Carnegie tells a story of taking his dog to the park without a muzzle or a leash, and running into a police officer who scolded him, as this was against the law. The next few times Carnegie took his dog out, he kept him on a leash, but the dog didn’t like it. So the next time, Carnegie let the dog run free. When he ran into that same police officer, he knew he would be in trouble.
The secret behind how to influence people
Just thinking about them brings up the sweet, cinnamon-sugar scent and immediately reminds me of one of the people who had so much influence in my life. Every quarter he would bake dozens of snickerdoodle cookies and bring them into the KCBS Radio newsroom in San Francisco where my colleagues and I would elbow each other to get to the basket where we could snatch several of these heavenly cookies.
Baking snickerdoodles may not be the secret to influencing people, but for radio broadcast legend Al Hart, it was one of the many ways he inspired me with his homemade creations and motivating confidence and trust among those with whom he worked.
Lloyd George, Great Britain’s Prime Minister during World War I, who stayed in power long after the other wartime leaders had been forgotten, was asked how he managed to remain on top. His response: He had learned that it is necessary to “bait the hook to suit the fish.”
If we can put aside our own thoughts, opinions, and wants, and truly see things from another person’s perspective, we will be able to convince them that it is in their best interest to do whatever it is we’re after.
We are often tempted to argue with others, especially when we are absolutely convinced that we’re right about something. But even if we are right, what does arguing about it yield? Why prove someone else wrong? Is that going to make the person like us? Why not just let him save face, if we have nothing to gain from it but “feeling” superior?
According to Carnegie, it’s impossible to win an argument. If we lose the argument, we lose; if we win the argument, we have made the other person feel inferior, hurt his pride, and made him resent us. In other words, we still lose.
- Welcome the disagreement. If the other person is raising a point we haven’t considered, we can be thankful it’s brought to our attention. It may save us from making a mistake.
- Distrust our first instinctive impression. Our natural reaction to a disagreeable situation is to become defensive. We should keep calm and watch out for how we first react.
- Control our temper. Only negative outcomes result from a bad temper.
- Listen first. We can give our opponents a chance to talk without interrupting, and let them finish without resisting, defending, or debating.
- Look for areas of agreement. Surface those first.
- Be honest. Look for areas where we can admit error and apologize for our mistakes. This helps reduce defensiveness.
- Promise to think over our opponents’ ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Thank our opponents sincerely for their interest. If they’re taking the time to argue with us, they’re interested in the same things we are.
- Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. In the meantime, ask ourselves honestly if our opponents might be right, or partly right.
Next time you find yourself in a disagreement with someone, don’t respond with criticism or a negative email. Instead, sleep on it. You’d be surprised how much perspective you can gain by giving yourself a bit of time to think the situation over.
The 10 qualities you need to influence others
Extraordinary leaders inspire, but just how do they do it? What sets a good leader apart from a mediocre one? An extraordinary leader is a person who has learned how to influence others, including their thoughts, feelings and behaviors; people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Oprah are just a few examples.
Here we’ll cover the 10 essential qualities that all excellent leaders share. We’ll also cover how to influence people and enhance your own ability to influence others no matter what situation you are in.
1. Extraordinary hunger and drive
Hunger and drive set a leader apart from a follower. Leaders have an insatiable hunger to make something happen; they must do, create and share. This drive is the force that makes them unstoppable. Through their drive, they discover how to influence people and the culture around them.
If you study great leaders in history, you’ll see they get their hunger from a variety of places, but often it comes from something that was missing in their lives. You’ll also find their willingness to confront authority. These are people who confront the status quo, not conform to it.
So how do you get better at influencing others? Anything that intensifies the hunger and drive within you will make you a more powerful leader. The greatest hunger is to serve something greater than yourself , which leads us to the next quality.
2. Exceptional and compelling vision
Small visions have no power to inspire or move people. Instead of influencing others, you’ll be fighting for their attention. If you want to unlock an extraordinary life, you must have big dreams. This is why great leaders always have a vision larger than themselves.
Trying to influence others to support a self-serving goal is a mistake many leaders make. Remember that wielding influence is very powerful and is only to be used to influence change for the greater good. If you use it for selfish purposes, those you are trying to influence will sense it.
To really stand out and influence others, your vision needs to capture and grab the hearts, minds and energies of a significant number of people. It must be the vision of how life can be made better for a group of people, customers, a gender, a race or a country. There must be something that makes people want to bring their resources to the table and contribute their energy to achieve that vision. When you have a specific purpose that benefits those around you, others will be drawn in to help you reach your goal and they in turn will influence others to help as well.
3. Absolute certainty
A leader always has an absolute core belief that they can bring their vision to life. There is true power in belief, and influencing others always starts with conviction. Certainty is what shapes human beings; it’s one of our six human needs . Certainty is also a crucial component in how to influence people.
Uncertainty, doubt and fear are the biggest impediments to influencing others. Truly influential people understand that the fear of not following their vision is greater than any fear associated with moving forward. They know that hunger destroys their fear of failure and that they can use their fear instead of letting it use them.
Think about good leaders you’ve seen in action. Their passion is infectious, right? You’ve never seen an incredible leader say to their team, “I’m not sure we can make this work” or “Maybe I’m not the right person to do this job.” An incredible leader engages those around them by acting with complete certainty. They use their fear to push them even harder and this conviction is their key to influencing others.
4. Passionate and effective communicator
This concept is perhaps the most important thing that Tony teaches: To influence others, you must know what already influences them . That’s how to influence people and make real change. You must understand who your audience is and how to reach that particular audience . Your passion brings the energy; your effectiveness comes from knowing who your audience is and how to speak to them in a way that moves them. Everyone is moved in different ways, so getting this right is crucial.
People who are trying to influence others make the blunder of communicating in the style that works for them. Unless they get lucky and are with a group of people who think just like them, this type of communication will fail. Those who understand how to influence people know that getting to know them better is a crucial step to communication and that influencing them cannot be done without it. Passionate and effective communication is the only way you’ll be able to bring the energy to inspire people to do something beyond the norm – to do something extraordinary.
Influence with the hands
Influencing others with the hands involves cooperative appeals centered on collaboration and teamwork. You’re reaching out to others, seeking their input and encouraging everyone within a particular group to work together. Collaborating to achieve a goal that benefits the greater good is a powerful influencer, especially when you’re working toward making massive, lasting change .
How do you know which type of appeal to use when influencing others? It’s based on the situation, your audience and how strong you are in each area. Before you talk to the person or people you hope to influence, determine what you know about them and which tactics will work most effectively. In some cases, combining two or more of these appeals is appropriate.
Influencing others is about working effectively with people who you have no authority over. When it comes from a place of empathy, compassion and a desire to elevate everyone to a higher level, influence helps make the world a better place.
Leaders change the state of others, and the world around them, by telling an effective story. They say what they mean, care about those they are influencing and know how to tailor their approach to individuals or specific groups. They inspire others with their vision and by putting their plans into action.