Solidarity Sunday: Using your Influence for Good in 2023
The new year always brings hope and optimism that this year we will use our super powers for good and make a difference in the coming 12 months. Sometimes new hope and change starts by revisiting the things we know that are proven to work.
As leaders, positively influencing your members, staff members, politicians, contractors, and prospective members in a positive way, in such a changing social media environment, can feel overwhelming. It's nice to know that while communication platforms change, the way we are influenced to make decision hasn't.
We can use this to our advantage…
Of the hundreds of books, workshops, and seminars I've read and attended, I still fall back on a book I studied in college called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini as the most actionable book on effective communication I've ever read. Any business manager, organizer, or business agent would benefit from reading it. It is as relevant today as it was the day it was printed in 1984. His rules work cross-culturally irrespective of age or gender.
Try a few of these tactics in the new year to wield influence with people in your election campaigns, union meetings, e-board meetings, negotiations, vendor and staff interactions and watch your effectiveness soar. Seems simple, but they work.
- Use "Because": Use the word "because" when asking for something from your people. It might seem trivial, but it greatly increases compliance. People respect a 'reason' regardless of if it is a good one. Ex. "Can we meet today at 1PM, because I need your opinion on something?"
- Reciprocation: Do an unsolicited favor for someone. It sets the hook in their mind that they "owe you one". We feel compelled to return favors and we feel the need to restore equilibrium in our relationships. We're born with an innate sense of "fairness" and we do not like feeling indebted. Think about an organizer canvassing a jobsite. Would it be more influential to hand out a flyer (which is all about our needs) or a bottle of water (which is all about their needs) with your logo and a QR code to your website with the message "We take care of you". Here's the kicker: The more personal and thoughtful the person perceives the gift or favor to be, the greater your influence.
- Social Proof: Use the validation of others to get your point across. We value what other people think to help us determine decisions. It's the reason why customer reviews are so hugely influential. It's why sitcoms use laugh tracks. It's the reason we use lots of member testimonials and influencers in our "Organize 24/7" campaigns. Using the endorsement of influential members of your local goes a long way in elections. While we like to think we use objective facts, we are more influenced by our perception of what people think than we like to admit.
- Authority: Use authority status and symbols to influence your meetings and presentations. Quotes and testimonials from people with high authority are powerful. People who have achieved a high status are perceived to have more knowledge and experience than the rest of us. It's why introducing a speaker is almost always preceded by their list of accomplishments and status symbols. It's why new authors have an authority figure write the forward to their books.
- Liking: Compliment people, be empathetic, use flattery, allow yourself to be vulnerable and relatable. It's pretty simple. We are more likely to be influenced by people we like. The more people like you, the more influence you have. There's a reason Peyton Manning and Shaquille O'Neal sell so many different products and services. People just like them.
These simple tactics will make your meetings, presentations, marketing, organizing efforts, and negotiations more influential in the new year! Hope you and your local members have a Happy and Influential New Year!
Speaking of Influence...
Highly influential rapper and community activist, Michael Render, aka "Killer Mike" stepped up to the mic again this year. He helped us recruit at-risk youth to get involved in the building trades as a way to break the cycle of brokenness in our inner cities. This video was finished just days ago for a campaign we will be using in 2023. Mike put his money where his mouth is and used his influence for good, leveraging his relationship with Tito's to donate $20,000 to Georgia YouthBuild program, a subsidiary of the Atlanta North Georgia building trades. Huge!