Practical, persuasive tactics from a life as a poker player, consultant, and academic.

How do you connect with the people around you who have vastly different personalities, motivations and persuasive styles?

The Power of Influence. That was the topic of conversation at the Chamber’s recent Next Level Executive Experience, presented by Zach Hall, Ph.D.

Hall, founder and Director of Operations for the Sales and Customer Insights Center at TCU’s Neeley School of Business, introduced himself with a few intriguing facts:

  • He lived on his own from age 15.
  • He was a professional poker player.
  • He won over $125k – which paid for his undergraduate and master’s degrees.

Why was any of this relevant? Hall later revealed that in his time as a poker player, Hall learned a few key lessons that he would eventually apply to his personal and professional life, which he shared them with Chamber investors this month.

Winning as a Leader

  1. Know yourself and your team – Hall emphasized that 60% of behaviors can be linked to your communication “style,” and to keep in mind that people are persuaded by their communication styles – not yours. To learn your communication style, complete the assessment here.
  2. Control yourself – Be aware of what you do and/or how you communicate under stress.
  3. Know your “target”/context – Whether you’re trying to make a sale or win your boss over, know their communication style and speak in their language.
  4. Behave appropriately – Communicate in their language. Analytics appreciate the use of facts and data while expressives would prefer to see the big picture.
Communication Style Needs Preference For Improvement
Expressive Recognition Spontaneity Restrain
Analytical Accuracy Thinking Efficiency
Amiable Harmony Relationships Speak Up
Driver Results Actions Listen

It’s not possible to guess the communication style of every potential customer (or in-law) you come into contact with, so Hall honed in on the six principles of persuasion/influence. Consider these your universal tactics for persuasion.

Universal Tactics

  1. Reciprocity – If you receive, you are hardwired (obliged) to give back.
    1. For example, a study showed that a server’s tip increased 3% when they gave the customer a mint and 14% when they gave the customer two
  2. Authority – People follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts. Signal to others what makes you credible: your dress, your degrees/credentials, the use of data and specifics.
  3. Commitment/consistency – People want to stay consistent to what they have previously said or done. Hall gave an excellent example that every attendee could relate to: Walking into a store, an employee usually asks, “Can I help you find anything?” Once you respond ‘no, thank you,’ it’s almost impossible to backtrack and admit that you do, in fact, need help.
  4. Social proof/consensus – Look to others as signals. Conformity reduces risk in decision making; Think about online reviews and word of mouth marketing.
  5. Liking. People like to say yes to people they like. Offer compliments, but keep them genuine.
  6. Scarcity. People want what they cannot have. The idea of losing something mobilizes people into action. This is why advertisers will offer limited-time deals.

Hall recommends using these tactics in every relationship – professional and personal.  The Chamber’s Next Level Executive Experience is a Leadership Development series available to Fort Worth Chamber investors as a benefit to Corporate Investor level and above. The next session in this series will be hosted on February 7th, and we will hear from Calvin Dennis, Business Performance Advisor for Insperity.

For more information about taking advantage of this series, contact Beth Pulliam at