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Learning about the Art of Influence at IMU’s Student Empowerment Workshops

29 Sep 2022

IMU’s first Student Empowerment Workshop (SEW), The Art of Influence, was conducted on 27 August 2022 in a face-to-face format. The SEWs are part of Academic Coaching Programme (ACP) launched recently towards enhanced student support. The workshop was conducted by Dr Shaju (in the photo above), Academic Coach and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) Programme Director, along with Mr Javier, final year BDS student. The workshop was attended by 10 students of various professional programmes in IMU.


Influence without authority is an essential skill for the present-day health professionals and working adults. What better place to learn this skill than the cradle of learning, the University!. The students are expected to navigate their learning journey through interaction and communication with their peers, seniors/juniors, lecturers, clinical supervisors, health support staff, school admin staff, etc. IMU is serious and passionate about student support and managed by the dedicated Student Service Hub (SSH). IMU is a forerunner among Malaysian universities in the introduction of ACP.


The workshop, the Art of Influence, started with a ice breaker session which connected the participants to each other. A host of hands-on activities was practiced by the students with their partner. The learning through these activities enriched the learning of the art of influence through ‘AA it’s PR’ technique. AA PR is an effective technique formed by the acronym for Awareness, Analysis, Practice and Reflection. ‘AA it’s PR’ was developed by Dr Shaju to empower the students through positive influence. The student participants used this technique to positively influence their partners on a re-enactment of a failed previous experience.

What Students have Learnt

“Today, I realised there are ways to positively influence anyone, without me having authority”

“I realised that the other person’s need is as important as mine”

“Know my values and the other party’s values before interaction to influence without authority”

“Don’t beg, just influence”

“I need to know what I can offer to others. It gives me currency to influence”

“Knowing my goal and reflecting on past experience gives me a clear understanding of how to influence”

The students provided important feedback on the conduct and outcome of the workshop. That itself was an important behavior that underscores the ability to influence. Some suggestions on topics for future workshops were Strategies of communication, personal branding and selling oneself, Leadership. The SEW will be conducted at frequent intervals on relevant topics that lead to student empowerment.

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