Tag Archive for: Debbie Hixson

Influencers from Around the World – The Impact of Liking on Voting and Other Relationships

This month our Influencers from Around the World guest post comes from Debbie Hixson, a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT®). She is a Senior Organization Development Consultant from Kaiser Permanente and a National Board Certified Counselor. You can read more about her here. I know you’ll enjoy what Debbie has to share.

The Impact of Liking on Voting and Other Relationships

How will you decide whom to support in this presidential election? Will your candidate share your views about the problems in this country and how to solve them? Do they share your values and beliefs? Do they have a similar background or have you shared similar experiences growing up and making your way in the world?

Some of us are very clear about who will we vote for and why. An article in my local newspaper interviewed several people and for them the answer is simple; their candidate shares their beliefs about what is important and what needs to be done to get our country back on track.  They aren’t from the same background, but they do share a common philosophy about life. Guided by their perceptions about the person they support, whom they will vote for in the general election is very clear.

What makes us gravitate towards some people and not others? Why do we form relationships so easily with some people and not others?  Why do we collaborate and cooperate with some people effortlessly, while with others it is a challenge? How can we be influential and persuasive with some groups or individuals and less so with others?

The answer is not complicated. It is based on a principle Dr. Robert Cialdini calls “Liking.” He says that we like people who are like us. Based on liking them, we will be more open to their requests to cooperate with them. Let’s be clear, liking is based on our perception of what we share in common with others that predisposes us to like them. Dr. Cialdini also says that we tend to like people who compliment us – that is they tell us what they like about us, which makes us like them even more.  We also like people who cooperate with us.

So how do you get people to like you? Norman Vincent Peale says that getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them. Think about someone you want to work with more closely. What do you know about them?  Do you share common interests? Did you attend the same school? Do you share a passion for the same sports team or the same hobbies?  You can foster liking based on the similarity principle if you claim to have a similar background and interests as the person.

The principle can be applied in all types of situations, at home and at work. Liking can be applied to family, friends, colleagues and customers. In my own practice as a coach and trainer, I need my clients to cooperate with me. I begin my relationships with clients by finding out a bit about them and then make a connection to own my interests and background to establish liking. I often find that I have many things in common with the people I meet. Establishing commonalities makes us all feel more relaxed and grounded particularly in new situations. Once I establish a connection, it is important for my work to like the other person. When I like someone, I tell them so. After all, if we like to cooperate with people who like us, letting them know helps facilitate your partnership.

Cooperating with others will also help establish liking. When we share goals in common, we develop a fondness for “our partners” who are helping us achieve a goal, deal with problems, make a decision, etc.  So whom can you cooperate with? When you have something to ask of them, they will be more likely to say yes, because you cooperated with them.

Dr. Cialdini advises us to like our colleagues, customers or clients. When they see that you like them, they feel safe. They’ll have a good reason to feel safe because you will make sure that the people you like are treated well. You’ll make sure that they’re protected and their interests are served. This is really turning that rule on its ear where clients are saying, “The best place for me to purchase a product is not in the hands of someone I like who’s an expert, it’s in the hands of someone who likes me and is an expert.”

Think about ways you can increase liking by identifying commonalities you have with people you work with – or would like to work with – and make sure they know. And, when you like them make sure to share that as well.

Debbie Hixson,
M.A., M.Ed, CMCT

Influencers from Around the World – Some Acts of Giving Can Span Decades and Lifetimes

This month we have another new guest writer. Like
myself and several other guest bloggers for Influence PEOPLE, Debbie Hixson is
a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer®.
Debbie is a manager in the Leader Strategy and Programs division at Kaiser
Permanente where she’s been for nearly 20 years. She earned her B.A.,
Psychology, has an M.Ed. in Counseling and Educational Psychology, a Masters of
Arts in Human Resources Development and is currently working on her
Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership! I know you’ll enjoy Debbie’s insightful
perspective on influence and persuasion.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Some Acts of Giving Can Span
Decades and Lifetimes
I read in my Sunday paper about a cemetery in Holland where
American soldiers who fought the Nazis in World War II are buried.  It seems that each of the 8,300 graves in
Margraten, a small village in the Netherlands, are tended by Dutch, Belgian or
German families, along with schools, companies, and military organizations. On
Memorial Day this year they came as they do several times a year to place
flowers in front of headstones of people they didn’t know and to honor their
At the
cemetery’s annual commemoration 6,000 people flooded the 65-acre burial grounds
including many descendants of the American soldiers who traveled from all over
the U.S. They came to pay tribute to their parents and grandparents who fought
to defeat the Nazis. And they came to thank the people who had been tending the
graves of their loved ones for over 70 years. Some of the caretakers have passed
the responsibility on from generation to generation. The responsibility is felt
so deeply that there is a list of over 100 people waiting to become caretakers
of the graves.
What would
cause a nation recovering from the trauma of being invaded during World War II and
their own personal losses to adopt the fallen of another nation? And what would
keep this commitment alive all these years later, when the pain and significance
of the war had faded. It is unique in this world, wouldn’t you say?
September 1944, the village of Margraten and its 1,500 inhabitants had been
freed from Nazi occupation. The war was not over and many American soldiers
died in nearby battles with the goal of breaking through the German lines and
trying to capture bridges that connected the Netherlands to Germany. The losses
sustained were heavy and the American nation needed a place to bury its dead.
They choose a fruit orchard just outside Margraten.
The villagers
of Margraten embraced the Americans and grieved for their fallen. They provided
food and shelter for the U.S. commanders and their troops. After four years of
being occupied by the Nazis, they were free. Life could return to normal and
once again they could enjoy the freedoms they had before the invasion. They
realized that they had the Americans to thank for that freedom.
For the
gift of their freedom, the people of Margraten reciprocated by tending year
after year to the graves of the solders who gave their lives to restore it. The
rule of reciprocity, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini,
says that when we receive something, a favor, a kindness, etc., we feel obligated
to repay it. He says that “so typical is it for indebtedness to accompany the
receipt of such things that a phrase like ‘much obliged’ has become a synonym
for ‘thank you,” not only in the English language but in others as well.” Although
obligations extend into the future they can be short lived unless they are notable
and memorable such as the American sacrifice to free the people of Margraten.
In some cases such as this, the obligation is felt so keenly that the thank you
never ends.
We can
see this illustrated in a recent ceremony in Margraten to honor the fallen
Americans. One American conveyed the essence of the bond between the Dutch and
the U.S. His name is Arthur Chotin and the Naaijken family tends his father’s
grave. He said to the audience of Americans and current caretakers, “By making
these dead part of your family, you have become part of our family. You have
created a bond between us that will never be broken. So, from this day forward,
from now until the end of time, a heartfelt thank you.”
In our
own lives we have experienced reciprocity. We all learned as children that when
someone does something nice for us, we do something nice for that someone in
return. It works well for us and in our society to reciprocate. We have not-so-nice
words for people who do not reciprocate. Reciprocating with others establishes
relationships whether they are professional or personal in nature. 
In my
work, I use reciprocity to develop long-lasting relationships with my clients
that are mutually beneficial. Before I make a request of them, I consider
giving them something first. It might be giving time to listen to their concerns,
or sharing ideas to address their problems. In return I ask for their trust to
be completely honest in our coaching relationship. Then I ask them to listen to
my feedback as well as try out my suggestions for addressing their leadership
challenges. Because we keep reciprocating the relationship continues
indefinitely for as long as we work together.
is a powerful tool to influence others. It is based on the idea that we help
those who help us. It begins by giving someone a gift – your time, your advice,
etc. In turn they will usually support your request because the rule says we’re
to give back to those who first give to us. It is a powerful motivator for us
to comply with other’s requests when they have given to us and it’s powerful
because others will do what you ask when you give to them first.
So start
with this thought, “Whom can I help?” rather than, “Who can help me?” Do so and
you will initiate and develop long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Try

Hixson, CMCT®