Good grief, it's another pop psychology book. I've been reading a lot of these recently, it seems. I swear, if I have to sit through another discussion of children who can/cannot delay their consumption of marshmallows, I'm going to... Ahem, anyhow. I made it through this book.
Influencer is applied psychology. People don't reason logically. If you want to influence a group's behavior, if reason ain't working, what do you do? You can keep spewing facts, but maybe you'll just continue to watch those facts flop around ineffectively. Maybe you need to choose different material. Maybe you need to change up something else. Some more sources of influence to bring to bear:
- Get society on your side. People can watch each other, can encourage or discourage each other. They can spread and reinforce your message.
- If your message fails because you're an untrusted "outsider", try to convince a respected "insider" to deliver your message for you.
- If people fail to follow the abstract philosophy you present to them, show them some concrete things they can do.
- Or show them a story that makes the abstract, perhaps taboo, issues concrete. People identify with story protagonists.
- Choose rewards carefully. Esteem and respect often work. Money is dangerous.
- Can you change the environment? If you can't resist eating ice cream, maybe you should get rid of your ice cream freezer.
It's all good advice.
OK, there was one example that came up a lot that I hadn't already become sick of: the Delancey Street Foundation. I didn't know that much about their methods. I didn't know that so much of the recovery was up to the residents themselves, the wide application of "each one teach one". I can imagine that a new resident, showing up there, would adapt to fit in, and in so doing, would learn to operate in the world a lot better. But now I want to know how the system was bootstrapped—how did the first generation get it together?
Labels: book, instructional design