One of the influence tactics that seems to have a strong correlation with commitment is inspiration. Simply, inspiration is about using appeals to values higher order principles to motivate someone to action.

Get inspirational to gain influence

When you tell someone to do something to save their skin or get a pay raise that’s more about pressure or exchange. When you tell someone that together you can help make the world a better place then you’re getting inspirational.

I tried to use inspiration in my own attempts at influence. For example a few years ago I was raising money for my kids daycare local nonprofit and in an appeal to current and former parents of kids at the centre.

I could’ve talked about how it’s important to raise money to keep tuition down and, boy, our teachers work hard and they need better pay. That was rational and it would have been an attempted rational persuasion and it may have worked.

Tell the story to convince

Instead I opted to try to be inspirational in the hope of getting the parents to commit time to help fund raise as well as to open their check-books. I talked about how remarkable of the community the daycare was in its ability to create a challenging and loving environment for my kids.

I also told a little story about how much my kids love this place, specifically about a day when I was given an article by my kids. I left work a little early I got there excited to see my kids and I got the lecture: “Dad you came too early. I wanted to stay and have more fun with my friends”.

So when raising money I went on to explain how I had to, I felt obligated and excited, to give back something to sustain a community that meant so much to my kids and my family. This type of appeal engages people’s emotions and speaks directly to principles, of fairness for example.

Emotions not just  reason

It’s an appeal to an emotion and principle not just to reason. People follow inspirational leaders. Think about what about Gandhi encourage people to follow him walking against the police with batons in India.

What was it about Martin Luther King that made people follow him and walk against water hoses in the streets of Birmingham Alabama? In both these cases the leaders put themselves in a position to stand for a principle, they stood up for justice and for freedom.

So when they asked their followers to take risks they asked them to serve a higher goal, they inspired people to work toward the dream of a better future to be part of something bigger than yourself to work toward a better future.

These powerful motivators they help people take on risks, they encourage people to work hard and they help accomplish great things.