The Gift of Influence – Tommy Spaulding Book Summary

The Gift of Influence – Tommy Spaulding | Free Book Summary

The Gift of Influence – Tommy Spaulding

The Gift of Influence is a book written by Tommy Spaulding that explores how we can create life-changing and lasting impact in our everyday interactions. The book covers topics such as the power of asking “What’s your story?”, showing up meaningfully for people in need , and the importance of paying attention to the moments that matter.

It also provides practical advice for developing meaningful connections with others and becoming a leader who makes a difference.

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When you listen and ask follow-up questions, you are telegraphing to others that you are interested in them. That kind of curiosity is the bedrock of influence, and it’s also how lifelong relationships are formed.

Everybody Has a Story

Making a habit of asking people questions about themselves sounds simple, but our brains aren’t wired that way. In a study conducted at Harvard University’s Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab, researchers used fMRI machines to scan participants as they discussed their own opinions and personality traits, followed by their observations of others.

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Sure enough, the “reward” areas of the brain—which are typically associated with pleasurable activities—lit up when the participants talked about themselves.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology confirmed that “most people spend the majority of their conversations sharing their own views rather than focusing on the other person.”

Make Kindness Normal

A 2010 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences proved that generosity is highly contagious. The researchers studied people as they played a board game that rewarded acts of greed. The nastier you were, the better you did. However, when a single player decided to be generous instead of self-serving, the dynamics of the game broke down.

Instead of acting out of greed, the other players responded with similar acts of generosity. That one act created a ripple of kindness that continued to grow, even though the players were acting against their self-interest.

Listen to people you don’t want to be with

Think of the people you instinctively look away from. The people whose circumstances make you uncomfortable. Be genuinely interested in their stories, then go one step further and be interested in how you can help. It may or may not change their lives, but it certainly will change yours.

Own Your Words

The thing about owning your words is that you don’t have to go overboard.

Just keep your promises: Going above and beyond does not pay off!

In a series of experiments exploring promise breaking, promise keeping, and promise exceeding, the researchers found that while people reacted very negatively when a promise was broken, the effect of greatly exceeding a promise was almost nothing.

For example, if you are sending flowers to Mom on Mother’s Day, you’re better off with a simple bunch of roses that arrives on time than an over-the-top bouquet that arrives late. “When you keep a promise, not only have you done something nice for someone, but you’ve also fulfilled a social contract and shown that you’re a reliable and trustworthy person,” the researchers explained. “Invest efforts into keeping promises, not in exceeding them.”

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