Using Your Influence: The Interview Method

Schiller Monument / Konzerthaus steps, Berlin

Once you’ve done your reconnaissance and identified where your contacts are on the Progressor Model, how do you use this information?

Your first insight may be, “Wow, I’m not influencing very many people.” Though you know hundreds of people, you only have regular contact with a fraction of them. Of these, an even smaller group are in the “progressor” category.

Two implications:

  • You need to make it a point to meet new people. Your prime group to influence is narrow, so it becomes a numbers game to find them.
  • You need to invest in moving people from one category to the next.

The Progressor Model makes your work measurable.

Every time you move someone along the spectrum it is a significant achievement. It is of such work that a movement is made. At the beginning an ideological movement doesn’t need hundreds of catalytic leaders. To gain momentum it merely needs several catalytic leaders, several committed allies, and a growing group of the convinced.

But numbers do matter for one group: the curious. You grow the movement by growing this group. They are the ones to focus most of your effort on. Until you get to know them, you don’t yet know how much influence you may have or how close they could be to progressing. To change the world, we change this group.

In “Who Should We Influence, and How?” we looked at three channels of influence: friendship, books, and blogs. I want to show you a powerful way to use two of these channels (friendship and blogs). It’s called The Interview Method.

Here’s what it consists of:

  • Choose a person on your progressor list.
  • Invite them to be part of an interview for your blog.
  • Prepare some philosophical questions related to their area of interest.
  • Interview them in person or by phone, email or Skype.

Your goal is to provoke them to think.

You do this not by argument, but by simply talking about topics of shared interest and letting the person get to know the depth of your own ideas. As you ask them questions and listen to the answers, you build trust. By the quality of your interaction, you show them that you understand and are fluent in the issues. Your goal is not to persuade them of a particular idea, but to ignite their excitement for ideas. By the time the interview is complete, they will see you as peer and a person with valuable things to say. You’ve opened the door to a dialogue.

As you interview the person, determine whether they are a progressor, and if so which kind. Then right up a short interview piece for your blog, make sure they are happy with it, and publish it. Promote the interview on Facebook and you’ll be amazed how many “shares” it gets. People love the chance to see their friends be stars.

The Interview Method has some huge benefits:

  • The process is scaleable. You can interview one person per year, or one per week, and it is valuable either way.
  • You generate good blog content.
  • You connect with a new contact and become more influential to them.
  • You help the contact become interested in your blog.
  • You get some extra blog promotion.
  • You show your readers that you want a dialogue.
  • You lay a foundation for future requests and collaboration.

It’s all about connection.

An interview gives you the chance to intellectually engage people that would otherwise be only casual acquaintances. It sets up an occasion for being intentional and direct, developing a rapport, and learning a person’s ideology.

The end of the interview is a great time to tell the person about the “Reason in View” blog network. Perhaps they would like to write a guest post, or get to know the other writers.

As a final question for the interview, be sure to ask for additional interview leads. Do they know someone who is a thinker and who would enjoy an interview? Perhaps they can give you an introduction.

One person at a time you build a network, gain influence, and change the world.

In this series:
Who Should We Influence, and How?
Understanding Your Influence: The Progressor Model
Using Your Influence: The Interview Method


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