A day in the life of James Cavanaugh - or a few

Influencer Book Review

Influencer. The title says it all, if you want to become an influencer, this book can help you get on your way. It talks about many influence strategies and presents them using stories and examples, which it even says in the book is one of the best ways to make a point and have your audience listen. My quirks about this book is that it focused on a few case studies too heavily. The New Guinea Worm parasite story was way over-done. I did like the examples of what didn’t work, and why it didn’t work, and how to make it better. The ones that interested me were the ones relating to the work place. When management told employees that oversees people were working more efficiently, and no one believed them and no change was done, and then managers brought workers over to the other factories and showed people working harder, they still didn’t believe, but when they snuck in after hours and saw the workers still working harder than them. Not only did they believe, but they told their workers back in the states through a vicarious story the experience they had effectively influencing everyone to work harder. This was just one example that I drastically summarized, and the book contains many more. It is a good book, while I would have liked perhaps more details on influencing on a smaller scale, the larger influence strategies are most likely applicable and still very interesting.

As you may or may not know, I attend toast masters on a regular basis. After reading this book, I decided to try a persuasive speech using some of the techniques in the book. The main one that I was focusing on was to tell a story. The idea is that you are presenting information in a vicarious experience, so the listeners can relate with the people in the story and imagine themselves in the same position. That way they let their guard down, and they are more likely to listen to the facts. The presentation I did was to convince them to sign a petition, something many people are against doing. I started off arguing that this health program at work is a good thing, and I was advocating that they participate in the program. Then I started telling the story of a fictional character who participated in this program. Then this character had a turn of events, and the waiver that he signed is causing him much more trouble than the benefits of the program. I don’t know for sure that my story influenced the audience to sign the petition more so than just giving them the facts, but I did hear specifically from 3 people asking for the link to sign the petition, and the group of people was only about 12. I would say getting 1 in 4 to go out of their way to ask for the link to sign the petition is pretty good. Anyways, I am interested to hear your input on this book, and influence techniques you have used and how they worked/didn’t work.

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