Influence and Positive Expectation

by Bob Burg

“Expecting someone to be helpful doesn’t change them, it changes you. And that is what changes them.”

Influencers – whether leading a huge team or eliciting cooperation from one person – influence. What does that mean? They can, without force or manipulation, cause people to take a certain action. A huge part of becoming an influencer is mastering people skills. And, part of mastering people skills…is mastering oneself.

You’re about to share the business with a prospect who can be a real bear. Or, you’re about to ask the customer service representative with a sour look on her face to exchange an item you don’t like but you lost the receipt.

Perhaps you need to ask one of your vendors to rush an order for you knowing he gets panicky when asked to do that. Or…or…any one of hundreds of situations where it would sure be a lot better if the person you needed to approach would be kind, smiling and ready to be helpful.

Both for long-term and immediate results, when you want to bring out a response in a person that meets your needs, act towards that person as though that’s how you expect them to respond. Yes, approach them believing they’re going to want to give you exactly what you desire.

Before you think I’m crazy, talking “hocus-pocus” or suggesting that just by thinking about it that’s what will automatically happen, please know that’s not it. Absolutely not! That isn’t what I’m saying at all.

What will happen, however, is that when you predetermine someone’s attitude or action in your own mind as being positive and helpful, you yourself take on a corresponding attitude (of course, the opposite would also be true). Yes, you change, which transfers directly into him or her changing their original attitude and acting in the appropriate solution-oriented manner.

Let’s look at two opposite approaches to the following situation and see how they might work out: You are about to approach an office worker at your local city hall. His reputation is that he takes pleasure in acting the part of the bureaucrat, goes “by the book” on everything and generally makes it difficult to attain satisfaction.

#1 If you were to go in with a scowl expecting to get into a “knock-down drag-out,” do you agree that you would be met by a person who could be difficult to deal with? Sure, because you are setting the matrix (the premise from which everything else will originate) of a battle.

#2 Instead, not only do you put a genuine, sincere smile on your face, but you actually expect that person to be warm, welcoming, and helpful. Do you think he’ll have a much different attitude than in the above example? I hope you said yes because it happens practically all the time; not just to me but to most everyone who practices this.

Your question might be, “Why does that happen?”

The reason is that, by adjusting our attitude – by genuinely liking this person and thinking highly of them, and expecting only the best from them – we are acting in that way, as well. And, if that person is like most everyone else, how can he not like someone who likes him so much and expects from him only the best?

Yes, this works. In fact, it works in amazing ways. This is just one way in which influencers are able to influence and persuade. Just one way, but a very effective way.

Before doubting this, practice it with sincerity several times. I guarantee you’ll walk away in amazement and it will change the way you approach the normally difficult people. More importantly, it will change the results you usually get and you’ll find this makes your actions much more productive and your life a lot less stressful!

This happens to be one of the most powerful methods of positive persuasion there is. Practice it until it becomes habit. It’s a habit that will pay off for you continually throughout your life.

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