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« Influence Peddling »



Ever have to convince somebody of something? Ever get "blind-sided" by a decision that didn't go your way? Influence Peddling has to do with adjusting your arguments to the personality of the persons you are trying to persuade.

How do people decide? The Miller-Williams Survey interviewed almost 1700 corporate executives to assess their decision-making skills It found they had one of only five "default" decision-making styles: These are called: Followers, Charismatics, Skeptics, Thinkers and Controllers. A survey that large is accurate within +/- 2.9%.


To influence people, adapt your arguments to address "how people decide". Understand how each of these decision-making styles reacts - i.e. what triggers their "default" mechanism - so you can tailor your presentation accordingly.

Hereunder is an at-a-glance chart that lets you determine who's who. It has a brief description of the 5 decision-making styles, some character traits to help you spot who these people, suggestions on how to influence them and buzz words you should use to reach their inside. Have fun.

The Miller-Williams Survey:

(36% of survey)


(25% of survey )


(19% of survey )


(11 % of survey)


(9% of survey )

Followers tend to be risk-averse. They make decisions based on how they made them in the past.or how people they admire make them.
Charismatics are easily enthused. They are intrigued by new ideas, but have learned to make their decisions based on balanced fact, not just emotion.
Skeptics tend to be highly suspicious of any facts presented. They dislike information that challenges their worldview and often have an aggressive and disagreeable style. They are often described as "take charge" types.
Thinkers can be the toughest people to pursuade. They are impressed by good arguments supported by facts. They tend to have a strong aversion to risk and can be slow to arrive at a concrete decision.
Controllers hate uncertainty and ambiguity. They tend to focus on the pure facts and the analytics of an argument and they'll fight if they risk being seen in a bad light or losing power.
Character traits:
Responsible; Cautious; Brand-name driven; Bargain-conscious
Enthusiastic; Talkative; Captivating; Dominant;
Demanding; Disruptive; Disagreeable; Rebellious;
Cerebral; Intelligent; Logical; Academic;
Unemotional; Sensible; Analytical; Accurate; Detail oriented;
How to influence:
Followers want to be sure they are making the right decisions - specifically that others have succeeded in similar situatuions. To deal with them, focus on proven methods. References and testimonials from important people will also go a long way in pursuading them.
Charismatics sell themselves. To influence them, resist the urge to join in their enthusiasm. Focus on facts that get results. Make simple and straightforward arguments and use visual aids to stress features and benefits.
Skeptics need to trust. Get an endorsement from someone they do have confidence in. You'll need as much credibility as you can garner to influence them so if you haven't developed your own clout, arrange for respected allies to support your position during any meeting with them.
Thinkers need as much information as possible so get the data ready. They want to understand every angle before committing themselves so arm yourself with research, market surveys, cost-benefit analyses and all.
Controllers want facts and details - but only as presented by "experts". Your arguments have to be structured and credible but don't be too aggressive presenting your arguments. Better you give them the facts and let them convince themselves.
Buzz words:
Innovative; Practical; Expertise; Previous; Same as; Similar to;
Results; Proven; Actions; Show; Watch; Easy; Focused; Clear;
Feel; Grasp; Power; Action; Suspect; Trust; Demand; Disrupt;
Quality; Numbers; Plan Intelligent; Academic; Think; Proof; Expert;
Details; Facts; Reason; Logic; Power; Ability; Just do it; Control;

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