What Good People Can Learn from Con-Artists: Bringing the Dark Arts of Influence into the Light

Why are we so drawn to the con-artists in film and television?

The true story of Catch Me If You Can had us in awe at Frank Abignale’s ability to become anyone - from an airline pilot, to a doctor, to a lawyer.con pics

And who didn’t fall in love with Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting? The catchy tune alone has you hooked.

The show Leverage gives us the full variety of con-artist archetypes - the mastermind, the grifter, the thief, the muscle, and the hacker.

These Hollywood versions of con-artists are compelling, romantic, and a bit inspiring. We watch these Robin Hood-esque heroes pull off impressive feats by using their wits, intelligent planning, and adaptability. We daydream about having equally convincing cunning.

Of course, the real life versions of the folklore is less glamorous. Con-artists are usually forged in difficult and dangerous upbringings. Their charm is a survival technique that turns into delinquent asset. And any glamorous lifestyle they might accumulate dissolves when they take their mugshot.

con artist

For example, a career con-artist's reign recently ended with a new orange jumpsuit. William Douglas Street has been called "The Great Imposter." Living a life in a Catch Me If You Can style, Street impersonated individuals from a drycleaner to a Major League baseball player.

He was convincing, but for all the wrong motives.

With that said, there is no denying that a con-artist’s skills are highly valuable. If you take away the schemes, lies, and aliases, what you have left is someone who knows how to set a plan in motion by recruiting and motivating people to take action using advanced communication skills.

Something is wrong when a con-artist knows more about persuasiveness than leaders.

So, what can us moral and ethical folk learn from these deviant, disreputable con-artists? Well, quite a bit, actually. ... Continue Reading

How to Be Influential: A Discussion

shari and isaac

I'm so happy to share this interview I did with Dr. Isaac Jones from Superhuman Entrepreneur on how to be influential. We talk about EVERYTHING - body language, observational skills, elicitation, influential techniques, and so much more!

You can check out the interview on his page with the show notes and other download options, or listen in here:

... Continue Reading

Networking at Events Like James Bond: Look, Listen, Leverage

IMG_0355In the overpopulated digital space, conferences are proving to be the place for real and lasting business connections.

We are wired to be a part of a tribe. Facebook and social media are movie screen substitutes for connections, but nothing can replace looking someone in the eye, shaking their hand, and breathing the same air.

And since we spend the majority of our time commanding screens, the skill of commanding a room is slowly slipping away. Which means, the value of people who can successfully network has increased exponentially.... Continue Reading

Unexpected Qualities of an Influencer

What comes to mind when you think of a conversational influencer? Someone like a CIA agent or a con-artist? Does the image of that person in your mind have more shadows surrounding them? Perhaps they are lurking in the corner of a dark alley and you can only see their shadowed profile. How would you

The Origin Story of Your Influential Superhero

The power to sway someone’s decisions is an exciting notion. On opening night of Avengers: Age of Ultron, I had dinner with the former Chief Marketing Officer of Marvel Studios. We regularly get together to catch up, talk about our businesses, geek out over the Marvel universe, and, as per usual, I try to get

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This year, my New Year’s Eve wasn’t spent in a fancy gown, drinking champagne, and watching fireworks. Instead, I was home in front of the fireplace, writing, reflecting, and planning. Oh. And there was a glass of wine, of course. After midnight struck, I promptly curled up in bed at 12:03 feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and

Are Your Triggers Your Weaknesses?

In my training programs on stage and online, I share the 10 most common motivational and influential triggers. These are underlying desires and tendencies that we all have in varying degrees. An influencer’s job is to identify which triggers are more effective for specific people. After speaking at an event for a law firm with

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"Bringing the Dark Arts of Influence into the Light."

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