I Can Make You Do Anything

August 17, 2011 by Bill Bradley

“There is nothing more expensive than that which comes free” (Japanese Proverb)


Title: The What and How of Influence

Competency: influence

Who benefits: everyone

Consultant Usage: executive coaches (skill building), management and communications trainers

What’s it about? Influence skills have become significantly more sophisticated since Dale Carnegie wrote How To Win Friends and Influence People in 1937.  This great book is a classic and was reissued in 2009 and still merits a read (see the 849 reviews on Amazon).

I came across two newer books recently.  The first is the updated 2008 Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition). 

What intrigued me about this book is how the author came at influence through the back door.  He started out by studying compliance – why do people go along.  He talks about how we all have “automatic behavior patterns”. 

He then switches to compliance professions, aka compliance practitioners.  They are found in the usual professions: sales, advertising, and fund raising.  But they can also be frequently found in professions we don’t normally associate with compliance practitioners such as the medical and police occupations. 

According to the author, influence skills come in six categories.  The professional influencers develop skills in these areas:
-reciprocation (you scratch my back….)
-social proof (everyone is doing it)
-liking (likability)

There are some delightful tidbits in the book including why the word “because” is so powerful in the English language and why, when you have a product that is not selling it is often useful to double the price.

The second book that attracted my attention was Influencer: The Power to Change Anything  (2007) by the well-respected Kerry Patterson (et. al.).  Patterson is a straight forward type of writer … no beating around the bush here.  He writes about what he calls the “Serenity Trap” aka serenity crap.  He wants us to move from “the wisdom to know the difference” to the “wisdom to make a difference”.

Like Influence (above), he insists we are much better at coping (compliance) than exerting influence. 

His method of instruction is primarily through stories.  He uses the principles and strategies of successful influencers to make his points and show how they can be replicated by you and me.  All three books are interesting and worthy reads.  Take your pick.

Catch you later. 

[tags]influence, influence skills, compliance, coping, influencers, envisia, envisia learning, bill bradley, william bradley, bradley[/tags]

Bill Bradley (mostly) retired after 35 years in organizational consulting, training and management development. During those years he worked internally with seven organizations and trained and consulted externally with more than 90 large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools.

Posted in Leadership Development

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