Maximize Your Influence

Keeping Attention:   A Bored Mind Says NO!

It is common sense to realize you have to keep your audience's attention in order to persuade them.  If you lose them, you lose your chance for them to understand and accept your proposal.  We know from our own personal experience that we tend to let our minds naturally drift when we are listening to other people.  We cannot focus on one item for too long unless we are forced to do so.  Master Persuaders can make a person want to pay attention and stay focused.  You may lose your audience’s attention from time to time but it is your job to bring them back to full attention status.  You can help your prospect lose track of time.

Some estimate that the average adult attention span is about 18 minutes.  What’s more, studies indicate that attention spans have been decreasing steadily over the past decade.  After our attention span is lapsed, we fall into boredom and no longer listen.  You have to be creative to maintain the mental involvement that is required to persuade a mind.  One way to keep the mind harnessed is to give your audience enough time to process what you are telling them. You can tell by the look in their eyes if you have lost them.  I'm sure you have taken seminars or college classes where you have been completely lost.  When the professor asks questions, you don't raise your hand because you have no idea what is going on.  Give your listeners enough time to absorb what you're saying, but obviously not so long that they become totally bored and detached.


Some more ideas on ways to help people choose to pay attention:


•Use questions                                   

•Make startling statements

•Use quotes                            

•Change mediums

•Speak in the first person       

•Present new and innovative ideas


You can see that these techniques are used to grab back the attention of your listeners when their minds have started wandering.  Employed properly they will bring your audience’s attention back to you.

Direct download: Podcast_132_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28am CDT

The old-school approach to persuasion put a lot of the emphasis on the final outcome: clinching the deal, closing the sale. Back then, it was a lot more about getting the sale than having a true and lasting relationship with an actual person. The problem with being so closing-oriented is that a persuasive encounter is not a static, one-sided arrangement. The “persuadee” is not some brainless lump who will unquestioningly accept everything you say. They are living, breathing human beings, which means the exchange is two-sided. You have to establish rapport very early on, making a good and lasting first impression, and you have to keep the rapport going.

Many persuaders don’t know how to maintain rapport throughout the entire exchange. They’re good at breaking the ice and helping their audience feel comfortable, but when it comes to “getting down to business,” all of a sudden their demeanor changes. Their light-hearted, jovial manner may turn into intense seriousness as they launch into “the bottom line.” When this transformation takes place, what is the audience supposed to think? The person they were joking around with for the past ten minutes has now completely morphed into someone else. Which one is the real person? 

 Great persuaders don’t focus on their persuasive encounters in terms of initial “kick-off” and final “closing.” They maintain rapport and connection by keeping the exchange emotionally and logically on the same plane. Think of your audience as a friend you will see and do business with again. Do not allow yourself any abrupt mood changes; be flexible and willing to adjust to the many moods and emotions your audience may go through.

Direct download: Podcast_131.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am CDT

This week's article is sure to offend some listeners.  If you're a short man or an overweight woman, the British Medical Journal has bad news for you.  Hey were just the messenger!  Check out their recent study linking hight, body mass, and socio-economic status.  

"Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get."  -Warren Buffett

The Law of Contrast explains how we are affected when we are introduced to two different alternatives or options in succession. We know that contrasting two alternatives can distort or amplify our perceptions of price, time or effort. Generally, if the second item is quite different from the first, we will tend to see them even more differently than they actually are. As a Power Persuader, you can use this contrast to navigate your audience toward the object of your persuasion.

The use of contrast is based on our perception of items or events that happen one right after the other. If you've had a rotten day because you found out you're losing your job and you come home to a new scratch on your car, you will have a different reaction than if you were having a great day because you're getting a promotion and then came home to the scratch on your car. It's the same scratch, but there are very different perceptions and reactions to it.  Contrast is used for negotiations.  When we offer a really low or high bid or when we ask for $200 and only expect $50. This is contrast. What if you thought it was a 60 minute meeting and then it only took 30 minutes.  What if that 15 minute meeting lasted 30 minutes?

This is all about human perception. The human mind has to find a benchmark or comparison to make judgments, especially when we are talking about unfamiliar situations or new products. People need to make comparisons with their past experience and knowledge. The brain will always attempt to contrast your product or service. Is it the best or worst, cheapest or most expensive? Is your product the safe or risky choice or is it familiar or strange? By presenting your prospects with contrast, you are creating those comparisons for them. The mind can't process everything at once and so it develops shortcuts to help make decisions. Instead of making a completely internal judgment, we look for boundaries, patterns, and polar opposites. We want to know the difference between our options, so we naturally contrast the two items. We mentally create a value or price in our mind from highest to lowest. Do you want your prospects to compare your product or service to a second-hand used car or to a Rolls Royce? You get to decide where you want them to start their benchmark.  

Adjusting Value Examples  

Bonuses - 3 bonuses worth $25 each have more value than to get one bonus worth $75

Product – Having all your product arrive in one box has less value than receiving 3 separate shipments.

Retail – Keeping the high prices at a grocery store increases the perception of value and savings when the savings is shown on the receipt

Cars – We feel like we get a better deal on a car when we see the large retail price, and we get a rebate. 

Payments - It is easier to swallow the monthly payments on a large purchase rather than seeing the whole price tag upfront.

Gas – Getting a 10 cent discount when you pay cash is easier to swallow than a 10 cent surcharge for using your credit card.

Payroll – There is higher perceived income when you separate all their benefits on their check versus putting it all in one large sum.

Negotiation – Starting as high or low as possible will get you better terms.

Direct download: Podcast_130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am CDT

All human beings yearn for direction and guidance. That’s why someone with a vision is so alluring and influential to us.  Charismatics are able to create a strong clear vision of the future.  People will jump on board when they can see that there is a solid vivid vision in place that they can touch, taste, feel, or see.  No one wants to get on a sinking ship.  People want to know: What’s the plan?  Where are we going?  What are we aiming for?  Your goal is to powerfully present how your vision is the solution to their problems. Your vision must bridge the gap between their present situation and their desired situation—where they are, and where they want to be.

Vision is powerful because it keeps us focused on the future objective instead of getting stuck in the current preoccupations of the day.  It gives us focus and purpose for the future.  It creates a big picture.  A cohesive common vision brings people together and unites them toward the same goals and objectives.  Charismatic people have a clearly defined vision and are filled with great enthusiasm and expectation.  Remember more than anything else in life, vision—whether it’s yours or somebody else’s—dictates your daily decisions.  When the vision is clear, the right decisions are easier to make.

A true vision diminishes the fear of failure, negative thinking and promotes synergy.  They want to know what is in for them in the long-term.  Why should they support you and your vision?  How does this affect the whole team?  Your vision builds a bridge from the present status quo to the future objective.

Direct download: Podcast_129.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:58pm CDT

Have you noticed the dramatic changes that have evolved in presentations, communication, and training over the last twenty years? The basic focus used to be on education. Many people are still trying to educate and they always lose their audiences.  Now, the latest research is all about how to grab and keep your audience’s attention, while maintaining charisma.  We can no longer focus simply on educating; we must now entertain and influence.  We must keep our audiences attention.  We must be charismatic.

Charismatic people can maintain and earn the attention of their audience.  We know that people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. You don’t have to dance around or be stand-up comedian, but you do have to make sure your audience follows your message, that your words resonate with them, they pay attention, and they understand your message.  The moment you lose their attention, you can no longer influence them and they definitely can’t feel any charisma.  

You could have a great product or cause, be a sharp dresser, publish a great brochure, or even have impressive credentials.  The reality is, however, that the number-one persuasion tool is you, and a big part of how you present yourself and your charisma is through your ability to communicate.  Long gone are the days of hoping people will listen, making them listen or hoping the topic will compensate for your weaknesses as a presenter.   Practice your presentation so it becomes part of you, instead of a slick PowerPoint or a tired outline.  Manage your fear, anxiety or nervousness, so you can radiate charisma.  

Direct download: Podcast_128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm CDT