The capacity to influence has long been seen as essential to commercial success, dating back to Dale Carnegie’s 1936 publication of his best-seller ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and the marketing industry’s present use of social media influencers to gain market dominance. So, what is influence precisely, and why is it important? And what are some Ways to Develop Influencing Skills?
“The power or capacity to cause an effect in indirect or intangible ways” is how Merriam-Webster defines influence. In business, this means persuading others to follow your instructions not because you instructed them to but because they firmly believe it to be the correct course of action.
How To Develop Influencing Skills
1. Recognize Your Target
Understanding the people you are attempting to influence, and their motivations is one of the Ways to Develop Influencing Skills. What are their objectives, requirements, difficulties, inclinations, and morals? How do they decide and communicate? What concerns and objections do they have?
Adjust by getting to know them, you can use your message, style, and approach to appeal to your audience’s interests and feelings.
2. Determine Who Is Important
Finding the people who can influence decisions is essential. Your leadership and skills need to be focused on the individuals and situations where they will have the most impact. This goes beyond just yielding to seniority. It also entails being aware of group dynamics.
An organizational chart is helpful in this situation. There is a unique collection of essential individuals for each project who need influence. That is the Importance of Influencing Skills.
3. Build Relationships
Developing solid and constructive connections with people is the next stage in influencing them without having any formal power. This entails being genuinely interested in, respectful of, and appreciative of them, in addition to being dependable, helpful, and supportive.
You may gain credibility and influence as a partner rather than a pusher by developing relationships and earning their confidence. Additionally, you may use your current networks and contacts to get access to and support from other influencers.
4. Find Common Ground
The way you impact others is contingent upon how they feel about you. Going above and above to establish common ground is often beneficial, even when it has little to do with the work. Seeking any area of agreement will allow people to accept your point of view. They must be open to hearing you out to be a steadfast supporter.
Finding common ground in one-on-one conversations is simpler. For instance, trying to get a job interview by using the fact that you both attended the same institution. Interview opportunities won’t necessarily be it, but it will raise the chance.
Speaking is the first step towards discovering common ground. You need to be very clear about where you stand. After that, paying close attention might provide you with some cues to identify points of agreement. Make a conscious effort to find commonalities in people’s lives and use them to your advantage.
5. Communicate Effectively
Effectively communicating your thoughts and recommendations is one of the Ways to Develop Influencing Skills. This entails using facts, reasoning, and anecdotes to bolster your arguments and delivering your message with confidence, clarity, and conciseness.
In addition, you must actively listen, provide open-ended inquiries, and respond to criticism and worries. You may address any opposition or concerns and show your worth and experience by speaking clearly.
6. Use Reciprocity
The basis of human collaboration is reciprocity. It has always been necessary for people to create a sense of reciprocity to make friends and persuade others to pursue similar objectives.
People will often react favorably to you if you have improved their situation. This “Rule of Reciprocity” creates a sense of duty to repay others for the favors you have done for them. Sincere reciprocity is innate and originates from a real place.
You will desire to repay debts when you get great things from friends, coworkers, or anyone else. Whether they are a stranger, a family member, or someone in between makes no difference. Reciprocity creates great sentiments when it comes to persuading someone to listen.
Individuals want you to respect them and their opinions. According to a 2016 Dale Carnegie Training leadership poll, 90% of workers rated leaders’ understanding and respect for their opinions as “important” or “very important.”
Adhering to the reciprocity rule entails you and your coworkers regularly listening to and learning about each other’s priorities.
7. Show What’s in it For Them
This relates to the previous thing we discussed: reciprocity and the Importance of Influencing Skills. Knowing what’s in it for the other person is essential to influencing them. As a result, you must emphasize the advantages that the other person enjoys when they adopt a viewpoint similar to yours.
This phase calls for some practice using persuasion techniques. Throughout your conversation with them, you have to show that you comprehend their viewpoint. Thus, begin by pointing out how your concept and their interests are related. Connect their objective and what you want to persuade them of.
This brings up normal communication abilities once again. Keep an eye on their behaviors and responses. Pose questions and observe their body language as well as their answers. Then, let them know how you can help them achieve their goal.
8. Recognize Other People’s Emotional States
You don’t have to act as if you’re unaware of the emotional states of the individuals you converse with. It’s something you should consider carefully while attempting to persuade them.
According to a 2017 Businessolver poll, 82% of workers believe empathy is essential to influence. Ignoring them is more detrimental to others’ emotional states than deliberately beneficial.
It requires balance. Leaders who ignore their emotions at work can be insensitive or purely focused on the bottom line and their status. On the other side, doing too much research will seem improper. The audience and particular conditions will determine the appropriate balance.
Some Books To Hone Your Influencing Skills
Books can show many Ways to Develop Influencing Skills. Penned by prominent authors, these books are best-sellers and admired by thousands of readers worldwide.
- Methods of Persuasion: How to Use Psychology to Influence Human Behaviour by Nick Kolenda.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.
- Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini.
- Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion by Noah J. Goldstein.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
- Developing Your Influencing Skills: How to Influence People by Increasing Your Credibility, Trustworthiness and Communication Skills by Deborah Dalley and Lois Burton.
- The small BIG. Small changes that spark big influence by Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein, and Robert Cialdini.
- The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization by John C. Maxwell.
- Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People by James Borg.
Q: Can I influence someone to do something harmful for me?
A: That’s not influencing, that’s manipulation.
Q: What is the difference between influencing and manipulation?
A: Influencing always leads to something positive. It creates development. Manipulation is tied to self-centered motives and can lead to something harmful.
Q: Leaders of many terrorist organizations have many followers. Are they influencing people?
A: As stated earlier, any leader of terrorist or extremist organizations is a manipulator, not an influencer.