Compelling People

I began following the books chosen by the 12 Books group at Goodreads with the April choice, “Compelling People: the hidden qualities that make us influential” by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut. Compelling

The authors are partners in KNP Communications, a firm specializing in presentation coaching and communications strategy for corporate and political clients. They conclude that people who are the most effective at influencing others possess the ability to project both strength and warmth, a task that can be difficult. Communicating these two qualities can be at odds, and those who are compelling can swiftly switch between them.

Strength=competence, confidence, mastery

Warmth=likeability, interest, belonging

Strength and warmth can only be conveyed if they are genuine. This book shows how we can remove obstacles that prevent us from 1)being aware of strength and warmth and 2)expressing them well. We can improve how we connect with emotions and align our actions for authentic expression of them.

Body language plays a large role, and posture is key in projecting strength. Standing tall is often half the battle. Prior to situations where we wish to project strength, we can stretch up and out. The TED Talk by  Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are describes how this works.

A smile with flinty eyes conveys strength, and a smile with a twinkle in the eyes conveys warmth. Strength and warmth are energies, and to better convey them we can psych up our energy level by connecting with memories that remind us of a time we felt strong and warm. We can play or think of music that evokes those feelings. We can learn from watching others who excel at this and notice their body language, voice and message.

In presentations stories naturally project strength and warmth together. Stories work best when they feature people doing and feeling things, moral dilemmas, good and bad characters. When done well, humor can also be helpful.

The best way to be our own coach and improve is to record our efforts while practicing.

When we connect and express our strength and warmth, we become compelling to ourselves and to others too.

Business Insider Qualities That Make People Influential


I am fascinated by the process of learning to read English and the idea of gamification to make learning fun. Phonics and literacy have become my passion project. I also write about personal development, goal setting, and time management. I enjoy finding great information, combining it in new ways, and packaging it creatively.

Posted in personal development, work skills
One comment on “Compelling People
  1. […] book “Compelling People,” talks about a balance of strength and warmth.  Next I read the book “Making Ideas […]

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