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When you speak, do people tend to nod their heads and agree? Being persuasive is a valuable skill whether you’re a project leader, company spokesperson or small business owner.
Listen to this 30-minute talk by Sara Canuso, president of Women That Influence, to learn how to communicate clearly and effectively and inspire the kind of confidence that gets people to buy in, come on board or just say “yes!” This teleclass, originally aired on November 18th, is brought to you by Beneficial Bank.
Click the play button below to listen.
Sara Canuso is president of Women That Influence. Canuso is a certified seminar leader and inspiring dynamic keynote speaker, sharing practical tools that inspire confidence and give people clarity and power to achieve their fullest potential. The creator of the life-changing program Influence to Income: 90-Day Influence Mastery Program, Canuso shows participants how to use the power of influence to create income and opportunities. An innovator and expert in the importance of image in the courtroom and the business arena, Canuso has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NBC, CBS and KYW radio. She also has written for corporate America and in the Legal Intelligencer, Philadelphia Business Journal and Westlaw Journal, the Philadelphia Maven, Legal Intelligencer and the Burlington County Straight Work.
Conferences for Women
“Boost Your Powers of Persuasion”
Guest: Sara Canuso
Interviewer: Karen Breslau
Karen: Welcome to the Conference for Women teleclass Boost Your Powers of Persuasion. Our guest today is Sara Canuso, president of Women That Influence. With women leaders in mind this teleclass offers a greater understanding of the communication styles between men and women. Attendees will learn how to enhance their leadership presence, to communicate effectively, and to increase their persuasiveness in the work environment. Sara is a certified seminar leader, she shares practical tools that inspires confidence and give people clarity and power to achieve their fullest potential. Sara’s talks produce immediate lasting results. The creator of the Influenced Income, 90 Day Influence Mastery Program, Sara shows participants how to use the power of influence to create income and opportunities. In this intensive one on one coaching system executives, lawyers, entrepreneurs and other high-powered professionals learn how to dramatically increase their income, business results and career satisfaction through the power of influence.
Many factors go into becoming a person of influence and the Influenced Income Program addresses your mindset, branding and image, brain making and networking. We’ll be sharing highlights from today’s call on Twitter. You can follow along and join the conversation @ Pennwomen, @ Texaswomen and @ Masswomen. Sara Canuso, welcome to the Top Conference for Women teleclass.
Sara: Oh, thank you so much, Karen. And I’m just so excited to be here with everyone today, because it’s always, always so exciting to me to discuss the power of influence. And, you know at the end of the day, influence truly affects all areas of our lives, whether it’s personal, whether it’s with the children, people we meet, just in networking events, in the business arena. I mean to truly be able to influence someone, to know, like and trust you, before you even say a word is really giving you the edge of really elevating, and empowering and impacting your life, both personally and professionally. Because we know that at the end of the day, one is truly always in alignment with the other. And you know, Karen, I’ve been blessed, I’ve been so blessed to speak to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of women, over the course of my years in business. And one of the things that I always find, is such a common thread, is that women are always trying to, you know manage, I’m not going to say balance, but manage both their lives, personally and at the office.
So what we’re going to do is, we’re going to cover some steps on really what it takes to influence someone. And you know first impressions, we are all hardwired to read first impressions, but I always begin with the question, when I’m speaking or meeting with people, is “What is the first impression you have of yourself?” Because how you see yourself is how the world will see you. And I always, always find, hands-down, that one’s’ inner worth and one’s inner image will always be in alignment with the life, and the influence and the people that they connect with in the outer world, so it’s always in alignment. So I’m always asked, in so many situations, “Well you have the opportunity to meet with so many women, what is it that you find is the most common thread shared amongst so many women who are feeling stuck, who are feeling unhappy, maybe not reaching their fullest potential?” And it is always hands-down, the common thread is typically that they’re living a story or a belief that they inherited, that is not there’s. So you know for example, so many people will say, “Well, you know I allow these beliefs or these thoughts that I held in my head and they’ve been with me from when I’m a child, they’ve been with me from when I had a situation that occurred when I was 18.” So, you know I’m always, always sharing with people that we allow so many beliefs and stories to just reside in our mindset and live their rent-free.
And until you really question and evaluate, “Are they your truths, are they your stories or are they something…stories or beliefs that belong to someone else?” Because we talk about the power of influence, but really it’s so necessary, it’s critical to be really clear on how are you influencing yourself, is it the truth or is it something that’s inherited? Because I will tell you for sure, that when we hide behind the shadows of fear, self doubt, lack of confidence, shame, there is absolutely no way that the world is going to be able to shine its light on you. Or that you’re going to be able to shine your brilliance on those that you meet. So I’m always asked, well, you know first impressions; non-verbal communications, and we know that up to 90 percent of communication, non-verbal communication…up to 90 percent of our impressions can be non-verbal. So we walk into a room and before we even say a word, within seven seconds, someone is being very heavily influenced as to how smart you are, how credible you are, how trustworthy you are, and that’s before we even speak a word. And that, to me, is a lot to give away.
And people say, “Well, you know first impressions, you know that’s not fair,” but be it fair or not fair, we’re all guilty of first impressions. You know we meet people and we say, “Oh, what were they thinking?” Or when there…put that outfit on, so first impressions are really; they’re really truths, they’re truths in the sense that people are looking at you and judging you. So what is it that creates that first impression? It’s the way you walk into a room. It’s the way you carry yourself, your posture. Your posture is the most immediate way to give yourself a look of confidence whether you have it or you don’t, your shoulders back walking in there. But again, I’m going to go back to really having that inner, having that inner first strong belief in yourself that you are here for a reason, for a purpose, your personal brand. People always say to me, “Well, I don’t know if I have a brand,” and I will tell you that, “Yes, everyone has a brand.” Question is, what is your brand saying about you? So when I say “personal brand,” I’m talking about the clothing that you wear, how your known. I’ll give you an example; Michelle Obama, we know that when we see Michelle Obama, she loves to wear sleeveless dresses, she loves to wear cardigans, little cardigans, she’s a pearl-wearer, and she also wears belts.
So we know that when we see Michelle Obama, she typically has a certain look. Hillary Clinton, now we know when we see Hillary Clinton, she’s always, 99 percent of the time, in a pantsuit. The reason she is in a pantsuit is because, number one, she is always criticized; and news media is always, you know attacking her for her legs and how she has big calves, or she, you know she just has a heavier leg. So she wears a pantsuit to, number one, cover her legs, and also she wears a pantsuit because she is working in an arena with mostly, a high percentage, of men. So she has that brand. So I always say to people, they say, “How can I find out what my brand is?” One size does not fit all. So really think about your style, what you feel comfortable in, what looks best on you, because some people may feel more comfortable in pants, in skirts. It’s all a question of what is it that you want to project? What is it that you want others’ to see when you are walking into a room? But I will tell you that what your brand does for you; it tells others’ who you are. It helps them understand what you stand for, it communicates your reputation, and it tells others’ that they can trust you. So you know it can…it projects a consistent look for you, a consistent brand.
The other thing it does is, your brand, projects confidence, likeability, respect, that’s what your brand does for you, honesty, trust. So ones’ personal brand should really not be taken lightly. So I always suggest going through your closet, it’s a closet, not a museum, sometimes we think our closets…we have like museum pieces in there. Going through your closet and really evaluating what’s in there, what you need to get rid of, and once and for all, what it is that you want to project, the image that you want to project. Your body language, it is a language that’s why they call it “body language,” the impact of communicating with your body language, walking into a room, having that posture. Your handshake, Karen, I can tell you that I can walk into a room and shake someone’s hand and I could pretty much tell if they are hmm, pretty much of the mindset where they’re going to control the meeting, or if I could sell them the Brooklyn Bridge. I could tell how goal-oriented they are, I could tell how confident they are, that is all by a handshake.
So your handshake, and I want the listeners to think of this, you want the world in the palm of your hands. People need to realize how important their hands can be in communicating with others’, by the touch, by shaking someone’s hand. When speaking with someone, how you position your hands to pull people in to your way of thinking, to pull people in to seeing things your way. The power of a handshake. You know we’ve all shaken a hand that seems as though they were, you know at the fish store the night before, that dead fish handshake. Every time I mention that, everybody…you can hear in the audience, everybody goes ewe, because you just don’t want to be around that person. So I cannot emphasize enough that you really need to…and you can experiment by shaking other people’s hands, or asking your coworkers or your friends, “How does my handshake feel?” That handshake will set the tone for connecting with people, and for really projecting what you’re all about. So a handshake is really, really critical in your connecting with people.
And people always say to me, “Oh, Sara you know so many people,” I take the time to introduce myself to everyone I meet. There is nothing like connecting with someone, saying, you know, “How are you? So great to meet you.” Another tip I would love to share is the fact that, always think of building your future, building your career, as you would a garden. So if you’re expecting to have a beautiful garden, you always need to be planting seeds. So when I meet people, I will start to plant a seed, “So great to meet you,” when I leave there, “So nice to meet you, thank you for taking the time, and I look forward to hearing from you.” Always be planting seeds, because that’s what happens when you connect with people. You know we talk about verbal, non-verbal, but influencing people, these are all pieces of how do you influence people. You know, how do you compliment them? Do you say something to them that really touches their heart? Do you say something to them that they say, “Wow, you know I really, you know I really am so appreciative of…that she took the time to connect with me, to share some thoughts with me, to say something nice to me.” So you always have to be thinking about the little things that make such a huge difference.
Your facial expressions, the way you look at people, you know the way your eyes are connecting with people, you know wars have been started over, you know the evil eyes. And wars have been started over evil looks. But do you have that compassionate facial look? The eyes in connecting with people, in really getting them to look into, you know they always say the eyes are the windows to the souls. And you know like I say, I meet with so many…I’m so blessed to meet with so many people over the years, and I always hear so many times that, “Well, you know I did not…I felt funny to ask, I felt funny to share, I felt funny to comment.” But here’s my thought and this changed everything for me, when I realized that it was my life, I had the right and the responsibility to live my purpose, my dreams, set my goals, everything changed. Because I took responsibility for who I was and where I was going. And I can tell everyone that, not to worry, if you do not take responsibility of who you are and where you are going, there are a lot of people around who will be very happy to tell you who you are, and what they feel you are capable of doing and where you should be.
And unfortunately in so many cases, it’s typically in the wrong place, right. It’s a place where you do not belong. So you know that inner image, that influence, it really truly has to begin within yourself, because once that happens, you see that there’s so many opportunities that are out there waiting for you. The problem is that so many people do not feel that they’re meant for them. I, myself, when I realized that hey, there’s so much out there waiting for me, they belong to me, why not. So people say, “Well how did you get to do this?” I picked up the phone and I asked. You will always, always, always be in alignment with whatever level your mindset is at. So what happens is, if you are of the lower mindset and thinking too small, you’re missing all of the opportunities that are above, that are waiting there for you, you’re not able to see them. When I changed the first impression I had of myself, everything changed. I was able to see clearer, I was able to think bigger, I was able to have a bigger vision and I was able to start connecting and influencing anyone I met. So there are a lot of different ways, as I said, with the personal branding, your clothes, your body language, and it is a language, do not take it lightly.
Not only reading other people’s body language, but what is your body saying about you? What is your body language saying about you? So I would highly suggest that you pick up and, you know it comes back so easily, body language. It’s just that once we start to speak, we put the body language behind us. So I would highly recommend that you start to pick up on some learning, some body language, it’s very easy, it’s fun. And would it not give you the edge of, if you could pretty much read and evaluate what a person’s thinking, so that you could really change the course or change the course of the conversation? So body language is critical. Karen, would you like to open it up to some questions?
Karen: Sure, Sara. Thank you. That was all fascinating. I want to ask you, first of all, what is the thing, you’ve spoken to hundreds if not thousands of women…
Sara: Thousands, yeah thousands.
Karen: What is it that women struggle with most in their…in understanding their own power of influence? What do they struggle with most?
Sara: I will tell you what I find, and like you say, I have the opportunity to meet with thousands of women. The number one thing that women struggle with is they do not fuel themselves first. When I say fuel themselves, so here’s what happens; and I’m sure a lot of listeners will relate to this, get up in the morning, and we have to worry about taking care of getting the kids off to school, taking care of the parents, significant others’, the partners, the in-laws, the outlaws, then we’re going into the office. We’re doing…putting in an eight-hour workday, sometimes, in a lot of cases, more. We come home, we have to, you know feed everyone, get dinner prepared, do laundry, we will even feed the dog and the cat and water the plants, before we take care of ourself. And then guess what happens? You sit down on the couch or in a chair, and there’s nothing left for you, it’s like you’re running on empty. And guess what, Karen? You have to get up tomorrow and do it all again. So what I suggest to people is, and people say, “Well is that kind of…don’t you think that’s kind of selfish?” I want you to consider it self-love. We board a plane and the stewardess says, “In the event of an emergency you place the oxygen mask on yourself first, you will then be able to help others’.”
You know we’re talking about influence, but at the end of the day, unless you really have the fuel, the energy yourself, to say, “This is who I am, I’m you know, I’m heading in the direction, I was hoping to be in, I’m on the right path,” then you become unstoppable when it comes to influencing people in your life and those you meet. I mean, Karen, I can tell you whether it’s business, pleasure, you know I just, I pull out…I just become like unstoppable at what my mindset, that I am able to…how I am able to influence others’.
Karen: Got it. Now here’s a question, that goes to your point about women living a story that they’d inherited, that’s not there’s’. How do we get rid of, I think everybody can relate to those kind of stories, or those images, maybe from childhood or from our early years and now we’re in a different point in your professional lives. How do we get rid of the stories that don’t belong to us anymore?
Sara: So what always say is, it’s pretty much like a ticking bomb. So if someone says there’s a bomb in the building, you go in, you locate the bomb, and then you defuse it, once you defuse it, it has no more power over you. And I will say, hands-down, I deal with this all the time, Karen, and I will say that hands-down, it’s always people truly know or have a good idea of what there…what it is, what that ticking bomb is in their head. And then you acknowledge it. Okay, so I had a women who she said that every time she, as a child, every time she heard…was excited about something she accomplished, she went to her father and he said, “How could you be so stupid?” She’s now 42 years old, stuck in her career, because what do you think she’s hearing every time she wants to go for a promotion, every time she has an idea? She hears that voice, “How could you be so stupid?” So my question is, number one, “Are you a child?” “No, I’m no longer a child,” “Is it true?” “No, it’s not true.” And I go through some exercises with people with, you know finding out their truths. But, you know three weeks later, she emailed me, she had gotten a promotion, she defused the voice, she defused the belief.
Karen: So a lot of it’s about those inner voices of judgment…
Sara: Oh, it’s, you know what Karen, it’s all about the inner voices, it’s all about the inner voices when it comes to being stuck, fear, self-doubt, it’s all about the inner voices, mm-hmm.
Sara: That we’re allowed to live rent free, yeah we’re allow…
Karen: Well, here’s another question about the first impression. You talked about all the things that somebody can take in about you within seven seconds. Let’s just say, for some reason, it’s not your best day and those seven seconds don’t go well, how do you change what happens, what the information that gets taken up by other people in those first seven seconds? What can you…
Sara: All right, so everyone says that, can you change it? And yes you can absolutely change it. But here’s what happens, it takes you so much work it really does, Karen. It takes you…you know so I would suggest if you’ve gotten…if you’ve set off a bad impression, it’s always going back. So I would come back to you and say, “Karen, I just wanted to thank you for meeting with me,” you know and in so many cases, Karen, I’m very honest, I find that being authentic and being honest. You know I would say to you, “You know I had some thoughts I wanted to share with you, but it wasn’t…I wasn’t at my best,” and you know…but what happens, Karen, to be honest with you, when you’re in control of your…when you realize that you know you do have control over setting your best foot forward, creating that amazing first impression, the chances of your doing that become less and less.
Karen: Okay, so…
Sara: And, yes you can change that, you can change a bad first impression, but I will tell you, it’s not easy to do and it’s going to take you a little bit of time and then what you have to do, Karen, is build that relationship or build that impression back up.
Karen: Okay. So how can you prepare yourself that those seven seconds are as effective and successful as possible?
Sara: So what you would do is, number one, make sure that your brand, make sure that your brand, your clothing, all right. So your clothing, you have a brand, you’re going in polished, professional image and of course one size does not fit all. So I would not have an attorney dress the same way I would have a web designer or someone in another profession. So what is it that you’re trying to project? So have that polished professional image. Number two, your body language, I cannot tell you how important that is. So when you walk into that room, with your shoulders back, and you’re walking in and that handshake, connecting with people and really… You know, using your body language to connect and seal that deal, before you even say a word. Someone is being really influenced, whether or not they want to do business with you, whether or not they like you or trust you. So your body language and then again, planting the seeds. “Karen, it’s so great to meet you, thank you for taking the time for me to come in here today.” And then when I leave, always, always when you leave, shake the person’s hand again, “Thank you again, it was so great to meet with you, I look forward to hearing from you.”
So I’m already planting that seed in your head that I am looking forward, I want to hear from you.
Karen: Wonderful. Well Sara, there’s so much more we could talk about, it’s…
Sara: Oh, I would love to do, I’d love to do a whole segment on the mindset, because….
Karen: The mindset, yeah I think it’s something a lot of people wrestle with. But you’ve given us some great advice, as we go into the Women’s Conferences, thank you so much Sara Canuso, and we’ll see you at the conference; Massachusetts on December 4th.
Sara: Okay. Thank you, Karen.