Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Instant Influence by Michael Pantalon - Book 21 of 52 in 52

I wonder if the person who recommended I read Instant Influence really wanted me to read the Robert Cialdini classic 'Influence', which was turned into an audio program called 'Instant Influence'?

Regardless, this is what I picked up, and I'm glad I did. The most important part of speaking is persuasion, being able to influence the audience towards your ideas, solutions, strategies, etc. One of my favorite books in this genre is Dave Lakhani's 'Persuasion - The Art of Getting What You Want', and persuasion is one of the core concepts discussed in any sales books, be it 'Ziglar on Selling' or Gitomer's 'The Sales Bible' or even, on a more personal note, 'The Five Love Languages'.

Michael Pantalon offers up a proven formula to influence others, backed up by his own anecdotal evidence, including trainings, employee interactions, and his efforts to get his dad to stop smoking. He presents it in a way that drew me in immediately, as he described his presentation of his ideas to a tough audience, and walked us through his efforts, obstacles, and ultimate triumph. Essentially, the book is written to persuade and influence us, not just inform us, which is both appropriate and a tremendous example to the rest of us looking at writing our first, or next, book.

So what's his process? Six questions:

1. Ask, "Why would you change?"
2. Ask, "On a scale from 1 to 10, how ready are you to change?"
3. Ask, "Why didn't you choose a LOWER number?"
4. Ask, "When you picture the change already having occurred, what do you see?"
5. Ask, "Why is that important to you?"
6. Ask, "What is the next step, if any?"

Questions designed to keep the subject from getting defensive, to keep us, and influencers, in touch with the heart of our subject, and to, answer by answer, help the subject walk themselves right into the end result we as the influencer want them to reach.

As speakers, pay special attention to #4 - picturing the change. If we aren't getting our audience to picture the result we're trying to get to reach, and to find the importance in it (Step #5), we aren't getting through the way we want to.

The book is filled with examples, and a large amount of rationalization and reasoning behind each question and how they may be answered. The best part? You can use it on yourself!

Seeing the series of questions, you might think it's overly simple. It is, to a degree, until you start considering the answers you can get, and the personalities you'll deal with. While some books serve to just add padding around some basic principles, such as the two recently-reviewed books, The Go-Giver and The Four Agreements, 'Instant Influence' makes itself invaluable as a whole, not just a process.

Available on Audible, which is how I listened to it, this is a must add to your library as a speaker.

5 Stars out of 5.

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