The Four Pillars of Influence, Where EPIC Begins!
Leadership is Influence. Always has been. Always will be.”
To be a leader in your market you must be an influencer. To be a memorable, effective business communicator, you must be an influencer. To be an influential communicator you will need to be engaging, persuasive, impacting and compelling.
In this blog post I want to introduce you to these four foundational elements which we describe as the Four Pillars of Influence.
What makes a presenter Engaging?
An engaging presenter presents with confidence and enthusiasm. They address the audience from a position of knowing what they have to say, and how they say it. The ‘what’ and ‘how’ are in complete congruence. This combination of confidence, enthusiasm and authenticity forms the bond of trust between the presenter and the audience. The audience relaxes and opens their attention, emotions and intellect because they trust this presenter.
- Confidence: Knowing what to do and how to do it is the essence of confidence. As a communicator when you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, you stand with confidence.
- Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm attracts! When adrenalin is channeled through the twin funnels of purpose and clarity it transforms into enthusiasm… and this engages the audience at an emotional level.
- Authentic: Authenticity comes from the congruence of words and body language. What you say and how you say it send the invisible message to your audience, “I am the real deal. I am authentic.”
- Trustworthy: When an audience trusts you with their attention, because of your confidence, enthusiasm and authenticity, then you have succeeded in establishing the first pillar of influence – Engagement.
What makes a presenter Persuasive?
A persuasive presenter understands the ‘problem, pain and confusion’ issues facing the audience and puts them into context by using relevant support (stories, charts, illustrations, anecdotes) to inspire urgent action.
- Understanding: The opening to persuasion is understanding the problems facing the audience. If you can describe another person’s problem and their pain better than they can describe it, they’ll automatically assume you must have the answer to their problem and want you to tell them about it.
- Context: Context makes content relevant and relevant content is persuasive. Context tunes the message to the audience’s reality and establishes a foundation for action. Absence of context means absence of ‘why’. Use support tools to create context.
- Urgency: The heart of persuasion is urgency. Do the right thing, and do it now, is the essence of persuasion and this is done by establishing why act now, what happens when this action takes place and what happens when no action takes place.
- Ownership: Ownership of outcomes is the final element in Persuasion. Ownership leads to acceptance of responsibility for action and completion. Ownership increases with the level of understanding, context and urgency.
What makes a presenter Impacting?
A presenter of impact has shaped their content to fit their audience. The message has been vetted, clear of unnecessary verbiage. They are in control of their content and they are skilled in comfortable, deliberate and authentic delivery of their message.
- Content: Content that is focused, relevant and meaningful is the first step in creating impact. Focused content is free of unnecessary verbiage. Relevant content is connected to the emotional and logical decision making drivers of the audience. Meaningful content connects to the value system of the audience and provides the defendable rationale for taking action.
- Simplicity: A simple message clearly articulated is much more impacting than one that seeks to impress with knowledge and complexity. Simplicity makes it easier and faster for the audience to evaluate any ‘action’ you are asking them to make. Present complex ideas simply and watch your audience respond with positive expectation as you move them into an ‘a-ha’, which is the sign you have made an impact.
- Control: Control breeds confidence. When a presenter comes from a position of knowing what they want to say (relevant content) and how they want to say it (authoritative delivery), the audience experiences a surge of belief and trust. Belief and trust are the twin towers of Impact. Control is the essential foundation that allows the audience to accept your message and move forward to the desired outcome.
- Delivery: Bringing your content before your audience with simplicity and control requires being able to stand, or sit, with relaxed, disciplined authority. 93% of your impact as a speaker is found in the non-verbal elements of your presentation: how you stand or sit, how you use your hands, the pace and inflections of your voice and how you engage your audience with your eyes.
What makes a presenter Compelling?
A compelling presenter arouses curiosity, intrigue and fascination and this combination is what compels the audience to want more, to listen for more. When a presenter gives the audience content that is relevant, creative, attractive and full of value based ideas and ‘how-to-do’ content – more than what is expected – they often find themselves subconsciously engaging at an emotional and logical level.
- Curiosity: One of the strongest of human drivers is fascination. When a fascinating message is brought before an audience they become curious to hear and see results, to see how it works for them, or against them. Fascination cannot be faked.
- Generosity: Sharing information openly, honestly, and generously is the hallmark of a self-confident professional. The more relevant and meaningful the value presented, the more the audience connects and the more they connect the more they will bond with the presenter and experience ‘unexpected value’, the platinum lining of an EPIC presenter.
- Creativity: Creative thinking is something we are born with, but learn to forget. Buried under structures and concepts, our inner creativity is imprisoned. When the presenter ‘breaks through’ the clutter of ‘normalized’ presenter speak and thinking, they compel the audience to open their eyes to a new idea, point of view, value proposition or reason for acting.
- Attractive: An attractive presentation compels the audience to place their attention in your hands. An unattractive presentation causes the audience to withhold their attention. Images attract more than words. A compelling presentation will always open the door of fascination with strong imagery and creativity in communicating the message.