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PODCAST: How to ethically influence others to achieve success

Written on Dec 16, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

Influencing others should be practiced just like any other ability, said one expert trained in the science of that skill. 

“People when they hear the word ‘influence’ might recoil a little bit; they might have some negative connotations,” said Brian Ahearn, a speaker, author, coach and consultant. “But we can do this in an upright, ethical way.” 

Ahearn is a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® who specializes in applying the science of influence in everyday situations. He joined The State of Business podcast this week to discuss his new book called, “The Influencer,” about how to become a better salesperson, coach and leader, and how influence works in business and personal relationships. 

Ahearn said anytime you make a request of someone, you’re hoping to influence their behavior. While it’s understandable the idea of influencing others might come off as self-serving, influence is happening whether someone realizes it or not. 

Learning more about influence is particularly beneficial for those in leadership positions or who want to grow their leadership skills, Ahearn said. And building relationships is key part of leadership, but more than that is required to establish influence. 

“People want to know and like the people that they're following,” he said. “Leaders need to build those relationships. But just because somebody likes you doesn't mean that they're going to have confidence that you know what to do.” 

While influence might not be at the top of a professional’s list of priorities, Ahearn said mastering it will have long-term benefits for a career. 

“People might think ‘Oh, I get that.’ Because maybe you do,” said Ahearn. “And now you're starting to realize why people respond positively to you. Or maybe you realize in a sale, why you said yes to the salesperson. So now you're more aware of that principle. But the rubber meets the road with thoughtfully, strategically and ethically, putting it into practice.” 

Listen to the episode here. 

And for more learning on business development, check out our Business Development & Digital Growth On-Demand program that’s a part of OSCPA’s complimentary member curriculum.