Influencing like Clarence

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My family have been watching a few movies over the holiday season and I was particularly keen to see, for about the 100th time, one of my most favourite movies ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. An oldie but a goodie!

Now, I won’t give away too much of the plot etc. but there is a scene where George is at the bridge contemplating ending it all and Clarence Odbody is sent down as his guardian angel to save him. What got me thinking was the strategies that Clarence implemented.

He knew George was one of the most caring people on the planet. So, Clarence instantly told George that he was jumping in first as he knew that George would feel compelled to save him. Which George duly did. Secondly, he listened to George and used the language that George used to create a powerfully emotional ‘pain’ that drove George to ultimately beg to live.

Clarence the angel is an intriguing character who influenced George through care, listening, engagement, honesty, patience and humour.

One of the key aspects to influencing others in making the right decision is to create the pain points by listening to them, asking the right questions, and allowing them to experience and work it through to a solution.

By Jimmy Thomson