and Joseph Marks. Two people can say the very same thing and get very different results. Coming from the mouth of one person a message may fall on deaf ears but from another that same message changes the world! Why? This book helps you understand that it’s more than what’s communicated, it’s who is communicating. The authors don’t just leave you with an understanding of why; they give you the how. They tell you how you can become a messenger more people listen to. The book is good for anyone who wants to be more influential but it’s critically important for salespeople, coaches and leaders in every field.

Entrepreneurial You by Dorie Clark. Here’s what I wrote in my Amazon review: Stepping out on your own is scary and exciting, energizing and draining, and so many other polar opposites so it’s good to have a resource to come back to for grounding and to realize you’re normal with these feelings. I just finished this book and I’m working through the 80+ page workbook Dorie provides for free. Don’t short change yourself – read the book then complete the workbook because both have immense value. I had a very good general idea of how I wanted to approach my business but Dorie’s book and the actual exercises in the workbook have opened my eyes to even more possibilities. The book has many ideas I had not considered and writing in the workbook stimulated lots of new ideas. My initial challenge will be to narrow my focus as opposed to trying to do too much. Both activities will be worth your while IF you make time to do them. I’m glad I did and I bet you will be too.


Applied Curiosity Lab Radio is cohosted by sisters Becki Saltzman and Jennifer Felberg. I’ve known Becki for many years and have been a guest on the show a couple of times. She is also a LinkedIn Learning instructor. Becki and Jennifer apply their curiosity muscles to a variety of topics. I guarantee two things: you will laugh and learn. Hard to beat that so why not check them out?

Brainfluence is hosted by Roger Dooley. Roger is the author of Brainfluence, The Persuasion Slide and Friction. If you want to get to the neuroscience of sales, marketing and customer experience then this is the podcast for you. Roger has hundreds of episodes to choose from and has some of the biggest names in social psychology and behavior economics on the show including Robert Cialdini and Dan Ariely.

TED Talks

How Great Leaders Inspire Action from Simon Sinek. There’s a reason this talk from 2009 has nearly 48 million views; it’s inspirational and the message is timeless. Bottom line; people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This talk helped spur on the concept of “Why?” and skyrocketed Simon Sinek to fame as a business thought leader. Even if you’ve seen it, it’s worth watching again as you start the new year.

The Power of Vulnerability from Brene Brown. With 45 million views Brene Brown’s message obviously hit home for lots of people. A humorous talk based on research, she defies the notion “never let them see you sweat.” Being vulnerable is what people want because it’s the basis for connection. You may have been one of the 45 million who’ve already watched it but take a moment to do so again.

Brian Ahearn

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

Brian’s book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was a top 10 selling Amazon book in several insurance categories and top 50 in sales & selling. His LinkedIn Learning courses on sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 85,000 people around the world!

Get Your “Behavioral Grooves” on with this Podcast Interview

I was recently a guest on the Behavioral Grooves podcast when behavioral economists Kurt Nelson, PhD and Tim Houlihaninterviewed me about the principles of persuasion and pre-suasion. What a couple of fun guys! It was so enjoyable to speak with them that I decided to share their show notes in this week’s blog post. In addition to reading the post I hope you’ll take time to actually listen because it was an informative, fun conversation. If you want to listen right now click here.


Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence People, LLC, and one of only 20 Cialdini Method Certified Trainers in the world. Brian’s experience with Robert Cialdini’s methods places him among the most experienced practitioners alive. It was a pleasure to speak with Brian and to gain some insight on applying the methods of ethical influence that Cialdini pioneered in his book, Influence with clients in the real world.

We hosted Brian in the Behavioral Grooves studio for our wide-ranging and in-depth conversation. It was a treat because we typically have our discussions via the web on Zoom or SquadCast, but Brian was able to meet us at the dining room table and it was terrific. As a result of being in the same room and sitting around the same table, our discussion on priming, influence and ethics was particularly personal and dynamic.

Brian began our conversation by outlining the six principles of influence: liking, reciprocity, authority, social proof or consensus, consistency, and scarcity, all of which were identified by Robert Cialdini in his first book.  We wandered into a great story about Cialdini’s very humble personality, that Brian conveyed by way of a dinner meeting with the professor. (Note: Kurt and Tim experienced Cialdini’s humility directly when we met up with the good professor in New York City, recently. Bob, as he urged us to call him, was as curious as a college freshman and solicited our thoughts on every topic we spoke about. Truly an inspiring and amazing guy.)

Brian shared his thoughts about Tom Hopkins work on “How to Master the Art of Selling” and the impact that the spoken word has on our beliefs. The ‘what I say becomes what I believe’ was an important reminder that words matter. And in Brian’s case, words are just about everything when it comes to the world of ethical influence. This became clear when he spoke about how he trains insurance salespeople to use primes with their customers when pitching technology. The technology actually helps keep the drivers safer and provides more reliable data to the insurance agencies. Brian trains the agents to say, “…this technology works really well for good drivers like you.” We’re all for being safer on the road.

Of course, we spent a fair amount of our conversation on the subtlety and power of primes. Fortunately, Brian took our musical bait and spoke to how he uses musical playlists to create and deliver his own personal primes. We were happy to hear that he’s created playlists that focus on titles or themes with the words ‘moment’ or ‘time’ in them. And it’s evidence that he takes his own medicine when it comes to the advice he shares with his clients. He’s using music to prime himself and others before meetings! We are always impressed with people, like many of our other guests, who apply these principles to their own lives.

The priming discussion included a great story about how he used reciprocity to engage his daughter in doing some extra chores around the house. Rather than making his request quid pro quo, Brian decided to preempt the request with a raise to her allowance. After the new, upgraded allowance was in place, Brian’s request was met with immediate support. Kurt and Tim have recollections of childhood chores compressed with bad feelings – and they linger long into adulthood. As children, we never experienced enthusiasm over chores or things we were asked to do, in part because of the ways those requests were made.

Brian concluded our conversation with three tips about the most impactful tools from the principles of persuasion. They are:

  1. Liking. The focus with liking needs to be on ME figuring out how to like YOU, not the other way around. The search for commonalities and the need to deliver compliments are on ME, not you.
  2. Authority. While authority has many meanings, a core part of this principle is in being an authority on what you do. Be willing to share advice. Be a giver. Be an authority, don’t just walk through your job with your eyes half closed.
  3. Consistency. The biggest part of consistency is, of course, being consistent in your words and deeds. However, beneath the headline is the very powerful subtext of asking, not telling. Be strategic. Be inquisitive. And live up to the words you speak.

Our discussion with Brian gave us the opportunity to talk about both Coldplay and Frank Sinatra. With a playlist that wildly varied from a guy from Ohio, what is there not to like? And since Brian is from Ohio, the home of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, we decided to do a little grooving on it. So, Kurt and Tim discussed Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductees and who, in our humble opinion, deserves to be nominated. Todd Rundgren was discussed as one of our nominees we’d like to see in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. (We also discussed Queen, but Queen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, ten years after Freddie Mercury died.) The impact that music has on our lives is nearly immeasurable and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to listen to it, enjoy it, and chat about it.

Tee up a lively tune before you listen to this episode! We hope you enjoy our conversation with Brian Ahearn.

Subscribe at or learn more about Behavioral Grooves podcast and meetup.


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

Listen to Influence Tips on CinchCast

A Facebook friend, Ardy Skinner, author of The Lavish Cheapskate, turned me on to a very cool tool I want to share with all of you. CinchCast is a website that allows you to record messages from your phone and share them with others over the Internet. Ardy broadcasts 1-2 minute tips to help you find ways to stretch your dollar and live “lavishly” while spending like a “cheapskate.” To listen to some of Ardy’s helpful advice click here.

Knowing some people learn best through listening, I decided to add CinchCast as a new way to share influence tips with folks. On my site,, I now broadcast a 2-3 minute “Influence Tip of the Day” every Monday through Friday. Take a moment to visit my page to see and hear what I’m talking about. As I record tips I categorize them according the six principles of influence and add a written comment concerning each tip so you can easily find what you want to learn about most.

If you like what you hear and listening is your preferred learning method then sign up as a follower on CinchCast and you’ll get an email reminder whenever I post a new tip. I realize not everyone is into following blogs so if you know someone who might enjoy learning through listening, I’d really appreciate it if you’d take a moment pass this along help me spread the word.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”