Monthly Archives: July 2014

Episode 51 – Persuading Women…Interview With Maureen Simon

The new is up!  Not so much running…but definitely up.  Pardon our dust as we continue to refine the new site.  You can still, however, download the latest podcast episodes and read the blog.

In the “geeky article moment” for the week, Kurt highlights a recent article from  A company in Chicago recently started timing how long employees were spending in the bathroom.  More than six minutes got you in trouble.  Kurt and Steve discuss why this is a bad move from a leadership and influence angle (like they really needed to point that out to you).

On this episode, Kurt and Steve interview Maureen Simon, an expert in the differences between the male and female brains.  From the time of birth, it’s typically programmed in us that we are a man or a woman.  This doesn’t mean that they don’t cross over somewhat.  But typically men and women have different attributes and different expectations in the career path.  This interview with Maureen is part one.  Check it out for some great insights into the female brain and be sure to stay tuned for episode 52 for the rest of the interview!

Episode 50 – Build Rapport Quickly

Remember: please subscribe to Maximize Your Influence on Itunes, Stitcher Radio, the Windows Market Place, or whatever service you use to download podcasts!  We appreciate you listening to the show!

After giving some not-so-great (and un-licensed) legal advice, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent study about “moral code.”  Individuals are more likely to compromise their morals when they are in a group setting.  We do this because we feel more anonymous and less responsible.  This is all intuitive.  But keep in mind, this means that persuading a group is a lot different than persuading one on one.  As group numbers increase, we often see “mob mentality” set in.  This has a negative connotation but when persuading you can use mob mentality to your advantage.

This episode continues into a debate as to whether there is a difference between rapport and people skills.  Kurt wins the debate as he often does.  People skills is being able to get a long with somebody and keep things amiable.  Rapport is deeper connection that makes us feel like we’ve known somebody our whole lives.  When we have rapport, we have a relationship that lasts a long time and that generates favorable persuasion and negotiation results.  While rapport might be difficult to define…we know what it is when we see it or feel it.

Kurt and Steve continue by discussing some of the things that are evident when there is a strong rapport.  This includes relaxed body language, mirrored body language, physical touch, eye contact, and smiling (the real kind that you can see in the eyes).  One of the biggest blunders people make when they have rapport is to change their demeanor once they ask for “money.”  This shatters rapport and is one of the top complaints about sales people.

Episode 49 – Eye Contact…When Is It Creepy And When Is It Effective?

We hope you had a great Fourth of July holiday! Even if you didn’t celebrate American Independence Day and the 4th of July was just a regular day for you…we hope you had a great one anyway!

Remember to subscribe to the Maximize Your Influence Podcast via Itunes, the Windows Market Place, or Stitcher Radio. And as always, you can listen to the show at

The show begins by Steve hijacking the Geeky Article Moment form Kurt. This week’s article discusses the new science of forensic handwriting style analysis. This is different than analyzing material that is hand written. This particular science analyzes how somebody forms words and sentences and can thus (allegedly) prove if somebody wrote something or not. With more and more writing being done on keyboards (rendering handwriting analysis almost obsolete) Modern law enforcement may start using the acutal syntax to prove the authorship of writing. In the era of emails and text messages this is sure to catch on more and more!

Have you ever dealt with a salesperson who avoided eye contact with you? How did you feel? Eyes are the window to the soul. Effective eye contact can make or break a presentation. On the other hand, too much eye contact can intimidate or come across as a threat. So how often should we be making eye contact? The first thing to understand is that we need to “mirror” eye contact. If somebody isn’t making a lot of eye contact with you you need to dial it back a little. The general rule is, however, about 70%. That gives enough eye contact to let somebody know you see them and understand…without creeping them out.

Episode 48 – Powerful People Skills

After some useless banter about who should be allowed to wear bathing suits, the Fourth of July, and barbeques, Kurt and Steve launch into Episode 48. First, they tackle an article about how word choice reflects somebody’s mood. It doesn’t happen the way you think. As it turns out, when somebody is feeling good they use more words with a long “i” vowel. When they aren’t feeling good they use more words with a long “o” vowel. The human brain is amazing! You can learn more about the study here.

As they continue to break down the science of charisma, Kurt and Steve address people skills. Thousands of books have been written on the topic and it’s no secret we need to be good at it. Kurt and Steve break it down by first discussing one of the key components: first impressions. There are a variety of things that tend to sabotage a first impression. Physical appearance, bad breath, bad posture, poor dress, demeanor, and vocal tone all affect people skills.

Another great way to show your people skills is to treat everybody equally. Whether your dealing with the CEO of the company or a low level clerk…treat people well. Be interested in them. Make it your goal to make their day better from having come across you. Brian Tracy said “you can tell a lot about somebody by how they treat the bus boys of the world.” Always always keep the people skills switch on!

Kurt and Steve finish the show by featuring a new persuasion ninja. This persuasion ninja also happens to be a professional pan-handler! Yes, you’ve got to hear this! Listen to the episode for the whole story!

Episode 47 – Negotiation’s Dirty Deeds Part Two

After diving into “Negotiation’s Dirty Deeds” last week, Kurt and Steve continue the discussion by uncovering even more of the underhanded tactics others will use on you while negotiating.

Steve takes over today’s “geeky article moment.” In a recent article by Harvard Business Review, we learn that managing conflict requires that we first ascertain whether we’re dealing with a “hot” conflict or a “cold” conflict. The strategy is entirely different depending on which type of conflict you are using. The article also gives a variety of pointers about managing the conflict. First, unless there is something imminent, take your time. Many of us want to make conflict go away as soon as possible because we just don’t like it. However this can often make the situation worse. Second, listen to everything but respond selectively. Managing conflict often involves a lot of venting emotion that doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed…it just needs to be vented. Third, take stock before you take sides. Make sure you really hear both parties out otherwise your credibility in resolving the conflict will be crushed.

One of negotiation’s dirty deeds is physical posturing. It’s not uncommon for old school negotiators to put the people they negotiate with in smaller chairs, lower positions, or downright uncomfortable positions. Steve and Kurt discuss how this has been used in foreign policy as well as the business world.

Another of negotiation’s dirty deeds is the “higher authority.” Oftentimes in a negotiation the person you’re working with will pretend that they don’t have the authority to make a decision. This isn’t necessarily dirty (you might have some success using it, actually), but it does hamper the negotiation process. When somebody plays the “higher authority card” you need to get them to agree on a deadline and also try to get an appointment or commitment to meet with the higher authority. That’s assuming there really is one!

Finally to round out the show, Steve discusses a persuasion blunder that’s going around today. It involves some underhanded tactics others are using to get past gate keepers. Check out the full episode for more!

Episode 46 – Negotiaton’s Dirty Deeds…Part One

Due to listener demand, Kurt and Steve finally unleash “negotiation’s dirty deeds.” These are underhanded tactics and strategies that others will use against you while negotiating.

Before this happens, however, Kurt discusses a recent article about “meeting productivity.” According to the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal (that’s a mouthful), standing during meetings creates more excitement and productivity. Apparently this has the obvious effect of making the meetings shorter. One of the unintentional but positive side effects was that it tends to decrease territoriality. Different departments were more willing to share information and collaborate.

This episode continues with a discussion on underhanded negotiation tactics. One tactic often used is the “fake surprise.” Often when we present an offer to others they may act outwardly offended or surprised. This is intended to reset your expectations and reconsider your offer…by embarrassing you. Kurt and Steve discuss some ways to counter this and adjust for it.

Another dirty technique is the last minute change. For example, somebody could tell you that you have a deal. They’ll set up a time to meet and when they arrive they tell you “sorry, I don’t have all the money…can we still do this?”

Just a few of the dirty deeds are discussed here…be sure to listen to the full episode for more!

Episode 45 – Is There Such Thing As Being Too Competent?

To start this episode, we lead off with another one of Kurt’s geeky articles. And this study, while strange, is compelling. As it turns out, there is a vast personality difference between dog and cat owners. In addition, cat owners actually score slightly higher on intelligence tests. Dog lovers tend to be more extroverted and sociable, while cat lovers are more independent yet more cautious. Kurt and Steve discuss the implications of reading these personality types. They also take a few shots at cat owners.

If you’re to be successful as a persuader, it’s obvious that you need to be competent. Is there such thing as “too much” competence? As they say, competence, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. There’s a difference between knowing a lot about your product and knowing how to tactfully make your prospect FEEL like you know a lot.

Competence comes from life long learning. You need to be the foremost expert on your product. This involves the perception from your prospects that you are continually learning and growing. When you learn that your doctor recently attended a medical conference it makes you feel like the doctor is keeping up. Make sure you are up to speed on your industry…and make sure your prospects know this. It will help create that perception of competence that you’re after.

To wind down the show, Steve discusses a persuasion blunder that he recently experienced in the real estate industry. The moral of the story? Know your product inside and out so you can act quickly…or you may lose the deal. Kurt then features a ninja who has learned how to tame one of the toughest hecklers of door to door salespeople: dogs.

Episode 44 – Do We Really Need To Over Promise And Under Deliver?

Kurt and Steve begin the show by discussing Steve’s recent trip to Dallas and how may pounds he put on from eating too much barbeque. They also discuss Kurt recently celebrating a birthday (happy 70th birthday, Kurt)! This turns into a rant about chicken wings until Kurt and Steve realize that you, the listeners, tune into the show for persuasion tips…not food commentary. This is a recurring problem for them.

There is a common saying in business that you should “under promise and under deliver.” In a recent article entitled “nobody cares how good you are at your job”, researches came to some interesting conclusions. After tracking promises made by businesses, researchers found that “going above and beyond a promise didn’t seem to matter at all.” What really does matter, however, is when we break a promise. Take into account the fact how airline travelers feel when their plane is early versus late. When a plane is early, people usually feel “so/so” about it. When it’s late, however, they are furious. The study concludes that when it comes to making a promise, the best thing is to keep it. Doing “more” than keeping it might create a future standard that you don’t want to abide by.

Kurt and Steve then transition into a discussion about one of the core elements of charisma: self discipline. When we perceive somebody to be self disciplined, we perceive them to be more charismatic. Studies show that self discipline isn’t something that we can compartmentalize. For example, being completely undisciplined in your finances will bleed into the other areas of your life. Discipline is a whole person issue.

As Jim Rohn said, “you’re either going to be disciplined or disappointed.” Charismatic leaders are committed to their mission and their business. They pick themselves up after failure and they stay focused. There are a few things we can do to increase our self discipline. 1) Break your goals down into smaller steps and pieces. The human mind thrives on accomplishment. So if you’re continually failing, you need to give your brain a victory. Take some baby steps because good habits over time will eventually get you where you want to be. 2) Focus on what you’re going to get instead of what you’re giving up. Continually dwelling on the negative and what you’re giving up pulls your subconscious mind in that direction. But if you instead dwell on what you’re going to get your brain will be more engaged and you will achieve your goal. 3) Monitor your progress on an hourly and daily basis. This allows you to dwell more on what you’re getting as opposed to what you’re giving up. Finally, 4) make sure your objective is what you really want. Many times we are engaged in something in our life that is something we don’t really want for ourselves. Maybe our family or friends wanted it FOR us. But ultimately it was never something that you were passionate about or that you liked.

Episode 43 – Charismatic Power

Is power different than influence? Absolutely. One can be influential without having a lot of power. But as power increases, it gives you more ability to influence. On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss some examples of when power is used and what the long term implications are. Many times as persuaders, parents, co-workers, we fall into the influence/power cycle. We want somebody to do something and we first try with “carrot.” But once somebody refuses or doesn’t comply, we go to the stick. This is a mistake.

There is a difference between using power and using force. When somebody uses power ethically, we are happy to be persuaded by them. When somebody uses force, they jeopardize the long term relationship. Is there ever an instance when using force doesn’t ruin the relationship over the long term? Kurt relates this to the “emotional bank account” as first discussed by Dr Stephen R Covey. If we ever have to use force, we must make sure that we buffer that with many more positive interactions.

Kurt and Steve then discuss various examples and stories of when people have used force too early and too often. While force might be necessary sometimes in short term interactions, it never works when a relationship needs to be preserved for the long term.

How do we create genuine power that will help supercharge our business? “Authority” power is key. Set the expectations (in a humble way) that you are in charge and are the boss. “Expert” power is also important. When people perceive you as the expert you automatically have more power due to your knowledge. Tactfully letting your prospects know you are an expert (without vomiting features and benefits all over them) will give you expert power. This is most effectively done when it’s presented by third parties. That’s why companies with great online reviews through services like Yelp continue to grow. Their expertise is projected to the public…but it’s done by third parties so it doesn’t come across as arrogant or condescending.

Finally, Kurt and Steve discuss instances when you want to fake like you don’t have any power. Kurt references the tv series “Columbo.” Playing dumb can sometimes give you the time you need to make a better decision. It also reduces resistance. In many persuasive encounters, those who appear less powerful are much more effective. You should decide on a case by case basis which is more effective: project a powerful presence? Or go “Columbo?”

Episode 42 – Can Your Prospects Tell If You’re “Full Of It?”

You’ve met these people before. The kind of person who has it all together. They’re dressed right. They know how to talk and they seem very knowledgeable. But something just isn’t right. On this episode, Kurt and Steve talk about “gut instinct” and to what extent our prospects can tell if we’re “full of it” or not. In this week’s “geeky article moment brought to you by Kurt”, we learn that “gut instinct” is actually real and a lot more literal than we ever thought. According to a study by the University of Zurich, mammals have a nerve connecting the brain and the stomach. When the brain is uneasy about something, it sends a message to the stomach to create that uneasy feeling that we’ve all experienced. In a study done with rats (yep, rats), those with a severed nerve behaved more recklessly than others. The bottom line is, the stomach has a say in our decisions!

This leads into this episodes core topic: congruence. Congruence is that subconscious connection between what somebody is saying and what they’re doing. Our subconscious mind picks up on little micro expressions, different words, and different actions. This ultimately creates the difference between the message you think you’re saying and what your prospect is actually hearing. You could be passing out $100 dollar bills on a street corner…for free…but if you’re not congruent people will sense it.

What do we do when we’re not confident or congruent when it comes to our product? How do we fix that? It comes down to doing what you say and using the correct “non verbal” behavior. Avoid touching your face or covering your mouth. Avoid leaning back in your chair. Make sure the level of your eye contact is natural. Those who are being deceptive tend to make very little eye contact or too much. Make sure your feet and shoulders are square. When the subconscious mind isn’t okay (or doesn’t believe in) what you’re saying or doing, your feet and shoulders tend to point away from your prospect. If you think your prospect’s subconscious mind doesn’t pick up on this you are sadly mistaken!