When we think about the word influence, a few things may come to mind. We may think of power or leadership or the ability to change people’s minds.
BUT…where does influence really start? Is there a process? AND if there is a process, what does that process look like?
This is the topic we discussed with Rene Rodriguez, a famed behavioral neuroscientist who helps companies manage change, build engagement, and influence organizations.
Over the past 30 years, he has worked with companies like Coca-Cola, 3M, Nestle, Microsoft, and many others on the science of influence.
On our latest podcast for The Art of Making Things Happen, we got the chance to sit down and ask him the formula he would teach to anyone looking to create influence in life, in business, in their community.
What came out of our conversation is there is a hidden sequence when acted upon in the correct order, which creates massive results in influence.
Here are Rene’s three steps to the art of influence.
In order to influence people’s minds, we must reach their hearts. That is where influence begins.
The first step to creating influence is understanding that any question or idea can become the catalyst to real change.
It starts by delving into our past to reframe the question. The purpose is to create an emotional connection, a frame of reference.
When you simply answer a question without a frame of reference, the listener is left to create their own frame of reference to your answer. That’s the opposite of influence.
By creating a frame around a question, we can control the listener’s desired outcome without ambiguity.
Once you establish a frame of reference, you must engage the listener. People are hardwired to digest stories. We share them, read them, connect to them, and watch them on the big screen. The easiest and most profound way to reach a person’s heart is through a meaningful and empathic story.My grandfather wanted to escape Cuba to come to America. So he wrote a letter to the President of the United States that he would fight for America if he could help his family escape Click To Tweet
For example, Rene brought up a powerful story centered around a used car salesman during our podcast. When most people think of a used car salesman, they may have a negative connotation.
Rene changed the frame of reference from negative to positive with this story:
“My grandfather wanted to escape Cuba to come to America. So he wrote a letter to the President of the United States that he would fight for America if he could help his family escape.”
As luck would have it, someone found that letter. After serving in the military, my grandpa settled down in Homestead, Florida. His American Dream was limited and stopped as far as he could ride a bike or walk.
A used car salesman saw something in my grandpa and helped him get a car. That one act changed my family’s future. It all began with the selfless act of a used car salesman.”
Can you see how this story would change someone’s reference to the words “used car salesman?”
Reframing and telling a story is all well and good, but if it doesn’t add value, it’s just a waste of time. Real influence adds value through a call-to-action.
If you’ve done steps one and two but haven’t created action or follow-through, you haven’t influenced anybody.
Influence comes back to how you add value. What Rene calls the “tie-down” is the movement towards action, or in other words, influence. The tie-down is like wraps everything together, the story, the frame, everything.
It adds clarity to the message, makes the frame the foundation of the response, and then explains how that message pertains to what you can offer to a relationship, business, community, and so on.
When was the last time you connected to a superficial story? Never, right? Influence is the same. We need to move people’s hearts to change their minds—and that begins when we’re real with people.The Art of Influence Begins With Being Real Click To Tweet
Remember to use these forces for good, and know they cannot be faked because they must come from the heart. That’s the beauty of connection and authentic influence.