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The Secret to Getting Anyone to Do Anything for You Is ...

12/08/2013 06:10 pm ET | Updated Feb 07, 2014

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

The way you get people to do what you want, the way you get people to buy your product or use your service, the way you get people to follow your lead - it is all the same. You let these people know what is in it for them.

In Simon Sinek's TEDTalk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Sinek approaches this philosophy from the 'why' angle using my favorite company, Apple, as an example. There are a lot of companies that make good, even great, computers and gadgets. Why though do many others and I return to Apple time and time again? It is because Apple's 'why' explains what's in it for me -- it's innovative, it's exciting, it's different. It's how I what to be perceived.

It is only human to approach all we do each day with that one thought in mind, "what's in it for me?" Will it make me smarter, richer, sexier, better, more successful? Now, knowing people you are trying to reach are ALWAYS thinking this and understanding that this is how people are making decisions (many times subconsciously), you should also keep this in mind...

According to a recent article in Ideas and Discoveries magazine, "Every second 11 million sensory impressions crackle along those pathways and enter this highly complex structure (the brain) -- it's a frightening flood of images, sounds and smells that the brain rigorously filters down to around 40 to protect itself from being overloaded."

After your own brain has had a chance to wrap around that math, take this information and add it to the "what's in it for me" equation and you soon begin to realize you have to do something spectacular every second to get anyone to do anything for you.

Or do you? In my TEDxHouston talk Teach Your Children, I tried to break it down as simply as possible -- do things for people without being asked and without expecting anything in return. You will then be amazed at what they do for you in return.

-- You want your employees to follow your lead and work harder? Give them the occasional surprise day off. They will come back and work even harder for you.

-- Want me to buy your product or use your service? Give me a free sample or a great deal to begin with.

-- A new client calls and you just don't have the time to take on anyone new. Instead of taking on the client anyway and doing a less than stellar job or, worse, turning the client away, refer that client to a co-worker or even the competition.

-- Rise above the expected in everything you do.

-- Show (don't tell) you care about them as a customer, potential client or employee, and most of all, as a person.

It is human nature to worry about what's in it for us. It is what we all do. But what if you started thinking another way? What if much of what you did each day was to help others? What if you figured out your 'why'? What if you figured out their 'why'? What if you did just one thing a day for someone else without expecting anything in return? When you do it this way, you no longer have to let people know what is in it for them. They already know "what's in it for me" when they buy your product, use your service, do what you want or follow your lead.

Isn't that what you wanted all along?

Dayna Steele is a business success strategist and keynote speaker as well as the author of the 101 Ways to Rock Your World book series. See her TEDxHouston talk Teach Your Children here.

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