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John B. Ullmen - "Influencing Others"

Mindsets and Habits for Influence

The Build Rapport Habit

You might be willing to help a close friend or family member move their things on a weekend, but you wouldn't give up your weekend for just anyone (such as a stranger). You do things for people that you have a level of rapport and trust. If you want other people to do things for you, build up a level of rapport and trust with them.

How To Build Rapport

(1) Be a good listener. Pay them the respect of paying attention.
- Breathe deeply and slow down (your mind, your speech rate, etc.).
a. Remember, you gain persuasive and social power by listening.
- Pretend you're interviewing them and take mental notes.
- Have empathy. Put yourself in their shoes so you can recognize their feelings.
a. Label their feelings.
      1. Ex: "It looks like you don't want...".
      2. Ex: "It seems like you're...".
(2) Get to know your counterpart.
- Get to know them personally.
(3) Find out their goals.
- Ask them, "What would be the best use of your time in our conversation today?"
- Ask them, "If this meeting were to go as well as possible, what would be the best outcome for you?"

The "Be Likable" Habit

People don't just respond to the message, they respond to the messenger.

How To Be Likable

(1) Before a conversation, say to yourself (in your mind), "I'm happy to be here and I'm happy to see you."
(2) Seek and highlight similarities (anything you might have in common with your counterpart).
- Look for the bigger connections or commonalities. They're deeper and make you more likable.
a. Ex: Being from the same city is a much deeper commonality (that makes you more likable) than being from the same country.
- When you find those similarities, look for authentic ways to use inclusive terms like "we", "us", and "our". That subtly and positively reinforces your connection.
(3) Seek and highlight positive qualities.
- Do NOT fake it or "kiss up". Look for something you genuinely like and highlight that positive quality without being superficial by framing it as a question.
a. Ex: Let's say you like their perseverance. Highlight their positive quality of perseverance by saying, "That sounds like a significant ordeal you got through. How did you manage it?"
(4) Give credit to the qualities relevant to their "barriers to agreement".
- Ex: If you're about to talk to someone who you know is dismissive of other people's perspectives, you can preface the conversation by saying something like, "I heard you're an open-minded person who weighs all the facts." That will spark their cognitive association for being open-minded and bring that quality to the front of their mind. It will trigger their tendency to act more consistently with that quality.

The "Be Influencable" Habit

People tend to open their minds more to people who open their own minds. Be influenceable to be influential.

How To Be Influenceable

(1) Do NOT win arguments.
- Whenever you argue, you're triggering people's urge to defend themselves or prevail over you. You create a competitive frame that could break rapport (and lead to resentment and passive aggression from the other side) if you "win".
- Instead, ask for their input. Asking for their feedback, opinion, perspective, and so on will keep a collaborative frame in the interaction as both of you work towards an outcome that results in a win-win.
(2) Acknowledge the positive effects others have on you.
- To show that they hold influence over you, you can acknowledge the positive effects they have on you.
a. Ex: "Thank you, I hadn't looked at it that way before."
b. Ex: "I appreciate how you're challenging me on this."
(3) Confidently share your efforts to improve.
- We trust people to influence us who are willing to learn more than we trust people to influence us who think they already know everything.

The "Turn Objections Into Action" Mindset

The best "influencers" (persuaders, negotiators, salespeople, etc.) don't take it personally when other object and resist, they get motivated. They realize it's normal for others to have different frames and different agendas. They don't avoid objections but go toward them with an energized, exploratory motive to understand them better. Objections aren't just obstacles, but clues. If your counterpart has objections, the sooner you uncover them, the sooner you will learn what can (actually) influence them successfully. (Wishing for them to agree and/or pushing them into cooperation doesn't work.)

How To Turn Objections Into Action

(1) Take objections and explore them to create an action plan.

The "Long-Term Thinking" Mindset

There's always more at stake than being right or wrong, winning or losing. Every time you argue, you're switching to a competitive frame and that will almost always put the relationship at risk. Winning or "being right" isn't worth it (the satisfaction you might get from winning, getting to be "right", etc.).

Influence Techniques

Simple, Specific, and Surprising (The 2 "S" Technique)

  • Keep your message simple. Avoid having to overexplain what you want to say for everyone to get the message.
  • Use concrete details to bring concepts and numbers alive in the minds of your listeners.
  • Look for ways to make your message of insights attention-getting or unexpected in a relevant way.

Cite Credible Sources (Authority-Endorsing)

Leverage the principle of authority. The more credible the source (institution or person) that you cite, the stronger your persuasive power becomes. Citing credible sources is a win-win because you credit others while adding persuasive force to your message and approach.

The Principles of Urgency and Scarcity

  • The principle of urgency states that opportunities with clear near-term limits (deadlines) typically motivate us to want them more.
  • The principle of scarcity states that the more something is scarce, the more we want it.

How To Use The Principles of Urgency and Scarcity

(1) You can use the principle of urgency by explaining why they'll be too late if they wait.
(2) If applicable, explain why resources, the information you provide, or supplies are limited (the principle of scarcity).
- Then, you can also clarify what they will lose or miss out on if they fail to take action (research shows that loss is the most powerful form of scarcity).

The Pain/Gain Framing Influence Technique

"Pain" is before "gain" in the term "pain/gain framing" because people generally tend to be more motivated (often two to three times more) to avoid a loss than to seek a gain.
*Note: This is where you leverage the reward and punishment cognitive bias by choosing the pains and gains most relevant to the person you want to influence and emphasizing them.

How To Use The Pain/Gain Framing Influence Technique

(1) Answer questions that identify the "pain" portion of the frame.
- Ex: "What concerns, risks, headaches, or problems do I prevent for this person?"
- Ex: "If they follow my advice, what penalties (and potential pitfalls) can they avoid?"
(2) Then, answer questions that identify and illustrate the "gain" portion of the frame.
- Ex: "How does my recommendation help them achieve what they want?"
- Ex: "What rewards can they gain?"
(3) After you've answered those, choose the pains and gains most relevant to them and emphasize those pains and gains (rewards and punishments).

The Compare and Contrast Technique

Influence others into taking the action you want by showing how two different things are actually alike (compare) and drawing sharp distinctions between preferred and nonpreferred choices (contrast).

How To Use The Compare and Contrast Technique

(1) See above.
- Ex: A finance leader began his presentation by showing two different graphs side-by-side that had very similar patterns including a severe dip in the middle. One graph was an EKG readout from someone with a heart attack and the other was the stock market during a flash-crash. That analogy helped persuade his audience into agreeing with his point: we shouldn't ignore the causes and implications of the flash-crash just because it's over. The economy had a heart attack and you don't disregard a heart attack after it's over, you do things to prevent the next one.
(2) Use positive sentence structure in your delivery of the compare and contrast technique. You can do this by providing the good news after you provide the bad news.
- Negative Sentence Structure Ex: "We've had some success on this initiative, but we need to address certain problems."
- Positive Sentence Structure Ex: "We need to address certain problems, but we've had some success on this initiative."

Request Help or Advice To Influence the Other Side

It builds rapport by showing respect for their knowledge. This is also referred to as the Benjamin Franklin influence method because he gives a great example of how to do this in his autobiography (how he turned an adversary into a supportive colleague).

How To Request Help or Advice To Influence the Other Side

(1) Ask for support, input, or assistance in ways that reinforce the respect you have for them. They'll like the compliment and be more invested in your success because they want their advice to work.
- Ex: Franklin paid his adversary a compliment on the quality of his library and then asked to borrow one of his rare books for a good purpose (the book acts as the support toward Franklin's good purpose).
(2) When making the ask, make it simple.
- Ex: "I know you have a lot of experience in this area. Can I ask for your thoughts on something?"
(3) Make it easy for the other side to say "yes" to your ask.
- Ask for things that take very little time or effort.
a. Ex: Franklin asked for a book.
(4) Express genuine gratitude afterward.
- Ex: Franklin followed up (after borrowing the book) with a thoughtful "thank you" note.

The Power "Thank You" Method

The most influential persuaders practice a habit of gratitude.

How To Use the Power "Thank You" Method

(1) Thank the person for something specific that he or she did for you.
(2) Acknowledge the thought and effort the person took to help you.
(3) Tell the person how their action made a difference in your life and what actions you'll take going forward because of it.
Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I copied this over from my Evernote, so the formatting is a little wonky.

Hopefully, you guys can read it without any trouble. I've been referencing Ullmen's work without telling you where I've acquired his knowledge from, so here's a review of the course that I took.

Let me know what you think below!

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano