Remember as a child when you ran out of the house in the middle of winter and your parents yelled out, “Put your hat on!” Of course, I was one of those children that was wrapped so tight with a scarf around my forehead, mouth and nose so all you saw was a slit of eyes and puff ball coming at you.  My Mom was going to make sure ALL the heat stayed in!!

I remember hearing over and over the fact that you lose 70% of your heat from the top of your head so you need to keep it covered.  This fact was used to influence people all around the globe to wear hats.

So is it True or False?

Mary Lynn Smith from the Star Tribune just did a complete article sharing why it is not true and sharing what experiment was done by in 1957 that first started the “rumor” that 70% of your heat leaves through your head.  The experiment involved a person’s head in a box and a thermometer put where…well let’s say where you check a baby’s temperature before you can put it in their mouth, got a visual?  From that experiment they deduced you lose 70% of your heat from your head.

Here is my point:  Beliefs drive behavior and our beliefs are fed by what we see and hear from what we consider trusted sources.  For a child, that trusted source is Mom and Dad and for Mom and Dad in the 50’s it was the newspaper.

So as a leader how can you influence your team:

1. Make sure what you share is factual.  If it is not factual, state that it is your opinion, assumption or deduction based on how you are interpreting the facts.  Don’t present opinions, assumptions or half truths as whole truths/facts.  They aren’t.

2. Encourage your team to explore and find out their own truths.  You do this by allowing a space for them to challenge thoughts/beliefs without feeling judged.

3. Take time to look candidly at what myths in your industry and company have become beliefs that block your team or customers from moving forward.  Then openly look at where they came from and how you can change them.

As a sales person, you can be more influential by:

1. Listening to what your clients needs/wants are and then carefully and fairly showing how your product or service will and won’t help with those needs.

2. Helping client’s sort through all the facts/myths out there so they can make an informed choice.

Beliefs are extremely powerful influencers.  In order to be more influential you need to look candidly at what beliefs hold you back, hold your team back and hold your customers back.  Only then can you “debunk” the myth and show them a new way of looking at things so they are willing to change their behavior or align with what you are saying.

Anne Warfield, CEO of Impression Management Professionals in Minneapolis, MN.
IMP is a provider of strategic presentation skills training focused on the Outcome Thinking Methodology, helping leaders gain executive presence.