The Power of Influence

August 1st, 2019 | Leadership
The Power of Influence

Note from Bob:  I was recently privileged to be Mark P. Fisher’s Guest for two episodes on his Inspiring Growth Podcast:

Click “HERE” to listen to Part 1: How CURIOSITY Will Improve Your Leadership and Revenues (with Bob Tiede)

Click “HERE” to listen to Part 2: How CURIOSITY Will Improve Your Leadership and Revenues (with Bob Tiede)

Now please don’t miss Professor Ian Cooper’s terrific “The Power of Influence” Guest Post below:

Excerpted from Chapter 2 of “Just Ask the Right Questions to Get What You Want” by Ian Cooper

There is a great danger of me getting too scientific in this section.  I could spend the next hundred pages pretending to write an academic and theoretical textbook, encapsulating advanced linguistic patters and explaining the paradoxical and habitual expectations of the unconscious mind, and its relationship with the philosophy of quantum primary negative language injections… or I could just keep it simple, short and practical!  Which would you prefer?

Let me be even more blunt.  You don’t need to understand why these techniques work.  The purpose of this book  is not to make you smarter, but more successful.  There is, however just one overriding principle you do need to understand.  I’ll sum it up in one word:


You need to know that each technique is simply geared not towards you and what you want but on what to say and how to say it or how to behave so that it influences the other person to give the response you are after. Essentially, you are about to become an ‘influence guru’! With this in mind the only bit of theory you need to know is that:

Questions exert a greater level of influence than anything else. Ask someone a question and it forces them to focus on that issue. Wherever possible don’t ‘tell’, ‘ask’!

Tell somebody something and the mind will accept it, ignore it or not even hear it! Ask them about the same thing and the brain is literally compelled to process the question and search for an answer and the answer they come up with will influence them to feel, behave or respond in a specific way.

Let me tell you about a simple experiment I did at a recent live seminar of mine to prove the point.

I noticed as I arrived at the venue that the air conditioning unit had a gentle background hum. As I began my morning seminar I told the delegates in a very matter or fact way.

“Sorry about the bit of noise from the air conditioning unit. Now today we are going to talk about ……”, and I got straight into my material. Nobody took a blind bit of notice of the gentle hum of the noise I had mentioned.

Later that day in the afternoon session with a different group of delegates I didn’t mention or tell them about the noise at all until about half way through. This time however I asked them a question about it. I paused and then said:

“I’m sorry to hold things up but is the noise from the air conditioning unit distracting anyone?” I paused again.

Around the room people started to process the question, they listened. All of a sudden there was a deathly silence and sure enough all you could hear was the hum of the air conditioning unit! I had complaints afterwards that asking this had put people off.

“I hadn’t heard the darn thing till you asked that question. Once you had asked it I couldn’t hear anything else?” commented one delegate!

I got the same response from several others.

Wicked person that I was, by raising the issue as a question I had brought the hum to everyone’s attention and made them realize just how annoying it was.  Whilst it irritated some of my delegates, the experiment did show how much power and influence a question can have, as opposed to simply telling people things.

By the way … where are you reading this book? If you’re in bed is the ‘ticktock’ from the clock bothering you? If you are at home during the day, is the traffic noise from outside a distraction?

See what I mean ….?! Sorry!

Ian Cooper


Professor Ian Cooper has been described as a ‘serial achiever’, London based, he is an international author of 15 books with in 55 countries and 13 languages, including the successful and influential ‘Financial Times Guide To Business Development’, recently shortlisted for the best management / business book of the year award. In addition to advising hundreds of businesses and organizations of all sizes for over 30 years, Ian is also a successful entrepreneur who has created and run a number of successful businesses. With approximately 1000 professional speaking engagements Ian has inspired thousands of businesses and individuals with his light and engaging style to improve their own performance, get better results and make things happen.  You can connect with Ian on his website.


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