Monday, April 29, 2013

Secrets of likeability and persuasion power!

"The idea of a self made man (or woman) is just one big myth"

It is possible to succeed without much help from others.   But that is a slow and painful process and rarely works.   The truth is that our success is most often determined by our interpersonal skills.   We need as many people as possible on our side and as few or better none working against us.   And we need the ability to persuade and influence others to help us reach our goals.

"Given the choice we prefer to do business with those we like"

Likeable traits such as honesty, dependability, respect cannot be just turned on and off.   Others are watching and if they see that you are nice when you want something and then dismissive to those who can do nothing for you, they form a negative opinion of you.  Sometimes all it takes is one person bad mouthing you behind your back to destroy an opportunity for you.

How can I improve my likeability and ability to persuade?

Seek the similarities

The more we have in common with someone the more likeable they think they are.   Every similaritiy counts.....

* are you from the same town
* do you cheer for the same team
* do you enjoy the same sports
* do you like the same movies, books or music
* do you like the same activities
* do you have kids the same age

The list could go on endlessly but you get the idea.    Find some similarities and your odds of being liked go up.   And as your likeability goes up so does your ability to persuade and influence.  

Mirror the other person

Mirroring the other person creates trust and comfort with you.   Here are some ways to mirror another person...

* mirror their body movements (make sure to pause 2-4 seconds before you mimic their movement or you'll be perceived as disingenuous.
* mirror voice...including pace, volume, vocabulary, expressions and tone

Mirroring is something lovers and close friends do quite naturally.   So when you mirror someone they start to feel that you have a connection with them.   Their resistance drops, they get comfortable with you and are open to your suggestions. 

The Power of Touch

Yes I realize this is a touchy subject (pun intended).  But humans crave touch.  We frequently seek touch from those we like.   Understanding how to use touch can increase your likeablility and your persuasion powers. 

Their is a safe zone for touch which is from the shoulder to the hand.    A hug or arm around the shoulders or waist is only appropriate with someone you already have a relationship with.  

How to use touch..

Warm up your hand when possible before shaking hands.   My favorite trick is hold a hot coffee in my hand.   That way when you shake hands your hand will be nice and warm.   You've heard the expression warm hands = warm heart.   Well psychologically that is exactly the message that gets conveyed.

Touch and request..

A manager who puts his hand on an employees shoulder and then asks him to do something has just drastically increased the odds that the job will get done quicker and better.    He is also creating a bond between himself/herself and the employee.  Likeability goes up as does respect.   We like those who seem to like us.   It's powerful stuff if used properly

Another variation is to make a request while shaking hands.  For instance, a salesperson might shake hands with a client and at the same time say something like this.....Thanks for giving me some of your time,  would you mind if I called your again next week Bill?    It is very difficult to say no to a request when you are making physical contact with another person. 

It is very persuasive to use their name

This is the simpliest and yet proably one the most persuasive techniques you can use.   We love hearing our name spoken.   So start and end every conversation with a persons name.   When you use this method I guarantee you will notice a slight difference in the other person.   Your name is you!   So when you use another persons name frequently you are recognizing them as a person.   Powerful stuff for managers, sales staff and anyone who wants to persuade another.  

Remember....close with their name!   Whether it is a conversation, an email, letter or text end with the persons name.   You don't need to sign an email off with your name, they know who you are.   Instead close a conversation or email with something like this....I appreciate your time and I'll look forward to talking to you again Dan!

Have some fun...

It takes a lot of mental energy being around people who are too serious.   It is draining.   We seek and love levity.   Yes, there are times when we need to be serious but those are rare.   We love being around and doing business with those who are light hearted.   So have some fun!

I have lots more I could say but as Mark Twain said....a good talk (or article)  should be like a womans dress.   Long enough to cover the main points and short enough to maintain interest.   (sorry ladies I couldn't resist)

Monday, April 22, 2013

The magic of mirroring..

"We like and trust those who seem to be most like us"
A quick glance at the above photo and we can see that President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron look like two little peas in a pod.   They dress the same and walk with their suit jackets slung over their shoulders.   It's not hard to imagine that they have good rapport. 
That is what mirroring is all about.   Creating the feeling that you and the person you wish to influence are similar and therefore subconsiously feel you can trust each other.  Matching the behaviors and movements of others creates feelings of liking and strengthens bonds between two people.

"It is far easier and natural to say yes to those we like"

Researchers found that when one party was instructed to mirror the other, the two parties reached agreement 67% of the time.   When no one mirroed the other, they reached agreement only a paltry 12% of the time.   Isn't that amazing?
Here are some of the ways to mirror someone...
Mimic the tone, volume and pace of the other persons voice.  He pauses before speaking and you do likewise.   You may also choose to mimic expressions and vocabulary.  
I remember a time when a salesman who had a bad habit of swearing was attempting to sell a client a warehouse.    He had no success and was frustrated that the client didn't appreciate what a great deal it was.    A few days later I ran into his client.  We had a polite conversation and he revealed why he not bought the property.    He didn't like the foul mouthed salesman.  He was a devoutly regligious man and was greatly offended by the salesman. 
Body movements
Your client crosses his legs, you cross yours.
He leans forward, you lean forward
He rubs his chin, you rub your chin
You get the idea..
Remember though to pause 2 to 4 seconds before you slowly mimic his movement.  As long as you do this he will never realize what you are doing. 
This is a very sutle way to draw a person into saying more.  All you do is every once in awhile look into her eyes and give 3 almost invisible nods.   This creates the feeling that you are in agreement and most interested.   I have used this many times on quiet introverted types with great success.   And you don know that your job as a persuader is get them to talk more than you.   Your greatest success will come when you a great listener.
Seek similarities
Find out what you have in common with the person you wish to pesuade.   This could include;   sports, hobbies, activities, humor, entertainment, politics, beliefs etc.   The list could go on endlessly but the more similarity you can find the quicker you can form a bond and build trust.
Powerful Persuasion Phrases
So what you are saying is....    After using the phrase you simply repeat back in your own words what you've just been told.   This makes the other person feel that you are truly listening to them.   They feel like you are on the same page. 
I understand or I agree...   Of course you can only say this if you do in fact agree.  
How will I know whether mirroring is working?
After mirroring a persons voice and body movements for a few minutes change things up.   If they are leaning back then you lean forward.   If they follow your movement you know that you are in perfect sync with them.  If they don't follow your lead then just keep on mirroring them and try again later. 
This is just the bare basics in mirroring.    For instance, you could even mirror their breathing pattern which is also very effective. 
Why mirroring works...
Mirroring is something you already do.    If you are with a loved one you will quite naturally mirror and mimic each other.   We all know couples that are so in sync with each other that they can finish each other sentences.   It's naturally to be in sync with family and friends.  
"Mirroring its not magic but it can sure feel like it"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Is this the very best shortcut to success?

There are incredibly smart people who would love to help you if you would just ask!

In life and business you can do it the hard way or you could just ask for help or advice.  This one of those lessons that I dearly wished I would learned when I was much younger.


My favorite billionaire Richard Branson tells the story of how when he was starting out Virgin Airlines he had the good fortune to meet Freddie Laker who had owned his own airline in Great Britain.   Richard asked for his advice.   Freddie was only too happy to give Richard advice and even more important what not to do.   Against all odds Richard Branson made Virgin Airlines a huge success against over-whelming odds.  It would have been possible if he had been too proud to ask for help and advice. 

Even for powerful people one of the most intoxicating and flattering things is to be asked for advice.   It not only validates you to be asked, it causes you to think the one asking must be smart because they chose you.   It is near impossible to turn down someone who asks for advice.


"If you want a high powered mentor, ask for their advice first"

By asking for advice you remove their resistance to helping you.   Those in higher positions don't have the time to help everyone, their time is very precious.   However, they just can't resist showing off their wisdom and smarts when asked for advice.   You get their ear by asking for advice and giving their response your complete and undivided attention and appreciation.   More often than not they will conclude with something like.....'feel free to contact me if you need more advice'.   And BINGO just like that the door is open for you to make more contact!

"To gain influence or to persuade someone first ask for their advice"

I remember clearly how I got my first major client.   When I finally got to talk to him I told him that I was new to the business and I wondered if he could give me some advice?   I asked him what advice he could give me as a rookie realtor? That opened the door and he flooded me with all kinds of valuable information.    So instead of me trying to sell figure out how to sell him he virtually told me the secrets of how to sell to him in the future.  By asking for his advice I gained his respect and access to talk to him anytime.   He admired my wise choice of seeking him out for advice.  Beautiful!

"Don't let your stupid ego get in the way of your success"

Some fools think that they are too proud to ask for help or advice.    That's just plain silly!   The truth is that people in power love to help those who ask.   And you never know what kind of powerful ally or even friend you might make just by asking.