A key to our work is what we called being SUAVE, which is the missing ingredient to being influential. SUAVE (acronym for Science Underlying Altering Views for Everyone) is being able to alter the way people view and experience what they’re dealing with.

Let’s break that down. When we talk about the way people view and experience something, we are talking about their view/experience of 3 things:

  • The situation at hand
  • Themselves, in the context of the situation
  • You, in the context of your role in the situation

We call this “Looking Out, In, and Across.”

  • Looking Out at the situation
  • Looking In at themselves
  • Looking Across (imagine sitting at a table) at you

Understanding the Out/In/and Across aspects of someone’s view gives you a robust picture and tells you what you need to address to be influential.

Let’s look at a scenario. Say an aspect of your job is to align key executives with a new recruiting initiative. Maybe this initiative is something you and your team have been developing and testing, and it’s time to get the initiative approved and then adopted companywide ASAP.

In your upcoming meeting, you’ll be speaking with the CEO, for example. In preparing for this meeting, you need to understand, as best you can in advance, their In/Out/Across aspects of their view for this initiative.

Sometimes, you have sufficient insight into their views of the situation and/or can gain insight through interviewing others in advance of the meeting. Other times, your insight is limited, and although you can gain some insight in advance, you will need to ferret out their views in the meeting to ensure you fully understand.

Either way, we’ve created a table to support you with this kind of preparatory work. Here is a link to a free download of the table below

Once you’ve understood the In/Out/Across of the “audience,”(whomever you are speaking to) then you can begin to ask yourself the question – what new view (In/Out/Across) do I need each person to have that would naturally lead them to taking the actions I want? 

Part of answering this question is understanding each meeting participant from the Hero’s Journey Framework we use in our Impact Speaking Framework. (More on that later)

With the Hero’s Journey in mind, you can begin to fill in the boxes on the worksheet you downloaded, just like we have below.

For example, maybe you want the CEO leaving the meeting with a new view like:

The Situation:

Adoption of new recruiting initiative to address the capacity shortage that current hiring is not keeping pace with what the organization needs


CEO- Existing View

CEO- New View


Could threaten bottom line. Need to hire faster, but we can’t outpace revenue.

This is urgent AND they’ve put measurements/safeguards in place to moderate the pace relative to revenue


I’m the only person who sees, and who is held to account for the whole picture.

I get to have input. I can slow the pace if I see it’s necessary.


Focused on hiring speed and fixing capacity, but not seeing the overall picture

I trust them to see and manage the whole picture.


With these shifts in view, you can see that the CEO would very likely approve the initiative, and in fact help you push it with all velocity?

Once you’ve filled out the boxes for each person, the question you will need to address is, “What conversations will cause these shifts?”

Walking into meetings and presentations having answered these kinds of questions gets you at least 80% of the way towards a successful outcome.

The challenge becomes – how do you gain insight into people’s views? And when you can’t get it in advance, how do you ferret it out in the meeting/presentation? Finally, what kinds of conversations and relationships shift people’s views?

Well – if you knew all that, you’d be pretty darn influential! But what’s great is that you’re asking the right questions!

Look for future blogs for answers.