As an influence consultant, my job is to assist people in overcoming their influence challenges. At Applied Influence Group, we apply a unique methodology developed from our collective experiences as specialist intelligence professionals. However, to this day I am still relatively shocked when I realise that I have been influenced to change my actions or behaviour. For those that read the following article and know me, I apologise if I shock you with my opinions.
In recent years, I have been influenced by an individual who I have in the past despised; a relationship that turned so sour I once shouted at him in public, something I very rarely do. The individual in question is non-other than Gary Neville. My indiscretion was luckily masked by 45,000 other Liverpool fans, but since that day at Anfield I have gone through somewhat of a transformation regarding my assessment of Gary Neville. It came to a head recently whereby I found myself defending him in public, at which point, I realised he had influenced my opinion of him, to the extent where I can’t even remember why I despised him so much. So how has he done this without ever having met me?
Well, in my opinion it’s down to one thing, his good punditry. Now I know that some of you will debate his credibility as a pundit, in fact Jurgen Klopp has been quite vocal (and rather cutting / hilarious) about his thoughts on Gary Neville’s pedigree as a pundit. But for me, his humility and straight talking insights mark him out as an authority on the game. And, I realised it is the authority I which I hold him as a pundit which had influenced my opinion and changed my behaviour (i.e. defending him in public).
The influence principle of authority is well recognised in society. In fact, all societies try to condition their members from birth, to be obedient to people in positions of authority. This is a fundamental requirement for larger groups to avoid chaos, anarchy and disorder and is one of the mechanisms that allowed humans to evolve effectively. Therefore, a person’s position in society - status, power or in the case of Gary Neville and me, specialist knowledge - can all be used to successfully influence individuals to change their behaviours.
The insight here is obvious; credible authority is a powerful weapon when It comes to influence, so no matter how poor the relationship, if you have a level of credible authority you may still be able to have the impact you require.
Authority doesn’t come from the loudest voice but the wisest. J R Morales