Connecting and influencing for the long term
Most books and courses that teach persuasion skills advocate manipulative and “pushy” techniques which involve disconnected influence, according to Mark Goulston and John Ullmen in their book Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In. Disconnected influence might provide short-term gains, but it prevents the formation of long-term relationships. The old rules of persuasion no longer work; success now requires connected influence.
The core principles of the connected influence philosophy are described as:
- It’s about building a network of people who want to help and support you, rather than leaving behind a list of people who feel disconnected and used
- It’s about making the journey from your “here” to their “there”so you can understand, learn from, engage, and add to other people’s point of view
- It’s about identifying outcomes worthy of the people you want to connect with
- It’s about being open and transparent about what you’re doing, rather than concealing tactics and techniques
- It’s about easing the ache inside sceptical and even cynical people so they can trust safely
Before starting the book I was worried that it might turn out to be another one of those social media books that pushes the importance of maximising your followers by spending hours each day polishing your digital persona to give it a superficial gleam of celebrity. Fortunately my fears proved completely unfounded. The actions which the authors recommend seem quite consistent with the good old-fashioned values of integrity, trustworthiness, generosity and service.
The authors recommend a four-step approach to connecting and influencing. The first step involves choosing a great outcome that you can inspire people towards. The second step is to listen and learn and in particular to be willing to discover where you have been wrong. The third step is to engage people from within their own frame of reference, rather than expecting them to see things from your frame of reference. The fourth step is to do more than is required to ensure that other people’s great outcomes happen, leaving them awestruck by your generosity.
The book is filled with really interesting stories, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.