Tuesday, May 08, 2012


For those of us born before 1975 (and particularly those of us born WAY before 1975), the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” represents freedom from tyranny – at least the tyranny of high school.  And for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, go “stream” the movie, or whatever it is the kids do these days.

Why am I thinking about Ferris Bueller?  Well, through the wonders of Google, I learned that the infamous “day off” occurred on June 5th (according to The Atlantic).  Putting aside the somewhat incongruous fact that many schools are already out for the summer by then, the most important fact about this date is that it’s the same day The Influence Game is coming out!  I can think of no better anniversary to share.  Ferris Bueller was a master at effective persuasion and employed many of the tactics outlined in the book.

Yes, OK, he was not, shall we say, exactly truthful with his parents about his reasons for skipping school. He pretended he was sick but, as it turned out, not so sick that he couldn’t sing “Twist and Shout” on a parade float in downtown Chicago.  While I don’t support feigning sickness, I do suggest that Bueller used at least two other ethical tactics to persuade many others (school administrators, his parents, his friends, haughty restaurant personnel and the like) to say “yes” to his somewhat unconventional schemes.  These tactics were “netplaying” and charm.

What is “netplaying?”  Beyond being Tactic 21 in The Influence Game, it’s my own “play” on the term “networking,” which I’ve never liked.  I’m not fond of the idea, put forth by many, that this is a complicated process.  Lobbyists network all the time and they do not follow a 20-step process for getting to know people.  That’s why I refer to this important tool in the effective influencer’s arsenal as “netplaying.”  It’s not a chore, it’s something special interests enjoy.  Bueller clearly enjoyed getting to know people, and not just in terms of how they could be useful to him in the short term.  He was both a general people person and a caring close friend.  Remember how he told his best friend Cameron that he would take the blame for the wreck of Cameron’s father’s car?  That was really, in the baseball parlance that can be appropriately associated with the movie, “stepping up to the plate.”

And, of course, there’s “charm,” which, to quote Justice Potter Stewart’s description of pornography, “I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.”  All I know is that real charm comes from a real place.  Charming people feel a personal connection to their cause and, to put it simply, are nice.  They look for ways to create “win-wins” for both sides.  Our hero Bueller excelled at the “win-win.”  That’s why I’m proud to know that The Influence Game shares this important date in history.

If you want more ideas on employing these tactics in your own influence game, I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering.  There are still freebies available!  I hope by Superman’s Birthday (June 30th) it will be a best-seller.  Only you can help it get there!