Responsive Menu
Add more content here...

An Interview with Joseph Grenny, Author of “Influencer”


In the realm of effective communication and influential leadership, few individuals possess the level of expertise and insight that Joseph Grenny brings to the table. As an acclaimed author, keynote speaker, and social scientist, Grenny has dedicated his career to helping individuals and organizations transform their conversations and tackle tough challenges successfully.

Grenny’s groundbreaking work centers around the power of dialogue and the impact it can have on personal relationships, professional growth, and organizational success. Through his bestselling books, including “Crucial Conversations” and “Influencer: The Power to Change Anything,” he has provided practical guidance and strategies for handling crucial conversations and driving positive change.

His expertise goes far beyond theory, as Grenny is known for his hands-on approach and real-life application of his research findings. With a unique ability to blend humor, storytelling, and deep insights, he captivates audiences and leaves them empowered to take action in their own lives.

During our interview with Joseph Grenny, we will delve into his vast knowledge and explore topics such as effective communication, influence, leadership, and navigating difficult conversations. We will uncover the secrets behind his successful methodologies and discover how they can be applied to various contexts, from personal relationships to corporate boardrooms.

Join us as we unlock the wisdom of Joseph Grenny and gather invaluable lessons on mastering the art of conversation, fostering strong connections, and achieving impactful results.

Who is Joseph Grenny?

Joseph Grenny is an influential author, speaker, and researcher who has made a significant impact in the fields of interpersonal communication, leadership, and personal development. With decades of experience in studying human behavior and social dynamics, Grenny has become widely recognized for his expertise in helping individuals and organizations achieve positive and lasting change.

Born with a natural curiosity about what drives people’s actions and how they can overcome challenges, Grenny pursued a career focused on understanding and solving complex human problems. He co-founded VitalSmarts, a leading corporate training company that provides research-based solutions to enhance communication skills, boost productivity, and navigate difficult conversations effectively.

Grenny’s groundbreaking work has earned him numerous accolades and awards, including being named one of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders by Trust Across America. He is also the co-author of several bestselling books, such as “Crucial Conversations,” “Influencer: The Power to Change Anything,” and “Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success.” These works have been embraced by individuals and organizations worldwide, offering practical insights and strategies for achieving personal and professional growth.

As an engaging and dynamic speaker, Joseph Grenny has shared his knowledge and wisdom with audiences around the globe. His thought-provoking presentations combine captivating storytelling, extensive research, and actionable takeaways, leaving audiences inspired and empowered to make meaningful changes in their lives and relationships.

Through his dedication to improving communication, fostering influence, and promoting personal accountability, Joseph Grenny continues to be a trusted authority in the realm of interpersonal effectiveness. With his invaluable contributions, he has touched the lives of countless individuals and helped them navigate challenging situations with compassion, clarity, and success.

Here you can get more information about him by watching Joseph Grenny’s speech about Influencer.

20 Thought-Provoking Questions with Joseph Grenny

1.Can you provide ten powerful Influencer quotes that can represent this book’s theme?

1.An influencer is someone who can make a lasting change in how people behave, think, or feel.

2. Influence is not about manipulation or persuasion, but about inspiring and empowering others to make positive changes.

3. Change happens when people see compelling reasons to act, have the ability to make the change, and are supported by their environment.

4. To be an effective influencer, we must first understand and address the individual, social, and environmental factors affecting behavior.

5. It’s not enough to present people with information; we must engage them emotionally and help them connect with their values and aspirations.

6. Influencers understand that change is a process, and they are patient, persistent, and adaptable in guiding people through that process.

7. A common mistake is to view people’s resistance to change as a personal flaw rather than a natural reaction to the uncertainty it brings.

8. By providing clear, specific, and actionable feedback, influencers can help people improve their performance and reach their full potential.

9. The power of influence lies not in status or authority, but in the ability to truly listen and understand the needs and perspectives of others.

10. Influencers recognize that behavior change requires not only individual effort, but also changes in the systems and structures that shape our behavior.

2. What prompted you to write this book? Were there any specific experiences or observations that led you to explore the subject of influence?

Throughout my career, I have been fascinated by human behavior, particularly the power of influence and persuasion. I have seen how influential individuals can make a significant impact on others’ lives, whether positively or negatively. This curiosity, coupled with my desire to empower individuals with practical tools to enhance their personal and professional relationships, motivated me to delve deeper into the subject.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with numerous individuals and organizations, studying their successes and failures when it comes to influencing others effectively. Through these interactions, I observed common patterns, challenges, and strategies that people employ in their attempts to influence those around them. These experiences further fueled my interest in understanding and uncovering the principles and practices of effective influence.

As I delved into the subject, I began to realize that there was a need for a comprehensive framework that could guide people in mastering the art of influence. This realization, along with the feedback and encouragement from colleagues, friends, and mentors, inspired me to write a book that would provide insights, strategies, and actionable steps for individuals to become more influential in their personal and professional lives.

To ensure the book’s effectiveness, I conducted extensive research, drawing not only from my own experiences but also from academic studies, behavioral sciences, and real-world examples. This multidisciplinary approach allowed me to develop a robust and practical model that could be easily understood and applied by anyone seeking to enhance their ability to influence others positively.

3. In the book, you mention six sources of influence. Could you explain what these sources are and how they contribute to becoming an effective influencer?

Personal Motivation: This source focuses on understanding and aligning personal motives and desires with the desired change. By creating a compelling reason for change, individuals become more motivated to take action.

Personal Ability: Personal ability pertains to the skills, knowledge, and capabilities needed to bring about change. By acquiring or enhancing necessary abilities, individuals become better equipped to influence others effectively.

Social Motivation: Social motivation emphasizes the impact of social relationships and networks on influencing behavior. By leveraging positive peer pressure, support systems, and incentives, individuals can create an environment that encourages change.

Social Ability: Social ability refers to the skills required to work with others to drive change. Effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving are crucial in utilizing social influence effectively.

Structural Motivation: Structural motivation deals with designing the environment in a way that reinforces the desired behavior. By modifying incentives, rewards, consequences, and systems, individuals can create an environment that supports and encourages change.

Structural Ability: Structural ability focuses on making changes to the physical or digital environment to facilitate the desired behavior. Alterations in processes, technology, or infrastructure can make it easier for individuals to behave in the desired way.

4. How do you differentiate between influence and manipulation? Is there a fine line between the two?

When differentiating between influence and manipulation, it’s important to understand that while there may be some similarities, there is indeed a fine line between the two. Here’s how I would answer this question:

Influence can be defined as the ability to persuade or guide someone towards a particular course of action or belief. It involves using various tools such as logic, reasoning, expertise, credibility, and empathy to appeal to others’ values and interests. Influencing others is typically rooted in positive intentions, aiming to create win-win outcomes and build long-term relationships based on trust.

On the other hand, manipulation involves using techniques to control or deceive others for personal gain or to achieve specific outcomes, often without their full awareness or consent. Manipulation can involve tactics such as deception, coercion, emotional exploitation, guilt-tripping, or even threats. Unlike influence, manipulation tends to prioritize the manipulator’s interests over the well-being or autonomy of others.

While the distinction between influence and manipulation lies in intention and approach, it’s essential to note that the perception of these actions may vary depending on the individual experiencing them. What one person might perceive as influencing behavior aligned with their best interests, another person might consider manipulative if they feel coerced or misled.

5. Can you share some practical examples or case studies from your research where individuals effectively used the principles outlined in “Influencer” to create positive change?

In one organization, employees noticed a decline in workplace safety standards, leading to an increase in accidents. Using the principles from “Influencer,” they decided to address this issue. First, they identified the vital behaviors required for improved safety, such as wearing protective equipment and reporting hazards promptly. They then focused on six sources of influence – personal motivation, social motivation, experiential learning, environmental controls, structural changes, and reward systems.

To influence personal motivation, they created emotional experiences by sharing stories and testimonials of how accidents affected individuals’ lives. To influence social motivation, they formed safety committees and encouraged peer-to-peer feedback on safe practices. Experiential learning involved simulations and hands-on training sessions. Environmental controls included improving warning signs and implementing safety protocols. Structural changes involved updating policies and procedures. Finally, reward systems were adjusted to recognize and reinforce safe behaviors.

As a result of their efforts, the organization experienced a significant reduction in workplace accidents and saw a positive change in safety culture.

6. What role does leadership play when it comes to influencing others? How can leaders use the principles from your book to foster a culture of positive influence within their organizations?

Leadership plays a crucial role in influencing others within organizations. Leaders have the power to shape culture, set the tone, and drive change. Their ability to influence others is directly correlated with their effectiveness as leaders.

In my book, “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High,” we discuss principles that can help leaders foster a culture of positive influence within their organizations. Here are a few key principles they can utilize:

Start with self-awareness: Leaders must be aware of their own biases, emotions, and communication patterns. By understanding themselves better, they can show up more authentically, build trust, and effectively influence others.

Create safety: A safe environment allows people to express their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of retribution. Leaders should foster an atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable sharing diverse perspectives, as this leads to better decision-making and innovation.

Master crucial conversations: Leaders should develop skills to engage in crucial conversations effectively. These conversations involve high-stakes situations, differing opinions, and strong emotions. By using tools such as active listening, asking open-ended questions, and seeking mutual understanding, leaders can navigate such conversations successfully.


7. Are there any common misconceptions about influence that you often come across? How does “Influencer” address and correct those misconceptions?

Misconception: Influence is about persuasion alone.

Corrected perspective: Influence is not just about convincing others through persuasive techniques. It involves understanding people’s motivations, building relationships, creating shared purpose, and finding win-win solutions.

Misconception: Influence is solely a matter of personal charisma or power.

Corrected perspective: While personal charisma or authority can help in certain situations, influence is not limited to those traits. Influencers can be anyone who effectively uses various strategies and tactics to bring about change, even without formal authority.

Misconception: Influence is a one-time event.

Corrected perspective: Influence is an ongoing process rather than a single event. It requires consistent efforts, adaptability, and continuous learning to navigate complex situations and sustain long-term change.

8. Change can sometimes be challenging. How can individuals overcome resistance to change when they try to influence others?

Change can indeed be challenging, and overcoming resistance to change requires effective strategies. When individuals attempt to influence others, they can employ several techniques to mitigate resistance and foster a more receptive environment for change:

Build trust and credibility: Establishing trust is vital when trying to influence others. Show genuine concern for their perspectives, listen actively, and communicate openly and honestly. This creates a foundation of trust, making it easier to overcome resistance.

Communicate the purpose and benefits: Clearly articulate why the proposed change is necessary and how it will benefit the individuals involved. When people understand the rationale behind the change and perceive its value, they are more likely to embrace it.

Address concerns and provide support: Acknowledge and address any concerns or fears that individuals may have regarding the change. Offering support, providing resources, and addressing potential challenges helps alleviate anxiety and increases the likelihood of acceptance.

Involve stakeholders in decision-making: Including those who will be affected by the change in the decision-making process can help reduce resistance. People tend to be more committed to changes when they feel their perspectives and opinions are valued and considered.

9. You talk about the power of storytelling in influencing others. Could you elaborate on how stories can be utilized to drive change and inspire action?

Creating an emotional connection: Stories have the ability to evoke emotions and create empathy in listeners. By sharing personal experiences, challenges, or triumphs, storytellers can help others relate to their message and connect with the underlying purpose.

Engaging the audience: A well-crafted story captures attention and sustains interest. When people are engaged, they are more likely to invest time and energy into understanding the issues at hand and taking action.

Simplifying complex ideas: Stories have the power to simplify complex concepts by putting them into relatable and understandable contexts. They allow people to grasp the essence of an idea and its impact, making it easier for them to internalize and act upon.

Providing a vision for change: Stories can paint a vivid picture of a better future, helping people visualize what change could look like. By illustrating the benefits and possibilities, stories inspire individuals to take steps towards making that vision a reality.

Building credibility and trust: Authentic storytelling builds trust by demonstrating vulnerability, honesty, and shared values. When individuals perceive storytellers as credible, they are more likely to adopt their perspectives and take action accordingly.

10. How can individuals identify the right people to target when trying to influence a specific behavior or outcome?

To identify the right people to target when trying to influence a specific behavior or outcome, individuals can follow these steps:

Define the desired behavior or outcome: Clearly articulate the specific behavior or outcome you want to influence. For example, if you aim to promote recycling, define the desired behavior as consistent recycling habits.

Understand the context and stakeholders: Identify the relevant context and stakeholders involved in the behavior or outcome you want to influence. Consider who might be directly or indirectly affected by the change you seek.

Conduct research: Gather information about the target group’s characteristics, preferences, and motivations. This can include demographic data, psychographic traits, cultural factors, or any other relevant insights. Utilize surveys, interviews, focus groups, or existing research to gain a deeper understanding of the target audience.

Segment the audience: Based on the research findings, divide the target audience into distinct segments or groups. Grouping individuals with similar characteristics and motivations will help tailor your influence strategies effectively.

11. Are there any ethical considerations one should keep in mind when utilizing the principles of influence outlined in your book?

Yes, there are indeed ethical considerations to keep in mind when utilizing the principles of influence outlined in my book. While these principles can be powerful tools for achieving desired outcomes and influencing others, it is crucial to use them responsibly and ethically.

Honesty and transparency: It is important to be honest about your intentions and transparent in your communication. Manipulating or deceiving others through the principles of influence is not ethical and can harm trust in relationships.

Respect for autonomy: Respecting individuals’ autonomy means acknowledging their freedom to make choices that align with their own values and beliefs. Applying influence techniques should never be about coercing or pressuring someone into doing something against their will.

Consider long-term impact: Ethical considerations should extend beyond short-term gains. Evaluate how your influence may impact others and ensure that it doesn’t harm their well-being or compromise their rights in the long run.

Informed consent: Obtain informed consent whenever possible. Allow individuals to fully understand the situation and the implications of their decisions before using influence techniques.

12. In today’s digital age, how has technology impacted the way we influence others? Are there any unique challenges or opportunities that arise from online platforms?

In today’s digital age, technology has significantly transformed the way we influence others. Online platforms have provided us with unprecedented opportunities to connect, share information, and influence a wide audience. Here are some ways technology has impacted the way we influence others:

Increased Reach: Through social media, blogs, video sharing platforms, and other online channels, we can now reach a global audience with our ideas and messages. This has expanded our influence beyond geographical boundaries.

Speed and Accessibility: Technology has made it easier to disseminate information quickly and efficiently. With just a few clicks, we can share our thoughts, opinions, and expertise with millions of people worldwide, enabling faster and more widespread influence.

However, along with these opportunities, there are also unique challenges that arise from online platforms:

Information Overload: The vast amount of information available online can result in information overload, making it difficult for individuals to discern credible sources and form well-informed opinions. As influencers, we need to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information we share to maintain trust and credibility.

Echo Chambers: Online platforms tend to promote echo chambers, where people are exposed primarily to viewpoints and content that align with their existing beliefs. This can limit our ability to influence those who hold opposing perspectives or challenge the status quo. It is important for influencers to diversify their audience and engage with different viewpoints.

13. How can individuals maintain authenticity while attempting to influence others? Is there a risk of compromising personal values when seeking to bring about change?

When it comes to influencing others, maintaining authenticity is crucial. Here are a few strategies individuals can employ to remain authentic while influencing others:

Know your values: Clearly identify your personal values and beliefs. Understand what matters most to you and ensure that your actions align with these principles.

Be genuine: Embrace openness and transparency in your communication. Express your thoughts, opinions, and emotions sincerely, without any pretense or hidden agendas.

Build trust: Establish trust with others by consistently demonstrating honesty, integrity, and reliability. Trust is the foundation of effective influence, and being authentic helps foster this trust.

While seeking to bring about change, there is indeed a risk of compromising personal values. However, this risk can be minimized by adhering to certain principles:

Stay self-aware: Continuously reflect on your actions and motivations. Regularly assess whether your efforts are consistent with your core values. Self-reflection will help you avoid compromising your principles.

Align goals: Ensure that your desired outcomes are ethically sound and align with your personal values. By pursuing objectives that are in harmony with what you believe in, you can minimize the risk of compromising your values.

14. What advice would you give to readers who want to start applying the ideas from “Influencer” in their personal and professional lives?

Understand the principles: Start by thoroughly understanding the six sources of influence outlined in the book, namely Personal Motivation, Personal Ability, Social Motivation, Social Ability, Structural Motivation, and Structural Ability. Each source provides insights into different aspects of behavior change.

Identify vital behaviors: Determine the specific actions or behaviors that, if changed, would have the most significant impact on achieving your goals. Focus on identifying the critical few behaviors that will drive the desired results.

Create a clear vision: Develop a compelling vision of what you want to accomplish and why it is important. This vision should inspire and motivate both yourself and others.

Harness all sources of influence: Consider all six sources of influence and create a comprehensive strategy to address each one. Think about ways to increase personal motivation and ability, leverage social support and accountability, and make structural changes that support behavior change.


15. How can individuals measure the effectiveness of their influence? Are there any tools or techniques that can help track progress and success?

To measure the effectiveness of their influence, individuals can consider utilizing various tools and techniques. Here are a few suggestions:

Feedback: Seeking feedback from others is crucial in assessing the impact of your influence. Ask for input from colleagues, friends, or those you interact with regularly to gain insights into how your influence has affected them.

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs): Establish clear goals and measurable outcomes related to your influence efforts. By setting specific targets, you can track your progress and evaluate the effectiveness of your influence over time.

Surveys and Assessments: Conduct surveys or assessments that focus on the areas where you seek to influence others. These tools can help measure changes in attitudes, behaviors, or perceptions resulting from your influence.

360-degree evaluations: Engaging in a 360-degree evaluation process allows you to gather feedback from multiple perspectives, including superiors, peers, subordinates, and even external stakeholders. This comprehensive assessment can give you a well-rounded view of your influence effectiveness.

16. Is there a specific mindset or attitude one should adopt when aiming to become an effective influencer?

Authenticity: Embrace an authentic approach by being genuine and true to yourself. People are more likely to be influenced by someone they perceive as trustworthy and sincere.

Empathy: Cultivate empathy by putting yourself in the shoes of others. Seek to understand their perspectives, needs, and concerns. This allows you to tailor your messages and actions effectively.

Open-mindedness: Stay open-minded and receptive to different ideas and opinions. This helps you build connections with diverse individuals and environments, fostering collaboration and understanding.

Continuous learning: Adopt a growth mindset and commit to lifelong learning. Stay curious, seek out new knowledge, and embrace opportunities for personal and professional development.

Emotional intelligence: Develop your emotional intelligence to effectively manage both your own emotions and those of others. This includes self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills.

17. How can parents or educators use the principles in your book to influence children and students positively?

To positively influence children and students using the principles from my book Influencer, parents and educators can focus on the following steps:

Identify vital behaviors: Begin by identifying the specific behaviors that will have the most significant impact on your child’s or student’s development and success. These behaviors should be crucial for achieving their goals and values.

Make the behavior desirable: Find ways to make the desired behavior more appealing to your child or student. Highlight the benefits they will experience when they engage in these behaviors. Help them understand how these actions align with their own values and aspirations.

Harness social influences: Leverage the power of social dynamics to encourage positive behavior. Connect your child or student with peers who exhibit the desired behaviors and create an environment that encourages collaboration and support. Social support and positive role models can greatly influence behavior.

Create a supportive environment: Modify the physical and social environment to facilitate positive behavior change. For example, set up a dedicated study space at home or provide resources that facilitate learning. Minimize distractions and create an atmosphere that supports concentration and focus.

18. How does cultural context play a role in shaping influence strategies? Are there any cultural considerations to keep in mind when applying the principles from “Influencer” in diverse settings?

Cultural context plays a significant role in shaping influence strategies. When considering cultural diversity, it is crucial to acknowledge that different cultures have unique values, norms, and communication styles. These cultural differences can impact the effectiveness of influence strategies and must be taken into account when applying the principles from “Influencer” in diverse settings.

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind regarding cultural diversity:

Understanding Cultural Norms: Recognize that each culture has its own set of social norms and expectations. Some cultures may prioritize hierarchy and authority, while others value collaboration and consensus. Understanding these cultural norms helps tailor influence strategies to align with cultural expectations.

Communication Styles: Communication patterns vary across cultures. For example, directness may be valued in some cultures, while indirect approaches are preferred in others. It is essential to adapt communication styles to build rapport and convey messages effectively within a specific cultural context.

Decision-Making Processes: Decision-making processes can differ based on cultural contexts. In some cultures, decisions are made by individuals in positions of authority, while in others, decisions are reached through group consensus. Considering these cultural variations allows for more effective application of influence strategies.

19. Are there any potential limitations to the principles presented in your book? In what scenarios might they not be as effective?

Complex Societal Issues: The principles in “Influencer” primarily focus on individual behavior change. While they can be effective for personal goals and small-scale changes, they may have limitations when dealing with complex societal issues. Such issues often involve systemic factors beyond individual control, requiring broader interventions.

Resistance and Defiance: In scenarios where individuals strongly resist or defy change, the principles outlined in “Influencer” may face challenges. Some people may be highly resistant due to emotional attachments, cultural influences, fear, or other personal factors. Overcoming such resistance would require additional strategies beyond those discussed in the book.

Limited Influence: The level of influence someone has over others can vary significantly based on their relationship dynamics and authority. If the influencer’s position lacks credibility or formal authority, the effectiveness of the principles may be limited. In these cases, alternative approaches to building trust and rapport may be necessary.

Lack of Resources: The successful implementation of the principles relies on having adequate resources, including time, money, and support. Constraints in these areas can hamper the desired outcomes. Without sufficient resources, it may be challenging to sustain motivation, provide necessary training, or create supportive environments.

20. Finally, can you recommend more books which share similar themes with Influencer?

Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – This book focuses on improving communication skills and handling difficult conversations effectively.

The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg – This book explores the science behind habits and provides insights into how habits can be changed to improve productivity, effectiveness, and personal growth.

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein – This book discusses the concept of nudges, small interventions that can influence people’s choices and behaviors, and offers suggestions on how to design environments that lead to better decisions.

2 thoughts on “An Interview with Joseph Grenny, Author of “Influencer””

  1. Pingback: Influence: A Book on Shaping Behavior and Driving Change

  2. Pingback: Unveiling the Power to Change Anything: An Insightful Interview with Kerry Patterson - Bookfoods

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top