Secrets of Persuasion Meet Connected Influence

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Do you ever feel frustrated trying to convince others to take action, even when that action is beneficial to them?  I know I do!

The hardest seems to be convincing people to invest their time in activities that will strengthen the core of their character and personality, helping them become more effective in all areas of their life.

What can be done to move from connection – a worthy and sometimes challenging pursuit in itself – to connected influence?  It may be worthwhile to learn a bit from the science of persuasion.

Secrets from the Science of Persuasion

 

The video describes six “secrets” from the science of persuasion:

  • reciprocation
  • consistency
  • consensus
  • liking
  • authority
  • scarcity

I think it important to note the video talks about the ethical application of these “secrets.”  I know we can all think of someone who has used one or more of these tools to manipulate and guilt us into taking action we didn’t want to take.  However, it’s equally important to see these as tools, not inherently good or bad on their own.

Two sides of the coin

On one side, we have become a society of savvy consumers.  Simply being aware of these persuasion techniques puts people on their guard, ourselves included.  It is important to watch your reactions and question decisions that come too quickly or easily.

Photo by Tasha M. Troy

Photo by Tasha M. Troy

For example, I haven’t bought address labels since I moved into my current home almost 5 years ago.  Shortly after I moved in, three or four different charities sent me address labels, hoping that I would send them a contribution.  They were depending on the principle of reciprocation.  I know it might not sound good, but I broke the reciprocation principle; I choose carefully where I donate funds and which causes I support, and none of these organizations represented a cause I support.  And, no, I don’t feel guilty for using the labels that were freely and unsolicitedly sent.

However, it is equally possible to miss a genuinely good opportunity simply because you are reacting the way we are hardwired to react!  It is possible to be overly suspicious.  For example, on occasion I might have a student in my class make a suggestion.  I have to be cautious that I don’t accept or reject the suggestion based on how diligent (or not) the student is.  I can not base my decision on how likable the person is, but rather on the merits of the suggestion itself.  (Yes, this happened again today.)

Personal application

If you are in the position of feeling frustrated by a lack of cooperation from others, an insufficient amount of influence with people who matter most, it would be good to examine your requests and behavior in light of these “secrets.”  One thing that really struck me from the video is the idea that small tweaks of language or behavior made big differences in the outcome.

I know I will be examining my own attempts at persuasion.

 

Resources:

The type of self-examination I suggest doesn’t come easily to most.  If you are looking for a thinking partner in evaluating your current attempts to persuade and influence those around you, I would love to help!  Contact me to schedule a conversation at tasham.troy@gmail.com; please put “Bridging the Divide” in the subject line.

Join the intentional living movement!  Click here to get started with a free 7-day experiment with John Maxwell!

 

The 101% Principle – a Key to Connected Influence

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I once worked with a woman who rubbed just about everyone in the office the wrong way.  She was really good at her job, as she and I had some shared interests, but we never bonded.  By the end of my time with that employer, I found it very difficult to socialize with her, though I still managed to work with her on professional matters.

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August 2015. Photo by Tasha M. Troy

I tell my students that any time you have two or more people in the same room, you’ll have disagreement and possibly conflict.  No one agrees 100% on everything.

However, it seems some people thrive on focusing on areas of disagreement while others seem able to get along with everyone.  What could their secret be?

John Maxwell, the most prolific leadership writer, talks about the “101% Principle,” which states that when you are interacting with anyone, you should look for the 1% you agree on, then give it 100% of your effort.  I believe this is the secret great connectors understand.

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A special moment with my mentor John Maxwell. Photo by Christian Del Rosario.

In order to give that 1% agreement your full effort, you have to take your attention completely off of yourself.  This is exactly what not only John Maxwell says but also Mark Goulston and John Ullmen in their book Real Influence.

While I sincerely believe any two people can not agree on all points, I equally believe the inverse is true – you’ll never find someone with whom you have nothing in common.  I challenge you to become a “common ground detective” with everyone you meet.  You will be surprised by what you discover!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey from “Their There”

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Have you ever felt like you just haven’t connected with someone and wondered why?  I recently experienced a serious disconnect with a friend.

Photo by Tasha M. Troy

Photo by Tasha M. Troy

She was explaining something that she was very interested in, going into great detail about how her solution would benefit me, too.  However, while her solution is perfect for her and her season of life, it is totally unsuitable for my situation.  I chose to let her talk instead of cutting her short, primarily because I wanted to let her express her enthusiasm.  The sad result, though, was feeling a major disconnect from my friend, which is likely to damage my willingness to be open with her unless I take some deliberate steps to change the situation.

She did not meet me in “my here” when she was trying to influence me.

The third step in the connected influence model is to meet the other person in “their there.”  This step must come after connected listening; because you now understand the other person’s perspective, you can start there and take them on a journey to help them see your perspective.

To define “their there,” Mark Goulston and John Ullmen talk about the “three gets of engage”:

  1. You get “it” – you have taken the time to truly understand their perspective and their unique situation.
  2. You get “them” – you see them for who they are, with all their strengths and weaknesses, hopes and struggles.
  3. You get their path to progress – you understand the steps they can take to move in the direction of their goals, taking into consideration their values and concerns.

To go back to my situation with my friend, it was clear after just a few minutes that she didn’t get “it” – she did not understand my situation and my priorities.  Even though she gets “me,” without “it” she can’t get my path to progress.

In order for our friendship to move forward, I will have to have a conversation with her when we are not rushed for time.  I will have to meet her in “her there” by digging deeper into her situation, then step-by-step I may be able to help her see my perspective more clearly.  If she is ready for that small journey, then perhaps we will still be able to have an open friendship.

 

Links and Resources:

Previous posts on this topic

Intentional Connection – A Path to Influence

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By Tasha M. Troy

A few years ago, I had great difficulty in managing my class.  There were two students in particular who were very resistant to my instruction and feedback, and I found myself growing more and more frustrated working with them. IMG_7225

Finally, at one point, through indirect channels, I learned that both students had gotten the impression that didn’t like them on a personal level, and this perception undermined any influence I might have had with them.

In order to create successful outcomes for them and for me, I had to put forth great effort to connect with them individually.  This included apologizing for giving the impression – intentional or not – that I didn’t value them as individuals.  It also entailed listening to their perspectives and understanding where they were coming from.  Further, I had to be quite explicit in stating what I saw as their strengths and their bright future prospects.  Because of my efforts and their responsiveness, both were able to successfully complete the program and go on to further personal and professional accomplishments.

I have the great fortune to teach in a program with small class sizes, typically working with ten students at a time.  Of those ten, eight or nine will be naturally drawn to my personality and teaching style.  John Maxwell’s Law of Magnetism states that “who you are is who you attract.”  This creates a connection with most of my students without much effort on my part.

Of course, over the years I have also learned to do a few things to encourage this connection, especially talking about what I consider “parallel experiences”; while I may not relate to each student’s situation, from day one, I emphasize stories of my own language learning and overseas life experience, things I share in common with all of my students.

However, what about those who don’t naturally connect?

I am learning to be more intentional about meeting those students where they are – understanding their perspective and motivations, their goals and aspirations.  In past years, I would do this as a response to a crisis.  Sometimes I find students don’t relate to my personality, and other times they have different leadership experience and skills that make them resistant to my feedback.

Whatever the reason for the disconnect, as the instructor, and therefore leader, I have to be intentional about connecting with all students.  I do this by focusing on the student and his/ her goals as well as explicitly expressing what I see as his/her strengths.  I also paint a picture for each of my students of what I see them achieving.

If you feel like you don’t have the influence in your life that you need, it may be time to learn to connect at a higher level.  This has been the case for me.  I have found the connecting principles and practices described by John Maxwell in his book Everyone Communicates Few Connect to be powerful tools for connecting with not only my students but also with others in my life.

John Maxwell says that “connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increase your influence with them.”  Next week, I will start leading a “mastermind group”* through this book with the aim of helping people grow in their connecting skills.  I would love to include you in the group!

Take It Deeper

If you would like to go deeper on this topic, I hold free exploratory coaching sessions on Fridays.  You can register online at Troy Communications or email me to schedule an appointment at TMTroy@TroyCommunications.Net