Wouldn’t it be great to be as well thought of as Billy Graham? As the Press reported his passing this week, I didn’t hear a single bad word about him. Even those who didn’t subscribe to his spiritual beliefs, nevertheless drew attention to his integrity.
Billy Graham was a public figure who had harnessed the power to influence with integrity.
The phrase, “Influencing with Integrity,” was made famous by Genie Laborde’s book on using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in an ethical manner. NLP is my go-to set of skills to understand how to communicate more effectively. Whilst history and commerce may be filled with examples of those who have used psychological manipulation for selfish ends, there are just as many examples, day-to-day, where we influence one another without manipulation, sharing this mysterious force of integrity.
The Energy Within Integrity
I wonder if there is a force within integrity. My suggestion to you is that people were influenced by Billy’s energy – his enthusiasm – far more than by his integrity. His integrity was a wrapper around this energy, making certain that it wasn’t compromised by any sense of manipulation or of there being any hidden agenda. If you’ll agree with me on this, I’ve got some very exciting news for you!
You, too, can harness the power to influence with integrity!
Over the years, I’ve met some wonderful people who have supported me on my journey, as a result of being influenced by some event we’ve shared. This was often because of a seminar I had hosted. These lovely folks went on to become good friends, and, in many cases blessed me far above and beyond anything my work ‘deserved’. For this, I am profoundly grateful… and, frankly, a little surprised!
Why is it that some people are just so generous to us?
I believe this is because of our energy. I am enthusiastic, I’ll freely admit that! My desire has always been to deliver content that I’ve found personally transformational – and I’m always excited about that this content can do to make people’s lives richer. This is true whether or not I’ve been paid for this contribution. There’s no hidden agenda. And, as a result, I seem to have attracted some amazing people into my life. I’m no saint like Billy Graham, but I genuinely love people and the work I share with them. This is the secret that works:
Do what you love
Deliver what you love to those you love
Make it obvious to everyone that you love it and you love them too
Be constantly grateful for what happens as a result!
Upping Your Influence
For this article to be of greater value to you, I’m going to invite you to share, or at least ‘try-on’ a belief.
That belief is that people buy your energy both in business & in relationships.
My skills and the content of my seminars have shifted (and hopefully grown) over the last 33 years! The common denominator, though, has been the energy I express with my enthusiasm for the people I work with, the subjects I teach, and the services I deliver.
If it is true that people make a commitment to you based on your energy, it makes sense to make sure you’re giving off the right energy at the right level – just as Billy Graham’s passion ignited the interest of the multitudes who attended his rallies. At the close of each rally, they may have agreed to disagree with the content, but all parties were agreed on one thing: Billy believed in what he was sharing with 100% certainty, and 100% passion.
You can see his passion in the picture I’ve used. (Credit: By Warren K. Leffler – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppmsc.03261.) Notice his clenched fist. This is not the fist of violence, but the fist of strength of conviction.
What behaviour would you associate with an energetic delivery? How would you know that someone was excited and enthusiastic about what they do? Model this, and you too will come across with passion.
How then can we turn up our own energy – and do this with integrity?
Here’s a list of ‘adjustments’ you may like to consider before you share your passion at the next networking event you go to. You could imagine these like the adjustments you have on the remote control for your audio-visual equipment. Volume, speed, tone, pause, brightness, colour – all these can make a difference to the results you get, and the experience other people gain when they interact with you.
- Volume matters – varying your volume can affect the impact you have – and this doesn’t necessarily mean that louder is better. Passion is frequently associated with louder delivery, and yet authority can often be associated with a quieter, more deliberate pace.
- Pacing, therefore, has an impact too. Would the slow, measured delivery of a Margaret Thatcher work for you, or would the excited, rapid style of Tony Robbins suit the energy level of your message better? Would your target audience be energised or turned off if you were too excited? Speed is usually associated with excitement – it’s hardwired into our physiology. If your offer is exciting, I would say that speed matters!
- Rapport. This is a fascinating foundation for influencing with integrity. For example, if you haven’t taken time to build trust with your audience, an excited delivery can, bizarrely, be a total turn-off for them! I’ve been using ‘pacing’ in the literal sense of the speed of your vocal delivery, but NLP also uses ‘pacing’ in a psychological sense of joining someone in their model of how the world should be at that moment in time. I’ve met some really animated accountants in my time, but, generally speaking, they are more often cautious and measured when gathered together as a group. If I’m seeking to influence accountants or lawyers, I may need to curb my enthusiasm for a while until that bridge of trust has been crossed. When I’ve respected the pace they want to go at, I can then safely lead them to and through a faster, more animated presentation – if that would then give them energy they’d appreciate.
- Pause. One of the easiest ways to take control of your vocal delivery is to pause for thought. When we are not feeling as confident as we could be, we will often pick up the pace, raise our pitch, and forget to breathe. The control is in the breath, so take a breath – slow down if that helps – and pace yourself with pauses. This is especially effective if the pause is combined with what I’d call, “inclusive-eye-contact” – where you look around the audience and engage eye-to-eye, soul-to-soul. When used skilfully, this often leads to people in a group feeling the message was just for them.
- Pitch your pitch! A really interesting adjustment for you to experiment with is the pitch of your message – can you lower your pitch? If our pitch is too high, some people find this hard to take seriously.
- Tone – in the sense of treble and bass, and this is related to pitch. Can you add more warmth to your tone?
- Use your eyebrows! I love watching adults getting animated when they seek to get children enthused about a subject. The eyes-wide-open expression of delight is another code that our unconscious minds understand well. There are so many expressions you can make with your face that can convey positive energy beyond any need for words.
- Posture. Our mental and even intellectual position is most definitely influenced by our physical posture. Just remember a time when you were certain about something – that certainty was clear for all to see by the way you used your body. Contrast this with those times when you weren’t so sure – the body tells the story even when people can’t hear your words. Spend some time getting in touch with how you position your body when you are certain – absolutely sure – about yourself and your subject. Adopting this position will give both you and your audience confidence that you believe in what you’re saying.
Call To Action!
How about turning your energy up a bit for the next network meeting? Are you up for that? You don’t have to turn it all the way up to 11, but if you quantify your normal level of enthusiasm, add 2 on top! I would say, again as a generalisation, that the energy around a table when networking averages a 6. What would it take for you to turn your energy up to 8 for the next meeting?
As long as you’re remaining true to yourself, and your intention is to maintain rapport out of a genuine interest in adding value to the lives and businesses of those you network with, all you’ll be doing is being you more emphatically!
And what the world needs now is for you to show up and shine, to be the best you that you can be!
Shine on, you crazy diamond!
Looking for somewhere local to shine?
If you can get to Bournemouth this Thursday, a great place to shine is at The Boardroom Network. We’ll be meeting at the Hallmark Hotel, Bournemouth, between 7am and 9am. If you’d like to come, and haven’t been before, send me a message and we’ll make the magic happen.
Originally published here