Invisible or invincible?

Most of us, when we step outside our front door, are going off to meet with people and create some sort of impression.

Whoever we meet in the course of our day, we want things to go well, (in the way that we want), which means that we will need to communicate in a way that causes ‘the right’ things to happen.

Your idea of ‘the right things’ may be different from mine, which is why I didn’t say ‘good things’. Some people actually want bad things to happen: things like complaining, telling someone what you really think of them, stirring things up, or simply making a point that will unsettle people.

But for the sake of this article, let’s focus on making ‘good things’ happen. Things like making a good impression, getting someone to like you, getting someone to buy from you or buy into you. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

I have a reputation for being remembered, but this hasn’t happened by accident. I am an expert in the effect that different actions have on other people: I’ve studied this aspect of human behaviour for more than thirty years and I try to put into practice the things that work all the time. I don’t always get it right, by the way. Last week I really screwed-up at an important presentation: but hey-ho!

Your powers of influence

When you take control of what you do deliberately to cause a specific effect in the other person or people, your powers of influence can really start to escalate the results that you get.

But I want to give you the technique straight away. You don’t need to study and learn this entire vast subject, so I’m going to be telling you what works. Then, if you want to use it (you’ll still need to practice, don’t forget) you can get started immediately.

Be highly visible

If you want privacy, that’s one thing, but in business, most of the time, you want to be highly visible, especially in your market place. In fact, being invisible can be one of the most painful, frustrating and downright unhelpful things to be when you’re in business.

So here’s the technique for getting people to remember you and what you do when you meet them for the first time.

When someone asks you what you do, most of us say, ‘I’m an accountant, photographer, bookkeeper or business coach’ for example, which is fine if your objective is to be polite. But these answers do nothing to grab the other person’s attention, and worse, they do nothing to start building a potential with this person for reciprocal business benefit.

It’s your job to be liked, noticed and remembered whether you’re out networking, or marketing your business more generally. And the quickest way to get this process started is to grab the other person’s attention. The word grab is important here because it implies ‘speed’ and being a bit ‘provocative’.

To put it more clearly: Do something that is UNEXPECTED.

Susan Boyle got remembered using this technique

The unexpected gets remembered – remember Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent? – what happened there was this: By her appearance – the way she looked and the way she dressed- a particular expectation was set up, but when she sang, that expectation was shattered – in a good way of course, which is why that moment was so powerful and remembered by millions. So, in the same way, you can use that same principle to be remembered, too. Most importantly, people’s reaction to your unexpected communication can give you MASSIVE clues about whether or not they are on your wavelength!

I go so far as to say, ‘Polarize people’. Give them the chance immediately to vote for you or against you. Give them the chance to opt-in or opt-out as quickly as possible. The word ‘Marmite’ springs to mind, though I realise this might be a bit strong for you, at least to get started.

Why give them this chance? Because you don’t want to waste time, do you? And the other person will thank you for this as well, because they don’t want to waste time either.

Now you might be thinking that this advice ignores social convention and business etiquette and even goes against your values, but I’m not talking about being impolite or uncaring or rude, in fact if done well, most people will enjoy your ‘performance’ and see it as creative and innovative.

The thing is always to try things out – usually taking you a bit outside of your comfort zone – but all the time you need to be looking for the result of your trying it. What happened when you did it? Did it work? Did it produce a different result? Because it’s only by paying attention to the response you’re evoking in the other person that you can gauge how effective you are being.

So, how are you going to choose what to say?

Use the magic of metaphor, or benefits instead of features, or the ‘I need to find out more’ principle.

Here’s an example: The man who kept the runway clear of dirt and debris at Cape Kennedy Space Center in the USA, when asked what he did said, ‘I help to get rockets into space’: Brilliant!

Here’s another: One of our Make Big Money Networking seminar delegates, who sells self-storage, when asked what he does, now says, ‘I’m the Spaceman!’

And another delegate, ‘I’m the accountant that speaks your language’.

Use curiosity to influence your audience

Now these three are working on slightly different levels, but all achieve a level of Intrigue or Curiosity that a straight answer wouldn’t. They all take the conversation forward. In effect, they are cliff-hangers, which is what you’re really after.

Let’s analyse this in case it helps.

The first example (rockets into space) is a straight forward ‘benefit’ of the work he does. It’s the end result of a process that he is only one part of. And in that sense it’s not really a metaphor: it is actually what he does or helps to make happen. What does your work help to make happen as a final result for your client, fan or follower? Could you open your conversation with that?

Whereas, example number two (the space man) really is a metaphor. He isn’t really a spaceman in the literal sense, but he uses the term because it slightly shocks the other person and begs the question, ‘what do you mean?’

As does number three, of course. But in the case of ‘I’m the accountant that speaks your language’ you are immediately drawn away from the ‘normal’ accountants’ image of being dead straight, and some people would find this more interesting.

The real point and power of this principle is that ultimately we will do business with, collaborate with, partner with, and align ourselves with like-minded people, and the polarization technique I’m proposing here, helps you to identify those most likely to be in ‘rapport’ with you.

Obviously there are times when you will do business with people who really are very different from you, but when you apply the 80/20 rule, I believe that it’s really not worth worrying about the one that might have got away because you didn’t see eye to eye.

And, if you’re that kind of person, you probably won’t even try this anyway. You might not be on my wavelength!

In my next blog we’ll explore specific conversational techniques to further uncover the character and intention of the person or people you are talking to.

Now give me your VIEW, your competitive comments, your curious come-backs. It’ll help drive traffic to your site!


Posted on May 25, 2011, in Be Inspired, Compel Your Audience to Buy, Create Your Fame, Get The Results You Want, Have Fun with Your Business, How to ..., Personal Branding, Psychology & Influence, Sky Rocket Your Business, The Business of Show and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Great post again, some good little tips,thanks for the time taken with the content.

  2. Great video and post QJ. As well as building rapport I think doing this is also a gift to the other person. Just think, if you answer with the straight answer the typical response is for them to then ask something like “Where are you based?” or “How long have you been doing that?”, which can result in you giving similar quick, to-the-point answers. However, if you give the more inventive answer, it gives them something to ask about and you’re more likely to end up in a discussion instead of a Q&A session.

    I think I’ll try saying – “I get people to be enthusiastic about getting up on a Monday morning to go to work!”

  3. Thank you to all who leave their comments. Let’s build this Inspirationist community into something really worthwhile!

  4. A nice video.
    I agree there is no point is using your energy being drained by people you can’t communicate with. If you deal with the other positive folk it adds to your energy rather than draining it.
    I look forward to your next blog 🙂

  5. Love it love it love it! From now on I’ll just say I’m a Sourceress… helping stressed and distressed corporate prisoners to… mmm will work on that! The old ‘what I do’ doesn’t quite fit.

    Your blog’s so timely as I’ve been thinking about how to deselect people who just don’t get me. Thank you QJ!

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