How to Cyber-Influence – Even When You Disagree

Guest Post by Bob Burg and John David Mann

Social media allows us great opportunities to connect with others. It creates the context for democratizing influence, giving voice to individuals on a mass basis.

It’s exciting just to consider the good that can be accomplished as various (and yes, opposing) political and other viewpoints can be communicated intelligently, respectfully, and persuasively, and without the filter of the usual authority figures. Imagine the potential for mutual understanding!

Unfortunately cyberspace these days is filled with vitriolic, insulting “exchanges” between people who in person may be kind and thoughtful, yet who online express opinions and defend views in ways that do nothing but repel.

While viciously and brutally attacking others may elicit a shot of dopamine that provides an instantaneous high, it doesn’t lead to lasting rewards. Assuming one’s personal values include kindness and respect, you just can’t feel sustainably good when that short-term high comes about viciously through attacking others.

Have You Seen This Person Anywhere?

We’ve noticed an interesting correlation in many attack-style tweets and posts: those with the strongest opinions and most insulting comments often seem to be the least informed regarding the issue they are discussing.

In a way, this makes sense. The more people allow their emotions to control their actions, the less room there is to involve logic and thoughtfulness.

Our guess is that those who have the most emotionally charged opinions likely obtain their information only from sources they already agree with.

While this is natural, that doesn’t make it productive — not for the tweeting-posting person, for the one with whom they are exchanging hurled invectives, or for society as a whole.

The Path of Influence

We offer two suggestions:

  1. We can always speak tactfully and respectfully to others without compromising our own values. In other words, yes, you can disagree and even attack an issue without personally attacking the other person. 

  2. Actually make a study of the issue from the opposing side’s point of view. This was one of Abraham Lincoln’s persuasion secrets, and today it’s easier to do than ever. Watch, read, and listen to the media outlets that have the opposing views to yours, watching not to scowl and 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.” Please don’t misinterpret this: we’re not suggesting you agree with them. We’re saying you’ll come away with a much better understanding—and communicate your own viewpoint much more effectively.

By all means, let’s continue to communicate, to have our opinions and express them. But let’s do it based on mutual respect. And that begins with us.

Bob Burg and John David Mann are coauthors of The Go-Giver Influencer.

Legendary business coach Marshall Goldsmith says,

—and in today’s polarized world, it could not be more timely.”

Download the first two chapters at The Go-Giver Influencer Ch 1 & 2.

I am excited about this next book in the Go-Giver series, The Go-Giver Influencer, and hope this small taste of what is to come has piqued your interest too. 

Until next time…

2 Simple Smartphone Hacks to enhance your productivity & your life

Who is in control of your time? You or your smartphone? Are you constantly reacting to a new alert from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Messenger or some other social media or phone app? If the answer to that questions is yes then your smartphone is controlling you. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

I’ve tested this & it will work if you persist

I often had these thoughts myself and then decided to do something about it that has helped me. Maybe this can help you too. About a year ago I saw a suggestion in one of the blogs I read or maybe I heard it in one of the podcasts I listen to. I can’t remember.

Be forewarned, the simple tips that follow have the potential to help you take more control of your time and your life instead of abdicating that responsibility to your smartphone. If you do choose to implement them your results will vary but I do believe they will all be positive.

iPhones…I don’t know

I am not part of the iPhone team. I am on Team Android so I don’t know much about iPhones. The principle applies to iPhones too. I just can’t tell you the specific steps to implement these changes there. I am sure, if you are interested, you can figure it out. I expect they are similar.

I will just check this one…

OK. If you are ready here it is.

These distractions are more detrimental than beneficial to your life and productivity. Often what happens to me is I think to myself, “I will just check this one notification and then get back to life”. What happens more often than not, is 30 minutes later I am still glued to my phone because I clicked this link then that link and so forth and so on. I think you know what I am talking about.

I did this myself at the beginning of last year and it has made a significant difference in how I spend my time and I am confident it can do the same for you.

I plan to share more on that in a future post. This simple action on your part will provide many benefits including being more productive at work, spending more time talking to your family and friends, building relationships and eliminating a lot of unneeded stress and drama in your life.

Here’s how

There are multiple ways to accomplish blocking notifications. You can go into each application and modify the notification settings there. However, I recommend starting with Settings on your phone and scroll down until you see Notifications.

Click on Notifications and you should see all of the applications that can potentially notify you and interrupt your day. If your phone is anything like mine, there will be a lot of apps listed. I have 211 so I probably need to pare down that number some too. Click on the app you want to block and then select “Block all” to stop notifications from that app. This will be similar but different for everyone. You know the apps constantly distracting you on your phone. For me, it was Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger & Amazon Kindle. You can adjust this as needed so if you miss one just go back and block it when you get the next notification.

Global Setting

Making the change here is a global setting that supersedes or overrides the individual app settings. In other words, your app notification settings within the app will not work if you have selected “Block all” from your phone Notification settings. If you want to use the notification options inside specific apps you will need to leave the app unblocked here. Then you can tweak or fine tune notifications within the apps themselves so you can get the important weather alerts or text messages that do really need to alert you.

Simple but effective

That’s it. Pretty simple, huh? You will be amazed at how quiet your phone will become. You will probably pick it up occasionally to check to see if there is something there you missed until you get accustomed to the quiet. It is really a freeing feeling. At least it was for me.

But wait, there’s more…

One more tip to help that I added, and need to add back again, is to use one of those apps on your phone called Clock or Timer. I added this to my home screen to make it readily available.

Use the stopwatch feature and set yourself a timer, 15, 20 or 30 minutes, whatever works for you.

When you do go to check the apps to avoid getting lost again and spending your time chasing links or likes, start your stopwatch. When the time expires be disciplined and stop, close the apps and get back to life. You will be surprised at first how fast this time goes but, with practice, you can learn to get in, check the things that are important to you, and then get back out and into life. You will also discover you did not really miss anything. But the best discovery will be the people and life you were missing with your attention focused on your smartphone.

Don’t do like I did and think, “I don’t need that stopwatch anymore. I can keep up with time myself.” If you do, you will find you are are slipping back into your old habits, those you were trying to change.

Reminder to self here!

This is just one of the many things I know I should be doing but am not consistently practicing. I still get sucked into that black social media hole that on my smartphone too often.

Other benefits

Additional benefits of implementing these changes on your smartphone include longer battery life and fewer distractions while driving, eating, reading or even cleaning out the garage.

Try it and let me know how it works for you

I challenge you to try this for a month and see how it works for you. I think you will be amazed at what you learn about yourself and your time and maybe even your friends, family and co-workers.

If you do try this I would love to know how it worked or did not work for you.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on February 25, 2018.