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New book says softly, softly approach is the secret to influencing others


Zuleika Henderson
21 January 2009
When it comes to getting people to see things your way, being kind and considerate is the best strategy.

That’s the message of a new book entitled ‘The Gentle Juggernaut, the Amazing Power of Leaning in Influencing Others’, co-authored by Associate Professor Peter Miller of Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management and Professors Emeritus Wayne Pace and Eric Stephan from Brigham Young University in Utah, USA.

Professor Miller said that the book identifies nine strategies for influencing others.

“Those who try to influence others through intimidation, arguing or just telling people what to do will never win the sustained respect of others,” said Professor Miller.

“We can all use more considerate, honourable and moral ways to influence people that are gentler but still effective.

“By using techniques that make others feel noticed, valued and understood we can more easily persuade them to our way of thinking, influence their behaviour and inspire better performance.”

Professor Miller has 25 years’ management experience and is an author of a best-selling academic text, with his previous co-authored book on leadership listed as required reading by universities across Australia and the South Pacific.

The new book is designed to appeal to a broader audience and gives practical examples of how the influencing strategies can be applied in everyday life by people in a range of situations, both at work and at home.

“From a workplace point of view, we are not saying that the traditional direct approaches for dealing with non-performing staff or difficult people should be abandoned, but the fact is most people don’t fall into this category and what they really need is to be managed in a way that motivates them,” said Professor Miller.

“So of course the techniques are useful for business managers, but they are universal and we show how they can be equally effective for our interactions with colleagues, friends or our children.”

And Professor Miller believes that the time for a different approach has come.

“Due to recent corporate collapses, the global financial crisis, terror events and the general increase of stress in workplaces and society in general, people have had enough of controlling, assertive and aggressive styles of influence,” he said

“People want to be treated in a more sensitive way and are themselves looking for more eloquent, sophisticated and gentle ways of getting others to do what they want.”

‘The Gentle Juggernaut, the Amazing Power of Leaning in Influencing Others’, by Peter Miller, R. Wayne Pace and Eric Stephan has been released in the United States by Strategic Book Publishing and is available from their web site at:

Photo: Associate Professor Peter Miller (high resolution image available on request)