Chapter 4Expressive InfluenceSending Ideas and Generating Energy

Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Purpose of Expressive Influence

Expressive influence sends your ideas and energy out to others. Many people think of influence as primarily an expressive activity—one in which they're continually sending ideas and information toward others. In fact, effective influence requires a balance of expressive and receptive activity, as does any form of communication.

Too many people overuse or misuse expressive influence. On the one hand, you've probably been in meetings where long-windedness, repetitiveness, a sleep-inducing slide presentation, and/or an excruciating level of detail caused you to leave the meeting mentally or physically without absorbing or being influenced by a single idea. There was probably little or no opportunity to ask a question or make a comment that might have sparked a productive discussion. Virtual attendees were ignored. Often, the speaker involved in such a meeting is unaware of his or her impact (or lack of it) because he or she is focused internally on what to say next, rather than attending to whether or not the current words are having an impact.

On the other hand, you may have had the good fortune to listen to someone who stimulated your thinking with an exciting idea, changed your mind through an excellent argument, made you an offer you didn't want to refuse, or inspired you to believe that you could ...

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