12From battlefield to boardroom:the art of social media influence

How persuasive a communicator do you think you are? Could you convince a CEO to break their own bad news? Tweet your way out of a crisis? Blog your way back from the organisational brink?

These skills are more important than you realise, because as the communications landscape has evolved, unless you’re communicating with influence on networks where people are tuning in, you might as well be sending Morse code into outer space.

And yet the words influence, persuasion and propaganda have developed sinister connotations over time.

I understand why, but what I also see is the mainstream adoption of a perception toward these words that has been manufactured, largely by the news media and political fraternities, for the global information news cycle.

Think about it. Why is it that when you see these words associated with a person, a movement or a government you become sceptical of their motives?

By and large it’s because these words have been deliberately used in association with individuals or regimes that provoke strong feelings of fear.

But being an effective influencer or persuader doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a raging, power-hungry fruit-loop with aspirations of world domination. There are myriad people who are effective influencers doing wonderfully positive and inspiring things.

If Steve Jobs wasn’t an expert influencer, Apple Inc. would never have made it outside his father’s garage. If Mark Zuckerberg ...

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