Silent Influence

Free audio/e-course

How to change the results you get by changing how you write

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Each email lesson in this 5-part course comes with built-in audio. Read or listen – it's your choice.


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Five steps to a science-backed superpower

Why brain science holds the key to persuasive writing – and why most people get it wrong

A powerful tool



The devastating neuroscience of overloading your reader’s brain

Avoiding the brain’s tripwire



Why your logical business case may be doomed to failure

Emotions in charge



Harnessing the mental processes that really drive decisions

Hack the decision-maker's brain



Using the science of the brain's inner language to get the result you want

Building silent influence



We're all influencers now

Whatever you do for a living, sooner or later you’ll only make progress if you can get someone to see things from your point of view.

Persuasive writing can be the key to something as simple as getting help from a colleague or as complex as getting a multi-million-dollar project over the finish line. It's critical if you want to position yourself as the authority in your field or simply to argue the case for a raise. 

It doesn't matter whether you’re an engineer, a project manager, a campaigner, lobbyist, blogger, quality manager or marketer. The truth is, we all need to persuade and influence through the words we write. But the secret of doing it successfully (without repelling senior decision-makers, prospective customers and clients) is more science than art.

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It's time to end the battle of the laptops

Do you ever get the feeling that you and your colleagues are speaking a different language, or even that you’re not on the same side?

We know that the modern working world is filled with as much challenge as opportunity. We may work with top professionals who (in theory) share a common, worthwhile goal. But progress often comes only after we’ve battled a headwind of objections, misunderstandings and pointless queries. And getting anyone to accept anything new can feel all but impossible when even the status quo is exhausting.
If you work in a distributed team or – like so many of us now – from home, you’ll be doing all of this with tech. Not just with video software like Teams or Zoom but with email and messaging apps like Slack. (Research shows that the pandemic has made us far more reliant on written communication, even though Zoom has grabbed the headlines.) But the technology that can bring us together across different disciplines, time zones and cultures often seems to separate us too.

The tech that brings us together often separates us too

Information frustration

Have you ever sent off what you thought was an innocent request only to find an angry reply in your inbox just minutes later? Perhaps you’ve spent days writing a complex proposal, only for it to be rejected. In this course, you'll discover why.

As you communicate up and down the chain of command, it can feel like you’re locked in a constant battle with your phone and laptop. I’ve seen this countless times down the years. Miscommunication, frustration and the information deluge lead good projects to stall – if they ever get the green light at all. And things have only got worse since Covid-19 forced us all to take refuge behind our keyboards.
All the tech in the world doesn’t change the fact that we work with humans – with all our foibles, prejudices, fixed ideas and emotions. I learned long ago that an idea will rarely be accepted just because it happens to be good. So I went looking for a better way. What surprised me was where I found it. Because the human quirks that cause projects and ideas to fail can also be put to work to make them succeed.

Drawing on six years' research by the founder of the world's leading business-writing consultancy

I’ve been researching the science of reading and writing for over six years, after spending most of my adult life looking for the secret of superior written communication. I’ve uncovered fascinating studies that, until now, have remained hidden beyond academia. This course is the start of my effort to get that research out into the wider world. 

One of the key things to emerge is how wrong we are about the way our words influence decisions. 

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Email lessons with built-in audio 

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Why is this free?

You might be wondering why this course is free. It's a fair point. Creating it took weeks, first writing the text, then recording and editing the audio versions in the studio. So why am I not charging for it?

The answer is simple: exposure. Most people have very little idea of how the words we read and write affect what we think and do.  So I'm on a mission to change that. All I ask in return is to add you to my email list, so I can tell you when I next publish research-backed content. (You can unsubscribe any time.)

Feel free to share this link with anyone else you think might benefit from the course, too:

We type with tech but work with humans

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About me

I'm an author, researcher and cognitive science nerd. It's always frustrated me that most of the communication advice pushed by self-help books is based on a mixture of pseudoscience, hearsay and wishful thinking. So I've made it my mission to uncover the best research in this area, sort fact from fiction and share the results.
I also founded the learning company Emphasis in 1998. So far, it’s helped more than 70,000 people around the globe to transform their written communication. Clients include everyone from Google and the world's leading law firms to the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace.

Just come off a Teams call to sort a problem I had been addressing by email – your theory works.
– Lesley Hinchliffe, HR Business Partner, Clyde & Co.

Fascinating information presented in a really accessible way.

– Kate Portman, psychology partner, 
YMCA Together 

‘I loved the first episode.’
– Jonathan Hotchkiss, 
Head of Cloud Engineering, Shawbrook Bank