How to Influence People: The Most Overlooked Secret

Bonus: I learned how to earn influence by being a great guest at the blogs of influential people. Here are two free videos and a downloadable eBook showing you how to do that.

Anyone can be a leader. Sounds easy, right? It’s not. True leadership is rare, because most people aren’t willing to do the one thing they need to grow their influence.

The most overlooked secret to influencing people
Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)

What do the world’s best leaders know that the rest of us don’t? How do you become an influencer without feeling like a sleazy salesman? How do you connect with important people and get your reputation to spread?

People sometimes ask me how I’ve been able to do interviews with in-demand “celebrities” like Steven Pressfield and Chris Brogan. They wonder how to get guest posts published on Copyblogger or Zen Habits, some of the most popular blogs on the web.

These people are the same ones who ask about getting a NY Times best-selling author to endorse your book or want to know what it takes to interview the CEO of a major company. They want to know the answer to a simple question that confounds most of us. And for years, I didn’t understand it myself. It’s this: Why can’t I get more influence?

The answer may surprise you.

The secret to gaining influence

Some people don’t want you to know this. It’s a secret long held by the social elite, what builds dynasties and topples kingdoms. It’s the explanation for how even the humblest of beginnings can lead to the strongest successes.

This is important for you to hear, and it could be the answer to getting your book published or launching a successful business. It might even mean landing that connection that changes everything.

The secret to how to connect with influential people is simple: Ask them. Why do so many people neglect this practice? Why overlook something so obvious?

First, let’s set the record straight: I’m nobody special. I’m not a charismatic leader or persuasive speaker. I do not possess any innate gifts for winning people over.

A chubby misfit in high school, I learned to play guitar and to avoid getting beat up (sometimes). In other words, I’m no Dale Carnegie. Far from an “outlier,” I’m often unsure of myself and struggle with confidence issues.

Why share this? Because if I can do it, you can do it. And if you believe me and you’re ready for some practical tips on how to do it, click here for two bonus videos and a downloadable eBook where I lay it out step-by-step for you.

The new leadership

Bill Gates used to publish his email address. An important leader and CEO, he still made himself available to his followers. When I heard about this, I decided to email an author I had always admired and see what might happen. I asked his advice, and a day later, he responded. I was in awe.

A year later, that same author, a guy named Seth Godin, emailed me, offering to do an interview for my blog about his next book. When the book launched, he linked to me and sent more traffic than my little blog had ever seen.

After this experience, I had a thought that changed everything: If uber-blogger Seth Godin is this accessible, who else is? If someone so influential and unreachable (in my mind) was just an email away, what would stop me from contacting anyone I wanted to meet?

That’s just what I did.

What followed was a chain of events that included one audacious pursuit after another. I discovered there were others like Seth who were making themselves available to “average Joes” like me.

This is the new leadership: accessibility. There are people out there, waiting to connect with those bold enough to ask.

You are your own worst enemy

Not too long ago, I saw a friend get a guest post published on a popular blogging site, a popular blog about making money online. I was amazed, even a little jealous.

Although I had gotten into the habit of making big asks, this was one platform that was still “off limits” to me. Maybe some day, I thought. So I sent my friend a message, asking him how he got his piece published.

Do you know what his secret was? You guessed it. He asked.

He sent an email with an idea, they approved it, and then they published it. In fact, this was the second time he had done this. So I did the same — and it worked like a charm.

We humans have a bad habit of talking ourselves out of greatness.

Jeff Goins

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We doubt ourselves, thinking we don’t have what it takes. We give in to fear and sabotage ourselves before we even begin. We are our own worst enemy.

Recently, I encouraged a friend to email a leader he admired. He wouldn’t do it. He had already made up his mind. This person was just too busy to respond. After I all but forced my friend to do it, the person emailed him back immediately.

My friend couldn’t believe it, because he had already said “no” for him. Turns out, most people are this accessible. We just have to believe they want to hear from us.

How to win a friend

“Winning friends” was a phrase popularized by Dale Carnegie, and it’s one that bothers me. It sounds self-serving. Friendships aren’t won; they’re made, organically and honestly.

But it wasn’t until I started reading Carnegie’s secrets in How to Win Friends and Influence People that I finally let my guard down. Here are a few of his methods:

  • Show genuine interest in someone else.
  • Remember people’s names.
  • Listen.
  • Sincerely make someone feel important.
  • Smile.

Honesty and sincerity?! Man, what a jerk… 😉

Do you want to know the secret to getting influential people to do stuff for you?

Put the idea of “getting influential people to do stuff for me” completely out of your mind. Instead, try to help people. Slay the dragon of insecurity and make bold, but humble, asks:

  • Invite someone to breakfast or coffee.
  • Ask for a few minutes to chat on the phone.
  • Listen, smile, and thank them.

That’s what I do; that’s all I do. In other words: make a friend.  The real secret to winning friends and influencing people is anyone can do it. You just have to ask.

Why you’re not an influencer yet

So why aren’t you doing this? Why aren’t you connecting with influential people? If you’re anything like I was, you’ve probably succumbed to one of the following temptations:

  • You’re scared to ask.
  • You’ve already said “no” for someone else.
  • You’ve bypassed winning friends and tried to immediately influence people. In other words, you’re trying to use people.
  • You don’t listen.
  • You talk about yourself too much.
  • You think it’s all about you.

I believe you have something to say. I believe you’ve sabotaged yourself one too many times. I believe the world needs your voice and dream, and it’s time act.

Click the image below to get my free download on how to start guest posting for influencers.

The most overlooked secret to influencing people

Additional resources

Will you be bold and start making some asks? Share in the comments.

327 thoughts on “How to Influence People: The Most Overlooked Secret

  1. Hi Seth – I write a blog for parents of creative kids – would you be interested in writing a guest post about learning to play the guitar and what that meant to you? Were your parents supportive? (Phew, deep breath – that wasn’t so bad! :)) Thanks!

  2. OK, so here goes: “Would you write a guest post for my blog about learning to play the guitar? My blog is for parents of creative kids – musicians mostly – and you mentioned that you taught yourself to play. I’m wondering if your parents were supportive; I’m wondering how playing the guitar made you feel during your high school days of angst. Thanks for considering it!” Phew, that wasn’t so bad!

  3. Here I was thinking of the crouching tiger, but you just showed me the hidden dragon. Thanks a million Jeff!! Also, I just bought your book, and I’m beginning to learn how easy some things are. Here’s the High-five 😀 😀

  4. New, here, and reading this post first, I wonder:
    If I’ve already figured they would say yes, then they in fact DID say yes, then they said no — what would your advice be?
    Try, try again?

  5. Great words. Really. It gives me hope that out there are normal, non-manipulative people.

    I’m in a situation where I feel forced to be quiet. Have you ever been with people so insecure to let you get a word out because it doesn’t match what they think? Have you ever been around someone who likes to make you sound like you are saying things you aren’t? Is there any hope in working with these people, or should I just realize who is in front of me and their self-serving objectives and the end? I feel really stuck….mainly because I feel like I have to find a way to wk with these people, and I can’t just cut bait and run for mental sanity and safety’s sake like I want to.
    Any thoughts?

  6. You are absolutely spot on about having the guts to “just ask!”  I can tell by some of the articles that you have written, that you are authentic and real and while I agree that asking someone for something will increase your chances for success, I’m betting that the way you come across to other people probably doesn’t hurt either.  If we are fearful of asking someone for something, we are not completely geniune, or we are hiding something about ourselves, and in some way inauthenic.  Be real, be authentic, and don’t try to impress, and people will see you and they will say yes.

  7. Thanks for this boost of confidence.   Give you dog a rub on the belly for me…I know dogs like that 🙂

  8. Hi Jeff, interesting post. I recently subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading. Rest assure that I will gladly give you some feedback on it. 

  9. Jeff, you hit on an
    important point and another “hidden” reason leaders are
    born: Fearlessness.

    Fearlessness comes
    through ignorance. Ignorance of not knowing.

    Ignorance is bliss
    because it sets people free to do what they don’t know they can’t do.

    Youth allows such
    freedom to blossom.

    But, and I’m not just
    saying this because I’m not young any more (at least to anyone under
    50), Youth doesn’t have a monopoly on fearlessness.

    Anyone can be blessed.

    Such fearlessness as
    this breeds leaders because they don’t know that it might not be
    possible to do what they want to do, or say, or think, or whatever
    intent they have.

    You just did it!

    You just asked.

    You just thought “Why

    You enjoyed

    You are blessed.

    And teacher, thank-you
    for showing me: Just do it. Just ask it. Just think it. Because …
    hey! why not?

    We can all do this. We
    can all pretend we don’t know what endless possibilities might beset
    us (or not) and see what doors open to us. Doors we didn’t even
    realise existed.

    We can all be leaders.
    Leaders of tribes.

    Leaders of our own

  10. Hey Jeff, great blog post that really resonates with me at the moment! Thanks. I’m glad to have your blog whenever I need a quick sip out of the can of whoop-a$$. 

  11. I totally agree with your assessment!  So often people sit on the sidelines because of fear.  What is the worst they can say if you ask?  NO.

    I reached out to Chris Brogan on twitter years ago and asked a question.  It progressed to a phone call and my husband and I spoke with him about a project.  Chris put us in touch with a consultant friend of his who was of such help to us at the time.

    I’ve ‘met’ many wonderful people through blogging and social media.

  12. Jeff, I just listened to your podcast interview — “How to Become a Professional at Your Craft.”

    Thank-you. It was a wonderful interview. Which lead me to this post. Thank-you again 🙂

  13. Jeff,

    Your articles always seem to come at a time when I need them most. Asking is hard; being brave is hard; getting one’s self “out there” is even harder.

    Thank you for the facts, simple, yet elusive truths, and support of all that you know we are capable of. 

    I value and always look forward to…  your candor – thank you.

  14. I was reading one of Tim Ferrisses books last night and he was saying the same thing. Reach out and connect with someone who you think is inaccessible. The only real hurdle is a mental one. 

    You can’t get a yes without asking a question!

  15. I got here via your recent post on how to connect w/influential people. Aha. Thanks for sharing how you did it, and your authenticity, as always. I am game to ask anyone. As you said, internally we need to be ready (or confident), know what we need help with. Sue Wang, @Connect2Self

  16. This was just what I needed to hear!  The title intrigued me because I read How to Win Friends in college.  I’ve applied them throughout my career, but as I am forging through the internet and getting a handle on blogging, I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how I can reach others in the same field as me — and you  hit a nail on the head; the simplicity was right before me!  Thanks so much for the reminder and how to apply it via the internet.  I’ve been a follower of yours for a while, so it’s so cool to see  how much you’ve grown!  Thanks for all the great content.

  17. so practical and wise.  we make it so hard by making up all the NOs in our lives.  and all around us, are other willing leaders, ready to walk us right down the road to our greatness.  thank you JEFF for modeling this in both directions, and for being one of the Influencers that listens and responds to the growing writers/speakers/etc

  18. Good points Jeff. Perhaps the main reason people don’t ask people they position as influential in their lives, is that they don’t know that they *can* ask. In other words, they don’t know if it’s protocol, or if it’s the “done thing” to do.

    This isn’t always due to fear, or feeling unworthy, it’s down to not wanting to intrude, and about respecting people’s time and privacy. 

    However, it’s not until you do ask that you realise that, actually, it is okay to ask, that it is often expected, and can also make the person being asked feel accepted, and recognised. Not always of course, but if they’re real, it does often have this affect.

    It’s also about asking when you’re in the right position to ask. For example, if you asked your favourite author to read your novel and you’d not written it yet, you’d probably feel foolish, and not look too good to that author. Better to ask him or her for advice on what to do when you’re not happy with how a character’s working out, or how to describe something. 

    Asking the right question at the right time is what counts, and gets the best, most generous, answer.

    What it comes down to is knowing where you are in your journey to your goal, what it is you want to know (and why) before you ask, that makes your asking valuable.

  19. Jeff, Thanks for posting this. I needed to know that I was on the right path, and I am.  I’ve selected several individuals that I have gained inspiration from and asked them to tell their story anonymously to help inspire other people.  I’ll keep asking; I’d like to know people’s stories, and share them to inspire others. Thank you for your willingness to post, just how it is. As a new blogger, I appreciate you!

  20. Jeff, thanks for writing this über practical post! 
    As always, I appreciate all you do. 

  21. Yes,u need to ask someone if u want things to work.we all know that its not that easy but still we need to do.but i also would like to know that what should be the way to ask,i mean to say how or in what way should we approach them coz that is the key.thankyou..

  22. Thank you for this article! You described exactly the hesitations I have currently… it’s nice to find a very relatable post that is also informative. I find it very interesting that so many people are accessible, and I’m definitely not going to be hesitating to ask something of someone in the future! Thanks again for the valuable tips! Just one question: How do you best suggest finding valid email addresses? I know a lot of the ones that are out there now are fake.


  23. Hi Jeff, This is the first time I am reading your post and I have already become fan of yours. Thanks for sharing the ideas for great impacts by simple things.

  24. I too, assume others will say no more often than yes. Next time I want to ask someone to help me in some way, I’ll ask!
    Thanks for this informative and encouraging post!

  25. Making friends/associations can be one of lifes most challenging challenges on a daily basis. It means the other person is more important than you.

  26. I love this! One day I saw Seth Barnes (big deal in my mind) at a restaurant and as he was leaving I stopped him to let him know what I thought of him and his organization, Adventures in Missions. It was raining that day and he politely asked if we could move under the awning to talk, as he was getting soaked! Haha! But, it was just so cool that he was willing on a Sunday afternoon to stop and talk to me!

  27. This is so encouraging. I just thought of multiple people off the bat that I want to contact and never dreamed of talking to! I guess we get so overawed that we forget their human too. 🙂

  28. Jeff, you inspire me. It is because of men like you that I got the courage to step out and start writing my story. To begin to be the change that I want to see in the world. I am taking a further step and send you an email…

  29. That’s wonderful, Jeff. That’s exactly what I found. I’m a new no-name blogger with a fire burning inside. I attended Wordcamp Columbus earlier this month. I asked two of the presenters, including the keynote speaker whether they would do an interview. They both said yes. So absolutely exciting. Very, very exciting. It is such a golden privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants. Exhilarating!

  30. Hi 🙂
    That’s my first comment on your blog. Great article by the way 🙂
    I’m from Poland, hi :), and I’m writing stories since I was kid. I won some competitions but now I’ve stuck. I feel like I can’t write anything worth read by other, nothing that can be published so I choose some of blogs your kind to learn from great writers, as you are 🙂
    And what I’m about… As I read your article I rememberd that I was writing to some ppl, some known ppl, but they never answered… Maybe that’s the reason that I can’t believe in words you wrote above. It’s just my experience.
    But thanks for great stuff you’re sharring 🙂

    1. Dear Iza, just tell you to keep trying. I’m from Chile, I wrote my first and only book 4 years ago and published on line, never promoted it. Some days ago I decided to do something about it. I sent a friend request and a message on FB to a best seller author, and he not only accepted my request, he was on line and chatted with me, he gave me some very good advice. So, please keep trying. Blessings.

      1. Thank you for the replay 🙂
        I’ll try . Beside that I decided to start designing ebooks for ppl just like me and help them promote their books. I want connect beautiful desing and promotion.
        Thank you once more Victoria 🙂

  31. Sorry Jeff. Leadership is not about having influence, but having power, unless you consider “influence” the power to hire and fire. That is seriously influential. The smartest people in my organization are those closest to the customer, not those who have inherited leadership roles either via being in the same country club as the boss’ wife or being in the right place at the right time when an acquisition was made, or who have relationships with major vendors through their elite schools and so forth.

    In the real world, where people don’t just leave blurbs on the back covers of each other’s books, you can’t “just ask” someone in a high position of authority to do you a favor. That’s considered INSUBORDINATION and it has nothing to do with fear. In the real world, communication such as that must be approved. And it’s never approved. In fact, just asking for the right to communicate with those at the highest levels is likely to bring suspicion.

    People are obsessed with celebrity and cults of personality. The idea that having Seth Godin or some other “known” individual endorse or introduce your work doesn’t mean anyone should attach any importance to that over ideas that come from an unknown. It’s the art, the idea, the work that should stand or fall on its own. If my post has power and influence, it should be because it’s good. I’m nobody, and I don’t care to be anybody. I let my writing speak for itself. I hope I’ve done that and that your readers can gain something from it. Peace.

    1. You’re missing the forest for the trees, my friend. You can debate the true meaning of words or ideas, you can imply Jeff or the rest of us aren’t living in “the real world” that you seem to live in, but it all misses the point: do not let fear hold you back. Go for it as best you can. Don’t seek to influence, just be good to people.

      But hey, you go on having fun living in the “real world.”

    2. This is my favourite comment on the internet (quite a feat). Mostly because I just spent an enlightening 10 minutes reading through this guy’s disqus profile of comments he left on every other blog he’s read – if you want a look into a view of the world where All People Are Wrong (except for the commenter) read this. I suggest you make it a drinking game, with a shot for each awful comment (don’t try that one at home kids).

      Anyway, this is what I wanted to comment on before I got distracted by the hilarious snark in this commenter’s history: he claims that “In the real world, where people don’t just leave blurbs on the back covers of each other’s books, you can’t “just ask” someone in a high position of authority to do you a favor.”

      Well unless the ‘Real World’ is the name of a home on a specific street where this person lives, that would not be correct.

      I know several authors who have spent time getting known in their fields and this is how it works. They did not get lucky. They did exactly what the author of this post outlined and reaches out, sure they sometimes got knocked back, but formed relationships. (Those relationships they stepped out of their comfort zones to form were a large part of how they got a publisher to give them a book deal in the first place. Hi real world).

      And don’t kid yourself that with 1000 books in front of you an endorsement makes no difference to your choices; it does.

      Welcome to the ‘real world’.

  32. Jeff,

    thank you for this article, it felt like a friend putting an arm around my shoulder and saying ‘go on, you can do it’.

  33. Sorry, you broke or own rule because this was hardly about influence and more about yourself. There’s way more to influencing individuals than what or saying.

    1. Dear Anthony, I’m a 61 years old chilean woman, english is not my native language, nonetheless what I understood is that Jeff is talking from his experience, which I consider is a very generous and honest way to share the knowledge and success he has accomplished. Please, I beg you to read it again with open mind and focus on what he wants to communicate to us. Warm regards from the beautiful city of Villarrica, Chile.

  34. Jeff,

    I love this! I’m so grateful I “found” you a couple weeks ago. I can relate to you in a lot of ways. In this particular article, what stood out to me, was the “bypassing ‘winning friends’ and going straight to trying to influence people” part. I do that. I’m not proud to admit it, but I know I do. I’m not naturally outgoing or social. I’m not great at “making friends” and especially when I have something business-related in mind, I’m “all business.” I believe I probably need to shift that thinking if I’m to succeed IN my business… which is writing.

    The funny thing is, I KNOW when I do it. I can TELL when I talk to someone, send a letter, or email, offering my copywriting services… I FEEL like I’m trying to sell them, and ultimately use them (gosh, I hate how that sounds). Even though I fully believe I CAN help them. I need to shift my focus to making a friend, and not getting someone to pay me for a service. Paying me for a service will come much easier and more naturally if I’ve reached out and made a friend first.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about. 🙂


  35. Hi Jeff!
    Am so lucky to have come across this piece of insightful message. Thanks for sharing and I believe I won’t remain the same if I follow the directive.

  36. Thanks for the encouraging words, Jeff. Connecting with others is about being a go-giver. Seeing what we have to offer of ourselves. This is difficult for some personalities that think they don’t know enough and are intimidated by others. Keep up the good work!

  37. I know well the meanig of having friends- or not. I used to live in 11 different countries and every time I had to move the biggest issue for me was not packing and relocating, it was friends… Friends to loose, to keep and to find new ones… I learned from all this that you only need to talk to one ‘s heart and you win him or her for a life time. No matter where in the world you are, this friend is there not to be influenced by you or influence you, but just to contribute to your heart beating and to your brain working…. Really, Jeff, winning friends is just up to your honesty, emotional intelligence and smile.
    Thanks for reminding me… I ll keep on following your inspiring sharings.

  38. What an amazing post. I especially like the reminder at the end that before you ask for help, you have to put in the time and effort to be the type of person people WANT to help. This is such an important reminder not only for writers, bloggers and career people, but for anyone who wants to live a satisfying and meaningful life. I cannot get enough of this blog.

  39. I agree so much with this. Over the summer I got in touch with my friend’s grandfather– a former senior military official– for a story I was writing. In that case, I knew it was all about my connections. But it got me thinking that if this guy, as important as he is, was willing to take so much time to help me, maybe other people would as well. It turns out I was right– when I was writing a story this fall on ethanol for a local Missouri newspaper, I contacted a few scientists at a national laboratory and ended up interviewing them that same week. So my secret is your secret– I always remember that it can never hurt to ask.

  40. Lots of good in your writing Jeff. Appreciate the insight! Thanks! However my reason for commenting has to do with the experience with your site.

    Thank you for respectfully introducing me to your pop-up email subscription tool – at the end, and set in the lower right. Brilliant!

  41. Excellent blog post Jeff. The ability to think about other people’s needs or interests is very commendable. It is something that I have been doing more and it works. Dale Carnegie’s book is really awesome. Thank you for sharing this blog post.

  42. Wow! I was surprised by the simplicity of the secret. Reminds me that even the Bible says. “Ask and it will be given.” Thank you for this post.

  43. Hello there. I think I know the REAL secret to be influential. First, abandon bad things like masturbation, then, struggle to be as good as possible, you’ll get the power of influence, or as it’s called, personal magnetism.

  44. Hi Jeff!
    Excellent post! It’s true that people like to help each other. I love it when people ask me for a favour or some advice! That’s what I try to remind myself – if this person I admire is really as benevolent and wonderful as I think, they will be glad to help (up to a certain point, of course). And in return, I always try to let them know that I’m there for them if there’s ever anything I can do. A big thank you is always in order as well!

  45. Thanks, Jeff! I have found that if I follow the threads of conversation that the other person is sharing, they always feel appreciated. I also use affirming words and gestures as they share so that they know that I am really listening. The one area that I need to improve is remembering names. Any thoughts on “how to” from the Tribe would be appreciated !

  46. Thank you Jeff for sharing some of your wisdom! From someone who is about to enter the world of “blogging” and writing articles.

  47. My parents made me read Dale Carnegie when I was a teenager while grounded for some bad teen behavior. I think I’m going to pull it back out and make my teens read it. Good advice here Jeff. I enjoyed the reminders!

  48. Thank you Jeff for sharing your wisdom. New bloggers like me and many others really need this. Will share the link of this blog with as much friends and bloggers I can. Please give a visit to my blog:

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  53. So good, Jeff! I would have never imagined interviewing Bob Goff on my old BlogTalkRadio show, but I asked and he said yes! Same for William Paul Young. These guys were accessible and kind, even to a little-known guy like me! Asking is so powerful. We truly “have not” because we ask not.
    I appreciate you so much!

  54. This is so incredibly spot on, Jeff. Although it can be SO daunting to ask, you can’t get a yes without doing so.
    My second novel was published last Fall, and of course, when time came for jacket blurbs, I still was scared to ask–even though this was my 6th book published! But, I did. And I got blurbs from 2 NY Times Bestselling authors, and another whose novel had been made into a movie.
    Learned a BIG lesson by just asking!

  55. awesome post Jeff. I think every salesperson in the world should actually be introduced to your article before they ever consider making a cold call.

  56. This is a good reminder. A few years ago I emailed and thanked an author for a book of his that had encouraged me. He responded and we remain email friends.

  57. Great post Jeff. It is true that I often feel too nervous about asking or connecting with influencers. I do believe that it is important to engage with them on other levels first though- i.e. commenting on their blogs or engaging via social media. Thanks for this – it has made me think more about jumping in at the deep end… 😉

  58. Jeff, I think a big reason we’re afraid of contacting really successful people is that we feel we are not worthy of their time! At least it’s that way for me. Your honest writing about overcoming fears has helped me a lot on my journey to become a better writer. Thank you!

  59. Just listened to Tim Grahl’s webinar. Lots of good information. I think a lot of folks struggle with self confidence, and that’s what holds them back from reaching out and increasing their visibility.

  60. Jeff, I really enjoyed this article. What you’re saying challenges me though. But that’s a good thing. I’ve never been great at asking for help. Not because I don’t need it, on the contrary, I know I need help; but having the confidence to ask…well, there’s the problem. I’m already making the “ask” in some other areas of my life, and this post has pushed me to get past my fear and try to guest post too. I always ask myself, “why would this person want me to post on their blog”; but you have made it seem possible and doable. Something I don’t want to do is seem inexperienced; but the truth is I’m brand new to this idea. So…here’s what I plan to do:
    – take courage
    – write down my top 3 best ideas
    – write down a list of 5 people to ask
    – make the “ask”
    – write my best idea
    – and submit the article
    If I’m trying to help people, hopefully it will show. Serving and helping others is why I’m ultimately doing any of this anyway.
    Thanks so much for being honest in what you write. Your openness is pushing other people forward!

  61. Hi, Jeff! I’ve been following you since a year now. I’ve also been familiar with how you started and how you took so much time like 7 years to be influential like you are now. I tried to email you about a post. It took me so much courage to do that. Amazingly, your staff (I couldn’t remember her name) replied. Plus, that details attached on how to contact you. Seeing those details, made me shrink a thousand times. It feels like I’m an ant for a giant like you. But in my mind I wanted to ask if you could do a guest post for me teaching beginner writers to craft their writing skill. I just realized I didn’t have that confidence. Now, I’m responding to this post. I’m hoping again if you respond. If you do, it’ll be so meaningful to me, Jeff. You’re a blessing!

    From the Philippines,

  62. I love your site (so minimal) and your hands on tips and…I am in the middle of a blogtour organization here in Milan (Italy) and was wondering how to email people (institutions, museums..) and boom here is your post. I’ll start email people tomorrow. Thanks

  63. Thank you for your wise words, Jeff! “Accessibility” really is the “new leadership” of today, especially in today’s society where it is so easy to connect to people via the Internet. I agree that it can be hard to have the courage to contact influential people, but the reward is so worth it, as you have demonstrated! What do you think is the best way to get in touch with people, utilizing today’s technology?

  64. Good stuff!

    The bulleted list of items from Carnagie are things I strive to do. Especially remembering and using names. Even when at checkout counters or being served in a restaurant I glance at the persons name tag and try to address them by name.

  65. This, right here, spoke to me, because it’s where I’m at: “We doubt ourselves, thinking we don’t have what it takes. We give in to fear and sabotage ourselves before we even begin. We are our own worst enemy.”

    Getting out of my own head and letting go of pride is key in this writing/blogging journey.

    You’ve also challenged me to go ahead and reach out to people! I have been SO impressed with those who I’ve already connected with – there are TONS of people out there who are so willing to help, and that has encouraged me to do the same for others.

  66. Thanks for sharing. What a scary but liberating thought. This is the 2nd time I’ve come across this topic today between blog posts and podcasts. Might be a sign to ensure I am investing in my relationships and connecting with others. Thanks again.

  67. I can attest to the power of helping people. I recently succeeded in getting an influencer in the retail industry to do a webinar with a client. Note that this guy charges thousands of dollars in public speaking and consultation fees, but he agreed to do the webinar with us for free.

    Also note that the first time I reached out to him, he blew me off. However, what got his attention were the helpful and nice little things that I did. I constantly shared his content, I featured/linked to his site in articles that I wrote, and I introduced him to one of my contacts in the retail tech space.

    So when the time came that I was looking for someone to run a webinar with, he jumped on board.

  68. I find really interesting how some people think that success comes when they work by their own, because that is not true. The people around you will always be there to judge your ideas, but that is exactly the point. In order to influence people, you have to accept their opinions, you have to get to talk to them, because they are people like us and with that help we can become anything. I would like to thank you for the advice and for the encourage that you are spreading in all your readers. By the way, I totally agree with the idea of accessibility and how it is actually something we need.

  69. I think you are so true at saying that the only thing you have to do to connect with influential people is asking them for advice. The most of the time people are painful and sometimes even prideful. They don’t ask for opinions for fear of criticism. When you ask someone’s opinion they don’t really criticize you, most of the times they help you and advice you, but, as you said, “you are your own worst enemy” we live in a society full of inscurities and fear, so we should start for being more confident about our doings.

    I also think that making friends is very important, not only to gain “followers” but also to gain support and honest advices or opinions. Having truly friends is very important for success in life because they are always by your side helping you and advicing you from another perspective than yours.

    I find your blog really interesting and true, I agree with you about the importance of helping other people without expecting anything in return and making true friends.

  70. Hi Jeff, I am new in this blog and I liked your post. I agree with your point of view about the friendships and the influence that has on people. Friendships are made by trustfulness and affection between two persons. You make friendships by helping people and being nice with them, and when you need help, they will probably come without even asking for it.

  71. So, I`m a fifteen years old teenager, and I came up wit this idea about writing a book when I was twelve. TWELVE! I mean c´mon, I was a child, I am a child, and I want to write a book!?

    I know what you said about trash talking yourself is true and that I should´t do it, but sometimes it´s really difficult not to do it, I mean, what am I besides a great writer like you? What do I have to offer that could be so important? Why would anyone ever want to listen to me?

    I like writing, I actually kind of love it, I can remember this one time I was writing a tale, it was late at night and it was just so beautiful, I was`t even thinking, my fingers were dancing on the key board so fast that I could barely see them, it felt like magic.

    Nevertheless, even though I wrote after that again, I feel scared that I might not do it right. I´m not asking for an advise at all, I just have one question, why should I continue? why would anyone want to listen?

  72. I think the best leaders are the accessible ones willing to open up their friendship those who are still learning. And the best learners are those willing to reach out with a true intent to help and serve. It goes both ways. Both learn and give back simultaneously. However, I admit that I am scared to reach out, but will try anyway.

  73. You are absolutely right! Sometimes we need to read these things before we give ourselves permission to do the things we want to do. I’m guilty of making my asks too small. I think now is the time to start making bigger asks while serving in a much bigger way as well. Thanks for the great post!

  74. Your advice is right on, Jeff. When I wrote my first book, “The Art of the Business Lunch: Building Relationships Between 12 and 2,” (Career Press), I wrote a letter to Brian Tracy, hoping he’d offer a cover blurb. I did my happy dance when I received my original request back – with Brian’s handwritten endorsement on the top of my letter.

    More recently, Brian – who is now a friend – agreed to appear in an inspirational film I wrote and produced, “The Secrets of the Keys.” He even attended the premiere in November! Because of my willingness to ask others for their help, today I get to work with people I used to only see on television or read their books. I help them by offering greater visibility and they help me by contributing their names to my creative projects. The rewards are mutually beneficial and the relationships are incredible.

    Great message!

  75. Great Ideal Jeff, yes most of the time its good to ask but this is a new idea of approach to get in touch with these influential people, i know it is not easy but if it’s the way then we beginners have to learn to do so. thank you. i love the post

  76. This is great stuff! I am a Young Life leader in New Orleans and we always talk about earning the right to be heard by kids. In order to do that, we have to build authentic relationships that involve stepping out into places where we are uncomfortable. It’s funny that we treat blogging and the internet so differently. I’m excited to start using the things I am learning on my own blog. Thank you!

  77. Hey Guys!!! I got mine from Cindy. My blank ATM card can withdraw €2,000 daily. I got it from her last week Wednesday and now I have €7,000 for free. The card withdraws money from any ATM machines and there is no name on it, it is not traceable and now i have money for business and enough money for me and my 4 kids. I am really happy i met Cindy because i met two people before her and they took my money not knowing that they were scams. But am happy now. Cindy sent the card through DHL and i got it in two days. Get one from her now. she is giving it out to help people even if it is illegal but it helps a lot and no one ever gets caught. Cindy’s email address is (

  78. Jeff let’s connect and have coffee. We can co-write our next my book “The billionaire yogi” discusses many leadership techniques and I think we can collaborate on some speaking events. Namaste

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