Help To Grow Talk: Communication Skills

5. How To Be More Convincing And Be Heard - A Talk With Chris Lipp (SpeakValue)

November 21, 2023 Help To Grow Talk Productions Episode 5
Help To Grow Talk: Communication Skills
5. How To Be More Convincing And Be Heard - A Talk With Chris Lipp (SpeakValue)
Help To Grow Talk: Communication Skills
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Listen and learn how to be more convincing and be heard in this talk with our guest, Chris Lipp, based on his book 'Magnetic: How Great Leaders Persuade and Inspire' co-authored with Antoine De Morree. He is also the author of the book The Startup Pitch: A Proven Formula to Win Funding. Chris is writing his third book on communication and empowerment, set to be published in 2024 and titled Radiate: The Science of Personal Power. In addition, Chris is a Principal Coach at SpeakValue. He is a world-renowned pitch coach working with entrepreneurs to promote their ideas, and has raised over $200 million in funding.

In this episode about how to be more convincing and be heard, we cover for you the following topics: Chris's inspiration to write the book 'Magnetic: How Great Leaders Persuade and Inspire; Become Magnetic, 3 sets of approaches - how you encounter resistance, create value, and connect/relate -; and sneak peek into the new book by Chris, Radiate: The Science of Personal Power.


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Welcome to the podcast, Help to Grow Talk, where we talk about growing your communication skills. How can you better communicate and change the way you live, work, interact with others and help make the world a better place?

Chris Lipp 00:12

"We are all responsible for our own lives. And I think a lot of times we wait or we try to wait for someone else to empower us. We try to wait for organizational change. We depend on our manager. We depend on our family. But in the end, really, when it comes down to having an effect on changing the world, on supporting the people we love, on being successful in our careers, we need to take that responsibility. And the way we do that is by recognizing our power to be persuasive, our power to be influential."

Desiree Timmermans 00:40

You just listened to our guest, Chris Lipp, author of three books on persuasion and power and principal coach at Speak Value. Chris is a world renowned pitch coach working with entrepreneurs to promote their ideas and has raised over 200 million in funding.

In this episode, we talk about how to be more convincing and be heard. It is based on Chris's book, Magnetic: How Great Leaders Persuade and Inspire.

My name is Desiree Timmermans, your podcast host. Let's go.

Chris, welcome to the podcast. The topic we will discuss is how to be more convincing and be heard. It is based on your book Magnetic: How Great Leaders Persuade and Inspire. So what inspired you to write this book?

Chris Lipp 01:24

I think a lot of us can really relate to the issue of being experts in what we do and people not taking us seriously or people not listening to our advice, particularly in the office. I think we get this at home a lot as well, but it's more frustrating when it's in the office because we put a lot of effort and energy into these great ideas and it's really disheartening when we can't get others to really understand the value of them.

I actually have a friend, her name is Angie. And many years ago we were walking around a lake together and she was congratulating me on a book i just written on startup pitching so helping startups raise a lot of money. But at the same time she was really frustrated because her boss had promised her a promotion but it had been six months and he had still not given it to her. And there are a lot of people who just like this, right? Either we can't convince people to get our ideas or we're not getting valued the way we should be valued. People, for example, are overlooking our promotions when we deserve them. And this was happening to her. And on one side, she was saying: well, Chris, it's great that you just wrote this book on how to raise startups. But then I realized it wasn't useful to her in her situation at work. And so that's really what inspired me to write Magnetic to help her and to help anyone be able to convince others of their ideas and to show their value, so they get recognition and promotion.

Desiree Timmermans 02:34

What a great story. And to ensure that we come magnetic, your book outlines three sets of approaches. It's how to encounter resistance, how to create value and how to connect or how to relate. So if we deep dive into these three approaches, what does it mean to encounter resistance and how do you do that? 

Chris Lipp 02:54

Everywhere you look in the world, there's a lot of conflict today: conflict between nations, conflict within nations. I mean, you probably know people who have completely different political opinions than you. This is not uncommon, and as a result of that, there's a lot of resistance. And I think one of the most frustrating things is that we can't get people to really understand our point of view. Part of that is really, it seems like people just aren't listening. Maybe you've experienced that. People just don't listen.

Desiree Timmermans 03:20

Well, I agree with you, Chris. So I want to learn more.

Chris Lipp: 03:23

What's funny is all of us have these conflicting opinions today on policies and, you know, this happens of course in the office all the time. And what is very fascinating is that persuasion actually doesn't work in these situations.

In fact, there was this really interesting study. They were trying to get students on a campus to agree to random drug tests. College students are going to do what college students do and they wanted to: hey, will you agree to random drug tests on campus? Well, you know, how do you think the students thought about that? They're like, no way! Screw that! So the psychologists at the university were like: well, this is a great opportunity for us to explore different ways to convince students.

And so they took three arguments. They just kind of had the baseline: do you agree or disagree? And they gave them kind of a mildly persuasive argument. And then they gave them a very persuasive argument as to why you should allow drug testing on campus. So these three, right: nothing, and then a little bit of persuasion to convince them to allow drug testing, and then a lot of persuasion.

And the results were very fascinating. Their found was: every group, no matter how persuasive the argument was, resisted the message. But what was even more fascinating was the more persuasive the argument was weighed, the more students actually resisted doing it. So it's literally like the harder you push with persuasion sometimes, if people are really against that position, the harder they push back.

The harder you try to convince somebody. For example, one of the issues here in the United States is gun control and Liberals are like: we definitely need to restrict guns or we have no more gun safety. And the conservatives are generally of the opposite opinion, right? Just kind of very stereotyping. The reason this is top of mind is I was just seeing this in the news an hour ago. The person on the air, he's giving arguments as to why there should be more gun safety. And he had a really, really powerful argument and what was really fascinating was as a result of this powerful argument, the commentator, who is conservative, struck back even more powerfully against it. So again, it's that idea that the harder we push, the harder people push back.

And so it's really important we understand how to overcome resistance. And the way to do that, just to give listeners an idea, is a really simple thing called alignment. So alignment basically means: when somebody shares a position that we disagree with, we consider it. And we actually maybe even go so far as to agree by saying we really understand that position, we understand the benefits that that person's saying.

And what's really fascinating is people, when we agree with them, it's like when people agree with you and your ideas, you like them more. You're like, yeah, absolutely, right. They listen to you, right? And so you want to listen to them. And that's what happens is, even when somebody has a polar opposite opinion to us, if we can really understand their perspective, and not patronize it by like: oh, I can see what you're saying, but... If you really say like: yeah, actually, I totally get what you're saying, that makes a lot of sense. If you can come to that state with your opponent's argument, and you validate them, like: yeah, I really understand the way you're saying that, and I can really see the benefit. Then once you do that, they'll reciprocate and they'll listen to you now to listen to the benefits of your position. So that's one way it's just called alignment. It's the first technique I outlined in my book, because it's truly the only way you're ever going to get through to somebody who has a completely different opinion than you.

Desiree Timmermans 06:22

Yes. So being interested in someone and really being open to hear the person that makes that you can relate to each other. And that you can have a better conversation, because then the other person can feel that you are really open and that you are willing to discuss the opinions. And then the second one you say: create value. What does it mean?

Chris Lipp 06:45

If I were to ask your audience, like: what do you think is the most persuasive word in the English language? Yes, think about it for a moment. Like what do you think is the most persuasive word in the English language? It means what word if you say it the most as you're speaking people are going to be most Influenced by what you have to say

Desiree Timmermans 7:03

I don't know.

Chris Lipp 07:04

People sometimes say like: please. I help startups raise money, right? I may help start up for his 1 to 10 million dollars in funding and so I always tell them does this sound persuasive: please give me a million dollars? Not at all. It doesn't sound at all persuasive. And so people think, well, what about: money? What about: yes? What about: no? What about: success? I'm like, well, no, this is universal, right? So you're sitting down at the dinner table with your partner and you're like: hey, will you do the dishes: I, yes, no, please, money. You know, and just, I mean, this is ridiculous

Desiree Timmermans 7:32

Doesn't make sense.

Chris Lipp 07:34

Doesn't make any sense.

What research has found is that the most persuasive word in English is the word: you. It's just a pronoun, right? It's just you. But what it really signifies is when we communicate to our audience, they don't really care about us. A lot of times when we communicate, we communicate what we think, our ideas, our beliefs, our opinions, why we want to do something. But your audience only cares about what's really in it for them and what they get. Your colleagues, particularly at work, they're not there to help you or to listen to your opinions. They care about their own opinions. And so when you understand this, you can really understand that effective communication focuses on the value to your audience.

So I always tell startups, I'm like: bad communication focuses on your ideas and your products. Good communication focuses on the value of your ideas and your products to your audience. And this is what you communicate.

In fact, research shows the most liked TED Talks online are those that correlate with the most use of the word 'you' in them. I mean, it's crazy if you think about it: just one word, and yet that word correlates with the most liked TED Talks. In organizations, hierarchies like military and large enterprises, people at the top of the hierarchy in the organization in the middle use the words 'you' and 'we' significantly more than the people at the bottom that really lean into that word 'I': I think we should do this. Here's what I think. Well, nobody really cares. So if you can really put it in context of value to why it would benefit them.

So we have these two parts, and I really think that you've emphasized two important parts, Desiree, as you've started with this idea of overcoming resistance. And we can't convince somebody if they have resistance. The book that I wrote Magnetic really focuses on that first. Okay, so you got somebody who's got a completely different opinion than you. They're resistant to your opinion. Well, you could normally just go in with value, right? Like what you say that 'you' and stuff. But they sometimes they're not gonna hear that because they know you're against what their position is So you go in with an alignment you say: you know I really get your position and there's a lot of benefits to what you're saying. You really validate them. That opens them up. And once they're open, now you can come in with the value of your ideas, which is: okay, well, you know, if we do it this way, look at all of the other things that will happen, look at the additional benefits you'll get as a result of this.

Desiree Timmermans :9:41

It sounds so simple, but it's not that simple. How can people practice this?

Chris Lipp 09:46

You look at what's similar between both of these approaches: like alignment and creating value is a focus on the audience.

I talk to a lot of people who have to do a lot of networking. You talk to the majority of people, perhaps you're thinking this yourself, but the majority of people don't like networking. It's like: why do I have to go network? I got to sell myself. It feels so inauthentic. It's so superficial. And the reason we feel that way is because we're so focused on ourselves. Of course it feels uncomfortable. We have to sell ourselves and all this. And that's exactly the wrong way to go about networking. And I heard this quote once, I love this quote: the most interesting person in a room is the most interested in others.

Desiree Timmermans 10:23

That's a nice quote.

Chris Lipp 10:25

You see, it's a totally different mindset than the: I'm going to go sell myself. So how does that look? Well, it means that when you go to a networking event, if you really want to be successful and you really want to make an impression on the important people in that room, you know what you do? You go in and you ask them questions about themselves and they will share with you information. They will talk and you're making them feel visible, which they like. And as a result of that, a couple of things happen. Number one is they'll be much more open to listening to you afterwards, because you just made them feel really good by hearing them out. After all, everybody's going to a networking event to talk about themselves, right? So if you can help them talk about themselves, they like you. But also, as you're talking about them, you really get to understand their position. And when you understand their position, then you can really tailor what you say to their interests and their needs. Very powerful when you're going with that.

I'll give you an example. I was a conference speaker up in Toronto many years ago and one of the keynote speaker, he was this billionaire. He's like, - crazy sitting next to him and talking about these- he's like: I'm thinking about buying a plane this weekend. That's a little bit out of my budget for, you know, what I'm going to just casually purchase over the weekend. But we were at dinner and there was a bunch of us from the conference and one guy who was sitting next to him was trying to just pitch himself like; hey, you know, this is my thought and my idea and all this company. And I could tell he was completely not interested. He was just sitting there eating his food. And just as this other guy tried to sell himself and it's like, of course, I mean, it's so boring. This person's very self- centric trying to push himself on this billionaire.

And then afterwards, when that guy finally settled down, I just started talking with him myself because we were sitting nearby. And, you know, I just was asking him about his life. Very fascinating. I don't know anything about what it's like to be a billionaire. And also he had just really fascinating ideas. He's giving motivational talks on business and these things, and I just picked his brain. And we had this amazing, engaging conversation for almost the rest of the evening, the two of us. And it really speaks to the fact of, you know: if you want to really build a relationship with somebody, get them talking about themselves and what they care about.

Desiree Timmermans 12:19

I absolutely agree with you. So actually, then we already also talked about the third approach, which you say is: relate. Is there something else that you need to do to even better connect

Chris Lipp 12:30

Well, there's really two ways to persuade somebody, to convince somebody or influence somebody. One way is to communicate value of what you do, right, to them. Why does what you do is a value to them? That's one way. But we all know that's not the only way because we know we just have people who we have influence over them. You know, we can get friends, for example, they're much easier to get a friend to do something than a total stranger. So there's a way to build value, not through our ideas, but simply through the relationship itself.

Steve Jobs. He was a notorious persuader in his time. One of the things that he was known for is when he needed you, people would say this of: when he needed you, he would make you feel like you were the most important person in the world and he was your best friend. And what that speaks to is Steve Jobs wasn't trying to convince other people that his ideas were great in those moments, he was just trying to make that person feel really great so that they would just want to help him out. This is the idea of listening or making people feel visible. You make them feel visible by when you listen to them or when you compliment them, when you show them gratitude or appreciation, or you ask advice. All of these things, these ways, are really focused on: okay, I'm going to show my attention and interest in this person. And as a result of that, it's just going to help develop a relationship with this person.

Desiree Timmermans 13:42

And I think that's even true when you talk with a person that you don't get anything out of it, but you learn from every conversation. So if not selling is on top of your mind, you actually can learn a lot.

Chris Lipp 13:55

A hundred percent: learning is an authentic thing. You can't say: oh, that's inauthentic that you're learning. No, it's not, it's authentic. And it builds that connection. What's fascinating, you know, I had a student of mine and she went to a job fair. And these recruiters, they see hundreds of people maybe, you know, at these fairs and most people who go to the fairs are like: I'm going to try to pitch myself to the job recruiter.

You know, I had another student, he was taking my course and he went and he pitched himself at this event to one of these recruiters. And the recruiter was like: that's awesome, your pitch is amazing, give me your resume. He got his resume. And then later on, the guy followed up with an email like: Hey, did you like my resume? And the recruiter is like: who are you again? I think this speaks really clearly to this idea of even when you do a masterful job of pitching, your recruiters see so many people that it's hard for them to remember who you are.

Okay, if you're networking, the goal is not for you to pitch yourself, because it's going to be difficult for these people to remember you. But I had another student and she went into a Tesla recruiter, this is many years ago, and she said: I just ask questions like: what are they looking for? And so the recruiter shared what they were looking for. And she's like: great. She just got the information. Next day, she sent a follow up email: hey, it was great to meet you; you said that Tesla's looking for these qualities in an ideal candidate; here are my qualities -and they, you know, they matched- and if you think this would be of interest, I've attached my resume and I would love to follow up. And she got the interview. So this speaks to the idea of rather than go to a networking event or go to a job fair and pitch yourself, go to those positions, learn about those people. And then later on, send an email, follow up and then highlighting something they might have mentioned and fitting you into that, what they said, creating value for them through what you do

Desiree Timmermans 15:37

Yes. So, listen to the person you have a conversation with and maybe that's the first thing that's important, having a conversation and not pitching yourself but relate, see what they need and then meet their needs.

Chris Lipp 15:51

And sometimes they're not even interested in hearing your needs or hearing how you meet their needs until you have a relationship with them. I was working with a client today in Asia and it's all, you know, they say it's a relationship. Make sure that you're a person we can trust and work with before you sell me.

Desiree Timmermans 16:08

That's really great advice and a great explanation, Chris. So we already talked about how we can apply this to interviews and presentations. So I'm going to ask you if listeners want to know more about becoming more convincing and being heard. What kind of resources would you recommend to them?

Chris Lipp 16:27

So this is the reason I wrote my book Magnetic: How Great Leaders Persuade and Inspire. I wanted to find a way that was very simple to put this message forward and give readers very specific techniques that they can use in any of their conversations or communication like email or presentations or hallway conversations. And I've been teaching this. I'm going to companies like Google and Mercedes Benz and sharing this information in workshops. But it's all in a book and it's very simple to apply. That was the purpose of that, so I recommend that.

Communication is mindset. And a lot of times, the mindset around communication is: I'm going to communicate clearly. Well, I'll tell you what communicating clearly is not the highest priority of communication. I deal with investor pitching, right? My whole goal is to get startups to help them raise millions of dollars in funding. And one of the reasons we are able to achieve success is to recognize that in these high-stakes situations where you're pitching an idea, for example, if you focus on clarity, people will completely get your idea but they won't care, but if you focus on value and you show why the idea is so amazing to the person into the world, they'll be like: I don't completely get it, but it sounds amazing. Let's continue this conversation so I can really get a grasp of what's going on. And that's why clarity is not as important as value. Value will hold their interest and give you opportunity to be more clear. Clarity, it just does nothing, right? And they're not going to show more interest to understand why it's important.

Desiree Timmermans 17:57

So what people remember is the experience they have when they are talking with you.

Chris Lipp 18:02

That's one way to call it. And I think when you really speak to people's values and their interests, they will be emotionally invested in what you're sharing.

Desiree Timmermans 18:10

I absolutely agree with you. And now that you have explained the book, I think it's easier for the listeners also to start practicing it because you already gave some great examples. But I also understood that you're working on a new book. So can you give us a kind of a sneak peek what it is about and what we can expect to learn from it?

Chris Lipp 18:31

One of the challenges, I think, we face today is we enter conversations or we enter situations where we feel disempowered. Fundamentally, that happens because we might not have the same status in our organization or the same right title. There might be some discrimination, exclusion going on. So there's always this power dynamic in the background, of any conversation happening. And I noticed this particularly in investment pitches where I would coach startups to help them raise money. And sometimes even though they were doing everything right, it still didn't come out right. There was just this feeling in the room that, you know, the investors weren't taking them seriously, that they were being small while the investor felt really big and powerful. And so this lopsided feeling dynamic was affecting things. I was like: what is this? And what it was, was the power dynamic. And so I was curious: well, where does this come from? It's obviously not just the fact that the investors got money because some invest, other times it's the reverse. So it's not about money or the product. It's about something else.

Why do people like Nelson Mandela, almost overnight, he left prison to become the president of the country. What is it about these people? And what it is, is just their personal power. And so I've been working the last five years and really looking at the science behind personal power and how can we empower ourselves? How can we tap into that personal power? So we also radiate that aura that ensures people are drawn to us and they hear us out.

Desiree Timmermans 19:55

So the title of your new book is also Radiate.

Chris Lipp 19:58

Yes, the science of personal power.

Desiree Timmermans 20:00

Radiate: The Science of Personal Power. Wonderful.

We are already coming to the end of the podcast, but is there anything you want to share with the listeners that I didn't ask you yet? 

Chris Lipp 20:11

We are all responsible for our own lives. And I think a lot of times we wait or we try to wait for someone else to empower us. We try to wait for organizational change. We depend on our manager. We depend on our family. But in the end, really, when it comes down to having an effect on changing the world, on supporting the people we love, on being successful in our careers, we need to take that responsibility. And the way we do that is by recognizing our power to be persuasive, our power to be influential. And we do this through our words. When you really take in that mindset of focusing on your audience, focusing on using this word 'you' where we can, and creating value for others, we will naturally see that people are responding to us in return.

Desiree Timmermans 20:53

So in the end, it's all about: how do you use the words, are you interested in somebody else, what are you getting back from someone else, do you understand what they are saying, and how can you relate, connect deeper and then follow up with that person?

Chris Lipp 21:09

Yeah, what you do is amazing. And if you can explain why what you do is amazing to the people who you need support from and why it's amazing to them, they'll be on board because they're doing it.

President Eisenhower, he had this great quote. He said: great leadership is about getting others to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.

Desiree Timmermans 21:32

Yes. I understand because then you have persuade them, then they feel heard, and then they have internalized that they really would like to do it what somebody else is asking.

Chris, thanks for connecting. It was really great to talk with you. I hope we can do a follow up about your new book. And maybe if the listeners have some questions, we can also come back to you and ask these.

Chris Lipp 21:57

Absolutely. It would be a pleasure.

Desiree Timmermans 21:59

Thank you very much, Chris.

Chris Lipp 22:01

Thank you.


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Tune in next time!

Chris's inspiration to write the book 'Magnetic: How Great Leaders Persuade and Inspire
Become Magnetic, 3 sets of approaches: how you encounter resistance, how you create value, and how you connect and relate
A sneak peek into the new book by Chris, Radiate: The Science of Personal Power.