The Nature of Influence

If you have been following my blog a little, you will have seen the word “influence” in quite a few of the posts. Now, I believe that we are all intelligent and capable of our own thoughts, and as such learning the ideas of influence serve us in three ways:

  1. protect us from people using the same techniques on us
  2. We now can influence ourselves
  3. Our communication with others is much better

While there are many different ways to influence someone, I tend to stress more subtle or unconscious aspects. Yet, a recent article in “Scientific American Mind” has made me doubt whether that is worth it at all. Sadly, it seems we are a pack animal after all, and we tend to outsource our thinking to others – specifically “Hollywood Movies” !

A nice glass of red wine

A nice glass of red wine

Stories have always been a very important medium in communication. A good story teller can draw in audiences anywhere, and send people on journeys deep inside their own minds, slaying their own dragons. As such, they are incredibly useful even in corporate presentations, therapy, sales,…whenever you basically want to captivate and audience, find a good story to tell!

Hollywood is obviously one of the biggest story tellers of our time. Action, Horror, Adventure, they are all different genres, yet all of them are stories that affect us, move us, make us think…in short, they get an emotional response that makes sure we want to see more.

SO, what on earth does all this have to do with influence? Well, one of the stories Hollywood told a couple of years ago was about a wine lover and his friend travelling around the bay area going wine tasting etc. (SIDEWAYS). In the movie, the charakter of Paul Giamatti says that Merlot is common and inferior wine. What was the result: Merlot sales in the US dropped that year.

Personally, I find that a touch shocking: A fictional character, in a movie, says something, and without it even wanting, it has a major effect on us. So, do I really need to worry about all the subtle influences that people try to yield on us consciously, or is the battle for our minds already lost? When our very tastes can be changed by a movie that did not even intend it to, what else is going on that we don’t even notice?

In the meantime, I will keep writing, yet I think I should stop writing so explicit posts, and make up wild stories. Who knows what will happen to the world once I start writing about monsters and magical sticks!

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3 thoughts on “The Nature of Influence

  1. tiffanysams says:

    I’m hooked! I want t read your entire blog.

  2. […] most powerful form of influence we have in the verbal arena. If you should not believe me, please read this post about how a hollywood movie lowered the wine sales of Merlot for that year. So, if the story is […]

  3. contoveros says:

    I have just traded my water-drinking glass for a nice goblet containing, you guessed it, Merlot.

    I sip of the red wine anda tip my hat to you for your story-telling and to invite you to get a glimpse at a whopper or two from Conshohocken, PA.

    michael j

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