Influence is such a powerful word that we can either affect change for someone for the better or for worse. That is why when we think of the power of influence, we should be cautious and use it to improve others and not for self-gain. Carolyn sets out on a task to uncover the extent of the power of influence as she talks about why it is important and the things we do to affect it. She lays down the ways we influence others, both the good and the bad, by outlining the methods that we should crash out from our list. Ultimately, when used the right way, influence can build long-lasting relationships which is why it helps to know how you can affect change for the better.
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The Power Of Influence
We’re experiencing some absolutely crazy weather patterns that are creating these very harsh times for so many people. I was thinking about the consequences of all of this. I was looking at the news. It said that 75% of the US will be experiencing below freezing weather. I’ll be heading up Northeast, so I’m going to experience some of the freezes but nothing like the Midwest. Those people will be living through some harsh and devastating temperatures. Somewhere between negative twenty and negative 40. For all of you out there, my heart goes out to you. Please stay warm. Follow the guidelines that give you what to do and had a dress if you have to go outside during this big freeze because we all got to stay safe.
I’m always talking about what we can do to improve ourselves. I’m no different. It’s important to constantly look for ways to learn something new and to open our minds to new things. I went to a conference to sharpen my own skills and to see what other people are doing in the training and speaking space because that’s my background. That’s what I do. It’s funny because I talk about this in my training sessions. You may think that you know all that you need to know on your topic, on what your industry is, on what is your core competency. Even if you do, even if you think you do, when you sit through a program, it’s like going to a movie more than once. When you do that, you see things that you may not have seen before. Even though you’ve seen the same movie. You could see the same movie so many times and then each time you may take a look at it from a different angle and it could be because something changed in your life or you’re looking for something different.
Whatever that is, whatever is the case for you, it’s important to continue to learn and grow. You’ve got to continue to challenge your own thinking to watch the same movie and find something that you didn’t see the first go round. I did just that. I went to a program to see what other people are doing in the training space and it was a great opportunity for me to sharpen my own skills, so that next class that I teach, I can add something new or maybe to do something different. We talked about challenging the status quo to find new ways to challenge yourself, to change your behavior and to get out of your comfort zone. Get out of your comfort zone so that you can push yourself a little bit further. Each time you do that, you continue to push yourself a little bit farther and it’s truly amazing how far you can push yourself and you never know until you try.You're not going to learn and grow if you constantly do the same thing over and over. Click To Tweet
My guest, Eric Sprinkle, shared with us how he does that and how he helps others do that as well. We all hesitate just a smidge. It’s human nature. Why should we get out of our comfort zone? It’s so comfortable. That’s where we like to be, but you’re not going to learn and grow if you constantly do the same thing over and over. I was talking to somebody that was on The Gladiators. I love that show. That show is badass. It’s back in the day. Those people who are the younger generation tuning in may not even know what The Gladiators show was all about. It’s a precursor to American Ninja Warrior except the difference is that as you go through these obstacles, there are gladiators trying to stop you from achieving those goals. When I was talking to her and she was telling me about her workout routine because you know, you have to be badass to be on The Gladiators. She was mentioning that same thing. If you go to the gym and do the exact same exercise every single week, there comes a time when you plateau, that nothing changes. You don’t get any stronger because now you’re comfortable. Your body knows what to expect. You’re not doing anything different. You’re not pushing yourself any farther. That’s the same thing that we talk about in life.
My mantra is to challenge the status quo. Get out of your comfort zone, do what you need to do to continue to learn and grow. Eric Sprinkle gave you all a dare. He said that you’ve been dared to act, hand sweaty and throat dry. That’s perfectly normal when you’re doing something you may not have done before. Remember as we discussed, plan it out, get it ready, set the date and his dare was to call in live and tell Carolyn Rivera, Mama C in the house, how much you appreciate her show. No delays, no overanalyze, just do it. Those were the words of Eric Sprinkle from Adventure Experience. Are you taking the dare? Are you ready to do something that you may not feel 100% comfortable with? Are you ready to push yourself? That was the message. For some of you who would hate to be on the radio, that’s the dare. The dare is get out of your comfort zone. There are some people who were like, “No problem. I don’t mind being on the radio.” Maybe that dare is not something to get you out of your comfort zone. I’d love to hear from you. Let me know. I’d love to talk to you.
The Power Of Influence
We are going to be talking about the power of influence. What is an influence? It’s getting other people to do what you want them to do but get them to want to do it. I emphasize the word want. The show will lay it all out for you. We’re going to talk about what is the power of influence. Why is influence so important? What are influence processes? Meaning, how do you influence? What’s the best way to influence? This is a topic that you want to read. It’s a topic that we deal with every day in all of our lives. It’s a skill that you have to have in order to build relationships with people. It helps you understand what makes people tick. We all need to understand that.
When you influence someone, you’re basically asking them to change, to do something different. Like the dare that Eric gave you, how many of you took the dare? No one. That’s because he’s asking you to change, to get off the couch, go to the phone, dial the call-in number and then what are you going to say on the radio? You’re going to freeze or pull out your cell phone and dial the number, but you don’t typically do that. You listen and enjoy the show as you like to in the comfort of your couch. If was standing in a room of people and I asked the question, “Who wants something to change?” probably everyone in the room would raise their hand because there are some things that you deal with that you don’t love and that you would like to change to make them easier for you. We can all agree on that.
If I ask the question, “Who wants to change themselves?” how many of you would raise your hand? How many of you are constantly thinking of ways to change? The number of hands that would go up would maybe be one or two. Maybe one or two people are saying, “I’m working on myself. I’ve got this personal development plan and I’m all about change. I’m going to take that step and do something different.” The reason is that no one likes change. We all want change to happen, but we don’t necessarily want to personally change. We are comfortable doing what we do, knowing what to expect and so sometimes we get complacent. Take it a step further, if you’re trying to influence others, you must already know that they don’t like change because none of us like change. Their first instinct will be to want to resist. They’re not going to want to do it. They’re going to want to put the wall up and say, “I’m good the way I am.”
Looking At Yourself First
The influence skill is to get them excited about the change, to get them to see the value of the change, to get them to want to change what they’re doing. Remember what that means. You’re pushing them to try something new, to get out of their comfort zone for a period of time until they get comfortable with this new behavior. Until they get comfortable with the new behavior, what does that mean? That means that they’re uncomfortable. What do you have to do? You have to get people to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s not easy. You need to understand that because to begin to change your own mindset and you need to begin to look at yourself first, you need to figure out what it takes to change yourself first before you can get anyone else to change. When you want someone else to change, you have to shift gears. You have to change your mindset. You have to begin to look at things from their point of view.When you influence someone, you're basically asking them to change. Click To Tweet
That’s the challenge because we look at things typically from our point of view. When you have to change that lens, when you have to take a different viewpoint and see things from someone else’s point of view, it’s not that easy. What you’re asking someone else to do may be is second nature to you. You may think the change is very simple but to someone else, it may not be. You may not be able to relate to that because you know it comes so easily to you. You’re essentially putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and beginning to see things through their eyes. That alone is a skill that we all need to possess. It’s something that we need to use each and every day. This is what you have to realize because it is something that happens to us every day. Whether we are cognizant of it or not.
Understand Who You Are Talking To
We were talking about the fact that we influence others in all aspects of our lives. Think of this, picture a group of friends going out to lunch and half the group wants to go to one place and the other half wants to go to a different place. How do you choose? What happens? How do you convince half the group to do something that they don’t want to do? It all depends on what’s important to those people. One approach may be to say something like this, “This place is less expensive than the other place.” Some of the people that are watching their budget, those that don’t want to spend too much money on the meal, maybe totally convinced by truly understanding that, “I’m going to save some money. Let’s go to the place that’s less expensive.” You influenced that decision by simply tuning in to what was important to them. If you say that to people who are interested in the best dining experience ever and money is no option, that same approach wouldn’t work because they’re not interested in saving money. To them, what’s more important is the dining experience in this best place. In that case, you may need to say something like, “The reviews on this place are five-star reviews. People are saying that the experience they had at this place is exceptional.” In that case, those people who are interested in that best dining experience ever would be all in.
The key is to understand who you’re talking to and understand what is important to them. That’s what makes it challenging because you have to know what’s important to them, not you. You have to shift your mindset and turn it around and begin to connect with other people. The way you do that is through influence. Some people think of it as a thing that’s only used in the business world. No matter what your goals are in life, you can achieve them much faster and be much more effective if you focus on enhancing your own influence skills. There are ways to do this that work. Unfortunately, there are ways I’m sure that many of us have witnessed that are very ineffective. I’m going to go through some of those things first that I want you to stay away from. Sometimes one of the things that happen to us is we may feel like we’re forced to do something. We’re influenced by someone simply by their force. What I mean by that is I can share it with you in this example. For those of you who are parents out there or for those of you who are kids, I’m sure you have heard this before. We say to our kids, “Clean your room or else,” and then you give them a consequence, “You’re going to be punished. I’m going to take away your iPad,” whatever the case is. They have to do it because you told them to do it.
Think back, did they change their behavior? They probably went into their room and cleaned their room because they wanted to go out and play. They couldn’t go out and play unless their room was clean. That’s how they do it. Was it sustained? Did they change their behavior? Once you use that approach, did you find that you never had to say that to them again? Probably not. I would venture to say, I’m saying this from pure experience, that the answer is no. The answer is no because you didn’t find out what they saw or felt was important. Maybe put your thinking cap on. Put your mind into their mind and maybe if you would have said, “If you don’t clean your room, you may have bugs because bugs are drawn to clutter. When your room is all cluttered up like this, bugs love to mosey around and walk around.” That may make them want to change that behavior and begin to keep their room clean. Who wants bugs crawling around all over their stuff? It’s a true statement. Bugs do like clutter. They do like to crawl in and out of those things.
What I’m saying is you have to find out what’s important to them. I truly wish I had this epiphany when my kids were growing up, but I didn’t. I used the phrase, “Clean your room or else,” and I had to say it over and over again. The key is to find out what’s important to them and look for what things they want and don’t want depending on what you’re trying to change. When you force someone to do something, you’ll get a short-term changed behavior. It may even last a little bit longer. The key is as soon as they have the opportunity that they don’t have to do what you’re forcing them to do, they’re not going to do it. Let’s use that same example. Let’s say you say to your kids every day, “Clean your room or else.” When they grew up, they moved out and they don’t see the value in cleaning their room, they get their own place and now they feel free to leave their room however they choose. They will no longer feel forced to keep it clean because they never saw the value in doing so in the first place.
Tactic Of Intimidation
The bottom line is that using force to influence others is not a long-term strategy. It’s not an effective way to get people to change behavior for good. Cross it off your list, force is no good. What is another approach? You’ve lived through the tactic of intimidation. People who use this approach will get people to change their behavior simply because people will feel scared not to comply. I was thinking, “What type of an example could I give to intimidation?” I picked this one because I feel like many kids go through this in schools with bullies. Picture this, there’s this clique in high school, this group of cool kids. Everyone wants to be part of the cool kids’ group. Your best friend is also not in this cool kids’ group and this is a friend that you’ve been friends with for years and both of you are not considered in that group of cool kids. Then one day something happens. You help one of those cool kids with something and now he or she is so grateful that you’re brought into that group. They begin to invite you places but not your best friend. They don’t like her. They don’t like her in any way and she’ll never be invited.You need to figure out what it takes to change yourself first before you can get anyone else to change. Click To Tweet
The cool kids one day say to you, “If you want to hang out with us, your best friend is no longer your best friend because now you’re part of our group and she is not. If you want to hang with us, you’re going to have to drop her like a hot potato.” You struggle. You see all the benefits of what this cool kids’ group could do for you, but you like your best friend. You can picture things so differently. You don’t want to give up the friendship, but you can’t understand why you have to but you’re told if you don’t, you’re going to be banned from this cool kids’ group forever, “We’ll never talk to you again.” The sad thing is this actually happens. Some of you out there reading may even have experienced this yourself. This is clear and simple. It is intimidation. You know what the other person wants and you use that against them. You create fear in them that they’re never going to get what they want. This is one just example. There are thousands. It happens more times than not. It’s also very evident in other situations at work, at home, at associations, all over. Intimidation again can work for a short time. At some point, someone will have the courage to stand up to you if you’re the bully and say no. Once again, using intimidation, cross it off your list. It’s not effective. Don’t do it.
The power of influence, there are so many ways that people use influence. We talked about using force and intimidation. Once again, cross those off your list. These are not ways that are effective. They will not work for sustained change. Short-term, yes, you’ll get people scared. You’ll make people do things, but they will not change their behavior. Two additional things that I wanted to discuss. First is manipulation. This issue with influence is that some people think of influence, like and link it to manipulation, which is the opposite of what influence is. Let’s define what manipulation is. It’s when you control someone or play with their emotions using unfair or untrue tactics. Those things are linked to your personal needs, to your gain, not theirs. You do not have their best interest in mind. When you manipulate someone, you are focusing solely on fulfilling your need. Back in 2008, there were all these mortgage brokers. They were preying on the hearts and emotions of people. They convinced people to take out these loans that they knew people couldn’t afford. They put them in these crazy mortgages.
I think they made them up and all of a sudden, they had these crazy interest-only loans. They’re paying back interest but they’re never paying down their principal. In some cases, because they’re only paying interest, the principal is adding every month. These brokers would look at their finances and see clearly that this was not the right product for that family. They were thinking about themselves. They were thinking about what is that commission check going to look like, “What do I want to buy for the next month?” How much would they get if this family took out that loan? They saw dollar signs. The family signs and they’re stuck in a situation that would eventually devastate them. Many people during that timeframe lost their homes. They trusted people. They believed that these people are good. They have their needs in mind, but they didn’t. That’s manipulation. Don’t go down that road because it’s not sustaining. It’s not long-term. It’s not going to help.
We just finished talking about manipulation. You don’t want to do that either. The last thing that I wanted to bring up is the use of position power. There are people who are in a position of authority that basically can make you do something because of that position. It’s like the same thing of feeling like intimidation, but the key difference is that they have that position that they’re coming from. Intimidation can be peer to peer. It could be somebody you know lower than you. This particular thing is position power. They have this authority over you. This is like when a boss tells you to do something that you don’t want to do. You feel like you have to do it or else you may be fired. You need the job and you need the money. You feel trapped and you have to do it. Some people can relate to this situation. Think about those instances where companies told people to rely on reports and they did so because the boss told them to do it.
You may get someone to change again their behavior once because they’re scared and because they feel like they have to pay their bills. They’re not going to do this forever. They’re going to start looking for other jobs so that they don’t have to put themselves through something like that for the long-term. Using your position to get people to change again is not effective. It links directly to that whole intimidation tactic. I’ve gone through all the things that you shouldn’t do. What’s the right way? How do you influence the right way? How do you shift that mind and have their best interests in mind? The first thing you need to understand about influence is that you must know who you’re talking to. You must know who you’re trying to influence. You need to find out what’s important to them. You need to find out through questions. You need to ask a lot of questions and build relationships.
Let’s go back to that situation with the friends going out to eat. You may know that you want to eat at a certain restaurant. You’re not sure what everyone else wants to do, but you want to go to this one place. You could start by asking a question like, “Does anyone have any type of food that they can eat?” You’ll find out. You know everyone they told you whatever they have and this restaurant will suit all of them so check. So far so good, everyone is going to be happy. Then you might ask, “Is everyone okay spending $35 on dinner?” You look around. Everyone is nodding their head, “No problem. We can all do that.” You might say something like, “I have this great place to eat. They got a great menu with all sorts of dishes. Basically, you have so many options to choose from, they’ve got huge portions and the best part about it is these dinners are an average of $25.” You’re saving everyone $10 because they already said they’re comfortable with spending $35. Now they have options, they’ve got large portions and it’s going to be inexpensive.When you manipulate someone, you are focusing solely on fulfilling your need. Click To Tweet
By doing this, you’ve taken into account what everyone else would enjoy. Everyone is going to feel comfortable with the budget. Everyone is going to have a great time because they’re going to find the food that they want. That is one way to influence in a positive way. Remember the definition is to get people to do what you want them to do, but make them want to do it. Think of it this way, if you have a vision where you need other people to help you achieve your vision, don’t you want to get them excited? Don’t you want to get them as excited about your vision as you are? How do you do that? You use influence. You find out what’s important to them. You find out where their passion is. You see if your vision aligns to what’s important to them. Don’t try to force fit it.
Let me give you an example and this is a great example. All of you know that I’m passionate about Survivor and before I got on the show, I applied for years. One year I applied, that was the year where they were looking for mother and daughter teams. Survivor is my passion. Not necessarily my daughter’s, both daughters because I have two. When I found out that Survivor was interested in this mother/daughter combo, I quickly went home, called the girls and said, “You have to make a video with me because they’re looking for mother/daughter teams.” Does that sound like influence? Neither one of my girls were like, “I can’t wait to apply.” None of them said that. One of them flat out said, “Mom, this is your passion, not mine. There’s nothing about the show, Survivor, that sounds good to me.” The other one did a video because I was so desperate to get on. I think she felt bad. She didn’t have the passion herself, but she wanted me to be able to fulfill my dream. We didn’t get on that year and I’m glad because it wasn’t fair of me to make them do something that they didn’t want to do. That’s not influenced. I used 100% force, no questions about it. In fact, I said something like, “I’ve been schlepping over soccer fields for the last twenty years and now you guys are going to do something for me.”
Could it be intimidation? Could it be a force? I don’t know. You choose. Either way, it wasn’t good. We all sometimes want something so bad that we don’t influence, we force. The key is to take a step back, determine what you’re asking someone to do. Will it truly benefit them? Do they want to do it? Sometimes you asked for help and you ask for a favor from someone, but you both know upfront that you fully understand and appreciate that they’re doing something for you. If you’re moving and you ask friends to help you move, there’s no benefit to them, but they’re okay doing it because they’re doing you a favor. Again, that’s not influence. That’s a favor. Let’s say you have to convince them to help you. Maybe you say something like, “If you help me move, I’m going to buy you pizza and beer.” If the person loves pizza and beer, they’re benefiting as well. The bribe that you’re offering them, what you’re willing to give them to make their decision is helping you influence. It’s not a behavior change, it’s a favor.
If you want people to fully change their behavior, then you’re going to have to use influence, build trust, figure out what they want, ask them questions, dig deep, build relationships, and then when it happens, it’s magical because their behavior changes. You’re watching them learn and grow. It’s probably the most rewarding thing that you can witness. Sometimes the art of influence gets a bad rap like New Yorkers. Focus on using influence to help others succeed. We talked about influence, the process of getting people to do what you want them to do, but get them to want to do it. Remember, want is the key. We talked about the things that we probably have all encountered were influences is used the wrong way, not with the best intentions. We also talked about ways in which you can use it the right way and have other people’s intentions in mind. What are the intentions of the person influencing others? If they’re good, that’s what you’re looking for. If you’re influencing others, ask yourself, “What are my intentions? Am I doing this with their interests in mind or am I doing this selfishly for me only?”
Hopefully, it’s not the latter. Influence is a skill that you use every single day. One that as you progress in life, your career, your family, it becomes more and more critical. I’ve delivered countless programs on influenced throughout my career. Each time within the workshop, some people would see the influence in a negative light simply because they personally have encountered force or intimidation or they were manipulated by somebody that and didn’t even realize it or a boss made them do something. You need to figure out what is the right way. None of those examples are acceptable. Influence is positive because when it’s done correctly, you watch and see the growth of other individuals and the magic happens. They’re out of their comfort zone. They’re learning and improving themselves each and every day and that is powerful.
There are more tips on how to improve influence skills in my book, Plant Your Flag: The Seven Secrets to Winning. Go to my website at www.CarolynJRivera.com. I want to see each and every one of you figure out ways in which to get out of your comfort zone to try something new. When you go to my website, select the subscribe button because I want to add you to my mailing list and you can start to receive some additional tips and gifts going forward. This is going to be a breakout year for Mama C. I’ve got so much planned. I want each and every one of you to be a part of it. Follow me on Instagram, @CarolynRivera14, click that Follow button so you can keep updated on all the fabulous things that I have planned for 2019. Some of you may be looking for some motivation, push that help button and find out. Let me know. Go to my website. Send me a message. My passion is to watch people ignite their will to win, helping you achieve more than you ever thought possible. That’s my specialty. Remember, belief, commit and achieve is the secret sauce.