Previously Recorded Talks

The Power of Influence


Alida Miranda-Wolff:

[00:12:07] Hi, my name is Alida Miranda-Wolff and I’m the CEO of Ethos, and I’m so excited to talk to you today about the power of influence. Pretty much anyone you talk to has the same desire, right? Which is: “I want to be able to do what I want to do or get other people to do what I want them to do”. 

But that’s really just what influence is. It’s about being able to persuade others or to do so in a way that allows for mutual collaboration. We don’t ever want to be in a situation where we are prodding or manipulating or pushing. We want this to be a collective decision, but we ultimately want to get to what we want. So, today that’s what we are going to be talking about. We are going to be talking about influence in the responsible way. In a way that really allows for healthy communication and that does that in really a story-based approach. 

We are going to talk about why that works and why that makes sense, but first I want to be clear. There are three components to doing this work well. If you want to be influential, the first thing is that you have to understand how other people communicate. We don’t all communicate the same way. So, we are going to learn what communication preferences exist out in the world. The next component is understanding story. Story is actually the most persuasive mechanism for delivering information. We are going to learn why that is and how to apply it through the six persuasion principles. And finally, we are going to take those three concepts and at the very end we are going to learn how to take action and apply this to our own lives. 

Why am I talking about this today in this particular context? Because no matter who you are you can use this. As an entrepreneur personally influence is how I close deals, it’s how I form partnerships, it’s how I get my content out in the market. It’s how I get people to work for me. I need this, so do a lot of other entrepreneurs. But if you are within an organization this is how you get to the ultimate goals that you have for yourself. You can use this in your personal life with your friends, with your family. And really, what I’m hoping you’ll get out of this is two [corollary (?) 00: 02:13] objectives. That you can come away understanding the different styles of communication so you can apply them in every relationship that you have, and you can understand how to use storytelling to change perspectives and really the minds of others. How you can get people to understand what your point of view is. I know that this works because I built my whole career in this very specific kind of category. 

See, when I started out my role in venture capital, which is where I began, I was in this very unique position. I was the first woman to ever join my firm. I was the only Hispanic person to work in venture capital in the city of Chicago, and I was the youngest person in my role by ten years in the entire country. And I came into this organization that was made up of all really tenured business professionals. They are investors, they are millionaires and billionaires. And they were a friend to me as an intern, as their daughter. And I had this really strange role because I had to tell them what to do. I had to manage them. And I didn’t have a whole lot of authority. I didn’t have authority coming from my social identity, but I also didn’t have a whole lot of authority coming from my organization. 

We occupied this very strange space in which our investors were the reason that we were afoot. But we had to manage and guide them in order to make our business work. I had to use influence in order to drive outcomes. And then when I became an entrepreneur even more so because I wanted people to buy what it was, I was selling. I wanted them to believe in my credibility. I wanted them to understand why this mattered to me because I am a very specific kind of entrepreneur. I’m a social entrepreneur. So, I can make bottom line and return on investment arguments, but they don’t always work for me because I’m in the space of diversity, equity and inclusion and company culture. 

My goal is to create the conditions for everyone to thrive at work. I want to build incredible and incredibly diverse company cultures. And to really do that, to give companies the security to pursue optimism in this really messy and difficult area, I have to be influential because why would you prioritize that when you could be worrying about your bottom line or whether you are going to make payroll, or whether there is a new market opening up. You have to be able to find a good reason. I have to be able to do that. And I have to be able to do that knowing that I'm often a different social identity than the folks I'm talking to in almost every context. 

So, what I want to share with you is a time that influence really worked for me and impacted me, that will help us understand the principles we are going to learn today. 

And I’ll keep it really simple. 

[End of recording] [00:04:51]