Inside Influence


Scilla Elworthy on Non-violent communication

Season 1, Ep. 79

Greetings everyone, my name is Julie Masters and welcome to another episode of Inside Influence. In which I delve into the minds of some of the world’s most fascinating influencers – or experts in influence - to get to the bottom of what it really takes to own your voice - and then amplify it to drive an industry, a conversation, a movement or a Nation. 

Now, at the time of recording and publishing this episode we are still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some lockdowns are easing, some are being extended - but wherever you’re at in your lockdown, we are all at a point where it’s something we’ve been dealing with for months - rather than for days or weeks. 

For many, or for most in fact, the stress and the strains of those months are very real and there’s a high chance that conflict is a lot more familiar part of your life than it was pre-pandemic. That conflict might be light – children arguing over toys or homework – more intense – as many of us deal with financial and family crisis points – or critical – if – as is the case for far too many - your home isn’t a safe place – and the main emotional and physical dangers lie more within your four walls than outside.

For some people, dealing with – and trying to resolve – conflict - is their life’s work. And it’s one of those people who is my guest for this episode. 

Dr Scilla Elworthy was put on her ‘path’ at the young age of 13 - having watched a life altering news broadcast in 1956 which literally jolted her into action. That small moment changed her life, which in turn, helped change the lives of countless others. 

Dr Elworthy is best known for founding the Oxford Research Group; an organisation set up in 1982 to develop communication between nuclear weapons policy-makers and their critics - for which she was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

In 2003 she left her role there as executive director and set up Peace Direct; a charity which supports peace-makers and peace builders in areas of conflict. She is also a member of the World Future Council, has advised Desmond TuTu and Sir Richard Branson in setting up ‘The Elders’, and was Awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2003. 

Today her full attention is on developing Business Plan for Peace - resulting in her 2017 book The Business Plan for Peace: Building a World Without War . 

Her latest booklet - which has literally just been released – is called: ‘The Mighty Heart: How to transform conflict’. It takes the experience of people who have been preventing and resolving conflict for decades; some on the front-line, others within families or schools. And distils their experiences into practical, non-technical advice on how build your own mighty heart. 

So what’s a mighty heart? Put simply, it’s having the courage to meet conflict with compassion, curiosity – and unshakeable presence.

How do we do that? Keep listening. In this conversation we dive into: 

·       How to deal with a bully without becoming a thug yourself, and how to overcome violence in all its forms without resorting to force. 

·       Why it’s important to realise that whilst it’s okay to be angry at ‘the thing’, it’s not okay to be angry at the person who holds the opposing view on that ‘thing’; get mad at ‘the thing’ together and resolve it. 

·       Self intervention - how to take a step back when we feel too close to the trigger point - very important this one, and very relevant for these times. 

·       How to take a stand clearly and calmly – and with full gravity - so you are not dismissed. Quick Tip - it’s important to literally take a ‘stand’. 

·       And how we build certainty through self enquiry. Especially in those 3am moments. One of my favourite moments in this conversation is listening to how Scilla – literally – deals with her dragons when they arrive at 3am. 

For me – speaking to Scilla was both a deep honour and reminder that the most powerful forms of influence are not force, aggression or interruption. Which I know sometimes is a hard truth to hold onto.

In the long run of history – or any relationship - the only lasting genuine peace always comes from a willingness to firstly show up – for ourselves before anyone else. Then to get curious about both sides of the story – even when that feels impossible. And finally, in the decision to fiercely and compassionately hold our ground – even (and especially) in the moments when our knees shake and our voices break. 

Writing this introduction actually sent me off in search of a poem I hadn’t read in years, it’s by Rumi and it’s the closest (and shortest) summation of the beginnings of peace that I have ever found: “Out beyond the ideas of right and wrong there is a field – I will meet you there’.

So, find whatever resembles a peaceful place for you right now - and enjoy my conversation with the truly indescribable, Dr Scilla Elworthy... 

More Episodes


Margaret Neale - Getting more of what you want, a blueprint for battle free negotiation

Season 1, Ep. 83
Greetings everyone, my name is Julie Masters and welcome to another episode of Inside Influence. In which I delve into the minds of some of the world’s most fascinating influencers – or experts in influence - to get to the bottom of what it really takes to own your voice - and then amplify it to drive an industry, a conversation, a movement or a Nation.If I asked you to think of a business negotiation, depicted in TV, film, theatre etc. chances are it’s a scene of high drama. It’s a desk-banging, horn-locking, hard-balling battle where someone (usually the most aggressive) leaves with everything and the little guy gets nothing.Now, if I asked you to think back to the last negotiation you were involved in, I’m guessing it didn’t look much like that. But I bet it still had a feeling of edge to it; an understanding that the available outcomes fit into one of only two camps – what they want – and what you want.But is this ‘us vs them’ version of negotiation due to the nature of the negotiation process itself? Or the human nature we bring to it?According to my next guest - this battle orientated framework for negotiation – is as broken as it is ineffective.Professor Margaret Neale is The Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University – as well as Negotiation Strategies Program Co-Director of the Executive Program for Women Leaders.Professor Neale’s research focuses primarily on negotiation, and in 2015 she co-authored ‘Getting More of What You Want: How the Secrets of Economics and Psychology Can Help You Negotiate Anything, in Business and in Life’.This book leverages decades of research to answer questions like: ‘Who should make the first offer?’ and ‘How to create a compelling pitch?’What I loved about this approach is the definition of negotiation itself – which shifts the focus from a battle mindset – one I’ve never found comfortable or particularly effective - to one of‘finding a solution to your counterpart’s problem that makes youBETTER OFFthan you would have been had you not negotiated’.Why is that important? Not many of us consider ourselves talented negotiators – but most of us, in one area or our lives or another, would get a gold star at problem solving.In this episode we jump into:How much preparation you should be doing for each negotiation - chances are it’s a lot more than you think – and here’s a clue – twice as much as you’re doing right now.The 4 step structure for how to get what you want from a negotiation - including how to tackle most people’s least favourite part:The Ask.Why – when heading into a negotiation – you should neversolve the easy issues first. Why? Because leaving the big hairy stuff until last is the fastest way to end the negotiation in conflict.The differences between how men negotiate and how women negotiate. This is not only hugely important for women to understand – but for any men who want to better support the women you lead, mentor or love in getting what they have earned – then these insights might change the way you approach it.And finally, how to move someone out of survival mode and into learning mode – which let’s face it - is the only mode where solutions are found.Right now, as we try to figure out what comes next in this pandemic - new rules are being written daily and everything about ‘the old way of life’ has the potential to be renegotiated. I know for myself, this sometimes feels like a huge opportunity – and other days like a daunting challenge - but here’s the choice: do you want to approach these negotiations a) ready for conflict Or b) ready to collaborate?If the answer is the latter -then yeah, me too.So, sit back, do whatever you need to do to negotiate some time for yourself – no easy feat these days - and enjoy my conversation with the fiercely sharp mind of Professor Margaret Neale.

Jonah Berger - The Catalyst: How to change anyones mind without having to push

Season 1, Ep. 82
“Greetings everyone, my name is Julie Masters and welcome to another episode of Inside Influence. In which I delve into the minds of some of the world’s most fascinating influencers – or experts in influence - to get to the bottom of what it really takes to own your voice - and then amplify it to drive an industry, a conversation, a movement or a Nation.Now, some might say, that one of the ultimate forms of influence is the ability to change the mind of someone’s else.Which shouldn’t be that hard right? Replace fact A with updated Fact B and then done. System overwrite. Opinion changed.If you’re smiling right now – then I’m guessing you’re with me in that – never once – in my entire career of trying to get ideas adopted and actioned. Have I EVER had that experience.Generally speaking, and by that I mean pretty much always, if we feel we’re being pushed to do something, we push back. If something new or novel is suggested, our brains automatically pick out every reason it’s a terrible idea before we even CONSIDER it.Even when confronted with proven evidence that a change is needed research shows that - human nature (in its infinite wisdom) – then makes us MORE determined to double down on our current version of events.So - when opposition is literally hard wired into our nature – and without access to Yoda and some serious Jedi mind tricks – then then question then becomes – how do you change someone’s mind?My guest today has spent a career unpacking the hidden forces behind influence.Professor Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and internationally bestselling author ofContagious,Invisible Influenceand now The Catalyst.At the heart of Contagious -which (without overestimating) is a complete must read -is why certain products, ideas, services, and behaviours catch on. While others stay on the side-lines.The success of Contagious and resulting consulting requests for some of the worlds top tier firms – including Google, Apple, Nike - then led him to another insight. That there are two phases to impact. The first is getting someone’s attention – the second is converting that attention into action.That realisation - and resulting research - led to his latest book ‘The Catalyst: How To Change Anyone’s Mind’; a counterintuitive approach to initiating change - which isn’t about pushing harder or exerting more energy, but insteadlowering the barriersthat prevent that change from happening.·In this episode, we talk about what those barriers are – and how pushing against them, as instinctive as it feels, rarely works.·We discuss the technique of providing a menu; and why giving someone options allows them to buy in while retaining control. Sounds simple, but apply it and you’ll find this one is a game changer.·We look at the impact of movements – the role of protests - and the what next when it comes to harnessing attention into action.·And finally, one for the world we currently find ourselves facing: How tolift the handbrake of uncertainty. Allowing people to experience what you’re offering, by temporarily removing the risk involved in changing their mind.At this point I would usually provide a menu of ways to enjoy the podcast – along with some suggestions of what to reflect on – but in the spirit of this episode – I’ll leave that up to your own free will.Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing – I hope you enjoy my conversation with the incredible Professor Jonah Berger....

Chris Bailey - Hyper Focus: How to master distraction and create attention worthy work

Season 1, Ep. 81
“Greetings everyone, my name is Julie Masters and welcome to another episode of Inside Influence. In which I delve into the minds of some of the world’s most fascinating influencers – or experts in influence - to get to the bottom of what it really takes to own your voice - and then amplify it to drive an industry, a conversation, a movement or a Nation.”Now, when you listen to this podcast, are you onlylistening to this podcast? Or when you listen to this podcast, are you cooking? Driving? Working? Working out? All of the above?Chances are you’re not focussing solely on this podcast. Most likely, you’re doing something else. In fact, when you think about it – when was the last time you shut down all distractions and focused on one thing utterly and completely?And why am I even asking these questions – what does any of this have to do with influence? The answer is – everything. If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s this – we can have no influence, not over ourselves, our organisations, our networks or our communities – without first mastering the ability to focus.The most influential people you know are the most focused. I’ll say that again… The most influential people you know are the most focused. They are the most able to tune out the noise and focus on essential signals. And in doing so create a force strong enough to pierce through the noise in other people’s lives – long enough and consistently enough - to create an equally focused following.Add to that – that there are no shortage of distractions right now. No shortage of screaming elements that are as urgent as they are important. The future of the economy, important social unrest in our societies, a pandemic, the health and wellbeing and continued isolation from our families, educating and entertaining our children at home, trying to keep our jobs and businesses alive – not to mention the ever ready call of social media - just to remind us of everything else we (probably) don’t have the time or bandwidth to even consider adding to our plate.PLUS – and I will stop soon I promise – there’s this whispering opportunity many of us feel at the moment. The opportunity to look deeply at our lives, our careers, our businesses – and redesign them.For some it’s to include more breaks, more white space and more connection. For other’s it’s transitioning to a business model that will put us and our teams in the strongest possible position for whatever comes next.So – have I made my case yet? Focus and how we deal with distractions has everything to do with influence.My guest today has been making this case for over 15 years.Chris Bailey believes in a ‘human’ approach to productivity and focus i.e. no spreadsheets in sight. A fact that makes me truly happy.His fascination with focus first led him to dedicating a year after college – turning down a number of job opportunities – in order experiment with productivity. Primarily using himself as the guinea pig. These experiments included.... working a 90 hour week, watching 70 hours of TED talks in 7 days, and making himself bored for a month to see where his mind wandered. All this, with the aim to learn and share how we can focus more deeply, overcome procrastination and energise ourselves in the process.The result of this 12 months was his first book ‘The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy’.The book was a huge success, but then Chris noticed something – that his old unfocused habits were starting to creep back in – particularly when it came to technology. This led to his second book – the manual he needed and couldn’t find: ‘Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction’.In this episode – the conversation I needed but previously hadn’t been able to find - we dive into…1. The one thing that we (i.e. I) wanted to hear the most. That it’s not our fault we’re distracted. Apparently, we’re hard wired for novelty (for reasons we’ll get into) and that every time we discover a new and novel thing – hello social media - our brain gives us an addictive hit of dopamine. So, if you can give yourself a pass for that, and be kinder to yourself in those moments, that’s the first step to a better attention span.2. Following on from that, how to embrace the break. That includes learning to read your own cues about when it’s time to take a break. And by the way, looking at your phone is not taking a break. Sorry about that.3. The rule of 3. This is one of Chris’ top focus tips - each morning, he picks three intentions for the day - out of the many he has on his plate, and gets them done.4. How not to fear White Space (another word for the ‘in-between time’ we often avoid or try to fill with stimuli). And how harnessing that space, that pause, is the key to becoming a more effective decision-maker.5. And finally, the joy of email sprints – which I can promise you does not require active wear, but does get that never-ending monkey of your Inbox off your back.So, no more distractions from me, time to press pause on whatever you’re doing - or at least one of the things you’re doing - and get set to consider a new way of working with the ‘force of focus’ that is Chris Bailey....