You’ve probably heard me talk for a while now about influencing others and the difference between leadership, management and role models — and why we need all three.

There is a big conversation about the ability of people to influence others and it always comes down to the emotional connection.

Leadership is about uniting everybody to the cause. Management is all about nurturing the individual for the good of the cause. But being a role model, you might never meet any of these people, but when somebody sees you they relate to you. The see themselves in you and they aspire to that.

In light of the article on Celebrity CEOs that recently came out outlining findings from recent research, I would argue that there is so much more to influence than that. Celebrity is completely different from business. In business, we need leaders, managers and role models to unite everyone to the cause.

A book that resonates greatly with me regarding the way we influence other is The Influential Mind by Tali Sharot. 

Sharot explains that attempting to convince other people of your opinion or cause is ineffective. Trying to change another person’s opinion does not align with the way our human mind operates.

The 7 key points from the book are summarised well by Kevin Duncan below:

Priors. Does evidence change beliefs? No. Data doesn’t persuade people.
Emotion. Stories, plots and characters stick in the mind and persuade more than anything rational.
Incentives. Should you scare people into action? No. “Employees must wash their hands” doesn’t work. Immediate positive feedback does.
Agency. You obtain power by letting go. “It’s your responsibility to water this plant” is stronger than “We will water the plants for you.”
Curiosity. What do people really want to know? People are more likely to listen to pre-flight safety briefings that are funny and optimistic.
State. What happens to minds under threat? Stress and intimidation change the way we process information. Usually, that means playing it safe, but sometimes it leads to unexpected risk-taking.
Others. Be careful of too much social learning – the circumstances of others may not suit you.”

I will dive further into detail about Sharot’s book in a later blog but in the meantime, when it comes to influencing others, it’s important for us to remember that trying to convince another is futile.

You can never actually shift someone else’s view if they’ve made up their mind. The only thing we can do is sit in somebody else’s shoes and talk to a shared sense of purpose and beliefs. It is about connecting people emotionally to the story.

What story are you telling?

Also published on Medium.

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