Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. He’s a keynote speaker, trainer, coach, and consultant who specializes in the science of influence and persuasion popularized by Robert Cialdini. Brian has written multiple books on the science of influence, including “Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical” and “Persuasive Selling.”
To reach an entirely new audience, Brian decided to try his hand at writing a business parable, “The Influencer.” He desires to teach people the same principles of influence from a different angle easier for many to digest and put into practice.
Brian’s book follows the career journey of John Adams, an average individual born into a middle-class American family. There’s nothing about this guy that would make you look at him and say “He’s wired for success!” What he does do is consistently apply what he learns to his everyday life.
How to consistently implement the principles of influence
When the main character, John, began training at his job, he was diligent about taking notes. He knew if he wrote things down, they’d be easier to memorize. He put his notes in prominent places to highlight them and keep them top of mind. Anyone can do that. He wasn’t afraid to try new things. Brian emphasizes that head knowledge is far different than heart knowledge. Knowing the principles of influence doesn’t mean you’ll be effective. You have to put them into practice.
And when you put the principles of influence into practice—it’s inevitable—you will make mistakes. For example, when John was learning about the principle of reciprocity, he helped out a friend. But he immediately asked to borrow his friend’s car—which made his friend feel like he only helped so he could use his car. He made an error but he learned from it.
Step outside of your comfort zone to be an influencer
Many people stop learning when they make a mistake and go through a painful experience. How do you get over those painful experiences where things don’t go as planned?
Brian shares an illustration about golf: Whenever you take a golf lesson from a pro, they’re going to have you practice techniques outside of your comfort zone. The techniques aren’t yet part of your normal routine. You may have to adjust your feet or fix your grip. It will feel weird.
Because it feels uncomfortable, you probably won’t hit the ball as well as you’d hoped. But when you stick with it and trust the professional, eventually, you’ll hit the ball better. Those changes become more normal until the foreign techniques simply become how you swing a club.
People will feel weird trying to apply the principles of influence because they haven’t done it. But if you fail, all you need to do is take a step back and ask yourself what happened. Then you make an adjustment and try again. You have to trust the science. It can make a difference in your life. Just like any other skill, it needs to be practiced and perfected.
Learn more about Brian’s new book and how to put the principles of influence into action in your life in episode #283 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast!