What if the two qualities that could make you more compelling are in direct competition with each other? This is the case, according to communication consultants John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut. In their book Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential, the pair provide evidence from social science and their own consulting practice that strength and warmth form a powerful combination for professionals. Their book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.
The conflict between strength and warmth provides the basis for one of the most interesting communication books in recent memory. Strength, the authors note, is the trait that “gets things done.” It can be associated with words like action, impact and take-charge. Of the two qualities, leaders can readily identify with strength.
It is the importance of warmth that may offer a challenge to traditional leadership thinking. Neffinger and Kohut make one of the most coherent arguments yet for the importance of what is often dismissed as the need to be liked. When the authors describe warmth as encompassing concepts including empathy, familiarity and love, executives should avoid the urge to recoil and instead dive deep into why warmth is a critical complement to strength in achieving greater levels of influence.
After defining strength and warmth and their importance to each other, Compelling People helps you through the nonverbal and verbal communication techniques that signal both qualities. With concepts such as “the circle” and “yes momentum” Neffinger and Kohut offer a valuable resource that is worthy of being called compelling.