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Build Your Influence, Build Your Business

Lesson 20 of 27

Persuasive Phrases & Priming

Shari Alexander

Build Your Influence, Build Your Business

Shari Alexander

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Lesson Info

20. Persuasive Phrases & Priming

Lesson Info

Persuasive Phrases & Priming

The next influential word is you. We need to keep our focus on the mark, rather than our focus on us. This I see people use this, or just miss out on an opportunity, I'd rather phrase it that way. They miss out on so many opportunities because they use way too many I statements. I see that we should probably make this decision, and in my experience I have decided that this is the best way to go and I think that we should probably create this, it's just I, I, I, I, I. Because, and I think where the mindset comes from is they feel like they have to sell themselves, so they talk about themselves and that does not lead to the results that you want. People like to talk about themselves, we've learned this, and people like to listen about themselves. So, talk about your mark. Talk about how this serves them. You want to have a stronger you to I ratio, you want more you statements than I statements. And again that's why I find the influence field guide to be so helpful is because it forces me...

to focus on my mark. I'm speaking to their values, I'm speaking to how they see themselves, I'm speaking to their beliefs about the dynamic or situation that I'm trying to influence around and so my entire persuasive presentation is focused on them. So it's so much more easy for me to use you statements because my focus has been on them leading up to this conversation rather than me stewing in my nervousness of how do I present myself, how do I talk about myself? And all of that self worth starts to bubble up and all of that concern starts to bubble up to the surface. But when I focus on them and my focus is to connect with them (gasps) it just frees so much of that tension. Have you guys found that to be true when you're starting to think of your influential conversations? Getting like a big yes from Chris, and yeah, Clifton? Where does we come into play with all this? Right, right, so Clifton picked up on that, that I started using the term we as well. And I hesitate, I haven't created a slide on we just because I've seen people use it so ineffectively, so let's go ahead and talk about that. You do want to use more we statements in your influential presentation because that's creating the assumption that we are moving forward. So, like I said Ruthy, yes? Like I said with her and her job interview, when we decide that this is a good fit, rather than when you decide. It's better that it's an us collaboration decision-making process. The trick with using we statements, many people start talking using we statements way too early in the conversation, and it's way to freaking presumptive. They're jumping in with the assumption too soon and it can be very off putting. It's almost like when you walk onto a used car lot and they say, "So, what are we looking for today?" It's like, we ain't looking for nothing, I'm looking for something, you're trying to sell me something. So, I hesitate to use we too early on in the relationship. Now, you can start using we statements at the beginning of a conversation if you already have that rapport and relationship with them ahead of time. So, if it's a conversation where you're still building that rapport and relationship dynamic with them I lean towards the you statements first and then I build up that rapport and trust and then lead into the we statements. So, and I also kind of phase out the you statements when it's about the decision-making process. It's about, so what are some of the next steps that we need to take? Or so what do we think about package number one? And I like the collaborative decision-making process rather than what do you think? Because it's almost like you've created all of this rapport, now it's like a what you going to do? I'm waiting for your decision. I like to be able to incorporate myself with them so that way it's an us decision rather than working on all of this relationship, and at the tail end of it making it a, "Okay what are you going to do?" And now it's a you and I situation. Make sense? Great question, great question. The next critical phrase is say their name. People love the sound of their names. Neuroscience has proven that. We, our brains light up in particular pleasure areas when we hear our name. We also become more aware when we hear our name. I'm sure you've experienced this when you're in a crowd and somebody on the opposite side of of the room says your name, and instantly like what was that? Just your ears go up, even though they're talking about somebody else or it's you are tuned into that unique voice thumbprint of your name and so feel free to use their name over and over again. Okay, let me rewind on that, not over and over again. 'Cause I have seen people use that way too much. More at the beginning, and probably again near the end. Like when you are shaking hands to say goodbye saying, "It was great to see you again, Clifton" and then walk away. So this is usually the point, let me know if I'm jet-eyeing again that people say, how do you remember people's names? Did I get it? That one always comes up, absolutely. So a few tricks to remembering names. First of all, when you meet somebody say their name back to them, and even if they have a difficult to pronounce name, go ahead and keep saying it till you get it right. I have a weird name, my name is Cherie, I get called Sherry, I get called Cherice, I get called Sharon, yeah that happens I get called many different things. And I personally as a person with a weird name, I appreciate it when somebody takes the effort to get it right, so even if it's a difficult to pronounce name, go ahead and make the effort because again it's making the effort to connect with that person. It's so much stronger and better when you can connect with a person rather than not understand the name and go, "Oh, nice to meet you, you." So, first of all, and when you say the name back to them then you, it helps your memory of them, or the memory of the name. The second thing that I do is create some sort of you can use pneumonic devices, personally I turn more towards kind of anchoring. So when I see somebody like if somebody's named Carrie, then I see like a bloody dress on them, because the movie Carrie. And I come up with a different stories or phrases of people, like with Fred's I imagine them eating, 'cause I think of feed Fred, like it's an easy jump for me. There's no science to this what so ever. Typically what you might choose will also tend to lean towards your VAK, so if you come up with visuals to remember the name, or if you come up with things that rhyme or sound the same, then that will be, oh that kind of rhymed as well, then that will be auditory. For kinesthetic I'm not as sure, maybe just saying their name over and over again I'm not sure on that one. And the other is when you're in a networking situation I find that there's still even some lag time in between my conversations and everything. I hope, this is my dream for this course, get ready everybody a manifesto is about to come out. That when there is downtime in events and or in airports, or when you're taking the subway, rather than turning to your phone and typing away on Facebook or Twitter, my hope is that you start engaging in some of these influential brain games. So when there's a lag time at an event, that's when I start running through the names of people that I have met and I search for their faces and I just go over them over and over again. It takes like 30 seconds, two minutes tops, so rather than being uncomfortable in a situation and leaning on your technology, I want you to be comfortable in the situation and figure out ways to connect with people. And that also helps with your profiling, is going through the brain game of, okay I'm not talking to anybody right now, but I met Fred before, what did I learn about Fred? Okay, I know that he's from the Midwest, family seems really important to him, he's a little bit concerned about his son, really happy that his daughter just got A's so talks about his kids a lot, and just playing those memory games it creates, you are training your brain to create neuro-pathways, you're building that muscle and so finding those opportunities. And you can go ahead and use your phone to type in those things that you've observed in Ever Note or whatever app that you choose to use, like we talked about in the last session. All right. Oh we had a few comments come in here, I'd love to get your take on this from Autumn Fire who says, "Weird, but when I worked in retail a couple of years ago, I had to wear a name badge and I hated when people used my name. They'd be like, 'Thank you, Lindsay' and my initial reaction was don't use my name, you don't know me." So, has that ever come up, when people just don't want that connection right away? I think the reason why she probably didn't like that is because there was no rapport between her and the customer, and that's their attempt to make rapport however again I think that highlights such a great point of how the first step of influence is rapport, and when you skip that step you are actually hurting your potential for that rapport dynamic. So I think that that's great. Yes. Could it also maybe be because they didn't like say hi first? (laughing) If you're going to say, "Hi, Cherie" and then like have the transaction and then say, "Thank you, Cherie" like that makes more sense to me. It's possible, I think that this leads into a great discussion about that ego suspension that we talked about before because even though I understand Lindsay's distaste for that, one alternative reality possibility is that this person is trying to connect. And so perhaps seeing it from their point of view might alleviate some of that bad taste in her mouth when they do that. So it's your choice, so that's somebody that you're wanting to influence and it kind of bugs you, then you have to think of what's an alternate choice that I can make in this situation, rather than operating out of my own knee jerk value system or beliefs. Well this is good because it kind of sparked a conversation here, Natasha weighs in and says, "I worked in retail too, I believe it's because you meet so many people in a day that you don't want to get personal and intimate with every single customer, just because you see so many." Sure, and I will say that I understand that perspective. I'd like to share a different perspective in that in retail, if people like you, they will come to you and make their purchases. They will ask, "Where's Sharon today?" I know that in back home there was a restaurant that we used to go to that was phenomenal barbecue, and it was fairly expensive barbecue, and back home is Oklahoma by the way, and every time that we went to County Line was the name of it, it's no longer there sad face, we only ate when Oscar was there. Oscar the waiter, I grew up with Oscar. Oscar knew me from the age of four to after I graduated from college, and so choosing to make those connections can actually lead to potentially better results, better sales. I rarely will see how making the choice to make a connection will be bad for you, assuming you're not connecting with a serial killer. So, I will say that making that choice to be different than everybody else in retail could potentially lead to some interesting results, and promotions, and raises, and bonuses, and those sound good to me. Yeah, it'd be a whole different story if the customers also had name tags, but it seems like it's just one way there, so that's what people in the chat room are talking about right now. I think that maybe technology will be the day where it's like you walk through the door it's like, "Welcome Cherie." And then everybody knows, so just wait Lindsay, we'll get there everybody will have a name tag. And I will say so this is a personal choice, is I'm not a big fan of name tags, I don't like wearing them. I go to many conferences and I, in the age of taking pictures, I hate the pictures with the lanyards and the name tags, agh. So this is personal decision, this is a personal choice. But I also find that then it forces me to make connections with people when they're not wearing the name tag. I'm not saying don't use them, but I like that it gives me the mental gymnastics to go through. I like that it forces me to keep up my training and not get lazy. So, just an alternate perspective to consider. All right, so we talked a bit about priming in the past, and I want to clarify what exactly priming is. Similar to how when you're painting a wall and you put up the primer first, so that way you get the color the wall is more, soaks up the color of the paint that you're wanting even better. You can use a similar concept in your conversations, and this is known as priming. So what that means is you are making your mark more susceptible to the changes that you are wanting to see. What's beautiful about this world of priming is that so many studies back this up. So this isn't you know, influence voodoo, there's nothing woo woo about it, there is hard science from so many studies over a number of decades that just show even more amazingness out of priming. So I want to share with you a little bit first about how priming works, and then some of the studies that have shed some light on this. We have, we've talked about neuro-pathways quite a bit, but there's something that happens that we've kind of cluster thoughts and concepts together because when something is similar then we make quicker connections when this thought is closer to that thought, rather than this thought having to go all the way over here to go grab that thought. So, one example might be let's say with Erica, with our discussion of roller coasters. Her entire schema of roller coasters is fast, scary, uncomfortable, you know not a good experience, so that's her schema of roller coasters. And a schema is basically all of these clusters of thoughts so then one thing is triggered, all of these other things start to light up. Like all of these associations, that's what the schemas are. It's associations of this idea of concept. So, Erica might have that thought about roller coasters, while somebody else has a completely different schema around roller coasters. It's exciting, adventure, adrenaline, great feeling, in the zone, all of these different thoughts and concepts. So, to bring on example of this, is I mentioned before that Joey Coleman did a creative live workshop and he talks about the first 100 days experience that a customer has with your brand, and one metaphor that he uses is the roller coaster of how if you don't plan out a good experience with your customers they are getting amped up and excited to do the work with you, and then all of a sudden wah! They don't know what's happening because you don't have the clear communication with them, and so he has used that schema in our minds of it's a little exciting but it's definitely scary at first, and you don't know what's coming next and so he has used that trigger to initiate all of these other associations to his lesson. So do we have kind of an understanding of the trigger and the associations part? Okay, how this works in language and influence is there's one study that's fairly well known because it was written up in Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink and what happened was people were brought in to take a survey, have an interview with somebody and one control group was just a normal conversation, there wasn't anything to influence that part of the control group. But they measured the pace in which they walked into this discussion and measured the pace in which they walked out of this discussion. And the control group was approximately the same pace. Then, in the experimental group, they measured the pace that they took when they walked in, and then they primed them with words that were associated with the term old. So they used words like bingo, Florida, oranges, wise, so they peppered their language with these words that is a part of the association to the word old. Shockingly when they measured the pace of the people when they left the discussion, they moved slower. Isn't that phenomenal? One easy understanding or way to kind of see how this priming works is also in branding. Apple has a strong connection and association to creativity, especially compared to IBM. So if you notice so many of these creative companies and tech companies use Apple because that's the association that that entire brand has built. So you can even in your own branding create kind of this priming effect. Another study that was very interesting, oh this is a good one, there's the control group, normal discussion, and then there's two experimental groups and they are brought in to have normal discussion and interview, and then they were told a story about a guy, let's call him Rob. And you get a little bio on Rob, and how you would rate Rob's motivation in school. Like how much he studies, how much he works, and then on a scale of one to five how motivated would you say Rob is? In one of the experimental groups they had the people a part of the study first have a discussion about their best friend. So they started off by talking about their best friend, and then at the end, they rated Rob's motivation. And they rated him roughly about like a 5.5. And then in the second experimental group, they started off their conversation by having them think and talk about their mom, and then we tell the story about Rob. And then we rated Rob's motivation. And interestingly enough there was a bigger jump in Rob's motivation when we thought about our mom. Theoretically because our mom's are more understanding, they want the best of us, they see the best in us, and so by priming them with the two different scenarios, it led to different results of how they perceived, priming changed the perception of this scenario or situation. So, how you can use this is if you are needing your client to make a big change like with a website, if you need them to be more open-minded towards your suggestion, your beginning conversation can be primed with the concept of open-mindedness. And there are studies that have shown that terms like flexible, even the word rubber. I'm trying to think of another one, I think like creative was one, there's another one that I'm not thinking at the moment, but you can come up with all of these synonyms for the feeling that you want from your mark. And if you recall in your influence field guide, we talk about your intentions and it's what you need them to do, what do you need them to say, what do you need them to feel? This feeling component is where we start to leverage priming. So what do you want them to feel? Do you want them to feel excited? Do you want them to be open-minded? Do you want them to feel decisive? So you can come up with all of these synonyms that you can pepper in that initial part of your conversation to prime them towards that emotion. Another thing that you can do to prime is typically any time that you're meeting somebody face-to-face, there's the normal chit chat. Right, like how you been, what's been going on? What's new with you? This is your opportunity to use a priming story. So if you're trying to prime for open-mindedness and they say how have things been? And you say you know what, it's been really great. I had been thinking about taking on some cool new adventure, Chris, and I've been thinking about taking on some new adventure but honestly like some camping because I'd never been camping before, but honestly I'd just been really hesitant about it, and then one of my friends told me about these really cool tools and things that I can use. And then so I finally went camping last week, and oh my gosh, I am so happy that I did it. I had so much fun, I'm really thrilled that I made that choice and did something completely new and different. They perceive this as a normal chit chat conversation, and it is a normal chit chat conversation with strategy underneath it. And so figuring out, again that's the beauty of the field guide is it gives you the opportunity to think of okay I need this emotion, what stories can I talk about and again, it can be something as mundane of I found some new hairspray. You can even prime that into the idea of something has not been working, now I found something new and I'm loving what it's doing for my hair. Right? I really want you guys here and at home to start thinking of scenarios in which you can start priming people and incorporating these persuasive phrases, and we're going to chat about it in our next section. Do we have time for questions, Chris, or? We can take a few questions here, we'll take a break now and we can get into a little bit more priming when we come back and we did have a few questions that came in just to wrap up this segment about everything that we talked about here. So we can get to a couple. We'll do one from online first, then we'll come to you guys here. So, just going back to using the names, when you're talking to people, Jay Ozone wanted to know if you had a good rule of thumb for how many times you should say someone's name in that conversation, should it be something where you use it at the beginning, and use it at the end, is it sort of like a book end the conversation with someone's name? I mean, that's the general rule of thumb, it's certainly not a hardened fast rule that I would say. The main point is to make the conscious decision to say their name and then if you do, you can start to see significant shifts in a negative way, if you say it too much so still make sure that your antenna is up to pay attention to the body language, because if you do start to see a little wince in their face, then just stop using the name, you've reached your limit. Always look for the wince, very good. All right, do we have a question here, Erica? Well and I can see that if your, like we've talked about bringing someone to their pain point, so the example you gave yesterday was telling the story of how the child was sad that the parent's feet always hurt and couldn't play with them on the playground. So, it seems important that if you're bringing them to that pain point, then you need some positive priming after that because if not, they're in that sort of negative space, right? Right, so once we're in the discussion that we're having the pain point, I'd say that the priming has already happened by that point. So, we primed them for decisiveness, openness, open to new things, we bring them to the pain point, and then the next step is like your natural desire here is to bring them out of the pain and that is correct, but the out of the pain is your services. I see. And then we talk about what past clients have said, and naturally this is going to be an, and start to use some of those persuasive phrases. So, already we're kind of mapping out that entire discussion and I just want to highlight that how most people walk into these types of meetings is I have my brochure, and you read the brochure, and I hope that you say yes, versus now we have a beginning, we have phase one of this influential conversation is the pain point. We have phase two of talking about your services, and then phase three of these closing techniques. And so a transition from like the priming to the pain point. So, yeah, so typically in a normal conversation, like at a coffee shop or something, it's, "Hey how you've been?" And then you tell your priming story and it doesn't, keep in mind this doesn't need to be Hamlet. Like this doesn't have to be a long story, it can just be seven sentences or so, and it's just chit chat. And then you probably will engage them of, "Well, how have you been?" And then you listen and see, and then that's also an opportunity to check in with them of their current state and pick up on if there's any influential triggers that you can incorporate in this conversation and then naturally if we all know why we're here for this meeting is to talk about your services, that's great, that's wonderful, okay so let's, and transition into the business chat. So, in our society there's chit chat first, and this is your opportunity to leverage some strategies that you didn't have before. Yes? I'm thinking of a scenario when a person who could be my potential client is giving me a call to inquire about my services, what would be the priming? I wouldn't chit chat about the hairspray, right? You can always go to hairspray, no. So, if somebody calls you out of the blue. Well, assuming they found me online or they've been referred by their friends or whatever, so they call me to find out the details of my service, and-- This is perfect, so they come in with the intention of I just want a quote, I want to learn about your services. You need to take control of that conversation, because what they're asking is let's have the influential conversation now, and as we know that's going to be highly ineffective because we don't have rapport and we don't have influential intelligence. So you flip it and start asking questions. Well, what made you reach out to me, what did they say about me, what was intriguing about me that made you make the call today. What specifically are you looking for? And this sales conversation, what potentially is a sales conversation must begin with influential intelligence gathering. Yes, but that transition, when someone calls and says, "Hi I would like to know what is your prices and stuff," and if I jump right away, so how did you find me, that sounds very salty, I'm not sure if it's priming. No, it's not priming because in that scenario we're not sure what we need from them yet. So, if they say what are your packages, you say oh I'm more than happy to share those, I actually like to learn about my clients first before, because I have a number of packages to choose from, even if you only have three, you say I have a number of packages, let me learn, can I learn a little more about you. What prompted you to call? What are you looking for? What is it that you like? What is it that you don't like? And then if they definitely want to get this quote, so I'm not sure how your business model works and everything so I'm going to go with two different options one is if you have fairly straight forward packages to where you can quote them on the phone, then you say so you get the influential intelligence, and then you say, "Great, now that I know a bit more about you, here are two packages that I would recommend because you said that this is important to you and I think this is a good fit because for these reasons." And the other option that I still want to throw your way is it's actually one of my most popular ones that my clients really like it, so I'm going to go ahead and give it to you as an option is this, and I still think that this could be a good fit because you said that these things are potentially things that you're looking for. So now you have two options to choose from. How does that sound? What do you think feels like a good fit? So you're presenting them with it but attaching it to everything that you learned in that conversation. That's why when we have these phone calls we need to be jotting down what they say so that way if we are going forward with the close in that conversation, we just use their phrases right back at them. I closed a deal for a very nice sized speech from somebody reading one of my articles on LinkedIn, and in the conversation he right out the gate he was just like I'm thinking about hiring you, how much do you cost? And I said more than happy to share that with you, tell me about your company, why did you want to hire, what prompted you, how did you find me, what are you looking for, why are you interested in communication discussion, what is the pain point that has caused you to make this call? Is basically what I was trying to figure out. And then once it got to the quoting part of the conversation I kid you not I used his exact phrases, and it's as if he forgot that those were the exact phrases that he said and when they came out of my mouth he goes, "Exactly!" So do not be afraid to quote them back to them. You can even preamble it by saying, "as you said" but sometimes you can just use their exact phrases. So one option is to go ahead and make the close there, on the phone. The other option is that some people are more of in a consultative role so they quote different things based off of the scope of the project and their many moving pieces, so you might then say, "Thank you so much for this information," then "I'm going to draft up a proposal" or "I'll get back to you" or something along those lines. I do recommend that you send a very quick follow up email with them, because you don't want them to call and then there be a huge lag time between your next discussion. So you want to keep up those touch points to maintain that relationship. This one's from Jason Spencer, and he wants to know, "Does a priming story ever use too much I language? Talking about yourself too much." Would you be cautious of that? I mean, you should be cautious about it if your story lasts too long. I mean if you're trying to turn this priming moment into a half hour ordeal, then you're going to have some issues. But generally in that chit chat it's prompted by them saying how have you been, what's new, so the I ratio I think it would come off almost a little bit more disingenuous if you tried to weave in too many you's in that priming story. Yes. Two questions, the first one is you mention the follow up email after the call, are there things that we should remember to include in that follow up email that include priming and that kind of thing? Let's see, priming in that email, I would continue to use the words in there, there wouldn't be any sort of story, but any of that flexible, if you're wanting open mindedness or whatever it might be, you can still pepper those in that follow up email. And I wouldn't consider that to be priming at that point. I would consider that to be reinforcing the priming. And then on the setting your influential intention worksheet, there's the little bottom what steps will you take to get there, and it's got actions and then emotions, so are we using these emotions as what we might want to prime them for? Exactly. So the emotions are what are the emotions that I'm trying to elicit from them, and then the actions are okay what can I do to get that emotion. So that way you can have that just mirroring each other and see those.

Class Description

Learn the art and science of influence from Sharí Alexander. In Build Your Influence, Build Your Business, you’ll learn observation and communication techniques that will make you more persuasive and influential, in work and in life.

Influence is not coercion or manipulation – it is skillful communication that conveys ideas and elicits action in the most effective way possible. In this class, you’ll learn conversational persuasive techniques that forge strong business connections that are essential for persuasive communication. Sharí will help you develop effective ways to assert your authority and ensure you are heard and understood without losing the admiration and respect of your listeners. You’ll learn eye opening observational techniques that will help you decode influential signals that you have missed in the past. Then, she will walk you through the essential influential process that will help you close more deals, motivate groups, and build stronger relationships. Sharí will also help you hone your observation skills and more accurately read and assess others.

Watch Build Your Influence, Build Your Business and forever change the way you communicate.


Stephanie Platero

The course is really great! Shari does an excellent job expressing some of the complexities by providing examples. Super knowledgeable, articulate and her presentation is very interesting. If you are using the Creative live "live, on air" while watching this, the ads for creative live are really distracting. I used to watch a lot of the courses by RSVPing and investing my time to watch the presenters in its entirety (the benefit of RSVP'ing and being a user) but the ads have gotten worse and actually skip to various parts of the presentation and you lose out on some of the content. I assume this is to encourage buying the course but makes it so difficult to follow and be engaged.

a Creativelive Student

I was not prepared for all the wonderful information that was taught. It has helped me in business and then a surprise... helped me with family as well. Fantastic class. Love Shari! Roxanne

Mahna Mahna

Excellent excellent course. Highly recommend Shari and the content she presents. I’ve gone from influence Newbie to Ninja-ish. Lots of practical information that you can use in professional situations, personal situations, and everything in between. In the workplace - develop more effective relationships and influence people up & down the org chart. As a business owner – generate more revenue per sale and develop closer relationships with customers. On a personal level - iron out the bumps in the road (or the outright disasters) with your family and friends. Shari makes the topic of ‘Influence’ appealing, approachable, and easy to understand. And the workshopped ‘hands-on’ examples are PRICELESS – they go a long way towards getting you to implement these concepts for yourself. Spend the time and do the Influence Profile - you will see/feel/experience immediate results. And I do mean IMMEDIATE.