Incredible Buzz • Blog
How do you influence others successfully?
This story appears in the May 2022 blog of Incredible Buzz.
To be effective in organisations today, you must master the ability to influence others may it be in good or challenging times.
By definition, influence is the ability to affect the behaviour of others in a particular direction, leveraging key tactics that involve, connect, and inspire them.
Influence, with and without authority, has become a hot topic as our workplaces become more cross-functional and collaborative. No matter your role, influence is key to solving problems and making things happen. In the business world, this means persuading people to help you affect change, implement key decisions and create buy-in around your ideas.
Without the expertise and ability to influence others, the truly important things in work and in life can’t be achieved. But effective leaders don’t just command; they inspire, persuade, and encourage. Leaders tap the knowledge and skills of a group, point individuals toward a common goal and consensus, and draw out a commitment to achieve results.
Experts say that this is the skill the most influential leaders have mastered. Here are five principles to help you move others.
1. Influence is a persuasive process. It doesn’t happen all at once.
Influence is much more than giving a persuasive presentation. The process includes building relationships, understanding the perspectives of others and having clarity about what you want and what they want.
2. Influence is a product of trust.
This requires building relationships and your reputation. Why should people trust you? What have you done to earn their trust? One way to establish trust is to promise something and then deliver on that promise. This needs to be ongoing – not just when you need something.
3. When people feel heard, they’re more open to being influenced.
Take time to understand where others are coming from, both in what they are feeling and thinking. The ability to ask thoughtful, probing questions is essential, both for understanding the other person’s perspective and to subtly influence.
4. Influence requires persuasively communicating.
There are a variety of frameworks that help you get your message across to internal and external stakeholders in a clear, credible and compelling way.
5. Influence isn’t about winning; it’s about solving problems.
As much as you would like to get what you want, you always want to think about the long-term impact. If you are viewed as a problem-solver and solution provider, you will build your credibility in the long run, which will make the next time you want to influence much easier.
All of these five principles work together as part of an ongoing process of persuasion. Integrate them all into your daily life, and you will be more successful at moving others.
How do you motivate colleagues to support your initiatives and adopt your ideas?