Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut is an astounding look into the research of what makes people influential.
From things you cannot help (did you know African American men with “baby face” characteristics tend to be more successful in business than those with less ‘threatening' features) to things you can (posture, adopting open positions) this book is full of research that will befuddle and interest you.
“Strength and warmth are the principal criteria on which all our social judgements hinge.” (page xi)
I've shared and read some of the pages to my class because most students are sadly unaware of the impact of their body language, stance, and the “vibes” they give off and that, with practice, those things can be changed.
Who Would benefit from reading “Compelling People”
I recommend this book for those who seriously want to improve their influence or who get feedback that they give off the wrong kind of “vibes.” There are many people who are very competent who have a “perception” problem — this is a game changer for those people.
I also recommend this book to other teachers like me who want examples and stories to use with students about how body language makes a big difference and for college students preparing to enter the business world. For me, since John T. Molloy's “Dress for Success” this is a pivotal book for me.
The caveats when reading Compelling People
The drawback is that it is easy to get overwhelmed with the many aspects because the book is so full of examples, but I do find it to be cohesive. It will be upsetting when you get to things you cannot change, however, if we just work on what we can change (posture, voice, etc.) we will find that we can improve how others perceive us and our ideas. I'll never forget the genius of a woman I worked with whose shrill voice made people cringe and not want to listen to her. With so much of communication our face, voice, and body language – we ignore these things at our peril.
Almost 18 pages of pithy notes are at the end of this book and are worth reading when you're done.
My Final Recommendation on Compelling People
This is a great book full of ideas, stories, and research but it could be overwhelming for those who want simple examples for self improvement. This is a manual of behavior and insight into human nature that will forever alter how you view the world, but for me, it was a good thing.
While I initially got the hardcopy of this book, I'm buying it on ebook to get my notes in the cloud as this is one I'll be reading and rereading for years to come.