Communicate to Influence Book Summary By Ben Decker & Kelly Decker

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Are you looking to become a better communicator? Then Communicate to Influence by Brian O’Neill (2015) is the book for you.

In it, Brian covers everything from the selection of the best voice to use, to successfully structuring and delivering your message.

Besides learning how to avoid common pitfalls in public speaking, readers will find numerous helpful tools that will be able to turn their information into an effective call to action.

Through this book, learn how to effectively communicate and influence with greater confidence!

Communicate to Influence Book

Book Name: Communicate to Influence (How to Inspire Your Audience to Action)

Author(s): Ben Decker & Kelly Decker

Rating: 4.1/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Communication Skills

Author Bio

Ben and Kelly Decker are the co-authors of what is regarded as one of the best business communication books of all times - "Communicate to Influence".

They are renowned experts in the field, having spent years helping ambitious startups and Fortune 500 companies become better communicators.

Together, they spearhead Decker Communications; a firm that has solely been committed to empowering clients with the right set of communication skills.

How To Communicate Effectively: Avoid These Five Common Mistakes And Foster Connection With The Sharp Method

Communicate Effectively

Wanting to become a better communicator? Look no further – reading “Communicate to Influence” will give you all the insight and guidance you need.

This book can teach you five common communication mistakes we make and how to avoid them, show you the power body language holds when it comes to effective communication, and even introduce you to the SHARP method for really making an impact with your audience!

Whether you want to ace that job interview or convince investors of your new company’s potential – knowing how to communicate effectively is the make or break factor.

Take cues from renowned public speakers such as John F.

Kennedy who was able to capture the audience’s imagination with his inspiring rhetoric – and use their lessons in your everyday meetings.

With this book, you can learn how to be an even more proficient communicator than before!

Five Mistakes To Avoid When Communicating With Your Audience To Give A Great Presentation

Communication can often be unsuccessful due to five common mistakes.

Trying to present too much information and data while forgetting to make it interesting, faking authenticity in an attempt to sound impressive, lacking preparation before presenting, being unaware of how others perceive your communication and sticking to comfort when it’s time to take a risk are all mistakes that can result in less than desirable outcomes.

When speaking publicly, you have a responsibility to increase engagement with the audience by being authentic, even if you’re talking about something as serious as the cure for cancer.

Preparation should also be done well before speaking engagements or business meetings in order to present facts effectively and with confidence.

Self-awareness is key when trying to understand how your message is being understood by the people in your presence.

Lastly, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can help you achieve more effective communication and lead you closer towards success.

Overall, avoiding these five common communication mistakes will enable stronger connections and greater influence on those around you.

How To Stand Out In The Attention Economy: Focus On Meaningful Content And Authenticity

Today, communication is more challenged than ever before.

Attention spans are shorter and people are more skeptical of authority figures.

This reality has left many struggling to be heard and listened to amidst the noise of modern day communications.

Take, for example, the rise of mobile devices that make it difficult to get people’s attention.

According to a 2012 Time magazine poll, 84 percent of people use their phones daily while 20 percent go as far as checking them every 10 minutes.

Part of this attraction comes from the dopamine rush experienced upon receiving notifications such as likes or shares, which affects our brains pleasure centers.

But this addiction has reduced our attention span at an alarming rate.

Move Beyond Informing And Directing To Create An Effective, Memorable And Inspiring Message Through Connection


Whether you know it or not, your communication style can have a huge impact on how effective your messages are.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone has provided you with lots of information but it hasn’t been properly contextualised or inspired any action? That’s because there is more than one way to communicate and if you want to be as effective as possible, it pays to understand the different styles.

The Deckers have created a Communicators Road Map, which highlights four distinct communication styles from which you can pinpoint exactly your own.

This includes informing, directing, entertaining and inspiring.

To be an effective communicator who moves your audience to action, aim to transition to the fourth style – inspiring.

An inspiring speech requires finding the right balance between creating the right emotions and delivering content relevant to your audience.

If you’re an authoritative person who directs rather than inspires; focus on finding an emotional connection with your audience.

Whereas if you’re an informer or entertainer by nature; make sure to add direction-based instruction and center your message around your audience for maximum effectiveness.

Using this Communicators Road Map will help ensure that when you need deliver a powerful message; yours will stick in people’s minds – inspiring them into action!

Using Non-Verbal Communication To Make The Most Of Your Presentation

When delivering a presentation, your visual displays can make the difference between resonating with an audience and getting lost in the noise.

Eye contact is one of the most effective ways to come across as caring, trustworthy and likable.

It is powerful enough that if you make eye contact with one person in each section of a large audience, the people around them will feel its positive effect as well.

Additionally, body language is important to consider when delivering a presentation.

Striking a ready position – standing straight with your head pulled up towards the ceiling, your shoulders back and weight balanced on the balls of your feet – will project confident energy.

Try to avoid cold mannerisms such as leaning backward, standing with crossed legs or shifting back and forth.

Remember to utilize gestures that align with your message content – such things like holding up three fingers while describing “three contributing factors” will add enthusiasm and passion to what you’re saying.

Don’t forget about smiling either – it’s an easy yet effective way of providing warmth and appearing confident, calm and comfortable!

By making sure to display friendly physical cues, you’ll foster connection with your audience which will ultimately help them better understand what you’re saying!

Use Your Voice To Increase The Power Of Your Communication

When it comes to effective communication, the sound of your vocal delivery can be just as important as the content of your message.

You need to make sure that you engage your audience’s sense of anticipation and keep them attentive in order for your message to really hit home.

Varying the pace, volume and pitch of your voice is one way to do this.

Try not to fall into “up talk,” which happens when your sentences start low, gradually increase, and then end on a high note – this can make you sound uncertain and incompetent.

Instead, imagine that you are speaking with a group of close friends and let the right tone, personality, and vocal variety come naturally.

Another key factor in good communication is taking time to pause when necessary – a two-to-three-second break here and there can add dramatic emphasis to whatever you’ve just said while also giving your audience a moment to process it fully.

Using Sharps To Connect With Your Audience: Stories, Humor, Analogies, References, And Pictures

Your Audience

If you want to ensure that your message resonates with your audience, one of the best ways to do it is through stories and humor.

SHARPs, which stands for Stories, Humor, Analogies, References and Pictures, are great tools for emotionally connecting with folks and make sure that they don’t forget what you’ve said.

Stories are a great way to emphasize a point and evoke powerful emotions in the person listening.

For example, if your message is about friendship and loyalty you could share the story of an award-winning ad from Guinness – watching six people in wheelchairs playing basketball at the end of which 5 players get up to help their wheelchair using friend across the street to share a beer.

Tragic yet heartwarming tales have proven incredibly effective at making people take action too – like when teenagers at fundraisers for the Boys and Girls Club of America tell their own stories of surviving gang violence or physical abuse.

Using Analogies, References, And Pictures To Get Your Message Across

Using analogies, references and pictures in your content is a surefire way to engage your audience.

Analogies are great for helping to make unfamiliar concepts easier to understand; using a reference or quote can add credibility to your message and spark interest; while visuals like PowerPoint slides, videos, or even props can transform an otherwise dull presentation into something truly captivating.

Take the example of the engineer who used the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 as an analogy for standardization – this powerful example made an effective case for the value of standardization that left a lasting impression on his audience.

Or look at the NYC Department of Health’s subway campaign against sugary sodas – its effective visuals and slogan made it one of the most memorable campaigns ever.

In short, effective analogies, references and pictures will make sure audiences don’t forget your content!

Speak To Your Audience With A Clear Point Of View And Concrete Steps To Take Action

In order to get your audience to take the action that you want, it’s important to understand exactly what they want and need.

To do this, ask yourself three key questions – who is my audience, what do they expect, and what do they already know?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can use them to create an “audience profile” which will give you a better idea of how to frame your message.

For example, if you are targetting overworked staff at a small business who are looking for ways to grow but don’t yet understand how search engine optimization (SEO) can help increase their web traffic with minimal extra work, then busyness, growth, and unfamiliarity would be the three adjectives that you would use for your audience profile.

From there, establishing a Point of View (POV) becomes essential.

This should be one brief statement that summarizes your entire message in order to make them take action – so in the case of SEO services for our small business example, the POV could be: “Your clients need to find you before they can hire you.” Then provide clear and concrete steps as guidance on what needs to be done next.

Encourage them by pointing out resources or services that may be helpful in this endeavor and offering incentives such as discounts and limited-time offers.

By getting to know the wants and desires of your audience first and then customizing your message around them accordingly, it will make it much easier for them to take the action that you want.

The Decker Grid: A Structure For Optimizing Presentations For Maximum Impact


If you’re looking for a tried and true way to get your point across effectively and efficiently, then the Decker Grid is the perfect solution.

This grid consists of 20 boxes organized into four columns and five rows that can help you structure your content and make sure you don’t lose your audience along the way.

With this template, you can organize all of your main points and themes so that they are clearly outlined.

It starts with a SHARP–a quote, funny anecdote, or story about a past client who used your service–and continues with a POV that explains why potential clients are in need of your service in the first place.

This leads to ACTION steps that talk about further exploring SEO benefits and BENEFITS for taking these steps, such as increasing web traffic and gaining new customers.

The middle three rows are used to detail three Key Points as well as three Sub Points to back them up.

While doing this, at least two should be presented as SHARP’s so as to keep your audience hooked on what you have to say.

Growth Mindset And Humble Confidence: The Keys To Becoming A Great Communicator And Influencer

In the book Communicate to Influence, Jim Collins highlights the importance of having an open mind-set.

Thinking about yourself in terms of potential rather than limitations is absolutely essential for great communicators and leaders.

A growth mind-set gives you access to bigger possibilities and inspires you to strive for more than what already exists.

Moreover, it allows you to develop a kind of humble confidence that people are drawn to—imagine Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi as examples.

They had such a strong aura that people were able to put their trust in them, which drove them even further towards meaningful change.

It’s clear these individuals understood how important it was to be both humble and confident at the same time when communicating.

Overall, great communicators have an open mind-set that promotes humble confidence – two powerful ingredients for influencing others in a positive way.

Wrap Up

The final takeaway from the book Communicate to Influence is that building an emotional connection with your audience is the most critical step for inspiring action.

To connect with them, it’s essential to come off as authentic and warm in behaviors and voice, as well as adding emotional triggers to content.

Additionally, using the Decker Grid helps in delivering a well-structured message effectively.

One of the main pieces of actionable advice from this book was to make audio recordings of communication whenever possible.

Nothing can replace feedback from recorded conversations and conferences; this will help you identify areas you could work on or improve upon for future sessions.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that speaking with a diaphragmatic voice will be heard more effectively in all parts of the hall -from front to back- so speak outwardly rather than toward your feet.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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