The ART of Influence: Persuading others begins with you

I am quite contented today to submit my third book review for this quarter. Reviewing books has been an enriching journey so far with and I am looking forward to continue by submissions and hear feedback from the readers.

In reputation management, influence plays a very important role. Influence is the most powerful tool – whether in storytelling & nurturing relationships, crisis & team management, managing & shaping perceptions of a company or individual. My new read ‘The ART of Influence: Persuading others begins with you’ by Chris Widener gave me lot of insights, clarity and role of persuasion in leadership’s role. This 104-pager book, unlike the other two, is very short but the author manages to create an absorbing and compelling dialogues between two protagonists – young and aspiring student Marcus Drake and successful tycoon Bobby Gold.

Bobby Gold elaborates on four golden rules of influence in the book and these are my key takeaways – 

Rule 1: Live a life of undivided integrity

People are always driven by expediency. They tell the truth if it is convenient for them to do so. Integrity is the foundation of building and nurturing relationships. Make it your absolute goal to live a life of integrity. Followers never expect their leaders to be perfect, but they do expect them to admit and correct their mistakes.

Key takeaway: Trust is the foundation of all relationships – as a leader, professional and as a person. And it can only be built by being honest and truthful.

Rule 2: Always Demonstrate a Positive Attitude

Gaining and maintaining influence is all about understanding psychology. We have to understand what people are looking for and what they will respond to – and people always respond to optimism. Positive words produce positive results. Many leaders, according to the author, don’t realise that if they become a positive and optimistic person, their leadership grows as their followers respond.

Takeaway: Managing conflicts: Ask always they something has failed or gone wrong and deal complex and tough situations with emotional maturity

Rule 3: Consider other people’s interests as more important than your own

We live in a world where most people are looking out for number one. They are interested in getting, not giving. If you want to develop long lasting relationships, more than being interesting, is being interested. Success comes from looking out for people who work for you by interested in them and what they’re involved with. 

Takeaway: Effective team engagement – Sharing common goal, objectives with teams and peers.

Rule 4: Don’t settle for anything less than excellence

Our lives are governed by our choices. If we make excellent choices, then we achieve even more excellence. There are 2 kinds of impressions: first impressions and lasting impressions. Both of those are based on excellence. Having high standards for how you dress, what kind of shape you are in, and how you groove yourself are all a very significant part of the impression you leave with others. 

Takeaway: Focus on creating a lasting impression. For this, keep having new and value conversations with people who matter the most

The book imparts an important lesion: Character matters more than skill. I highly recommend this book to leaders, aspiring young professionals who are looking for career growth. The author has taken some extremely well-thought concepts through unique story with powerful messages. While his golden rules are based on timeless principles, but applying these concepts will help readers improve their personal and professional growth.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Ajit Pai
The author is a Vice President at MSL office in Bangalore. The views shared are personal.

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