Thought Leadership Studio Podcast Episodes:
6 Times for Organized Influence
Episode 31 - Intentionally structure communication to move people to your point of view. Without attention to a structure of influence, communication may be eloquent but still fall short of its intended impact
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What this episode will do for you
- Keep a sharper eye out for opportunities to build organized influence.
- Better understand what situations truly call for building a structure of positive persuasion.
- Gain deeper insight into the difference between the content and the structure of communication.
- Know how to use the structure of language in order to have an impact on higher level thinking like belief systems..
When and How to Organize Your Influence?In today's fast-paced world, there are countless situations that call for organized influence - from introducing new products and services to the marketplace, to promoting a commodity, to communicating a differing point of view or philosophy. And it can be difficult to know where to start or how to make the most impact.
That's why I'm here to guide you through the process of building organized influence. We'll be discussing the different situations that call for it and sharing a proven model for organizing your communication. So, whether you're a business leader, a marketer, or just someone looking to make a real impact in the world, you won't want to miss a single episode of this podcast. Let's get started and master the art of influence together!
Organized influence is about intentionally structuring communication so that it moves people to your point of view as effectively and ethically as possible. Without attention to a structure of influence, communication may be eloquent but still fall short of its intended impact - whether that is building a following around a new idea or codified set of ideas, dominating a market segment, or having measurable impact with positive social change.
For example, when introducing a new invention to the market, it is important to teach the audience about the benefits and features of the innovation. This is especially true if the product or service is disruptive to the current market. Without an organized approach to influence, you may be vulnerable to counter-arguments that defend the old way of thinking or the outdated benefits of the competition.
Another situation where organized influence is necessary is when promoting a commodity product or service and you need to differentiate yourself through communication. Additionally, if you have a point of view or philosophy that differs from the mainstream narrative, you will need to organize your influence in order to build an audience for your ideas.
Organizing influence builds on:
You can consider the structure part of communication like a "back-story". I did a whole podcast on The Power of the Back Story, in fact, and I recommend it if you haven't listened to it and absorbed its message already. It is linked on the podcast episode page on TLS.com so be sure to follow the link from the episode description if you are listening on an app.
- The ability to separate the structure of communication from its content.
- Planning large-scale influence in advance, like in a strategic marketing or PR campaign.
Since Organized Influence is such an all-encompassing topic, I am listing some relevant blog post and prior podcast episodes that this builds on there as well but, for those new to the podcast, let me give you a brief summary of each.
In summary, organized influence is about having a plan for how to shape the way your audience thinks and behaves, including how you present your ideas, use language patterns, and preemptively overcome objections, rather than just responding to them. It is not just about articulating your message rationally, but also about using language that has a subconscious impact and persuades on an emotional level. Strong leadership includes being thorough in building support for your communication and taking a systems view of communication to reveal its magnetic attraction and high impact.
What situations benefit from an organized model of influence? An organized model of influence can be beneficial in a variety of situations, such as:
- Introducing a new product or service to the marketplace.
- Promoting a commodity product or service.
- Communicating a differing point of view or philosophy.
- Motivating a team.
- Science and Research.
1. Introducing a new product or service to the marketplace
When introducing an innovation, it is important to educate the audience, and not about the features and benefits of the product and how it is different from the competition, but what that means to them and how to change their thinking to extract the maximum benefits from it. Obviously, an organized model of influence can help create a clear message that effectively communicates the value of the product. But it is especially important when getting the most out of means breaking old thinking habits.
Consider the first synthesizer guitars and how they enabled emulating many different instruments in part by enabling guitars to interface with computer music composition programs.
2. Promoting a commodity product or service
When promoting a commodity product or service, it can be difficult to stand out from the competition. An organized model of influence can be used to differentiate the product or service through adding value with innovative communication and relationship building with prospects.
For example, in the Leadership Brain Scan interview process with clients, we ask questions that unpack potential thought leadership positions based on service and communication with questions like "How can we package and codify your proprietary service program for customers? Your proprietary buying experience? Your special relationship with customers?
3. Communicating a differing point of view or philosophy
If a leader or organization has a point of view or philosophy that differs from the dominant paradigm, an organized model of influence can be used to build an audience and promote the alternative perspective.
In the recent episode How to Pick and Win Your Battles of Ideas we discussed how sometimes high-impact opportunities for thought leadership also come with high friction in the form of organized opposition that might be stakeholders in the old way of thinking or different benefits of disrupted products or services. If you've got such a battle on your hands, the need for thoroughly organizing your influence so you have a ultra-clear path to clearly beneficial new thinking that is well supported by persuasive talking points is obviously extremely important.
4. Motivating a team
Whether in sports or business, motivating a team requires bringing team members to a shared understanding of the mission and vision, and getting them engaged and invested in the success of the organization. An organized model of influence can be used to achieve this goal.
A high performing team is an aligned team who might differ in their opinion of how to get things done but are together in higher level thinking like values and beliefs. Organized influence is helpful for communicating on these levels to bring about a unified mission and shared values and beliefs.
5. Sales and Marketing
An organized model of influence can be used in sales and marketing to create or lead and dominate market niches..
Using Organized Influence in the sales and marketing context can include:
- Resonating with higher values discovered in market listening (like the research we do using language patterns from public, natural conversations online)that competing products or services miss.
- Anticipating and preemptively overcoming potential objections in a way that they don't even come up.
- Creating a Thought Leadership Position that compels an audience to revere the unique attributes that only your product or service has.
- Building an audience around empowering communication that leads them to get more value out of what you sell.
6. Science and Research
When trying to communicate a new scientific discovery to both a professional audience and the public at large, an organized model of influence can be used to highlight the importance of the discovery and position it within the field.
Scientists can effectively communicate to persuade an audience about the importance of new findings by using a structured approach to influence. This includes understanding the audience's current baseline position and values, having a clear and compelling message that positions the new findings in a way that is relevant to the audience, and using persuasive language that appeals both rationally and emotionally.
A Thought Leadership Model can be an effective tool to help scientists organize their message and communicate it effectively. This includes identifying the audience's baseline position, creating a clear thought leadership position and path that positions the new findings as important and valuable, and providing supporting evidence and arguments that undermine the old thinking and support the new findings.
Additionally, creating a back-story and narrative that surrounds the new findings, and this extends to making the best use of visual aids to make the information more accessible, and various communication channels that reach a wider audience. Scientists can also use such a model to make best use of their networks to help disseminate the information, including empowering media and public communication people in their roles with the general public.
Summary - The "Front-Story" is supported by the "Back-Story"
Communicating effectively can be compared to running a successful restaurant. The content of your communication is like the dishes on the menu, it's what your audience will be drawn to, highlighted by the conscious-level, rational presentation taking the role of the "front of the house" staff. Just like a menu that is designed to appeal to the target audience, your message should be crafted to resonate with the values and needs of your audience.
But, just like the "back of the house" staff - the managers, chefs and cooks - in a well-run kitchen, it's the well-structured back-story that is provided in organized influence that will ensure that your message has the intended subconscious impact.
The front of the house and back of the house staff are both essential to the success of a restaurant, similarly, both the content of your communication and the structure of your language and how you package it all together are essential to the success of your message.
One example of a model for organized influence is the Thaut Process of Strategic Thought Leadership. Organized influence is necessary in situations where there is a lot at stake, when you need to attract attention, when there is resistance to change due to an opposing mindset, when you want people to take action, and when you are asking for an exchange of resources like money.
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