The Power of Inspiration

It’s really encouraging when I get back positive feedback from comments on this blog and twitter. (If you’re not following me yet, please do! Engineer_Chic). Your feedback inspires me to keep writing and reaching out to the many young engineers and others who read my blog. Thank you so much!

Talking of inspiration, I have just returned from a trip to New Orleans. I was there for ASME’s Leadership Training Conference. The conference taught me a few interesting things, most notable of which was Elaine Seat’s session on Power and Influence. Her talk was all about the different types of power tactics a person can leverage in order to influence others. This is not as devious and manipulative as it may sound at first, as leveraging power is important in all our business and personal relationships.

The most interesting and shocking insight from this talk was how effective the power of rational persuasion is. As engineers we believe that by using facts and rational appeal alone, our ideas will be backed and things will go our way.  Reality teaches us that this actually seldom works! Have a look at the chart below:

Isn’t it amazing that the type of influence that most engineers rely on the most: rational persuation – the presenting of facts and common sense, achieves about 47% resistance while merely consulting others and absorbing their input achieves the opposite outcome. The figure that interested me the most though, was the last line of the chart – Inspirational Appeal, which gains a whopping 90%!  As one can imagine, it is also one of the least used and most difficult to apply tactic. How does one inspire others to make the decision you want them to make?

I like to think that I attempt to use inspiration – this blog is all about inspiring others to pursue noble and successful careers in science and engineering, and to inspire young women to be themselves no matter what field they’re in! In the same way, you inspire me to keep writing for and connecting with readers out there all over the world through your comments, emails and tweets.

What other ways can one use inspirational appeal in their own personal capacities? How can you as a young engineer inspire others and incite change? Comment on this post and share your ideas or opinions on the table above.

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