The Friendship / Influence Equation

The idea that facts and logic are not very powerful influencers has long been suspected. But not until the advent of live brain imaging has there been such strong evidence to support this theory.

With real-time imaging technology, we are learning more than ever knew about how the brain really processes information. We know more than we ever have before about what really influences others’ decisions and actions.

“Your brain is not a logic machine,” reports top neurologist,Dr. Richard Restak, author of the book and PBS series The Secret Life of the Brain. “Emotions and feelings about something occur before you’ve made any attempt at conscious evaluation.”

The Friendship Trigger

Of the seven primary emotional triggers, the Friendship Trigger is both critical on its own and as a prerequisite for activating the other triggers.

Since birth, the emotional part of our brain has stored data for the friendship trigger. Infants bond with whomever cares for them. Bonding creates trust and liking. We are emotionally hard wired to respond quickly and favorably to those we like, trust and are similar to us.

The secret to successfully activating the other person’s friendship decision trigger is, well, to be a friend. How do we do that? We must share common interests, common feelings and common bonds. When we share common interests, we become friends, we activate the trigger. The great news is that activating the friendship trigger is easy – very easy.

Does the friendship trigger work?

Bill, a sales rep, needed a critical operation and wanted the world’s best surgeon. Problem: The surgeon took few new patients and would only operate on perfect candidates. Bill didn’t fit his mold. The doctor was a real curmudgeon, and as Chairman of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at one of the worlds top hospitals, a very busy guy. Bill was told to be brief, quick and deal only with the data and facts – no small talk.

Bill violated all he was told. Entering the office Bill asked, “So doc, what do you like to do when you are not working so hard?” The rather surprised doctor glared at Bill for a long minute, and then motioned him around to his side of his desk. He said, “I love blue water sailboat racing.” He logged into his yacht club’s Web site where his 65-foot ocean racer was featured with all his racing credits.

Now Bill is not a sail enthusiast, but he is a boater. They talked about the pleasures of boating. They bonded. They became friends. At each meeting Bill asked, “What’s new for the yacht? He regaled Bill with new GPS equipment, new Kevlar sails and racing stories. Wow! They’re friends.

By activating just one internal trigger, Bill persuaded the world’s top surgeon to operate on him. And thanks to that trigger, Bill is alive today. Is the friendship trigger powerful? Bet on it!

How do you activate this incredible trigger? How can you make it produce the decisions and actions you want? Let’s investigate the elements elements of one trigger. Ask about any of the following:

Leisure Time

How Do You Spend It? “What do you like to do when you’re not working so hard?” is an easy way to get people talking about what interests them. Tie in anything you can to match, or at least show interest in that subject. Anyone who shares the same interests is a friend.


How did you get started in this business? How did you become so good at what you do? Any questions relating to his or her business background will delight your persuasion partner


“Where are you from originally?” What brought you here? Simple questions can open a dialogue that goes on and on.


If they’re into it, go for it! Fans love talking about their teams and heroes. Ask questions and let them roll!


If they have them, they love to talk about them. You are a friend for asking.


Friends of friends are friends. Mutual acquaintances are great topics for friendly discussions.

Thanks, Approval, Appreciation, Praise

Appreciation and praise from others is a key human motivator. Find something you can give thanks or appreciation for, and then do it! Show approval for any action or deed.

These are but seven of the infinite ways to be a friend, to activate the friendship trigger. Liking is a prerequisite for emotional triggers to be activated. We all prefer to deal with people we believe to be like us.

We all crave the power to get things done. The power to get the decisions and actions we want. Power is nothing without the power to influence. That power is in your hands. Wisely apply that power and you will achieve your destiny, wealth, power, influence, and a successful, happy life.

  • Joe

    I had a simliar experience once at work. Several of us were trying to get in good with a client who was known to be really serious and not friendly at all. By chance I noticed he has pictures of himself on a ski slope. Once I brought that up his entire demeanor changes and we actually became pretty good friends with him and he was our client for a long time. Even by accident the triggers seem to work.

  • MikeA

    I’m in sales and some of my best clients are also friends – we have common interest and we do things together outside work (i.e. bike ride, play poker, etc…).

  • Apollomf

    Hhm! Am gonna try it, will get back 2 u A.S.A.P. Am sure it will work, coz I surely wouldnt buy from an enemy, duh!

  • Kat M.

    This is so true. If someone likes you it motivates them to do more for you than someone they have no connection with. Even if you don’t connect right away if you can find a way to win them over then you have them on your side. Many things can come from these connections as you have pointed out.