Bob Burg

How to Cyber-Influence – Even When You Disagree (by Bob Burg and John David Mann)

Today’s blog is written by an expert on networking and a good friend of mine, Bob Burg. Bob and his co-author, John David Mann are good friends of BNI.

Social media is a fantastic invention that connects and gives a voice to millions of individuals in ways never before possible. It’s exciting just to consider the good that can be accomplished as a range of varying viewpoints communicate and interact without the filter of the usual centralized filters. Imagine the potential for new mutual understanding!

Unfortunately, cyberspace these days is rife with “dialog” that consists mainly of hurled insults between people who may be kind and thoughtful in person, yet who express their opinions online in ways that do nothing but sharpen our differences and divide us further.

Ignorance on Fire

We’ve noticed an interesting correlation in many such attack-style tweets and posts. Those with the strongest opinions and most insulting comments often seem the least informed regarding the issue at hand.

In a way, this makes sense. The more people allow their emotions to control their actions, the less room there is for logic and thoughtfulness. Our guess is that those with the most emotionally charged opinions obtain their information mainly from sources they already agree with: their tribal echo chamber.

While this is natural, that doesn’t make it productive — not for the commenter, the one with whom they’re trading insults, or society at large. Sure, it allows us to feel the righteous indignation of our own convictions, but it generates no new understanding in the process. And it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’ve been acting thuggish.

There’s a saying in sales, “ignorance on fire beats knowledge on ice.” Maybe so — but ignorance on fire can also be incredibly destructive, especially when it comes to online debate.

It’s All in the Frame

One of the most powerful secrets to effective dialogue is one that so many people today seem to overlook completely: the power of the frame.

“The frame,” as the Judge Henshaw character explains in our book The Go-Giver Influencer, “is more important than the content, because the frame is the context. Whoever sets the frame of the conversation also sets the tone and the direction in which it will go.”

We all set frames constantly, often without realizing it. A smile and an open handshake, versus a scowl and a stern “Now, see here…,” and things have gotten off to a very different start. When your girlfriend or boyfriend texts you and says, “We need to talk…,” the conversation itself hasn’t even started yet, but a frame has been set!

A dog might greet a newcomer by showing his teeth, or his belly. The first sets a frame that says, “I am top dog here, watch it!” while the second says, “I’m a friend, you’ll find no fight here.” We humans do exactly the same thing, only with words, starting a Facebook comment with an antagonistic taunt (“As any idiot knows” or “If you’d just paid attention to what I actually said”), or with a statement of our own vulnerability (“I probably didn’t say that as well as I could have” or “Just to backtrack, it seems like we both agree on X, but where we differ is Y, do I have that right?”)

There are two critical things to know about frames: there is always a frame being set, and no matter what the frame is, it can nearly always be reset. By setting (or resetting) the frame, you set the tone and direction. And here’s the irony: when you set a positive, collaborative frame, while it may appear that you’re showing your soft underbelly, this actually puts you in a position of greater influence.

The Path of Influence

The key here is that tact is not the same thing as compromise. We can always speak tactfully and respectfully to others without compromising our own values. You can disagree without personally attacking the other person. Pay attention to the frame you’re setting, as distinct from the point you want to make.

And before you express your opinion, take the time to learn more about the issue. Even better, study the issue from the opposing side’s point of view. Tune to media outlets with opposing views to yours, not to point out their flaws but to genuinely understand their point of view. As the saying goes, “You don’t truly understand an issue until you can argue both sides.”

We’re not suggesting you’ll necessarily agree with the other viewpoint. We’re saying you’ll come away with a much better understanding — and communicate your own viewpoint far more effectively.

The Go-Giver Influencer

Bob Burg and John David Mann are coauthors of The Go-Giver Influencer. Legendary business coach Marshall Goldsmith says, “This may be the most important Go-Giver book yet—and in today’s polarized world, it could not be more timely.” Download the first two chapters at www.thegogiver.com/tggi.

A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

Throughout my years in networking, I have worked and connected with countless amazing businesspeople. I have seen successful business campaigns, and I have seen drives that could have used a little more planning. After seeing all ends of the spectrum, it is gratifying when a close friend takes a leap and succeeds.

Go-Giver-Print-flatBob Burg, whom I have known for more years than I could count, recently re-released his wildly successful The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. Co-authored between Bob and John Mann, The Go-Giver focuses on the story of Joe, a young businessperson, who is trying to make his way in his field and searching for success. Despite being ambitious and working hard, Joe isn’t getting the results he wants. While working with The Chairman, his mentor, Joe beings meeting Go-Givers, whom are friends of The Chairman. Here, he learns the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success: The Law of Value; The Law of Compensation; The Law of Influence; The Law of Authenticity; and The Law of Receptivity.

After selling over 500,000 copies, Bob went back and expanded on his powerful novel and released the new edition earlier this month. The Go-Giver closely aligns with many of the core philosophies that I have encouraged over the decades, and Bob himself is the embodiment of ‘Givers Gain®.’ After reading both versions, I can say that the expansion truly adds another dimension to the work, with a new introduction, foreword, author Q&A, and discussion topics, so even if you have already read the original release, take some time to pick up a copy of the 2015 re-print. Click here to get your copy.

Have you read The Go-Giver? How do you use the principles expressed in the book everyday for your business?

Bob Burg’s 10 Networking Questions That Work Every Time

My good friend, networking expert Bob Burg, has 10 questions he personally uses when networking that he believes every networker should memorize.

Bob explains that these questions are not designed to be probing or sales-oriented in any way; they are all friendly, fun to answer, and will tell you something about the way the person answering them thinks.  You’ll never need or have the time to ask all 10 questions during any one conversation but, still, you should internalize them.  Know them well enough that you are able to ask the ones you deem appropriate for the particular conversation and time frame.

Here are the 10 questions:

1.  How did you get started in the (______) business?

2.  What do you enjoy most about your profession?

3.  What separates you and your company from the competition?

4.  What advice would you give someone just starting out in the (______) business?

5.  What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

6.  What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

7.  What do you see as the coming trends in the (______) business?

8.  Describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business?

9.  What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?

10.  What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?

Like Bob says, you’re not going to get to ask more than a few of these questions during an initial conversation,  so don’t worry about sounding like you’re conducting an interrogation. These are feel-good questions people enjoy answering, and they are meant to establish an initial rapport.  So next time you’re at a networking event, try using a few of these questions and then come back and leave a comment about how using them worked out for you; I’m more than willing to bet you’ll be pleased with the results.

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