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Influence: Mastering Life's Most Powerful Skill

Influence: Mastering Life's Most Powerful Skill

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Influence: Mastering Life's Most Powerful Skill

Course No. 5972
Professor Kenneth G. Brown, Ph.D.
The University of Iowa
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Course No. 5972
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  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for names, works, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. The video version is well illustrated with 400 visual elements designed to aid in your understanding of the material. Video formats include images that illustrate body language and facial cues important to communication, portraits, and a wide variety of graphs and diagrams that help place the skills learned in the course into proper context. Many specially created illustrations demonstrate more complex concepts, while on-screen text is used to emphasize key points.
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What Will You Learn?

  • Examine a model for successful influence - and the pitfalls that can result if influence is used incorrectly.
  • Build effective negotiation skills for both work and home.
  • Discover leadership qualities that will help you lead through both major transitions and everyday decisions.

Course Overview

Influence and persuasion aren’t just abstract concepts of interest exclusive to psychologists and sociologists. Rather, they’re a fundamental part of your everyday life. Whether you realize it or not, you’re constantly surrounded by people and groups trying to influence the way you think, act, and feel.

But you don’t have to let influence just happen to you. Instead of merely following the will of others, you can actively take charge of your decisions—and your life—by grasping the science behind how influence works and by strengthening your own skills at influence and persuasion. And whether you’re in the corporate boardroom or at the family dinner table, you’ll find yourself reaping a wealth of rewards when it comes to the myriad ways you interact with other people and groups on a daily basis.

To master the art and craft of influence, the most powerful skill a person in 21st-century society can have, is to

  • vastly increase your chances of achieving your particular goals, both at work and at home;
  • strengthen your ability to persuade supervisors, coworkers, family members, and others that your opinions are the right ones;
  • enhance the effectiveness with which you negotiate, shop, speak to groups, and engage in other activities; and
  • protect yourself from the machinations of con artists and others who would use the tools of influence to your detriment.

Now, in Influence: Mastering Life’s Most Powerful Skill, discover everything you need to tap into the hidden powers of influence and persuasion—and use them to enhance your personal and professional life in ways you never thought possible. Delivered by award-winning Professor Kenneth G. Brown of The University of Iowa, an expert in management and a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, these 12 lectures will teach you in clear and accessible language how and why influence works. Packed with eye-opening scientific and sociological experiments, case studies from fields including business and politics, practical exercises to test your skills, and more, this course will show you how to harness the power of influence at home, at work, at the store, in your social life, and anywhere else you may need it.

Learn the Foundation of How to Influence

Your ability to successfully influence others—including your children, your spouse, or your boss—is rooted in how well you can grasp and use the four fundamental components of any influence attempt. To help you, Professor Brown introduces what he calls the ATTiC model, which represents these four elements.

  • Agents: These are the individuals or groups who are doing the influencing. What makes them so successful? What makes them fail? You’ll see how the seemingly magical ability to win people over involves specific characteristics such as physical appearance, charisma, trustworthiness, and membership in a shared group.
  • Targets: The individual or group you’re hoping to influence is called your target—and some people and groups are more likely to be persuaded (or tricked) than others. One characteristic that may surprise you: age. Studies show that targets who are young adults or older adults are more prone to being easily influenced than others.
  • Tactics: What methods and strategies of influence are more likely to increase your target’s chances of commitment? Professor Brown’s insights into influential tactics provide you with numerous tools, including rational persuasion, which involves putting forth specific ideas for why a particular course of action is the best way forward.
  • Context: Contextual clues—such as scarcity of goods and the power of authority—are shortcuts that our brain uses to make sense of our social world and to make what are generally quite good decisions. You’ll learn which of these psychological processes are under our control and which aren’t.

More than just a helpful acronym, the “ATTiC” model is the perfect metaphor for just how powerful (and often overlooked) these components are. “The four factors are much like the attic of a house,” Professor Brown notes. “It’s always there doing what it does, even when no one thinks about it. In the same way, the factors that make us susceptible to influence are built into our basic psychology.”

Discover Where—And How—Inluence Works

From there, you’ll explore some of the many scientific and real-world applications of influence in your everyday life. With the aid of eye-opening research on psychology and sociology, historical examples from politics and business, and several in-depth case studies, you’ll get solid guidelines and tips for how to become a more influential person—and how to resist influence attempts when it’s in your best interests to do so.

With his vivid teaching style, Professor Brown shows you how influence operates in several areas of life you may or may not have considered, such as these:

  • Impression management, which involves constructing and cultivating your own personal “brand” to strengthen your influential authority at work
  • Sales, where the best tactics to increase your chances of getting a sale (and a better tip) include being genuinely interested in others, remembering names, and, easiest of all, smiling
  • Negotiation, where it’s important to use influence not just to get what you want but to make sure you and your negotiating partner feel satisfied that the results are fair
  • Public speaking, where big business speeches or small family pep talks can benefit from a focus on the positives and a demonstration of good will toward your audience.

You’ll also get an expert’s insights into the ethics surrounding influence, and how you can use these extraordinary tools to responsibly further your goals without becoming Machiavellian.

Practical Applications for a Practical Skill

“Influence is a practical topic,” notes Professor Brown, adding that “you’ll find many opportunities to apply what I present in this course to your everyday routines and interactions.”

To do so, each lecture concludes with a couple of simple exercises and tasks that will help illuminate what you’ve learned about influence and will increase your confidence in using the tools of successful influencers.

  • Next time you’re at a restaurant, learn your server’s name and use it when addressing him or her. Also, make sure to smile. See if these efforts affect the quality of the service you receive.
  • When you enter a negotiation where you hope for mutual agreement, use words like “we” and “us” and see whether it creates a difference in the other party’s approach to the deal.
  • When someone you don’t know tries to gain your confidence, adopt the Russian proverb of “trust but verify” by double-checking his or her story against an additional source.

These and other exercises are just a small part of the overall learning experience you’ll get from Professor Brown, a management expert whose ability to teach to a range of audiences—from college students to corporate professionals to laypeople—has won him a wealth of awards and accolades, including The University of Iowa’s highest teaching honor: the President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence.

His lectures will enlighten you, challenge you, inspire you, and possibly even transform you into a savvier participant in the often overlooked ways that everyday life influences us. With the insights, tools, and tips in Influence: Mastering Life’s Most Powerful Skill, you’ll be able to use influence on behalf of any professional or personal goal, or for any cause that is near and dear to your heart.

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12 lectures
 |  30 minutes each
Year Released: 2013
  • 1
    A Model for Successful Influence
    To strengthen your influential powers, you first have to grasp what makes an influence attempt successful. Professor Brown introduces you to several concepts you’ll return to throughout the lectures, including the possible outcomes of persuasive efforts (conflict, compliance, commitment) and the factors that determine these outcomes (agent, target, tactics, context). x
  • 2
    Characteristics of Influential Agents
    What is it about someone that makes him or her so persuasive? Take a closer look at agents: those people doing the influencing. You’ll learn what characteristics an influential agent has (including beauty, trustworthiness, and charisma) and you’ll see how these characteristics play out in a range of real-world situations. x
  • 3
    The Dark Side of Influence
    Some people use the tools of influence to cheat others. Here, delve into what researchers call the “dark triad” of personality characteristics that lead influential people to exploit others: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. Not only will you understand their motivations—you’ll be able to recognize them before they exploit you. x
  • 4
    Characteristics of Suggestible Targets
    In this lecture, discover what makes some targets more susceptible to influence. Who among us is more likely to be tricked or convinced? What roles do suggestibility, motivation, and even age play in how good of a target we can be? And what can you do to be less susceptible? x
  • 5
    Influence Tactics—Hard and Soft
    Turn to two general tactical methods involved in influencing others, each with its own pros and cons. The first: soft tactics, such as persuading with emotion and offering something in exchange. The second (and more threatening): hard tactics such as making a reference to formal authority or building a coalition. x
  • 6
    How to Make the Most of Soft Tactics
    Soft tactics don’t always work. Find out why by looking at two factors that affect how tactics work: the agent’s power base and political skill. By the end of this illuminating lecture, you’ll also come away with several takeaways that can increase the success rate of your soft influence tactics. x
  • 7
    How Context Shapes Influence
    Explore how contextual cues can shape your attempts to influence others. You’ll focus on three: scarcity, authority, and social proof—all of which can occur naturally or as part of an agent’s tactic for success. You’ll also learn how to use this deeper awareness of context to your advantage. x
  • 8
    Practicing Impression Management
    Discover how to shape the perception others have of you and strengthen your chances of influencing them in the future. Professor Brown guides you through several impression management tactics involving self-promotion and ingratiation, and reveals the practical lessons to be learned from several individuals who’ve successfully managed their personal “brand.” x
  • 9
    Selling and Being Sold
    Sales and service situations are all too frequent in our lives. What characteristics make someone a fantastic salesperson? How can you apply the concepts of influence to get a better experience—and deals—in your sales encounters? For answers, your case study is a purchase many of us find stressful: buying a car. x
  • 10
    Delivering Effective Speeches
    Who doesn’t want to be less nervous and more persuasive when speaking in front of groups? Professor Brown shows you how to do this by drawing on insights from the ancient world (through the classical rhetoricians Aristotle and CIcero) and the modern world (with effective tips from author Dale Carnegie). x
  • 11
    Developing Negotiation Skills
    Head to the negotiating table and master the art of making a successful deal. Here, you’ll examine two core strategies helpful for maneuvering delicate negotiation settings: position-based strategies (which focus on a concrete position to obtain) and principle-based strategies (which seek mutually beneficial solutions through underlying interests). x
  • 12
    Becoming a Transformational Leader
    Conclude this lecture series with a fascinating discussion of leaders and effective leadership. By studying the leadership qualities of people such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, and Interface, Inc. CEO Ray Anderson, you’ll come away with much to inspire you the next time you assume a leadership role. x

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  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
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Audio Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 12 audio lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
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DVD Includes:
  • 12 lectures on 2 DVDs
  • 112-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
CD Includes:
  • 12 lectures on 6 CDs
  • 112-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 112-page course synopsis
  • Photographs
  • Influence activities
  • Real-world scenarios

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Your professor

Kenneth G.  Brown

About Your Professor

Kenneth G. Brown, Ph.D.
The University of Iowa
Dr. Kenneth G. Brown is Professor of Management and Organizations and Henry B. Tippie Research Fellow in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at The University of Iowa. He also serves as Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies in the College of Education and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. Professor Brown earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at...
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Reviews

Rated 3.9 out of 5 by 47 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Loved the emphasis on ethics, very well done! This course starts by building a basic model to help understand influence, and then looks at how to use influence on a personal basis, and how it is used by others in a wide variety of settings. The best part of this course for me was the emphasis on ethics. He encourages only ethical uses of influence, and is very clear that unethical influence is wrong. Period. It's very easy to say "be ethical", but the instructor showed what that means in real life. For example, on the unethical side, he showed how some people might use influence against me, how I can be aware of such tactics, and how to combat such tactics. He made it very clear that those tactics are wrong. On the other side, he showed how I can use influence in a highly ethical way in a lot of different settings to accomplish a lot of good in this world. That part alone was worth the price of the course for me. Ethics are woven through much of the course, and that was very valuable to me. I found it great to learn a few of the ways that influence is used in everything from impression management to retail sales. I found the ending - on how to become a transformational leader - to be one of the best endings I've seen in a course. Overall very well done, I learned a lot, and can highly recommend the course! November 10, 2013
Rated 1 out of 5 by Looking For More Very superficial look at influence. I was expecting to learn something tangible! Topics and key content are not expounded upon. August 24, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by One of the best lecture series I purchased. Succinct and to the point, simple but extremely helpful. August 9, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by Excellent! Very well presented and enjoyed having the information in the included booklet. Great for training too! Thanks! August 6, 2016
  • 2016-08-25 T11:26:11.630-05:00
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