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Meet Melinda Marcus of Influence Advisors

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melinda Marcus.

Ever wish you had more influence at work? How would you like to walk into meetings with the confidence that your messaging is spot on, your body language conveys trust, and you’ve got the power of persuasive psychology behind you?

Helping people, like you, get to “yes” on these questions is what motivated Melinda Marcus to launch her firm Influence Advisors. As a result of her consulting, coaching and speaking, her individual clients have won top-level positions at corporations, and her corporate clients have successfully closed multimillion-dollar deals and increased revenues by more than $279 million.

Kate Delaney of NBC Radio calls Melinda “The guru of an incredible new way to look at influence!”

Influence Advisors started as a division of Melinda’s multi-million dollar advertising agency Marcus & Associates, Inc. in 2006. Today, the firm is a rare resource for executives to dramatically increase their “win rates” by leveraging The Marcus Method of Influence. Melinda has learned from some of the most renowned frontline researchers in the fields of persuasive psychology, strategic messaging and body language, including former FBI Special Agent and body language expert Joe Navarro.

During her career, Melinda Marcus was named one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Working Women in America” by Glamour magazine and “One of the Five Women to Watch in the Southwest” by ADWEEK magazine. Her work has been honored with more than 100 awards in the advertising industry, including prestigious CLIO’s and a Silver Lion at Cannes. Before starting her own firm, she was the first female Creative Director at the award-winning national branding agency The Richards Group. She earned her B.S. with Honors in Psychology from Northwestern University and her M.A. in Mass Communications from Southern Methodist University. Her Psychology research on first impressions is published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

National Speakers Association named Melinda a Certified Professional Speaker (CSP), a designation earned by only 12% of speakers globally. You can see her TEDx talk at and excerpts from her corporate speeches at or visit

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The surprising challenge in building Influence Advisors was that it meant turning down lucrative business opportunities in advertising and marketing.

It was tempting to take new advertising engagements that knocked on our door, but that would have demanded time away from my goal of showing executives how to influence decisions before they lose big opportunities. In looking back, I made the right decision because the transition to consulting, coaching and speaking on The Science of Influence opens up many new opportunities. Lots of companies don’t advertise… most individuals don’t advertise… but everybody needs more influence!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Influence Advisors story. Tell us more about the business.
Influence Advisors works with a range of clients, including individuals and companies in just about every industry – from healthcare and financial to technology and architecture. The one thing they share in common is they have challenges critical to their success… and they recognize that being more persuasive in the way they present themselves and their ideas will give them important competitive advantages.

On the individual side, clients range from top executives in transition to entrepreneurs wanting to launch or grow their businesses to college grads who are interviewing for career positions or acceptances into premier graduate programs. Our clients have achieved a 92% “win rate” in getting an offer for their first career choice, and a 98% “win rate” in getting acceptances to top-tier graduate programs, including MBA programs at Stanford, Northwestern Kellogg and Dartmouth.

On the corporate side, clients include Fortune 500 companies to large local businesses that want to attract and win new business. We have helped professional services firms win individual contracts as high as $60 million. I also do engagements with hospitals and large surgery practices on how to increase patient engagement, and on how to choose the best residents to fit their cultures.

According to the Chief of Orthopedics at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, “I had surgeons coming up to me for weeks after Melinda’s presentation to say it was one of the best Grand Rounds programs ever! She showed us how to control for unconscious biases in the interview process and how to read the candidates’ body language to know what they were really thinking and feeling when asked the tough questions.”

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
My stroke of good luck came when a colleague asked me to donate my time to develop the marketing for the Institute of Management Consultants’ DFW event. The featured speaker was psychologist Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., who has conducted key research on influence and persuasion. As a thank-you for contributing my expertise, the association invited me to the program.

Learning directly from Dr. Cialdini inspired me to delve into the science behind what influences decisions. Ultimately, that led me to pivot from persuading people through advertising to consulting with executives on how to persuade and influence decision makers in business. I get so much fulfillment in this new role because clients tell me I have made a huge difference in their success! I feel honored to help good people get the good things they deserve in their careers.

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