Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Review - "Instant Influence"

I recently listened to Dr. Michael Pantalon's book Instant Influence. In this book, Pantalon synthesizes research that he and others have done on how to influence others by helping them find motivation to make some kind of change in their life. He presents a series of questions that have proven to create motivation in others and help them create their own motivation to make change in their lives.

According to Pantalon, when you are working to motivate another individual, you must adhere to a few key principles:
  • Affirm the individual's free choice, their autonomy to choose their own actions. This affirmation must be sincere.
  • Do not tell the individual to change. Do not tell them why or how to change - have him or her generate personal reasons and ways to change.
  • Have sincere care for the individual, have a true desire to help the individual move forward.

Pantalon recommends asking the individual 6 Questions, which are designed to help the individual determine their own motivation for doing a specific thing. After identifying a change that you believe the individual should make to improve their life, ask the following questions:
  • Why might you change?
  • How ready are you to change on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • Why didn't you pick a lower number?
  • Imagine you have changed. What would the positive outcomes be?
  • Why are those outcomes important to you?
  • Whats the next step, if any?
The goal of these questions is to help the individual determine his or her own internal motivation for doing the behavior in discussion. I believe that the internal motivation is much more powerful than any outside motivation, and these questions appear to help an individual tap in to that internal motivation.

Pantalon also recommends using these questions to help motivate oneself into some kind of action or change in your own life. I have personally used these strategies on myself since reading the text and find that it truly does provide a surprising sense of internal motivation and excitement about making changes that seem important but that are difficult to start doing.

As a scholar, I prefer books that appear to be based on sound research and experience, and Pantalon references his own research, the research of others, and his experiences using the system he promotes. I found the book easy to follow and found the many examples very helpful in aiding me to understand how the 6 Questions can be applied.

Great, useful work.

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