Influencing those who influence you


  1. Offer all the information that you have about a given scenario or issue to those you want to influence and be willing to adjust your point of view and map of the world.
  2. Perception is projection.
  3. Use the Question – Situation – Complication – Answer technique for written communications.

Sources:From Dianne Lowther; Harvard Business School Memo; RAF; Minto Principal.

There is a presupposition of NLP that tells us that ‘people always make the best choice based on the information available’. So to enable other people to see how right your plan is, you have to give them access to the same information as you.

To put it simply, you have to manage the available information so that whoever looks at it, the best choice indicated by the facts, is the one you thought of! If you are prepared to line up all of your information that points in the direction of your view of the Right Thing, you can also invite your colleagues to add to that information. They can contribute what they know, what they believe and what they think. Then, you make a collective decision based on ALL the data, not just one person’s. This way, you avoid arguments, you’re not manipulating anyone and the decisions made are the result of real collaboration.

Provided you’re willing to adjust your point of view, this is a great way to persuade people to a joint decision.

I think this may be the basis of the Harvard Business Review Memo Model.

To influence your boss then you need him to switch, for just a small window of opportunity from Internally Referenced to Externally Referenced! In addition if you can combine this with a knowledge of his Convincer Strategy you may increase your chances. Remember there are two  elements to a convincer strategy, one relates to the way the information is presented (VAK), the other is the time factor and number of times he needs to receive the massage.

Royal Air force:

  1. Brief
  2. Communications – two way plan.
  3. Backup plan – what if stuff goes wrong.
  4. Debrief

I like the reminder that stuff does go wrong, combined with an agreement about communications. This should also be referenced to their personal preference for VAK. In a group situation cover all VAK bases.


Remember people don’t get top jobs unless they are actually pretty smart at making decisions and figuring out who to consult and who not to consult. So make yourself a trusted source of good quality information and your time will come.

 Maps and perception is projection

” in any human experience there’s more than one way of experiencing what goes on. We live in our own vision of reality not some kind of objective single point reality!”

” ….. if what you believe about other people becomes your experience and you are not getting what you want then it may be time to take stock about what you believe about other people and change where required”

Fruitbat 1957 – 2013 and still going strong!

Written influence and information

Holly Weeks  “business readers are content driven, time pressed and searching for solutions”

  1. Question – this can be implied or spelt out with as much attention grabbing as required.
  2. Situation – a quick factual sketch that serves to focus the direction of the reader.
  3. Complication – why you are writing the report or memo, the issue that has arisen.
  4. The answer – your response to the question and your solution to the complication.

Content should be “Concise” which means as tight as possible and complete. Start your case for the solution by drawing out the pyramid of the answer. Complete the cascade from any angle.The story that you tell should be from Top Down as in the diagram – click to see a larger image.