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Context, framing, and influence

B. Kim Barnes (CEO of Barnes & Conti Associates, Inc., Berkeley, California, USA)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 25 February 2014




The purpose of this paper is to help readers consider the value of identifying the values, beliefs, and vested interests of someone they wish to influence and to frame their idea, request, or call to action in a way that will make sense in the other person's internal model of the world and be interesting and attractive to him or her.


The paper defines several key terms and presents a rationale for exploring the point of view of individuals one wishes to influence and framing an idea in a way that will be most meaningful to the other.


There is no one way to view any idea. People have a set of mental filters that any influence attempt must pass through. These filters shape the impact and meaning of the other person's idea or request. The skillful influencer takes this into account in framing his or her influence approach.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is the result of many years of observation and pattern recognition in situations where people are asked to influence one another. It is also consistent with current behavioral economics research, but is not itself based on laboratory research.

Practical implications

Applying this approach should enable readers to have better results in influencing a variety of people.


Influence is a key skill set for leaders and key contributors.



Kim Barnes, B. (2014), "Context, framing, and influence", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 73-76.



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