Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

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To know that reciprocity is effective is one thing. To know how and when to induce reciprocity is quite another. To know that asking for a favor can be a powerful technique of influence is different from knowing when to ask…and how. Today, I want to show you how to communicate persuasively using a couple of separate techniques of influence…and I also want to show you what not to do…

“Son, if you do that you will kill yourself,” said Mom… …and the son went right back and doing it again…remember?

Mom neglected a key factor of influence that almost everyone forgets. Write this down:

Legendary Key Give specific instructions or steps when directing or attempting to influence behavior. Simply telling someone to stop doing something or do “get a job” or “behave” or “shut up” is utterly and completely destined to fail because these are not instructions…

Decades of research reveals that specific instructions are necessary to influence and induce compliance. What does this mean to you? It means that you need to walk people step by step through a process that leads them to the door you ultimately want them to open. Anything short of doing this…is unlikely to succeed in the short or long term.

Now, I could detail all of the research and go in-depth here but I’ll save that for the newly available Science of Influence CD. Instead I want to direct your attention (did you catch that?) to another technique that can be remarkably influential or explode in your face. Fear.

Fear is something we are all wired to fight or flee from. Our irrational fears are those that we attempt to conquer and overcome. No one likes to experience fear. Fear literally can motivate people in ways few other things can.

“If you have sex without a condom you could get AIDS!”

That statement could induce fear or not. It could induce a behavioral change but it probably won’t. The word “AIDS” now is a bit like “accident.” The public has been inoculated to the word through overuse.

“Imagine that you keep smoking those cigarettes and what you see is your kids and your grandkids coming to look at you in your casket…crying because they can’t speak with you anymore because you committed a slow suicide with tobacco. Your face is shriveled and they will never think of you in the same way.”

Now. That is a scary scenario for most people with children. (You’ve used fear in a powerful fashion.) Let’s follow it up with, “And if you cut to half of a pack of cigarettes each day this month and to a cigarette each day next month and finally throw the pack away…wouldn’t it be something to see you healthy and happy…having fun…playing with those grandkids?”

What happened here? We scared the hell out of our friend and then we gave them a specific set of instructions to follow. That’s persuasive. However, in the case of the cigarette smoker they may have heard it 50,000 times in which case they are vaccinated against your proposal and they will not pay attention to your petition. Once a person has heard the same words or concepts over and over they become impotent. What to do?

And is it ethical? Now that’s an interesting question and books have been written about such things! I don’t know the answer to the question but I’m glad we brought it up… A good rule of thumb is to always act in the very best interests of everyone you communicate with.

The lesson here is simple. If you are going to use fear in a communication in order to foster change or alter behavior…or encourage someone to buy your product, idea or service, you must also include a step by step set of instructions in your message in order for it to be successful.

This formula…therefore is:

Negative Emotions + Behavioral Plan ==> Behavioral Change

How much or how little negative emotion, combined with how much or how little of a behavioral plan is of course for the Science of Influence CD to address…and it makes all the difference in the world. (Read that as success vs. failure!)

You’ll learn that on the CD… but what happens when TWO scary or anxiety producing experiences compete with each other for the person’s behavioral response?!?!

Academic researchers have been studying anticipated regret for the last few years and here is a scenario that was proposed to 164 UCLA students.

You’ve parked your car in the lot and you are rushing to class for an important quiz you don’t want to be late for. You realize on the way that you may have left your car unlocked!

1/2 the students were then told to imagine how they would feel if they go back to the car, find it was locked all along and now they have missed the quiz. 1/2 the students were then told to imagine how they would feel if they didn’t go back to the car, took the quiz only to come back to the car and discover it has been vandalized. How would they feel then?

All students were then asked whether they would go back to the car or go to take the quiz. Of those told to imagine the car vandalized, 69% said they would return to the car and check to see if the doors were locked. Those who were told they would miss the quiz? 34.5% said they’d go back and check on the car. The control group showed 46% returning to check the on the car.

Lesson: In general where the students experienced anticipated regret they said they would take the action appropriate to prevent the regret from happening.

We all know that what people say they will do and what they actually do in real life are very different things. Later research has in fact validated this fact. Where people experience anticipated regret, they tend to take action to prevent the regret. As people of influence that’s a mighty important thing to remember!

The Science of Influence is the place to begin. What makes the Science of Influence different from every other program about persuasion? This material is fresh, potent, tested, and has nearly all of what you will discover is new! There is no rehash of past salespeople or scholars.

Science of Influence Master’s Home Study Course (12 CDs)
with Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.

This program is the culmination of years of selling synthesized with the last five years of academic research into compliance gaining, persuasion and influence. You won’t find a program like this, designed for you, anywhere else.

Find Out More or to Order


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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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