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YOUR INFLUENCE IS DETERMINED BY HOW ABUNDANTLY YOU PLACE OTHER PEOPLE’S INTERESTS FIRST.

What do you think of when hear the word influence? For whatever reason when I hear that word or see it written down I am taken back to my adolescent years and I hear my mother and father warning me about being around people that would be a bad influence on me. In other words by being around another boy or group of kids that would pressure me into doing things that I know that I shouldn’t. For example, using words around me that I could not say as a child. 

Probably many of you remember those times as well when you were younger and your parents would warn you about being around certain friends at school or in the neighborhood because your parents had a keen sense of knowing what was good for you all while trying to protect you from harm. 

So let me just be really transparent here – The word Influence in itself, because of the way my parents loved me and tried to protect me, actually became a negative to me. I had a very shallow understanding about how this word effected my life and the lives of others. Since I had consistently heard this word being used to keep me from misbehaving, saying bad words, and staying out of trouble, that is the only real way I thought that the word could be used. 

The word influence means: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. (dictionary.com)

I love this definition. I love the intentional use of being “a compelling force on” other’s actions or behaviors. If you really break that down the word in itself has an extreme amount of power and positivity. 

As I grew older (and of course more mature) I realized that influence can be used in a positive way to effect someone else as well. I realized that if I were able to communicate my thoughts, my beliefs, my opinions, my positive attitude, etc…that my actions could be used to change or impact the lives of others in a positive way. 

So let’s break down the Law of Influence now that we have established some background.
The Law of Influence states: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first. 

Do you ever find it difficult network with others? Do you ever find yourself in a group of people congregating around the people you know rather than finding people in a room you don’t know and getting to know them? This is natural human behavior. It is self protection so to speak. We naturally will find people in a room that know us and that we know to be around rather than doing the unnatural behavior and seeking out others we do not know. This is why many people fail miserably at networking events. This is also why some love networking events because they have mastered the law of influence through their communication with those that they do not know. Once this is accomplished the Law of Compensation (Your income is determined how many people you serve and how well you serve them) and the Law of Value (Your true worth is determined how much more you give in value than you take in payment) come into play. 

So how do you talk to someone you have never met and make it meaningful? Anyone can talk about the latest news story, the latest political scandal in Washington, the weather (Oh, Lord the weather discussion – shaking my head and rolling my eyes). Anyone can talk about themselves very easily…as a matter of fact most of us would never run out of words if we had to extemporaneously speak about ourself… BUT who in the world wants to sit and listen to someone talk about themselves. There is a word for this…is called narcissism!

What if every time you met someone you intentionally took yourself out of yourself and placed emphasis and your 100% interest on the other person? Sound difficult? With a little instruction, discipline, and understanding you too can put the Law of Influence into play in your own life. You too can be a “Compelling Force” in someone else’s life. 

My wife tells me all the time that I am a Master of the F.O.R.D. technique. She reminds me that I never meet a stranger and that I can talk with anyone for hours like I have known them for years. I learned this years back when I first got into real estate. You may find this technique difficult at first but if you remember the formula, you too will be adding others to your sphere of influence on a daily basis. 

So what exactly is the F.O.R.D technique (Bob Burg uses and teaches the F.O.R.M. technique which is similar and I tend to like it better)? It is simply an acronym to help you remember how to network and get to know another person. It is also a technique that will allow you to understand the needs of others so you can best serve them (and not yourself). 

F.O.R.D / F.O.R.M – Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams / Message (Charity)
If you remember this acronym you will never be short of discussion when meeting a new person or customer / client. 

FAMILY

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ask about Family. Especially children! People love to talk about their children. It is natural! Ask about their grandparents and what occupations they were in. Ask where their family was originally from. Ask why and how they ended up here (wherever here is). You get the point. 

Occupation

Ask what someone does for a living (Their Occupation).  Ask them questions of how they got into the business they are in. Ask them what they enjoy most about their profession. There are several other questions you can ask about someone’s occupation. They can be found at burg.com/10q

RECREATION

And of course touch on and ask questions about what they do in their spare time or when they are not working. What do they do for recreation. You would be surprised at how many follow up questions can be asked about recreation even if the person is into underwater basket weaving. 

DREAMS / MESSAGE (Charity)

I used to concentrate on the “D” or Dreams (i.e. – what is on your bucket list, or where they would love to go on their “dream” vacation) in the F.O.R.D. technique but since listening to and reading the book The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann I now concentrate on the “M” or someone’s “Message / Charity”. What is the person into, or what is their passion that changes others? For some it could be The American Cancer Society, for others it could be United Way, still for others it could be their local church

When you honestly and sincerely converse with another person and put their interests above your own, you will establish a sphere of influence and a referral network like no one else. You will set yourself apart from 99% of the competition (no matter what industry you are in). When another person feels and senses that you are clearly interested in them rather than just a commission or sale and that they are just a means to an end, you will not be forgotten. Your referral business will change immensely. Besides all that, it just simply feels good to be a compelling force on someone’s life. 

Your words have a way of lifting up someone’s spirit and attitude. Be that compelling force in someone today and remember the words of Maya Angelou – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Until next time ~ MLT

Matthew