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Long ago, if you wanted to have influence, you generally needed to be very good at controlling, coercing, or even harming others. Thankfully, that isn’t the case anymore. 

With the rise of new paradigms in thinking, the age of influence is upon us. While you may think you need to have a TON of followers or be an important celebrity to have influence, that simply isn’t true. 

Our most recent guest on The Art of Making Things Happen with Steve Sims discussed this very notion. 

Jon Levy is a world-renowned behaviorist, speaker, and consultant. In his latest New York Times Best Selling Book, You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence, he guides readers on how to cultivate deep and meaningful connections with anyone. 

Here is what he had to say about the topic of influence.

A Social Experiment: The Influencers Dinner

About a dozen years ago, Jon Levy was broke. After a quick assessment, he realized that if he wanted to have an extraordinary life, he would have to surround himself with exceptional people. 

The work of Christakis and Fowler inspired him.  In their research, they found that who you know influences your entire life. The correlation was deep whether you talked about weight gain, your odds of divorce, happiness, success, etc. 

What he discovered: Not only are we influenced by our friends, we’re influenced by our friend’s friends. 

He decided to create a secret dining experience to bring influential people together to positively affect each other and Jon. To get the most out of the people he admires in the world, he conducted a social experiment. 

The experiment: Twelve influential people prepare a meal together. During the cooking experience, they aren’t allowed to share their occupation or even their last name. During the meal, they play a game to discover what each person does for work. 

What the participants found out: They were sitting next to Nobel Laureates, Olympians, celebrities, Editor-in-Chief of a major magazine, an Oscar winner, a Grammy winner, etc.

Since its inception, he has hosted over 2,000 people at over 227 dinners in ten cities and three countries.

How the Dinners Changed the Conversation

Due to the restrictions placed on the dinner guests, it created subtle yet dramatic changes in the conversations. 

Here are some of the things that Jon noticed: 

  • When people don’t talk about work, they talk about the things that matter to them. 
  • People talked about their kids, vacations, or the books they’re reading.
  • Those are the same types of conversations you have with people closest to you. 

The experience of having to put away their identities accelerated the process of getting to know one another. 

You’re Invited! 

The success of his social experiment prompted one person at Harper Collins to ask him to write a book. Although you might assume the book is about the dinners, it’s actually not. 

Instead, it’s about how human connection, trust, and belonging are the greatest predictors of anything we care about. That could be related to human longevity, business, success, and the science and the stories that help you learn how to use that in your own life. 

Jon says it brilliantly like this, “Your ability to have an impact on anything that you care about is defined by the people you know, how much they trust you, and the relationships you have with them. 

His goal for the book was to create a book that helped people learn how to connect with individuals and create meaningful relationships.

 Master the Art of Influence

If you’re looking to master the art of influence, check out Jon’s latest book, You’re Invited! For more advice on how to become more influential, check out his TED Talk.   

For more great content about entrepreneurism, please check out The Art of Making Things Happen with Steve Sims. While you’re at it, head on over to Facebook and join our private group, An Entrepreneur’s Advantage.

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