The name of this chapter is Overcoming The Influence Deficit. This chapter mainly focused on different reasons as to why Geeks have a hard time having an influence over people. I’ll be focusing on 3 main reasons why Geeks lack influence.
Reason 1: Influence vs. Power
The books states that often geeks cannot tell the difference between influence and power. Here is a good article that breaks down between the two Influence vs. Power but in the meantime, here is the difference between the two:
Power – The ability to affect another person’s observable behavior.
Influence – The ability to affect another person’s inner state – what they feel, think, and believe.
How I see it is that Power creates a short term effect while Influence is in there for the long run. While you can force someone to do something if you have enough power over them, as soon as you don’t have control of them, they will assume their normal behavior. If you want to make a lasting effect in someone’s live then you must have influence over them. However there are 3 conditions for influence.
Conditions of Influence:
They must be open to being influenced by you.
You must be willing to change their inner state.
You must be able to move them to think, feel, and/or believe differently.
I chose this photo for this section because if you have Influence over someone then you do have a certain degree of power over them. If you flip the phrase around however, “Power is Influence” then it becomes false. Influence gives you power over someone, but you can never influence someone just with power.
Reason 2: Facts aren’t enough
This picture is a perfect representation of the difference between Emotions and Facts. Emotions are depicted on the left, being represented by fireworks going off. Emotions are a lot like this, raw and unpredictable like a chain reaction. Facts or logic are depicted on the right side and is represented by a sort of flowchart diagram. The flowchart is very rigid and strict. On insightsquared.com it distinguishes why it is so important to not just focus on facts but to add emotion, Facts vs Emotion. The fact of the matter is that:
Geeks tend to focus on the facts.
Suits tend to focus on emotions.
Though it is never good to be mostly towards facts or emotions, you need a balance between the two. There are time when it is better to show more emotion then facts, and vice versa. One example I can give you of this is when I was talking to one of my friends. She was having trouble with her boyfriend and their relationship was toxic. So me being very logical minded decided to give her all the facts as to why she should just break it off, but of course facts aren’t enough. She wanted to hear how this relationship was effecting her emotional state as opposed to a number of facts.
An interesting fact that the book brought up was that even though we (geeks) can become masters at telling facts, we often fail at influencing people with the emotional side of the argument. This is true because emotions tend to be the last thing geeks focus on.
Reason 3: Ill-fitting advice
Ill-fitting advice – Adopt persuasive techniques to influence others.
Trying to influence someone using skills and techniques does not work for technical people because persuasive techniques will not work on those who avoid persuading others.
Geeks generally aren’t interested in dominating others.
Nor are we interested in manipulating others.
A couple of days ago when I was scrolling on Pinterest I saw this story that stuck with me. It stuck with me so much that I decided to add it to this blog. I attached a pic of it below. You should read it first before coming to this next part. I found it moving how that policewoman could of just used her power to arrest her, but instead chose to use her influence on her to change her life. I wanted to leave off with this because it shows a real life experience about how you can use your influence to change peoples lives. Use your influence to make a difference!