Andres Lares, a two-time Ohio University graduate and CEO of Shapiro Negotiations Institute, recently wrote a book called Persuade: The 4-Step Process to Influence People and Decisions. Although Lares wanted to write a book for a long time, he struggled with self-doubt, wondering “Who am I to write a book?” When he began to view writing as an act of service to help others, his goal of creating a book became more approachable. To learn more about Persuade and his experiences at OU, The Post talked to Lares.
The Post: Tell me about your time in Athens.
Lares: I was born in Venezuela, then moved to Canada. So, I went to undergrad in Canada. I think it was definitely a different experience. It's interesting, because I think the hesitations of coming to Ohio, one of them was being in Athens and not knowing much about it. It ultimately ended up being one of the bright spots in the sense that it's hard not to really fall in love with Athens and come to appreciate it, and in particular for our program. I ended up doing my MBA and my masters in sports administration sort of back-to-back, together. Every time I think about a beautiful campus, what a great town; it's just a special experience for sure.
TP: What made you come from Canada to Ohio?
L: I was interested in working in sports. My boss at the time had talked about a program at Ohio University that was supposed to be very good. So then I started doing quite a bit of research. I looked at more mainstream MBA programs, and I looked at sports programs. It felt like there was a ton of them already, and there's even more now 12 years later. But it really felt like there were just a few that were the top of the top, and Ohio is definitely one of them. After visiting, I loved it, and I think it was a sort of foreshadowing of all the things that I loved when I was in Athens; you know you can really quickly tell (it’s) just a bright place.
TP: You are coming out with a book. Tell me about that.
L: I don't know if other people feel this about writing a book but it's something that conceptually I always wanted to do. For a long time, it was just a far off idea. And then I started thinking about it more realistically. Actually, at first, as I was really considering it, it feels like sort of an arrogant thing to do. I mean honestly, it feels like, ‘What do I know that is worth me writing a book?’ That was sort of my first reaction, so when I started seriously considering it, I dropped it pretty quickly. I sort of knew what it would be about: negotiation and influencing. The idea really came to fruition about a year ago, so I had 10 years of working in a very specific area. I felt like I had amassed quite a bit of knowledge and experience, but it still felt like, ‘Who am I to write a book?’ And so I was about to table it, and I just so happened to bump into and chat with a literary agent. And he's like, ‘What are you talking about? You've literally lived and breathed 10 years of something and have a ton of expertise. A lot of other people would love to do that and they're not going to be able to put 10 years into this, so if you can share what you've learned over 10 years to someone in what they'll be able to read in a few hours, you've done them a service and you'll enjoy the process.’ When it was put that way, it just seemed a lot more like something I wanted to take on. Before that I just thought ‘Who am I to write a book?’ I couldn't get past that, but I guess that framing really helped.
TP: Tell me a little bit about the process of you actually writing.
L: I interviewed a few other people that wrote successful books, and one of the pieces of feedback I got was to sort of really create a good outline of what you want to write before you start writing. I did that and that was super helpful. And then the writing, once you get going, it’s sort of a little bit easier than expected. Whether it's a good book or not, I guess time will tell. But I'm pretty happy with it.
TP: What differentiates Persuade from other books about influencing people and decisions?
L: It's a great question; until I could answer that, I refused to write the book. And so, what I think it does is, hopefully, it balances the hybrid of…books that cover influencing in some amazing theories and…books that use a lot of research. What I couldn't find anywhere is a process you can follow to influence others. That's sort of the same thing I was striving for with Persuade. Even in the title, we put it there – it's the four-step process to influence people and decisions. The idea was, there's academic rigor for those folks that want to make sure that this stuff is proven, it's there. There's enough stories so that it's easy to read. It's based on some of the experiences we've had, good and bad, because some of the mistakes (are) where you learn the most. But then, it's a process that after you finish reading it, that will stick with you hopefully forever in the sense that it's a simple four-step process: build credibility, engage in motion, demonstrate logic, facilitate actions. You remember it, it can still have an impact on your life, professionally and hopefully personally, too.