What is charisma?   Charisma means “special gift” in Greek.  It is something that allows some people to magnetically attract others to them and their projects.

Is it innate or can it be learnt?  According to John Antonakis, Marika Fenley and Sue Liechti in the Harvard Business Review June 2012 article “Learning Charisma”, it is learnt.

How to Learn Charisma

“After executives were trained in these tactics, the leadership ratings observers gave them rose by about 60%.” John Antonakis

Learn these 17 Specific Charismatic Tactics

  1. Metaphors, Similes and Analogies
  2. Stories and Anecdotes
  3. Contrasts
  4. Rhetorical Questions
  5. Three Part Lists
  6. Expressions of Moral Conviction
  7. Reflection of Group’s Sentiments
  8. The setting of High Goals
  9. Conveying Confidence in High Goals
  10. Animated Voice
  11. Facial Expressions
  12. Gestures
  13. Create a Sense of Urgency
  14. Invoking History
  15. Using Repetition
  16. Talking about Sacrifice
  17. Humour

Practice these tactics with video (check out my email based course to lead you through 10 weeks of practice).  Practice these tactics with your peers.  Practice leads to doubling the usage of these tactics in everyday life.  Use of these tactics led to ratings of competence increasing by 60%.

These tactics work because they create an emotional connection between speaker and audience.

Check out the HBR June 2012 article Learning Charisma.

Success doesn’t come overnight, but neither does failure.

pablo (15)

We plant seeds every day, seeds of success and seeds of failure. Some seeds take years to grow – lack of exercise doesn’t grow into the tree of ill health for many decades; €100 saved per month doesn’t grow into € millions for many decades.

Today a court case finished. It relates to a business I ran years ago. I signed a loan guarantee that I should not have signed… but in the boom years of 2007-2008 it felt rude to say no to this clause in the contract… a bad decision. I had a sense that it was wrong when I was signing the deal back in 2007. Now I feel the fruits of that poorly judged seed of failure. I hope there is only one piece of fruit from that poor seed.

Most seeds require good soil and cultivation to grow. Both seeds of failure and seeds of success don’t grow without our help.

Most of the successes that I enjoy this year are the fruits of seeds that were planted years ago. People that I met years ago and have kept in contact for years, and now they ask me to come and work with their company.

The Most Important Seeds: People We Meet

I think the most important seeds of success are the people we meet. One person can change our whole life.  This idea struck me today when I read Michael’s blog post: Creating the Perfect Elevator Pitch.  His exact words:

"The beauty of life is that one conversation can change your world.  One “yes” can make all the difference.  One conversation, one introduction, one chance encounter is sometimes all it takes.  Life can turn on a dime, but you have to be willing to put yourself out there and be ready for those conversations for this change to occur." Read More...

Dwight Eisenhower was very close to formal discharge from the military when he met and impressed General George C. Marshall. That one meeting transformed his whole life. Instead of piece-work in a factory, he went on to be Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces and then a 2 term US President.  (Read the Eisenhower story here).

I wonder whether we can know who we will meet today that could have this big transformational impact on our future life? Can we know? It could be a young student in one of my MBA programs. It could be anyone. I suspect the more that I think I can identify who it will be, the more wrong I will become.

So, I guess the answer is to be open to each person that I meet today. To see them not for who they are today, but to know that in each person lies such enormous potential should they choose to apply themselves.

Who have you met today?  Who did you listen to today?

The following is part of an email I received from Noah Kagan, entrepreneur and founder of Appsumo.  You can read the full email on his Okdork.com blog.  Personally I get plenty of requests for help/connections/ideas/reviews, and this particular process might help me say yes to a few more requests…

Over to Noah:

Question 5: How can I get an influencer to respond to my emails?

Make the email about them. We ALL know this but we don’t do it.

Here’s my sequence for emailing anyone.

1- Send an email NOT about you.

Subject: Huge fan of your work

Body:

Noah,
{flattery} Really love the email you sent last week.
{result} I bought that product and it made a huge impact in my life.
{thanks} Keep doing awesome stuff.
{your name} Noah

2- Send follow up a week later (this one is key and where you can ask for something)

Subject: Quick question Noah

{compliment} Hope you are doing amazing.
{ask} Had a 9-second question about marketing. Mind if I email it over?
{your name} Noah

Things to note:

1- Anyone worth reaching is getting TONS of random emails.
2- Keep emails brief and digestible in under 10 seconds.
3- FOLLOW UP is key. If they don’t respond, send a reply email saying BUMP. This has been crucial for me.

Pro tip: Before you send your email, post it in a google doc and have a couple friends review/edit/leave comments.

Thanks, Noah, for sharing.

 

…not where you would like them to be.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Valentin via Compfight cc
Fishing where the fish are

I spent over 10 years building entrepreneurial ventures that had a lot of selling involved (insurance, business services, restaurant franchises, aeroplanes).

Fish Where the Fish Are

I met a young entrepreneur last week at Startupbootcamp.  He told me “I am not good at sales”.  I said “What do you mean?”.  He said that he can’t seem to keep prospects interested.  I asked him how he selected his target prospects.  He returned a blank stare.

I said “do you try to sell to everyone you meet?”

He didn’t say anything but the body language was saying “well, yes of course”

This is how to die young as a salesperson.  

My daughter loves fishing.  To be honest, she loves the idea that she has of fishing, rather than the reality of fishing.  We have a small cottage by the beach in Costa Brava and often we will go and spend some time “fishing”.  I don’t really want to catch anything, I just want to chill out with her while we watch the sea and the sun setting and the changes of nature.  She wants to catch fish.

If I want to catch fish I go to one place.  If I don’t fancy cleaning and gutting a fish, I go to other places.

The place where I go to fish is the place where the fish are.

The place where I go to not fish, is any place that the fish are not.

Fishing Well, Selling Well

Fish wisely:  “Fish where the fish are” – not randomly, or where you would like to be.

Selling to a person who is not the M.A.N. is a waste of breath.  M is money, A is authority and N is need.  If the MAN is not in the room, be polite and leave.

Who are your best clients?  Where can you find more?  Target well. 

In my aviation business we discovered that the people that were most happy to regularly meet were often competitors interested in learning about our business (and copying our brochures, contracts and process). We learnt to be very careful and take time to bring prospects through a long (2-4 months) process before we would actually pitch the deal and put a contract in front of them.  It made a real difference – not only in more effective sales, but in a major improvement in my personal motivation and enjoyment of the sales process.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Valentin

 

Nick Morgan, founder of Public Words, and one of the worlds top communications coaches, put together the Body Language infographic.  It answers questions such as:

  • How many seconds does it take for us to judge another person?
  • What are the 6 universal emotional signals?
  • How to disagree without making an enemy?
  • How to deal with an angry colleague?
  • How to ask your boss for a raise?

The Body Language Infographic

Check out Nick Morgan’s body language infographic below:

Gengo_body_language_ot

Reposted from http://publicwords.com/the-body-language-infographic/

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 14.12.08

What does it take to be a great public speaker?

London Speaker Bureau has put it all together on a pretty page.  From content to delivery, from startings to endings and from logos to ethos to pathos, its all here in this infographic.

The London Speaker Bureau represent and work with some of the most influential people in the world, from politicians and economists to thought leaders and entrepreneurs.  Between them, they cover a vast range of topics, from management and finance to technology, education, innovation and the environment

If you’ve ever wanted a beautiful poster size infographic to guide your development as a persuasive speaker, this is the one.

9 Steps to Public Speaking Expertise

pscs-londonspeakingbureau
Hat tip to Joe Shervell.

I love this idea that I came across in an interview with Matthew Lieberman at Edge.org.

He speaks of an old 1960’s idea called “Latitude of Acceptance”.  He defines it better than I, so I’ll pretty much take his text verbatim:

Matthew Lieberman on Latitudes of Acceptance

Matthew Lieberman, UCLA Professor of Psychology
Matthew Lieberman, UCLA Professor of Psychology

“I’ll tell you about my new favorite idea, which like all new favorite ideas, is really an old idea. This one, from the 1960s, was used only in a couple of studies. It’s called “latitude of acceptance”. If I want to persuade you, what I need to do is pitch my arguments so that they’re in the range of a bubble around your current belief; it’s not too far from your current belief, but it’s within this bubble. If your belief is that you’re really, really anti-guns, let’s say, and I want to move you a bit, if I come along and say, “here’s the pro-gun position,” you’re actually going to move further away. Okay? It’s outside the bubble of things that I can consider as reasonable.

We all have these latitudes around our beliefs, our values, our attitudes, which teams are ok to root for, and so on, and these bubbles move. They flex. When you’re drunk, or when you’ve had a good meal, or when you’re with people you care about versus strangers, these bubbles flex and move in different ways. Getting two groups to work together is about trying to get them to a place where their bubbles overlap, not their ideas, not their beliefs, but the bubbles that surround their ideas. Once you do that, you don’t try to get them to go to the other position, you try to get them to see there’s some common ground that you don’t share, but that you think would not be a crazy position to hold.

There’s the old Carlin bit about when you drive on the road: anyone going faster than me is a maniac and anyone going slower than me is a jerk. That that’s the way we live our lives. We’re always going the right speed, and everybody else is missing the boat. We don’t take into account that I’m going fast today because I’ve got to get to the hospital, or I’m going slow today because I know I had something to drink, and I shouldn’t have, so I’m going to drive real slow. We don’t take those things into account. We just think whatever I’m doing is the right thing, and we have to recognize there’s this space around those, and if we can find that overlap we can get some movement. And so that’s not a nudge idea, per se. It’s really about finding when people are in a mental space where they’re more open to other ideas, and what is often going on there is you’re trying on identities.

William James said long ago that we have as many identities as people that we know, and probably more than that. We are different with different people. I’m different with my son than I am with you. We have these different identities that we try on, and they surround us. With some friends I can be more of a centrist, and with other friends I might be more of a liberal, depending on what feels like it would work in that moment, and they can all be authentic positions that I really believe at different points in time. I’m really interested in looking at that as a mechanism of persuasion when it comes to regular old persuasion, when it comes to education, when it comes to public health, and when it comes to international issues as well. It’s finding that latitude of acceptance and finding out how to use it successfully.”

The original article is here: http://edge.org/conversation/latitudes-of-acceptance (the section on Latitudes of Acceptance is way down the bottom)

Aristotle and The Enthymeme

Aristotle spoke of the search for the Enthymeme – the point where my beliefs connect to your beliefs.  If you can find the enthymeme, you can build an argument that has a chance of persuading.  If you cannot find the enthymeme, then reason will not help build a bridge between your two positions.  The most important part of finding the enthymeme is finding out what is assumed as true for the audience.

The modern concept Latitudes of Acceptance captures this age-old idea of searching for the Enthymeme.

Point X and Latitudes of Acceptance

I have been a proponent for over a decade of starting all persuasive processes with your Point X.  What is a realistic, concrete and specific step that you want the audience to take at the end of your words?  If you can answer this first, you have a good chance of building a powerful persuasive speech.

Most persuasion fails here – it fails because we are unclear or unrealistic about what we ask of the audience.

Resources

What is your painful problem to solve?

Sales is not about describing your product, your process or your friends. It is about explaining to the buyer a problem that they have, and giving them a glimpse of a world where that problem has gone away.

What would it feel like to live in a world where that problem has gone away? What would it feel like to have your boss think you are a top performer? What would it feel like to have your kids proud of you? What would it feel like to see your body looking fit? What would it feel like to take your t-shirt off at the beach with pride?

What is your painful problem to solve?

By the way, you don’t get to talk to someone about their problem until you have a relationship of trust with that person. You can’t just dive in and say “we’ll make your pain go away!”. You have to begin a relationship of trust.

The best first step? Generosity. What can you give this person that they need? Often, it is your undivided, non-judgemental listening to what they have to say. Make them feel like they truly exist for you.

Rory Sutherland tells some wonderful stories about the power of framing.  If you want to be persuasive, you must get good at framing the argument.  Good framing shifts the argument to a playing field where you can achieve your ends and the other can feel that they have gotten a good deal.

Prices are not expensive or inexpensive in abstract, only in relative terms.  If I say that “this watch costs €100” – I have allowed you to frame your perspective on expensive or cheap.  If I say “other watches in this very category sell for over €1,000; this watch costs €100” – I have started to provide my own framing for the situation.

Compared to what?

Rory talks about small shifts in framing have a powerful impact.  He gives the example from car sales that it is far better to give a rebate of €3000 on top of trade in valuation versus giving €3000 off the full purchase price.  The framing of a trade-in price of €7000 plus €3000 is much more impactful than offering €3000 reduction on the full price of €22,000.  It is the same €3000 in cash, but it is not the same €3000 from a psychological point of view.

This framing also works for selling expensive cars at plane and boat shows – context shifts way we see the price.  A €300,000 car seems expensive when seen in a showroom of €50,000 cars…  but it feels more reasonable when placed next to €1.2M boats or €6M private jets.

Here’s Rory’s talk at Zeitgeist:

This, or a version of it, arrives a few times a week:

“Dear Conor
I need to talk to you. Can I have some time?
X”

By the way, its not from my girlfriend, or my daughter. They get a yes. My mum, dad, brothers, sister – they get a yes. However, generally these emails come from people that I am not deeply connected to.

Photo Credit: daveynin via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: daveynin via Compfight cc

What do I know from this email?

You don’t care about my time enough to set out an agenda, let me know how I can be prepared, help me with something that you know I want (its all on my blog!).

I think I can predict the success or failure of a startup based upon the quality of the “asking for a meeting” emails that the founders tend to write. This is entirely speculative and based upon zero empirical study, but a lot of emotional certainty.

What is a good email?

Do you have any examples?

What is your experience?  Are you successful in getting people to say yes to your requests via email?