Saturday, June 18, 2011

6 Ways to Extend Influence instead of just Expressing Your Opinion

Dave Ramsey
"You can only push someone to the extent of your influence, not your opinion." ~~Dave Ramsey

My wife and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans.  It is because of his influence that we are debt free (except for our mortgage) and on-track to having a fully funded emergency fund in a few months.  I was listening to a podcast of his radio show about a week ago when I heard Dave say the above quote.  He makes a solid point (he’s really good at doing that), and it got me thinking, “How can we be better influencers?”

1) Be patient
Allow other ideas to play out.  Give someone else’s idea a chance and they will be open to trying yours.

For years, Dave was thought of as that nice, middle-aged rich guy with the old-school economic theories.  And then… the market went splat, the housing bubble burst, the banks went nuts, and people started listening to one of the few guys out there who had been talking sense all along.

2) Make it about them
Show them what’s in it for them if they do it your way.

Dave could easily have been just another CNN talking head, blabbering on about how his ideas work sooooo freaking well.  Instead, he chose to get up on stage and show, incontrovertibly, how living a debt free life, having a financial pad between yourself and life’s emergencies, living on less than you make, and investing wisely, could all lead you – yes, YOU (not just him, but YOU… get it?) – to the point of immense wealth and the freedom to live and give like no one else.

3) Lead by example
Be living proof that your idea works.

As Dave says, “If you want to be a millionaire, you do the things millionaires do.  Why would you start listening to money advice from your broke brother-in-law who has a theory?!?”  If Dave hadn’t proven that these steps worked by living them himself, who (other than the most intellectually stymied) would have ever followed him?

4) Present with conviction
You truly believe your idea will work.  This is the time for you to present with the authority of one who knows.

If you ever want to hear what conviction and passion sounds like, listen to a podcast of The Dave Ramsey Show.  In fact, listening to the speeches and teachings of great influencers should be on the to-do list of anyone who seeks to be a great servant-leader*.

*A “servant-leader” is a leader with the heart of a servant.

5) Offer some social proof
Give specific examples of how your idea (or a variation thereof) has worked under similar circumstances.

One of the reasons that Financial Peace University and My Total Money Makeover are so inspiring is this: Just when things start to get technical, you get to hear the testimonial of a family who paid off $125,000 of debt in just two years, funded their full 6-month emergency fund, paid off their home mortgage in the following 6 years, and built a wealth portfolio that will serve them well into their golden years.  Hearing about how your idea has already worked is powerful influence!

6) And then be patient some more
Once your idea is put into play, have the self-discipline to stay the course, even if it isn’t immediately and wildly successful.

Financial freedom does not come easy.  It requires sowing several years of sacrifice in order to reap the rewards of great riches.  If a routine is already in place and heading things down the wrong track, it will take time for your idea, once accepted, to turn things around.  Be calm, collected, and confident, so your followers can feel the same.

Have you been successful at turning your ideas into influence?  What steps did you take?  Will you add to the list above?


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