„HBR Emotional Intelligence Series – Influence + Persuasion“ – a HBR Press Book Review

Influence + Persuasion book cover

We all wish to expand our influence and convince other easier. However, few of us are really good at the game. „Influence + Persuasion“ synthesizes some of the best thinking on the topic. From Roberto Cialdini to Nancy Duarte, the authors selected by HBR Press go beyond their original thinking.   The articles from „Influence + Persuasion“  are actually upgraded and synthetic pieces of thinking published originally on hbr.org. 

Whilst the history gives us plenty of examples of influential persons, in most cases we were not direct witnesses of their skills. So basically we are more or less constant beginners in the field of influence. This creates a sort of a a vicious circle: whilst to get better at influencing one must practice it, in reality one has limited chances of doing so. Even the opportunities come relatively rarely – and as a consequence one must use them in a thrifty manner, keeping in mind the maximum effectiveness principle.

One of the mantras in the book is „connect, compare and contrast“. Persuasion is a direct contact sport and the one attempting it must appeal directly to the potential followers.

To do so, the influencer must quickly connect with the audience, finding the most appropriate method (appropriate in this case meaning a method that appeals to the immediate audience). Then, the speaker must compare various options for the audience. Finally, to zoom in and achieve her goals, the influencer should contrast the non-desirable options and aim for win-win solutions.

Sounds easy and it really is – once you practice some of these methods repeatedly. As Robert McKee and Bronwin Fryer underline in their article „Storytelling that Moves People“, the best influencers do not have only their goals in mind. They also use the best available tools, the ones that were honed again and again during our history. No need to underline again that great leaders tell usually great stories and connect with the audiences. The way they do it and the way they relate to their audiences is critical and expanding every time they use their tools.

Another nice article for the book argues that actually charisma is not inherited, but learned. „Learning Charisma“ argues that following several researched principles, anybody can expand their influence towards others. Charisma is directly related to how much the others like you – and as many of my acquaintances found out again and again during their professional lives, you can be really efficient – but you will not get far is people do not like you. In other words, a leader has followers, not subordinates – which is usually much more productive than other options

One might say – wait a minute, why would I pay money for a title that is a compilation of online articles? Well, these books are not quite a compilation – the articles are enhanced and expanded by the authors themselves. And on top of it, the online content is also copyrighted and payable beyond a certain number of views. Even more, if you are a book work as your humble reviewer here, you might like to have a quick concentrated reference in the form of a handbook – and not a collection of links scattered over a pretty large website.

Title: „HBR Emotional Intelligence Series – Influence + Persuasion“

Publishing House: Harvard Business Review Press

Year: 2018

 

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