Sharing the Love

Interesting title and a really useful influencing technique. It works by associating yourself with someone else who already has something about them that you would like to “borrow”.

In 1997, in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s tragic death, the Royal Family’s reputation amongst the British public was at an all-time low. Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, had enormous popularity having just won a landslide election earlier in the year.

He decided to help Prince Charles by “lending” him his popularity. In a TV interview shortly after the accident, he was clearly seen associating with Prince Charles’ mannerisms.  Touching his cuff several times, standing like Prince Charles and generally mimicking him. It worked. The public associated Tony’s popularity with Charles and their fondness for our prince heightened from that moment.

Last year, I found myself in China, running a week long sales conference for salespeople. The conference closed on the Friday afternoon and we enjoyed the China President of the company delivering a speech. He was excellent, the audience clearly loved him. I was due up next to make a farewell speech.

So I associated myself with the President. Why not, no-one knew my techniques. I stood in the exact place as the President, used a hand microphone which he used, where normally I would use a lapel mike. I mirrored his gestures and the manner in which he stood and smiled more because he did.

My farewell speech went down well, maybe because the audience associated me with their President.

You can try this too. It’s about influencing subtly, elegantly and successfully.