Real Influence

Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In

 Real Influence

Authors: Mark Goulston, Dr. John Ullmen
Pub Date: January 2013
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814420157
Page Count: 272
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814420164

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How to Be Influenceable

How to Be Influenceable

Discover the Power of Being Vulnerable

To influence, be influenceable. That’s a philosophy Mark Goulston and John Ullmen advocate for anyone interested in achieving great things without trampling other people. “Being influenceable isn’t about giving in, giving up, being weak or soft, being scared, or being any less committed to your principles,” the authors stress. “What being influenceable does mean is that you go into every conversation being willing to believe that you may be partially or totally wrong; that the other person may be partially or completely right; and that even if the other person isn’t right, you will learn something valuable.” Being influenceable can be hard, especially when you have positive motives backed by sound logic. In their book, REAL INFLUENCE (AMACOM 2013), Goulston and Ullmen offer the following suggestions to help make it easier:

* Try thinking from the other side. Do you like it when others presume that they’re logical, rational, and absolutely right...and you’re not? Of course you don’t. And other people don’t like it if you do it to them. If you aren’t seen as influenceable when different points of view arise, you lose credibility and connection. You appear preprogrammed to reject other people’s ideas and follow a self-advantageous path to your preferred outcome. And, worst of all, you risk making very bad decisions.

* Don’t try to win arguments, win hearts and minds. Trying to win arguments implies that you are arguing, and this a recipe for failure. Arguing triggers people to defend themselves—or provokes them to prove themselves and prevail over you. Quickly, the situation becomes about winning or losing rather than about inspiring and connecting with others. Here’s the all-important rule to remember in these situations: To strengthen your interpersonal influence, don’t win arguments. Instead, win hearts and minds.

* Open your mind to other ways of thinking. Strive for intellectual openness. This means being open to other people’s logic, data, analysis, and ideas. In addition, it means genuinely taking an interest in how others think, and acknowledging how their ideas are influencing you. Intellectually open influencers say things like: “You’ve really changed my thinking on this.” “Help me understand how you’re thinking through this. I want to make sure I’m following you.” “I was wrong.” “You’re right!”

* Open your heart to other ways of feeling. Practice emotional openness. This means being open to other people’s feelings, passions, values, drives, motives, beliefs, and convictions. When you do, you’ll actively work to understand what other people are experiencing and why they feel the way they do. Emotionally open influencers say things like: “How are you feeling about this situation?” “What’s at stake for you here?” “What’s most important for you about this issue?” “What does your experience tell you about the position we’re in?”

Adapted from REAL INFLUENCE: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In by Mark Goulston and John Ullmen (AMACOM 2013).

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