Influence can be a powerful tool. The more influential a person is, the more power they seem to command. Being able to make people do what you want can be used in all different situations, good or bad. However, regardless of how it is used, the fact cannot be denied that influence is powerful. Unfortunately, Geeks tend to lack this powerful tool often and it starts to become a problem when they enter the workforce and are expected to influence people.
Before we dive into this discussion about influence, it is important to understand the difference between power and influence. Often items these two are mixed up, or used together incorrectly so we should hash that out before going any farther. Power is when you have control over someone or something and and can change their observable behavior. Influence is the ability to change what people think, feel, and in turn act. Power is the more brute strength, and influence is the more subtle, but just as strong changing of someone’s behavior.
Now, with that out of the way, I think that influence is a better tool to have in your bag. Anyone can have power. People can be assigned power at a job, and force people to do things, but that will eventually go south if there is no respect and it is just one person ordering others around with no real authority. However, influence, not everyone can have influence. People in no positions of power can have influence and influence people in power to make them do what they want them to do without the other person necessarily realizing it. That is why I think influence is better.
One huge point that can help to understand why geeks are bad at influencing is because it deals a lot with emotions. Geeks are often bad with emotions but appealing to the emotions is how influence works. People will make decisions based off of their emotions so if you are good at reading, and interpreting them, it will be easier to influence people. It is much harder to influence people if you can’t tap into their emotions.
If you are a geek, all hope is not lost you can learn to influence people and mind control them too. Try to stay away from the logic and facts and use a little empathy, unless the person you are talking to is especially into that kind of the thing. Again, emotions are the best way to go when trying to change how a non Geek person thinks. A little bit of numbers and facts might not hurt, but it has to relate to the person in some way that they would care about outside of the straight statistics.
Another thing to remember is that influence and manipulation are pretty similar but manipulation has a darker connotation. When you think of influence, it seems to be good. “Oh that guy is very influential”, “He is a good influence” and so on. But when you think about manipulation is is often seen as a and thing. Like someone is using the other person for their own gain. I thought it would be important to distinguish the two from each other because they are similar on how you go about them but one is frowned upon and the other is not as much.
Overall, influence is powerful tool to have. Appealing to peoples emotions can get them to do things that will be beneficial for you and them possibly. You can do a lot of good with influence, so working on reading people’s emotions and being empathetic is a good place to start.