Guy Kawasaki: Empowering People Through Influence

Guy Kawasaki Shares Insights on Empowering People Through Influence

Guy Kawasaki is one of the world’s foremost experts on how to be highly effective through social media. Yet, he admits in interviews, books, and blogs that he is an introvert.

He was Apple’s first chief evangelist for four years. And he gives more than 50 keynote speeches each year on topics such as innovation, entrepreneurship, social media tips, and enchantment (his term for persuasion). Yet, he wrote in his blog in 2003 that he was afraid of public speaking. Even so, In an interview published in Forbes three years later, he said the most critical business skill is effective communication.

Obviously, he learned the skill of effective communication. Today, leaders refer to him as a business guru, a modern-day Dale Carnegie, a social media influencer, a marketing legend, a Silicon Valley icon, and a source of wisdom about entrepreneurship. And Guy is an “influence ace,” a term he uses to describe the most accomplished influencers.

In his book, “The Art of Enchantment,” he describes the goal of influencing – to bring about a change of heart in other people. Influence brings about changes in people’s behavior or perceptions, which then changes their situations and relationships in beneficial ways.

Kawasaki says everyone has the potential to be persuasive, adding that influencers are not born that way; it is a capability and set of skills that they learn. In fact, in a blog in 2005, he attributes the impact of his first job (working at a fine-jewelry manufacturer) as teaching him a skill vital to his entire career – learning how to sell.

But he also believes several personal characteristics are essential for influencing others: likeability, trustworthiness, humor, empathy, and being relational. He frames the importance of these characteristics as keys to overcoming someone’s resistance.

In several of his best-selling books, he writes that influencers must stand up for their principles and not lower their standards to become famous. When it comes to his core values, he states that his spiritual journey plays a vital role in his work and how he influences people. His wife’s family, especially her father, led him to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and Kawasaki says that this context shapes his morals and ethics. He believes he is a better person and a better businessman because of this spiritual influence.

Kawasaki, whose grandparents were Japanese immigrants to America, frequently says that nobody gets to the desired position in life without others’ help. He advises influencers to honor the people who came before them and help people who will follow them, especially those who are less fortunate.  Indeed, in interviews and writings, he states that he wants his legacy to be that he empowered many people through his books, speaking, and social media content.