One Simple Tool to Increase Your Influence

One Link to Increasing Leadership

Have you ever been in a situation in which people you are presenting to just don’t seem to get it? Have you ever shared your best ideas in a meeting and no one embraces them? Have you found it frustrating that your children are not paying attention to your worldly wisdom—wisdom that would help them make good decisions? How can you overcome this problem?

The answer is to make sure that you are connecting with them.

“If you can connect with others at every level – one-on-one, in groups and with an audience – your relationships are stronger, your sense of community improves, your ability to create teamwork increases, your influence increases and your productivity skyrockets.”

John C Maxwell

  • Salespeople who connect with their customers sell more and keep their customers longer.
  • Team leaders who connect build better teams and get more out of their teams.
  • Sports teams usually choose those who connect well as their captains.

Leaders who can connect multiply their effectiveness.

Connecting is more than just communicating. Everyone communicates, but few connect.

I learned about the importance of connection as a comedy performer. To be honest, I noticed it in other performers first and later saw it in my own act. Why was it that some performers could grab and hold an audience’s attention while others could not? Was it the choice of opening effects? Was it the jokes? No, often the jokes and effects were very much the same.

What was the difference? It was the connection. Some performers had connected with the audience and others had not. Those who had connected got better laughs. They received more applause. Their audience truly enjoyed themselves more. The performers who did not connect fought just to keep the audience’s attention.

If you cannot grab and hold people’s attention then you cannot impact them.

If you don’t connect with your audience then you cannot get your ideas across. It does not matter if your audience is five hundred or five, or even an audience of one. Connection increases your influence.

To expand your potential, you will need to influence others. No one has ever accomplished anything great by themselves. We always need help from others.

I have been a comedy magician for twenty-five years. My mentor in this field is Grand Illusionist Duane Laflin. He taught me the power of the first impression. First impressions are important and as we’ve all heard before, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Once people form an opinion, they tend to keep it. It is difficult to change their minds because they assume their judgment is correct. Everyone wants to believe that they make good judgments, so they look for anything that will support their conclusion. They tend to ignore things that do not support their opinion. In other words, if you have made a poor first impression, the audience will focus on your mistakes. But, if they have formed a positive first impression of you, they will overlook those mistakes. They will concentrate on what you do right.

Duane taught me to plan and practice even the little things, like how I walked onto the stage, how I smiled at the audience, and how I made eye contact with them.

Once I was working the spotlight for a variety show in Branson and we held a quick rehearsal for the acts with the tech crew. My friend, and former magic instructor, Dale Salwak of the Chavez Studio of Magic, was on the show and he spent most of his time rehearsing his entrance and his exit; how he would walk on and leave the stage. As we ate lunch together after rehearsal, he explained that his act was the same so he didn’t need to rehearse that. But the stage was different and he wanted to exude confidence and look his best as he first appeared to his audience. Therefore, he rehearsed how he would enter.

In order to increase your chances of connecting, know exactly what you will say and how you will say it. This is as important at a business lunch as it is on the big stage.

Greg Wood – Connection Professional