The Third Stage of Incredible Influence

by Daniel Batten on May 4, 2011

Have you ever wondered how some people just manage to inspire others and create clarity that compels immediate action? In this post you’ll see the simplest and most neglected reason.

The third stage of incredible influence is “your mouth”. If its not moving – the chances that you are influencing are pretty low. But if its moving without asking, the chances that you are influencing are almost as low. How often have you gone to a restaurant and the waiter said “I had a feeling you were coming, and then you I even had a hunch about what you wanted to eat – so the chef has started cooking it – and it’ll be here in 5 minutes.” If you know a waiter like this – let me know, I want to hire him/her – but chances are you needed to ask for what you wanted before you got fed.

Why do we assume the same isn’t true in business?

In 2004 – we needed to quickly assemble a board for our company. Two months later – the former president of Bristol Myers Squibb, EU, and the former Global Life Sciences Director of Sun Microsystems had joined us. Several people said “how did you get people like that on the board of a company that didn’t exist a year ago?” I said “I asked.” I thought about who would be great on our board, then I asked about 8 people – 4 said yes – and they were out board. There was no particular finesse to how I asked back then. I failed to get a “yes” with others I asked. But that turned out a blessing, because we ended up getting people we would not otherwise have got, if it’d been a first-time “yes”. The willingness to fail resulted in a great board, without whom the company would not have grown.

Have you been avoiding asking something to someone? What new possibilities could happen if you just went ahead and asked anyway?
Why not go ahead and make a commitment to yourself to ask that question in the next 24 hours.

Something starts happening the moment you get in the habit of asking questions rather than ranting about what you know
1. it gets you thinking more about the other person, not you
2. it gets you practice at the skills you need to be influential

You may be thinking “but how do I ask?” That’s where the other 5 steps come in. But don’t wait ’til you’re perfect. Make a commitment to ask good people good questions, and then surrender to whatever happens. I guarantee you it’ll influence your future more than if you don’t order from their menu. The worst that will happen is that you’ll be told “I’m sorry – the dish you requested is not being served at the moment.”

The third, the simplest, and the most often neglected stage of influence is to open your mouth … And ask good people good questions.

Next week I’ll answer the question “What creates 93% of the impact you make on other people?”

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