Influencing Others
Illustration by Neil Webb

Influencing Others

with John Ullmen
image's PMI® Program
This course qualifies for 1.25 PDUs towards maintaining PMI® certification. Learn More

Video: Like and be likable

The 15th method is, like and be likeable. People respond not only to the message but the messenger, and that's you.

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Watch the Online Video Course Influencing Others
1h 21m Appropriate for all Apr 21, 2014

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Ever had trouble persuading someone to do something, even if it was in their best interest? Sometimes people don't budge, but thankfully you have more than rewards and penalties at your disposal. Join John Ullmen, PhD, as he explains how to influence others when you're at the "pivot point of influence," by applying 18 scientifically confirmed methods. Whether you're influencing at work or at home, you'll learn what the best influencers do before they influence, and see how to choose the best steps for your situation, and have people want to be influenced by you.

This course qualifies for 1.25 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.

Topics include:
  • Turning objections into actions
  • Adding more impact to your ideas
  • Establishing urgency
  • Using the influence advantage checklist
  • Influencing to inspire
  • And many more....

  • The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
John Ullmen

Like and be likable

The 15th method is, like and be likeable. This one's easy to underestimate, but the research on the persuasive force of likeability is very robust. Here's how to put it into action. First, get in the right mindset about valuing the person and having the opportunity to exercise positive influence and then show it. Demonstrate a positive attitude. Smile more that you frown. Encourage more than criticize. People respond not only to the message but the messenger, and that's you. Being likable attracts.

Being unlikable repels. Don't fake it, find your version of it. Here's a great mind set tool I learned from a mentor years ago. Just before you show up for an important meeting or presentation say to yourself, I'm happy to be here and I'm happy to see you. Then act that way. You're there, after all, to advance your positive purpose. Second, look for similarities and draw attention to them. Similarities in background, experiences and values tend to have the strongest effect. Also, similarities tend to be more impactful the more rarer the commonality.

It makes sense, right? Being from the same small town is even more connecting than being from the same country. Or liking a particular singer is even more connecting than liking the same style of music. Here's another influence amplifier. When you do find similarities, look for authentic ways to use inclusive terms like we, us and our. That subtly and positively reinforces your connection. Third, look for positive qualities and highlight them in a genuine way. Don't fake it, and don't kiss up to them.

Look for something that you genuinely like. You can highlight it without being superficial by framing it as a question. For example if you admire their perseverance say, that sounds like a significant ordeal you got through, how did you manage it? Fourth, credit them with qualities specifically relevant to advancing your priorities. For example, if you expect someone to be dismissive of your perspective, you can say something like this. I've heard you're an open minded person who weighs all the facts, and then continue. That'll spark their associations with being open minded.

You bring that quality to the front of their mind, and trigger their tendency to act more consistently with that quality. This can work with children, too. You really seem to like helping your brother. That's great. It's a way of helping to reinforce for them that they actually do like helping their brother. Unfortunately, there's no influence technique yet known to humankind to make parents seem smart to their children, until they become parents. But have some empathy, they'll go through the same cycle too. Until then just credit them with other positive qualities. And more generally, keep in mind the two groups of people Oscar Wilde described when he said, some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.

To increase your influence, Wilde's first group is the better place to be. Look for things you like in others and find ways to show up as likeable.

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