Influencers from Around the World – Child-Like Influence

It’s always a treat to hear from Australia’s only Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® Anthony McLean. Anthony is the founder of the Social Influence Consulting Group. I follow him on several social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) and can tell you he’s doing outstanding work! If you’re a parent you’ll really appreciate this week’s post.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Child-Like Influence
Have you ever watched a child walk into a new environment such as a park, a playground or even a new school and wondered at how quickly they are able to integrate into the group and make new friends? I have three children and have noticed that my youngest, Ryan, never has a problem making new friends. No matter where we go, he always ends up talking to or playing with someone new. My eldest, Samara, possessed this skill when she was younger but now as a pre-teen it doesn’t come that easily to her anymore. Why?
The thing that Ryan does that Samara has stopped doing is always being willing to make the first move (reciprocity). He will walk up to a child on a swing and say hello. If someone is playing on a climbing gym he will go and join in and mimic the climbing style until he can master the apparatus for himself. As an ever more self-aware pre-teen, Samara is less likely to take the first step to talk to someone new. Instead she will look around for those she already knows and in a new environment that is not always possible.  So she sits back and waits.
It is with this simple observation that I started to reflect on persuasion and why some people are successful at it while others find it harder. Now I’m not suggesting there is just one factor involved, but a fundamental tenant for success is that great persuaders are nearly always willing to go first.
Just like Ryan, they will take the first step to say hello to someone and not wait for someone to say hello to them. They will offer their services and invest in others, often without being asked, thereby commencing a relationship where none existed before. They will uncover the things they have in common with others and use this common ground to forge a new relationship.
As a child, I moved to different schools several times, once in primary and once in secondary school. Both times in a sea of unknown faces I knew I needed a friend, and that they must be out there. Without exception I look back on the friends I have made in life and realize that those I approached were often the most like me (liking). They played the same games I did. They were my age. But it still took someone to take the first step. Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was them. Either way I am glad one of us made the effort.
So the implication for you is, regardless of where you are in the world, if you want to influence someone, take a leaf out of the book of a small child. Put your fear aside and make the first move.  If someone is walking toward you in hallway, if you look down and say nothing chances are they will do the same. But if in that same hallway with that same person you look up and say “Hi!,” chances are they will immediately smile and say hi back…but you have to go first!
Look around and find those who are most like you and start there. Uncover the things you have in common and start a conversation, you never know where it might lead.
Of course you don’t have to do this, but as I am now finding out with my daughter, if you don’t, it will quite possibly lead to comments like, “Nobody wants to talk to me,” or “Nobody wants to hang out with me.” As I am now gently pointing out to her, if you don’t make the first move chances are nothing will change. So stop complaining, get off the chair and do something about it. While this is often met with rolling eyes or protests of complaint, she is always happier at the end of it. 
Through this blog, Brian has brought you many great tools, concepts, ideas and research to help you influence others. The key to it all, though, is you must be willing to give it a try! 
Good luck and I will look out for you next time I am in the sandpit of life!
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