Maximize Your Influence

The new is up!  Not so much running...but definitely up.  Pardon our dust as we continue to refine the new site.  You can still, however, download the latest podcast episodes and read the blog. 

In the "geeky article moment" for the week, Kurt highlights a recent article from  A company in Chicago recently started timing how long employees were spending in the bathroom.  More than six minutes got you in trouble.  Kurt and Steve discuss why this is a bad move from a leadership and influence angle (like they really needed to point that out to you).

On this episode, Kurt and Steve interview Maureen Simon, an expert in the differnces between the male and female brains.  From the time of birth, it's typically programmed in us that we are a man or a woman.  This doesn't mean that they don't cross over somewhat.  But typically men and women have different attributes and different expectations in the career path.  This interview with Maureen is part one.  Check it out for some great insights into the female brain and be sure to stay tuned for episode 52 for the rest of the interview!

Direct download: Podcast_51.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33pm CDT

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After giving some nots so great (and un-licesned) legal advice, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent study about "moral code."  Individuals are more likely to compromise their morals when they are in a group setting.  We do this because we feel more anonymous and less responsible.  This is all intuitive.  But keep in mind, this means that persuading a group is a lot different than persuading one on one.  As group numbers increase, we often see "mob mentality" set in.  This has a negative connotation but when persuading you can use mob mentality to your advantage. 

This epsidoe continues into a debate as to whether there is a difference between rapport and people skills.  Kurt wins the debate as he often does.  People skills is being able to get a long with somebody and keep things amiable.  Rapport is deeper connection that makes us feel like we've known somebody our whole lives.  When we have rapport, we have a relationship that lasts a long time and that generates favorable persuasion and negotiation results.  While rapport might be difficult to define...we know what it is when we see it or feel it.

Kurt and Steve continue by discussing some of the things that are evident when there is a strong rapport.  This includes relaxed body language, mirrored body language, physical touch, eye contact, and smiling (the real kind that you can see in the eyes).  One of the biggest blunders people make when they have rapport is to change their demenaor once they ask for "money."  This shatters rapport and is one of the top complaints about sales people. 

Direct download: Podcast_50.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:09pm CDT

We hope you had a great Fourth of July holiday!  Even if you didn't celebrate American indepencence day and the 4th of July was just a regular day for you...we hope you had a great one anyway!

Remember to subscribe to the Maximize Your Influence Podcast via Itunes, the Windows Market Place, or Sticher Radio.  And as always, you can listen to the show at

The show begins by Steve hijacking the Geeky Article Moment form Kurt.  This week's article discusses the new science of forensic handwriting style analysis.  This is different than analyzing material that is hand written.  This particular science analyzes how somebody forms words and sentences and can thus (allegedly) prove if somebody wrote something or not.  With more and more writing being done on keyboards (rendering handwriting analysis almost obsolete) Modern law enforcement may start using the acutaly syntax to prove the authorship of writing.  In the era of emails and text messages this is sure to catch on more and more!

Have you ever dealt with a salesperson who avoided eye contact with you?  How did you feel?  Eyes are the window to the soul.  Effective eye contact can make or break a presentation.  On the other hand, too much eye contact can intimidate or come across as a threat.  So how often should we be making eye contact?  The first thing to understand is that we need to "mirror" eye contact.  If somebody isn't making a lot of eye contact with you you need to dial it back a little.  The general rule is, however, about 70%.  That gives enough eye contact to let somebody know you see them and understand...without creeping them out. 

Direct download: Podcast_49.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:20pm CDT

After some useless banter about who should be allowed to wear bathing suits, the Fourth of July, and barbeques, Kurt and Steve launch into Episode 48.  First, they tackle an article about how word choice reflects somebody's mood.  It doesn't happen the way you think.  As it turns out, when somebody is feeling good they use more words with a long "i" vowell.  When they aren't feeling good they use more words with a long "o" vowell.  The human brain is amazing!  You can learn more about the study here.

As they continue to break down the science of charisma, Kurt and Steve address people skills.  Thousands of books have been written on the topic and it's no secret we need to be good at it.  Kurt and Steve break it down by first discussing one of the key components: first impressions.  There are a variety of things that tend to sabotage a first impression.  Physical appearance, bad breath, bad posture, poor dress, demenanor, and vocal tone all affect people skils. 

Another great way to show your people skills is to treat everbody equally.  Whether your dealing with the CEO of the company or a low level clerk...treat people well.  Be interested in them.  Make it your goal to make their day better from having come across you.  Brian Tracy said "you can tell a lot about somebody by how they treat the bus boys of the world."  Always always  keep the people skills swich on!

Kurt and Steve finish the show by featuring a new perusasion ninja.  This persuasion ninja also happens to be a professional pan-handler!  Yes, you've got to hear this!  Listen to the episode for the whole story! 

Direct download: Podcast_48.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:15pm CDT

After diving into "Negotiation's Dirty Deeds" last week, Kurt and Steve continue the discussion by uncovering even more of the underhanded tactics other's will use on you while negotiating. 

Steve takes over today's "geeky article moment."  In a recent article by Harvard Business Review, we learn that managing conflict requires that we first ascertain whether we're dealing with a "hot" conflict or a "cold" conflict.  The strategy is entirely different depending on which type of conflict you are using.  The article also gives a variety of pointers about managing the conflict.  First, unless there is something imminent, take your time.  Many of us want to make conflict go away as soon as possible because we just don't like it.  However this can often make the situation worse.  Second, listen to everything but respond selectively.  Managing conflict often involves a lot of venting emotion that doesn't necessarily need to be just needs to be vented.  Third, take stock before you take sides.  Make sure you really hear both parties out otherwise your credibility in resolving the conflict will be crushed.

One of negotiation's dirty deeds is physical posturing.  It's not uncommon for old school negotiatiors to put the people they negotiate with in smaller chairs, lower positions, or downright uncomfortable positions.  Steve and Kurt discuss how this has been used in foreign policy as well as the business world.

Another of negotiaton's dirty deeds is the "higher authority."  Oftentimes in a negotiation the person you're working with will pretend that they don't have the authority to make a decision.  This isn't necessarily dirty (you might have some success using it, actually), but it does hamper the negotiation process.  When somebody plays the "higher authority card" you need to get them to agree on a deadline and also try to get an appointment or commitment to meet with the higher authority.  That's assuming there really is one! 

Finally to round out the show, Steve discusses a persuasion blunder that's going around today.  It involves some underhanded tactics others are using to get past gate keepers.  Check out the full episode for more! 

Direct download: Podcast_47.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:14pm CDT