Bob Burg (@BobBurg) is the co-author of The Go-Giver Influencer: A Little Story About a Most Persuasive Idea, a parable about the power of genuine influence in business and beyond.

What We Discuss with Bob Burg:

  • Disagreement — especially online — is more common than persuasion or advancing the conversation. What can we do to change this?
  • How “listening with the back of the neck” helps us find common understanding with others.
  • The seatbelt principle of emotions and how we can work on our ability to react in ways that result in more productive disagreements.
  • Setting the right frames and responding to negative ones.
  • How to say “no” in a way that doesn’t end up getting us in trouble later down the line.
  • And much more…

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In this divisive day and age, knowing how to influence others gives you a rare edge. But how can you ensure you’re approaching influence from a place of persuasion rather than manipulation?

In this episode, The Go-Giver Influencer: A Little Story About a Most Persuasive Idea co-author Bob Burg explains the five secrets of ultimate influence — master your emotions, listen with the back of your neck, set the frame, communicate with tact and empathy, and let go of having to be right — and how to make them work. Listen, learn and enjoy!

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More About This Show

How often do we see disagreements — especially online — result in one party changing the mind of another? At best, it’s rarely — but even more likely: never. So many of us have gotten caught up in the grind of trying to prove each other wrong that we’re no longer concerned with influencing the way others think or advancing an overall conversation.

But for those of us who actually would like to get others to consider the world from our perspective without being overcome by emotion in the process, The Go-Giver Influencer: A Little Story About a Most Persuasive Idea co-author Bob Burg gives us this exercise:

Picture a time when someone pushed your buttons and you lost your cool. Remember how it made you feel afterwards? Probably not good.

Now, imagine the same scenario but instead of losing your cool, you handled it with calm and comfortable control. You said the right words and didn’t let emotion affect the outcome. Picture how that would make you feel.

Bob shares one of his favorite passages from Orison Swett Marden’s Peace, Power and Plenty that sums this up nicely:

“Self-control is the very essence of character. To be able to look a man straight in the eye, calmly and deliberately, without the slightest ruffle of temper under extreme provocation, gives a sense of power which nothing else can give. To feel that you are always, not sometimes, master of yourself gives a dignity and strength to character, buttresses it, supports it on every side, as nothing else can. This is the culmination of thought mastery.”

Bob reminds us that meeting people who challenge this self-control is an inevitability, so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice conversations that end in the more favorable outcome. But we can also drill with this mental exercise as much as we like internally before entering the fray in real time.

“Just like an astronaut, before they go up into space on a mission, they will run through hundreds and hundreds of simulations so that by the time they get into space — heaven forbid something bad happens up there — they’ve already been there,” says Bob. “They’ve done that. They can respond perfectly right away because they’ve seen it a hundred times.”

Consider, too, how we tend to feel about people who can keep their cool when the world seems to be falling apart around them. We often respect them even if we disagree with what they have to say, which gives them the edge when it comes to trying to change our minds. They’re influential.

It stands to reason that if we can be the ones who keep our cool under pressure, we have an edge in influencing others.

To Influence is to Pull, Not Push

What does it really mean to be influential? To answer that, it helps to first define what influence is.

“On a very basic level,” says Bob, “influence can be defined as simply the ability to move a person or persons to a desired action, usually within the context of a specific goal. That’s its definition. However, I don’t believe that that is its substance, or its essence. The essence of influence is pull — pull as opposed to push…how far can you push a rope? We know the answer’s not very far — at least not very fast or very effectively — which is why great influencers don’t push.

“You rarely hear someone say, ‘Wow, that Dave — he is so influential! He has a lot of push with people! He sure is pushy. We’ll follow him anywhere!’ No. They say he’s influential. He has a lot of pull…it’s an attraction. Great influencers attract people — first to themselves, and then to their ideas.”

An effective influencer also knows that people are motivated by their own reasons, not the influencer’s reasons, so it’s important to constantly appraise our own intentions if we want to influence others in a way that aligns with their goals over ours. This leads to outcomes that genuinely benefit both parties in the long run rather than manipulations that only serve the influencer in the short term.

“Now we’ve come a lot closer to earning that person’s commitment as opposed to depending on some type of compliance — which, at best, is never sustainable,” says Bob.

Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about the differences between manipulators and persuaders, why it’s better (for you and who you’re trying to influence) to be a persuader than a manipulator, what it means to listen with the back of your neck (and why that helps in terms of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes), setting and resetting frames, what we gain when we let go of having to be right, and lots more.

THANKS, BOB BURG!

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Resources from This Episode:

Download Worksheet for The Five Secrets of Ultimate Influence

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