Creating content is just one of the ways we can influence but in my opinion it is a crucial one. I know for certain it can make the difference between success and failure. It is just one of the tools we use but goals are often achieved by making small steps not with one giant leap but small steps.
Last week Tuesday I was fortunate enough to attend an event organised by our friends at Applied Influence Group. One of the speakers was Matt Parker (Director of Performance Innovation at the English Institute of Sport). You may have heard of him. Matt was Sports Scientist to Sir Bradley Wiggins and famously Head of 'Marginal Gains' at British cycling where he helped the British team win a haul of Olympic medals in Beijing. He went on to work with the England rugby team and now works with elite athletes at EIS.
On Tuesday night he shared this insight: When influencing you must start with emotion and then bring in logic.
The first thing he did with the British Cycling team was show them the great Al Pacino 'inch by inch' scene from the movie Any Given Sunday (see below). Only then did he start working with them on discovering every single way they could gain any fraction of a second on the track.
When faced with 30 professional rugby players Matt said his first task was to tell them a story so inspirational it made them cry. Again, only then could they get to work on speed, tactics and technique.
Matt said nearly everything he advises is common sense - emotion trumps logic. As I think about influence and online content Matt's talk struck a chord with me. Creating content, sharing your insights online is just one of the influencing tools we have, but it provides a very useful way to build an emotional link with those we'd like to work with or continue to work with. When we write we remind people about us the people behind the company, behind the firm, the corporate statement, the logo. We can share our passions and our experience in an authentic fashion.
Emotion first, logic second. Marginal gains. Use all the tools we have.
As Al Pacino says 'Go fight for that inch... because we know when we add all those inches thats going to make the ****ing difference between winning and losing'
Speak to the emotions first and logic second Key Stakeholder Change leads to uncertainty and uncertainty leads to stronger emotional responses. Some people may be happy and optimistic about the change while others may be fearful of what it may bring. Matt spoke about how getting emotional buy-in to change was key and that it was important to do this before talking logic, data or concrete processes. Generating the right emotional buy in is key but particularly difficult to do in large organisations and even more so if the stakeholder change has taken place at a difficult time for the organisation.