Tag Archive for: Jack Nicklaus

The Most Valuable Real Estate

I’ve lived in Central Ohio since I was a
teenager. While it may not seem like a golf destination you would be amazed at
the number of beautiful golf courses – public and private – within an hour’s
drive from the center of Columbus. A huge reason for the popularity of the game
is Jack Nicklaus.
Jack Nicklaus is known as the “Golden Bear”
because that’s the mascot for the high school he attended in Upper Arlington. He
is considered the greatest golfer of all time, having won a record 18 majors.
It looked as if Tiger Woods would easily surpass that record but things have
been put on hold since his fall from grace, as he’s struggled in the majors the
last five years.
Jack Nicklaus is also known for having built
Muirfield Village Golf Course, the site of The Memorial Golf Tournament.
Muirfield and The Memorial hold a special place in my heart because I learned
to play golf at Muirfield as a teenager and I worked the golf tournament during
As I watched the tournament this year I saw a
player miss a relatively easy putt for birdie. That’s always disappointing because
each birdie makes it much easier to possibly win. When you’re as good as the PGA
pros seemingly small things can make big differences even though most of their swings look
the same to the average spectator. A few hit the ball significantly farther off
the tee but others make up for it in putting or chipping so the differences
between the top players and the average players is probably much less than you
might suspect.
Consider this – in a typical tournament the
player winning might do so by one or two strokes, which amounts to being
0.3%-0.6% better than the second place finisher. Quite often the difference
comes down to how a player responds to adversity.
Missing a birdie putt highlights the reality
that once you’ve attained PGA pro status, the factor that separates good from average and the great from the good amounts
to six inches of real estate. No, I’m not talking about a six inch putt. The six
inches I’m referring to is the grey matter that rests between the ears (a.k.a.,
the brain).
Understanding the importance of thought
patterns and dealing with adversity, it’s no wonder sports psychologists have
become such big business for pro athletes. If sessions with a sports
psychologist are enough to get a player to rethink his mental game, especially
when adversity hits, and that leads to better finishes then it will be worth all the money paid…and then some.
What does this have to do with persuasion? You
possess the same valuable real estate as the PGA pros and how you choose to use
it can make the difference between success and failure in your chosen field.
Just as in golf, when it comes to persuasion small changes can make big
differences. Consider the following:
The small act of generously helping someone
can engender a return favor – reciprocity – that might help you
complete a project or make a sale.
Taking a moment to compliment someone who
genuinely deserves it – liking – might be the reason
they like you a little more and do what you ask.
Remembering to mention what people similar to
the person you’re talking to – consensus – might make them
more comfortable doing what you ask.
If someone knows your credentials upfront – authority – they are far more
likely to listen to what you have to say.
Asking someone to do something rather than
telling them – consistency – will dramatically
increase they odds they’ll actually do what you’ve asked if they say “Yes” to
your initial request.
To let someone know when something will no
longer be available – scarcity – might be just the
thing they needed to know to take action.
Each of the examples above is simple. In fact,
they’re so simple anyone can do them if they’re in the right frame of mind just
like the golfer facing a tough situation. There is no guarantee that using a
sports psychologist will be the difference between winning and losing but it will
certainly increase the odds of winning. In much the same way, ethically and
correctly using the principles of influence is not a magic wand to get what you
want all the time. But, scientific research lets us know your odds of hearing
“Yes!” are significantly better when you ethically employ the principles. And
one more thing, they’re much less expensive than hiring a sports psychologist.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


Jeremy Maclin, Jack Nicklaus and the Power of Commitment

Jeremy Maclin might not be a familiar name to many of you but he’s certainly a rising star in the NFL and adored by the football fans in Philadelphia.  In early August he was not in the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp because he’d been battling an undisclosed illness. The story came to my attention in late September as I was watching Chris Berman talk about Maclin on ESPN’s Sports Center.

What really caught my attention was near the end of the story when Berman declared Maclin his new “favorite player” because of his outlook in the midst of what he was dealing with. Then Berman shared that despite the uncertainty of his future Maclin participated this summer in a couple of youth football camps. Berman relayed that when he asked why he did that Maclin said, “Because I made a commitment.”
Commitment is a powerful, powerful thing when it comes to influence. Why is that the case? Because of something Dr. Cialdini coined “the principle of consistency.” Consistency alerts us to the reality that people feel internal psychological pressure to remain consistent in word and deed. Very few people like to say one thing then turn around and do another. It’s not just the public pressure because of perception; it’s rooted in how we are raised. People who don’t do what they say are quite often the recipients of negative labels: flip flopper, liar, wishy washy, inconsistent, and unreliable, to name just a few.
Here’s another example of the power of consistency. This one comes from the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (Goldstein, Martin, and Cialdini). On March 2, 2005, Jack Nicklaus’ 17-month-old grandson Jake accidentally drown in a hot tub accident. The tragedy was only one month out from the biggest golf tournament in America, The Masters. Jack Nicklaus has won more green jackets (6) than any other golfer in history but when asked if he would play Nicklaus said the chances were between “between slim and none.” However, not only did he play, he played in two other tournaments as well. When asked why he did so in the midst of the family tragedy he said, “You make commitments, and you’ve got to do them.”
Wow! Two high profile people dealing with personal and family tragedy and yet they feel compelled to do what they said they would do. If consistency is such a powerful psychological principle the question for us is, how can we ethically tap into this principle to help move our agenda ahead? It’s actually pretty simple and can be summed up in one word – question.
Too often people tell each other what to do instead of asking. Here are a couple of examples:
“I need the board report by Friday.”
“Clean your room before lunch.”
Simply turning these statements into questions taps into consistency:
“Can you get me the board report by Friday?”
“Will you clean your room before lunch?”
There are a couple more things that can be done with each statement to increase your odds of success: 1) give yourself a fall back option, and 2) use the word “because” to tag each with a reason. Here’s how I’d approach the board report request incorporating both:
“Can you get me the board report by Tuesday because I have to get it to communications for proof reading before I finalize it?”
Notice I moved the date up from Friday to Tuesday. If the answer is “no” then I can retreat by saying, “Can you get it to me by Friday?” This taps into reciprocity because people usually respond with a “Yes” immediately after telling you “No.” Studies also show the odds of hearing “Yes” go up rather significantly when the word because is used and a reason given.
So here’s my take away and something I share in workshops – stop making statements and start asking questions. Do so and you tap into the power of consistency because an affirmative answer creates a commitment on the part of the other person just as it did with Jeremy Maclin and Jack Nicklaus.
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear

Golf Advice from Corey Pavin

Who would you believe when it comes to golf advice, me or Corey Pavin? When it comes to golf I think my resume is pretty good – I broke 90 a few times and I’ve meet Jack Nicklaus. I’ll grant you Corey Pavin has more room to boast — 1995 U.S. Open Champion and top five finisher in The Masters, The PGA Championship and The British Open. But should that really make a difference?

Here’s the scoop. My wife Jane is BIG time into golf. I joke with people and say the only difference between her and Tiger Woods is nine holes a week…and a really big paycheck! Several years ago I shared something with her that I often share in sales training when we talk about attitude and focus.

When I’m teaching about attitude I ask how many participants play golf and lots of hands go up. Next I ask, “When you come to a hole with water, what do you think?” Inevitably I hear, “Don’t go in the water.” So I ask another question, “Where does your ball usually end up.” You guessed it, “In the water!” Then we talk about the power of focus and how our brains don’t really process the “don’t” in a statement because the brain focuses on the object, which happens to be the water for most golfers. To cure the problem I tell them they have to focus on what they want, which might be, “Go left, aim left.”

This post isn’t about golf so I’ll get to the point. I shared that training tip with Jane one evening and about two weeks later she was reading a golf book I’d gotten her and said, “Listen to what Corey Pavin says…” She proceeded to tell me exactly what I shared two weeks earlier! I said, “I told you that,” but she denied ever hearing that advice come from my lips. “Don’t you remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you about my training class?” A blank stare and more denials from her so I said, “Oh, if I say it, it’s not true but if Corey Pavin says it then it’s true?”

That was a true statement because sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear. Why did she believe Corey Pavin and forget what I’d said? Because he was an authority, a recognized expert when it comes to golf and I’m not. He and I can say the same thing but people will believe him more because of who he is and what he’s accomplished.

Have you ever come up with an idea and seen it fall flat but then someone else shares it and it’s a success? Don’t feel bad because it happens all the time in business and at home. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride and recognize the idea or message will be received better if it comes from someone else. I believe what goes around comes around and you’ll eventually be recognized for your good ideas and advice but it can take time.

Parents, you can tell your kids to eat their veggies all you want but if Lebron James, Tiger Woods or Tom Brady tells them to eat their veggies, who do you think they’ll listen to more? The sports figures of course.

When our daughter Abigail was little she was a fussy eater like most kids. We could ask her, tell her or threaten her to eat all her food to no avail. But she was always good at the doctor’s office so Jane used to tell her she had the doctor on the phone and he said she better eat all her dinner…and bang, the plate was clean! He was an authority, the doctor, and she knew to listen to him.

Now that Abigail is older and works out with her mom I knew she might not work as hard as she should so I got in touch with an ex-Ohio State football player at the gym. I asked him to have a talk with Abigail and he did so the first day she went to the gym. She sometimes doesn’t listen to mom but she listens to him because he’s an authority in her eyes.

I think you get the point. Sometimes to get what you want you’ll be better off to let the message come from another. In future posts we’ll talk about how to enhance your authority so you won’t have to turn to others.

P.S. Now when I want something I start with “Jane, Corey Pavin says…” Sometimes it works but I think Jane’s on to me.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”