Maximize Your Influence

What is your message? What do you have to share that will make a difference in people’s lives? What is your main objective, the key thing you hope to accomplish? You’ve got to understand the big picture. Then, with the big picture in mind, you have to get more specific. Do you have a clear vision of how your product, service, or idea will help your audience? You’ve got to know your product inside and out, its pros and cons and how it stacks up against the competition. Use the following list, distilled from the work of great persuaders, to give some direction to your process of preparing and refining your message:


•           What do I want to accomplish?

•           If I had to boil my message down to three main points, what would they be?

•           How can I demonstrate my expertise?

•           How can I increase my trustworthiness with this audience?

•           What are the emotional reasons that will prompt my audience to respond?

•           What are the logical reasons that will prompt my audience to respond?

•           What is my “call to action”?

•           What are some alternatives to my initial proposal?

•           Does my plan have any potential pitfalls?

•           What are the top five doubts or objections I will encounter? How will I respond?

•           What information should I gather about my audience? My competition?

Direct download: Podcast_149.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12am CDT

When Steve asked Kurt how he was doing before the show started, he did not expect that Kurt would tell him that he just got done dealing with a bear in his backyard.  Well, he didn't deal with it...animal control did.  But we're proud that Kurt didn't scream like a little girl when it happened!  Here's a picture:

Kurt and Steve also give some sound advice that was once also given by the leading salesman of a Northeastern mid-size paper supply company.  The advice is timeless and will echo through the ages. 

After an unusual amount of banter, Kurt and Steve decide to get into something that matters: negotiation.  Clients and customers expect to play the game.  So what do you do if there is no game to play? 

It is a natural tendency for us to take in information and interpret it in a manner that will best serve our personal wants and needs. We do not always do this consciously. What’s more, the converse is also true in that we often pass over information that is critical to understanding the other side, particularly when the other side is in conflict with us. We naturally enhance our own position while vilifying the opposition’s. The result is that perceptions and beliefs are based on information that is highly inaccurate and exaggerated. Especially striking examples of this oppositional bias are seen in the Israelis and Palestinians or the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

A famous Harvard study involved giving some executives insider information about one company’s plans to acquire another. The executives were randomly assigned to role play the part of either the buyer or the seller. Unbeknownst to them, the information given to each side was identical. After analyzing the information, the executives each had to give their private assessment of the company’s fair value (as opposed to how they might present that value in negotiations). Not surprisingly, the executives playing the part of “seller” gave values that were more than double those offered by those who were playing the role of “buyers.” Interestingly, the results were driven by what would best serve the party in her/his randomly assigned role.

It is to be expected that each negotiating side will bring its own biases to the table. Simply knowing that these biases exist will help those involved in negotiation to not be caught off guard. Put yourself in the other side’s shoes and think of what their most powerful case could be. This empathizing tactic always sheds light on new thoughts and ideas that you might not have thought of otherwise. Lastly, it will never hurt you to seek the input of an uninvolved third party.

Direct download: Podcast_148.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:45am CDT

Let’s talk a bit about deception.  I don’t need to say it here, but I will.  Deception is wrong and does trigger incongruence.  On the flip the side the challenge you could have is that when you get nervous or uneasy you might be showing signs or deception.  What I am saying here is that even if you are telling the truth and think you are congruent, you might be sending signals of incongruency and deception.  The audience can’t always identify exactly what is making them distrustful, but they feel that way and that is all that matters to them.  What happens is we all have micro expressions that happen so rapidly the conscious mind can’t see them, but the subconscious can sense them.  These are quick mannerisms in the face that reveal deception or nervousness.  Another one that causes an increase in their deception radar is a disconnect between your emotion and your reaction.  For example if you make an angry face, then hit the table with your hand 5 seconds later, that would be an obvious red flag you are not feeling that emotion.  Careful that you are congruent with every aspect of your message.

Everyone can pick up on your nonverbal behavior.  We sense something is not quite right.  Others will sense when there is any form of incongruence or deception radiating from you.  Be aware that many of your nonverbal behaviors that you are currently doing will trigger incongruence.  It might be a natural part of your behavior, but it could look like deception.  Things that could trigger deception:


  • Forced eye contact
  • Shifting back in chair
  • Rubbing or touching lips
  • Scratching your face
  • Dilated pupils
  • Yawning
  • Pitch of voice rising   
Direct download: Podcast_147.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11am CDT

It's the 4th of July, so Kurt and Steve did what they do best: took their boats out and bbq'd!  Back by popular demand, however, is the episode they did on Charismatic Power.  Check it out!

Direct download: Podcast_146.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm CDT