Sometimes I’m the One I Need to Influence

I usually write about ways you can ethically influence people. That is, how you can pre-suade and persuade others. However, sometimes I’m the one I need to influence. I think you’ll find that sometimes you’re the person you need to influence too. 

Recently, I had coffee with a friend who was also a former coworker. I was wearing a white t-shirt that said “Be Kind” in big, bold letters on the front. The writing is so large it’s hard to miss the words. I usually get lots of compliments when I wear the t-shirt.

My daughter Abigail gave me the t-shirt for Father’s Day. That’s kind of our thing, she always gets me t-shirts for Father’s Day. While I like all the t-shirts, I like this one more than the rest. That’s because it’s a reminder for others, as well as myself, that we need to Be Kind to each other.

Whether or not the message influences other people’s behavior, I know it influences mine. I jokingly said to someone who complimented the t-shirt, “It’s hard to be a jerk when you’re wearing a t-shirt that says Be Kind and I need the reminder as much as the next person.”

What I’m actually doing is pre-suading myself whenever I wear it. No one is asking me to Be Kind, but when I put the t-shirt on, it changes my mentality and my behavior. Not only do I feel better about myself, but I also think others benefit when I’m reminded to Be Kind.

As I spoke to my friend, I shared insights about pre-suasion, setting the stage to make it easier for people to say yes to you. Another factor in pre-suasion that I’ve used over the years has to do with music.

Music has an ability to tap into our emotions in ways other mediums don’t. I’m sure you can recall songs that elicit certain memories and strong emotions every time you hear them. The songs might be from your childhood, high school years, college days, or perhaps when you first started dating someone. Whatever the memories, it’s likely there are strong emotions associated.

Many years ago, once I realized this, I decided to use this understanding to my benefit. On my iTunes playlists I have one titled Jane for my wife and another called Abigail for my daughter. Each playlist is filled with songs that make me think good thoughts about them.

If I’m listening to songs that make me feel good about Jane, it changes my countenance, thoughts, and behavior. The result: when we are together I respond better to her and in turn, she usually responds better to me. That’s what I call a virtuous cycle.

There are many other ways to engage pre-suasion that will help you have a positive impact on strangers, friends, and family. When my TED Talk is online, you’ll want to check it out to learn more.

Bottom line, you can’t always influence other people’s thoughts and behavior, but you can influence yourself. I encourage you to give thought to this, and consider ways you might positively impact yourself, so you can positively impact others.  

Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, Brian helps clients apply influence in everyday situations to boost results.

As one of only a dozen Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCT) in the world, Brian was personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by Book Authority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His latest book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable designed to teach you how to apply influence concepts at home and the office.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.