How to influence

How to influence

Influence is the ability to personally affect the actions, decisions, opinions, or thinking of others.

Ultimately, influence allows you to get things done and achieve desired outcomes.

At a basic level, influence is about compliance — getting someone to do what you want them to do (or at least not to undermine it). But genuine commitment from other people is often required for you to accomplish key goals and tasks.

Influencing People Varies by Role

Early in your career, or in individual contributor roles, influence is about working effectively with people over whom you have no authority. It requires the ability to present logical and compelling arguments and engage in give-and-take.

When leading from the middle, you’ll want to focus particularly on developing the 4 key skills needed to influence others.

In senior-level or executive roles, influencing people is more about steering long-range objectives, inspiring and motivating others, and communicating the vision.

But wherever you are in an organization, chances are you’ll want to master tactics to influence people, as influence is one of the 4 core leadership skills needed in every role.

“Without the capacity to influence others, your ability to make what you envision a reality remains elusive because, after all, no one can do it alone,” notes George Hallenbeck, a lead contributor to our program Lead 4 Success®, which helps leaders develop these 4 key essentials of leadership.

3 Key Influencing Tactics

We’ve found that influencing tactics fall into 3 categories: logical, emotional, or cooperative appeals. We call these influencing people using the head, heart, or hands.

How to influence

Influencing Tactic #1: Logical Appeals (Head)

Logical appeals tap into people’s rational and intellectual positions. You present an argument for the best choice of action based on organizational benefits, personal benefits, or both, appealing to people’s minds.

Influencing Tactic #2: Emotional Appeals (Heart)

Emotional appeals connect your message, goal, or project to individual goals and values. An idea that promotes a person’s feelings of well-being, service, or sense of belonging tugs at the heartstrings and has a good chance of gaining support.

Influencing Tactic #3: Cooperative Appeals (Hands)

Cooperative appeals involve collaboration (what will you do together?), consultation (what ideas do other people have?), and alliances (who already supports you or has the credibility you need?). Working together to accomplish a mutually important goal extends a hand to others in the organization and is an extremely effective way of influencing.

Leaders who effectively use these influencing tactics can achieve their goals and objectives more successfully than leaders who lack that ability, regardless of where they sit in an organization.

Which Influence Tactics Are Right for You?

Here’s how to choose the best influencing tactic for your situation. To understand what might work best for a specific task or strategy, consider the following:

  • Assess the situation. Why are you involved in this work? Why do you need this person’s support? What outcomes are you trying to achieve by influencing this person? Be clear about whom you need to influence and what you want to accomplish.
  • Know your audience. Identify and understand your stakeholders. Each will have special concerns and issues, as well as their own agenda, perspectives, and priorities. Various groups and individuals will require different approaches for influencing. Tailor your influencing strategy for the particular person — considering individual personalities, goals, and objectives — as well as organizational roles and responsibilities.
  • Review your ability. What tactics do you use most often? Which seems to be most effective? What new tactics could you try in this situation? Draw on others for advice or coaching, too. For example, if you always focus on the logical appeals, have a co-worker who is a strong collaborator help you think through your collaboration tactics and arguments.
  • Brainstorm your approach. What tactics would work best? Which logical appeals will be most effective? How could you make an emotional or cooperative appeal? What specifically could you say and do to use each type of tactic? Anticipate possible responses and prepare your reply. What counterarguments could you use? What additional influencing tactics would be helpful?

At first, you might want to try out new influencing tactics in low-risk situations, practicing one-on-one. As you become more versatile and experienced at influencing people, you’ll gain confidence in your ability to use the skill of persuasion, particularly in higher-stakes situations.

But also consider changing tactics right away if you have a pressing issue that has stalled due to lack of buy-in or support.

Would a more logical, emotional, or collaborative approach make a difference? If so, go ahead and try out another influencing tactic, from a different angle — and you might find yourself to be more influential than you realized.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Help your team become better at influencing people and strengthen their core leadership skills with our fundamental leadership skills course, Lead 4 Success®, available in a convenient live online format or via licensing.

Emma Buckby

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Survey after survey highlight the importance of influencing and negotiating skills for achieving promotion and career progression. Influencing is much more than that. The ability to influence is a crucial skill in so many aspects of the modern working life – whether you are working in cross-functional teams, managing external supplier relationships or networking with potential new clients. Here are seven tips to help you to develop your influencing skills.

How to Develop your Influencing Skills: Let’s Start with the Basics

We often have to persuade and influence those over whom we have no real authority. The question is how to do this in an effective and subtle way?

A subtle, empathetic approach is recommended rather than a more direct or forceful style

Influencing Requires Empathy

Give the other party the impression that you have met them half way or further

A subtle, empathetic approach is recommended rather than a more direct or forceful style.

If you can give the other party the impression that you have met them half way or further, that they have bought into or even come up with the idea themselves you will get real support and longer lasting results.

Successful influencing is about making a connection and appealing to the heart as well as the head. It is about identifying personal triggers and adapting your style to others’ to get the best results from the people you are trying to influence.

7 Tips To Develop your Influencing Skills

A combination of communication and interpersonal skills will help you to get the results you need. Below are some practical hints to help develop your powers of influencing whether you need a decision from your boss, an “awkward” peer to help you or a client to accept your new prices.

1. Create rapport

Create rapport with the person you are trying to influence – it may sound like common sense but if they like and trust you there is a greater possibility that you will be able to persuade them

2. Listen

Listen and show you are listening. If someone feels valued they are more likely to be persuaded to your point of view

3. Ask the right questions

Use questioning techniques to lead people towards the answers you want

The art of influencing doesn’t come naturally

4. Be Aware of Body Language

Mirror the other person’s body language to create better rapport

5. Sell the Benefits

Sell the benefits of your argument to the other person and try to see your position from their perspective

6. Be relaxed

A relaxed and natural demeanour is more likely to achieve a successful outcome rather than an emotional or demanding approach. Demonstrating a natural confidence will help to persuade others that your ideas are good

7. Invest your Time

Influencing isn’t a quick fix. It can take time to develop empathy and awareness but you are more likely to get what you want if you play a long game

The art of influencing doesn’t come naturally to everyone. There are many sources of help for you to develop your influencing skills. Check out some great online resources and videos, LinkedIn groups and, of course, training is always an option to help you hone and develop your influencing skills.

We all need to influence people sometimes. But most of us need to be better at it. Whether at work or in life, on issues big or small, people seek to change minds as a matter of course. What’s more, the vast majority have good intentions and genuinely want to influence people, not manipulate them.

But what’s the difference between influence and manipulation? How can you distinguish between them? And how, in the real world, can you know for certain you’re not crossing a line?

I’ve devoted my life’s work to discovering the answers. This includes polling more than 50,000 people, across three decades and four continents, on how decisions are made.

Here’s what I know for sure: Influence without manipulation isn’t a pitch—it’s a process. And the process that I believe in, that I teach to thousands of people every year, comes with a promise: It is repeatable, predictable, and measurable. It is also practical and actionable; it can be adapted by anyone, at any time, to any situation.

Study and practice this process, and you’ll influence, not manipulate, and change minds. Start with these six keys:

1. Understand the decision cycle.

People move through six predictable stages—a universal decision cycle—whenever they make a change. If you can’t identify where someone is in the decision cycle, you probably won’t understand how to exercise influence at each stage. For instance, in the “Satisfied” stage, many people will simply say they’re satisfied just to fend off early attempts at change. Your task, then, is merely to listen and learn; in this way, you’ll gain the perspective you’ll need in other stages.

2. Establish trust.

If people don’t trust you, they won’t allow you to influence them. A smart, simple way to establish trust is to talk less and listen more. Try using the 4 A’s: Ask open questions, Actively listen, Aim well (to guide the conversation in the desired direction), and Avoid problems. By alleviating the stress that a conversation about change can cause, you’ll build trust .

3. Create urgency.

Four out of five people readily admit that something in their life requires a change, but they just as readily admit that they aren’t doing anything about it yet. This is why influence requires urgency. To create urgency, ask probing questions that help people to consider the issue, contemplate the what-ifs, and comprehend the consequences. Use a sequence of simple probes that gently move the conversation closer to the real problem—questions such as, “What concerns do you have about the debt you’re building up?” and “How do you think this’ll ultimately affect your family’s future?” Your goal is to guide people to see the potential impact of indecision.

4. Gain commitment.

Most people don’t just show up ready to commit to change—to, say, simply end a destructive addiction or leave a detrimental relationship or work environment. There needs to be a moment of truth, a moment of commitment. Ask the most important question never asked: “Are you committed to making a change?”

5. Initiate change.

We’ve all heard the saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to initiating change, that one chance usually boils down to about 45 seconds. This makes your opener particularly important. The worst opener: “I need to talk with you.” (Think about how those six words make you feel. Not great, right?) The best openers include softer words and phrases, such as ask you, listen to you, or need your help.

6. Overcome objections.

It’s human nature for people to resist change. They may fear change, think it’s not needed, or feel there’s no hurry. The good news? People are more likely to change their minds if they have at least one objection. To overcome objections , you must clarify, clarify, clarify. Only then can you get to the bottom of someone’s concerns and distinguish between real objections and procrastination.

Finally, the line between influence and manipulation often comes down to intent. So ask yourself if you believe. That is, do you truly believe that the idea or solution you seek to push someone toward is in that person’s best interest? If your answer is yes, you have the very foundation of influencing—not manipulating.

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Rob Jolles is a global speaker and trainer specializing in influence and persuasion and is a multi-best-selling author. His new book is How to Change Minds: The Art of Influence without Manipulation (Berrett-Koehler, 2013). For more information, visit jolles.com.

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How to influence

Influence is power. No matter who you are, where you work, or what your professional goals are, achieving more influence in the workplace is critical for success. Gaining influence on a team can help you work together more effectively. Gaining influence in a supervisory position can make you more respected and appreciated. Gaining influence in a meeting can make your voice more likely to be heard and acknowledged.

Influence has countless advantages, but gaining that influence, like learning a skill, takes time and effort. Fortunately, there are many strategies you can use to cultivate this characteristic.

1. Build Trust With Your Co-Workers. Influence is most often and most easily carried through trust. Only when a co-worker trusts you will he or she be open to your influence. If you’re in a higher position in the company hierarchy, it’s possible to convey a demand or assign a task that must be carried out by your employee, but true influence suggests a free will component. If you assigned the same task but didn’t carry a higher authority, would your employee still listen to you and believe that the task is necessary to execute?

This hypothetical may not be relevant to your situation, but regardless of your position in comparison to the positions of your co-workers, if you want a healthy and influential working relationship, you’re going to have to cultivate trust. The easiest way to do that is to be open and honest, no matter what. State your opinions, disclose your apprehensions, and don’t keep secrets. It’s as simple as that.

2. Cultivate Reliability Through Consistency. Inconsistency is the fastest way to ruin your reputation. Consistency, on the other hand, is slow but sure–if you execute your tasks effectively and on time, day after day, eventually people will come to rely on you. The same is true when you execute a consistent style of leadership, setting consistent expectations with your employees and giving consistent rewards for good work. People will come to rely on your behavior and expect you to be a consistent performer.

That consistency is vital for building influence. Otherwise, you’ll have an air of unpredictability about you, and people won’t know whether to trust or impugn your suggestions. If you’re consistently motivated by the same principles, people will trust that your ideas are solid and reliable as an extension, and that will make it easier to get people on your side. Consistency is especially important when you’re in a lower position, since it demonstrates a degree of dedication.

3. Be Assertive, Not Aggressive. Being assertive is the only way to get your ideas noticed, especially when you’re competing with others for visibility, such as in a meeting. However, there’s a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. You’ll need to present your thoughts and ideas with a high degree of confidence, indicating your convictions, but any excessive degree of confidence could be mistaken for needless arrogance, which will compromise your perceived authority. Tread carefully, especially when you’re unfamiliar with your audience or if you’re presenting your thoughts on an area outside of your expertise.

This assertiveness should extend as a general quality to all your interactions, regardless of whether you’re speaking to employees above, below, or at your level, and regardless of the conversation format. Being assertive, so long as you truly believe in what you’re saying, is a way to cultivate a reputation of authority and earn the ability to influence your peers and employees.

4. Be Flexible. Flexibility is also important. While this may seem like it conflicts with the need to be assertive–after all, it’s difficult to assert yourself fully if you’re open to changing your opinion–being too stringent or adamant in your beliefs will work against you. In this case, people will come to see you as a stubborn, immovable monolith, incapable of believing in anyone other than yourself. This can decrease the respect people have for you and compromise your overall influence.

Instead, work actively to show your flexibility while holding firm on your beliefs. Negotiations and compromises are often the best ways to do this. Stay rigid in your beliefs when someone contradicts you, but work with them to find a mutually acceptable solution. When people believe you to be flexible, they’ll be more likely to listen to you even if they’re stubborn in their own right.

5. Be Personal. A little personality goes a long way, especially when you’re trying to build influence in the workplace. This is especially important when you’re in a higher position, as a boss or a supervisor. If you isolate yourself, or try to build your perceived authority by distancing yourself from the others, it might only serve to alienate you and put you in a position where you’re viewed with distrust or even resentment.

Instead, go out of your way to have personal exchanges with your employees and co-workers. You don’t need to build friendships, but there’s no reason why you can’t get to know each other. Personal working relationships are important for cultivating a sense of team, and if people see you as another person on the team, they’ll be more receptive when you disclose your ideas or opinions. The key here is to seem imperfect, approachable, and human.

6. Focus on Actions Rather Than Argument. Trying to build influence through words is useless. Even a leader with perfect diction and a background in rhetorical strategy can’t hope to win the influence of his or her peers through speeches and arguments alone. If you’re going to build influence in the workplace, you need to speak through your actions, or at the very least have the actions and history to back up whatever it is you’re saying.

Part of this comes into play when you build consistency. Working hard consistently and getting consistently good results shows people that you’re able to walk the walk. Demonstrating your ideas through real examples is the next step in this process. Instead of arguing about how your structure will work in theory, put it to the test. Show instead of tell.

7. Listen to Others. Finally, remember that influence is a two-way street. The more you believe in the people around you and incorporate their ideas into your vision, the more they’ll believe in your ideas and incorporate them into their work habits. If you want to build up this kind of relationship with your co-workers and employees, you first have to listen. Listen to everyone’s opinion, and encourage people to speak up, especially if they don’t often voice their opinions. Take time to respect and acknowledge everybody’s opinion, and let people know that you value them.

This creates an atmosphere of mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual teamwork. If you’re spearheading the initiative to build this environment, they’ll come to see you as a leader, and your opinions will naturally be heard, acknowledged, and respected as a result.

Influence is an extraordinary asset in the professional world, but remember, your goal here should be to become more respected in the workplace, not to increase the likelihood of getting others to do your bidding. One is a respectable journey to greater prominence and productivity, while the other is simply a Machiavellian power trip.

The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead

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How Influence Works

Influence is the application of power to accomplish a specific purpose. Research shows that people typically try to lead and/or influence others using ten positive influence techniques: logical persuading, legitimizing, exchanging, stating, socializing, appealing to relationship, consulting, alliance building, appealing to values, and modeling. There are also four negative or “dark side” influence tactics: avoiding, manipulating, intimidating, and threatening. For a complete explanation of these influence techniques, see my forthcoming book Elements of Influence: The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead (to be published in Fall 2011).

Influence can be as complex as forming an alliance of nations to try to influence a rogue country’s leadership to change its policies or as simple as a child smiling and extending his hand in an offer of friendship. Every time we try to affect how other people think, behave, or decide, we are trying to influence them. A smile and a handshake are attempts to socialize (see below), to form a connection and break down barriers. As people get to know us and like us, they are more likely to say yes to our requests.

Rational approaches to Influencing

Logical persuading

Using logic to explain what you believe or what you want. The number one influence power tool throughout the world. The most frequently used and effective influence technique in nearly every culture, but it does not work with everyone—and in some circumstances will not work at all.

Legitimizing

Appealing to authority. On average, the least-effective influence technique in the world, but it will work with some people most of the time and most people some of the time and can result in quick compliance.

Exchanging

Negotiating or trading for cooperation. Most effective when it is implicit rather than explicit. Used less often globally than any other influence technique, but it is sometimes the only way to gain agreement or cooperation.

Stating

Asserting what you believe or want. One of the influence power tools. Most effective when you are self-confident and state ideas with a compelling tone of voice. Can cause resistance, however, if overused or used heavy-handedly.

Social approaches to Influencing

Socializing

Getting to know the other person, being open and friendly, finding common ground. Includes complimenting people and making them feel good about themselves. One of the influence power tools. Second in frequency and effectiveness globally. A critical technique in many cultures and situations.

Appealing to Relationship

Gaining agreement or cooperation with people you already know well. Based on the length and strength of your existing relationships. One of the influence power tools. Third highest in effectiveness globally.

Consulting

Engaging or stimulating people by asking questions; involving them in the problem or solution. One of the influence power tools. Fourth globally in frequency and effectiveness. Works well with smart, self-confident people who have a strong need to contribute ideas.

Alliance building

Finding supporters or building alliances to help influence someone else; using peer or group pressure to gain cooperation or agreement. Not used often and not always effective but in the right circumstances may be the only way to gain consent.

Emotional approaches to Influencing

Appealing to values

Making an emotional appeal or an appeal to the heart. One of the principal ways to influence many people at once and the best technique for building commitment. A frequent technique of religious or spiritual leaders, idealists, fundraisers, politicians, and some business leaders.

Modeling

Behaving in ways you want others to behave; being a role model; teaching, coaching, counseling, and mentoring. Fifth globally in effectiveness. Can influence people without you being aware that you are influencing. Parents, leaders, managers, and public figures influence others through modeling all the time – positively or negatively – whether they choose to or not.

The Dark Side Influence Tactics

There are also four negative influence techniques: avoiding, manipulating, intimidating, and threatening. These are negative because they take away the other person’s legitimate right to say no. They force them to comply with something contrary to their wishes or best interests, they mislead them, or they force them to act when they would otherwise choose not to.

Avoiding

Forcing others to act, sometimes against their best interests, by avoiding responsibility or conflict or behaving passive-aggressively. The most common dark side technique. In some cultures, trying to preserve harmony can look like avoiding.

Manipulating

Influencing through lies, deceit, hoaxes, swindles, and cons. Disguising one’s real intentions or intentionally withholding information others need to make the right decision.

Intimidating

Imposing oneself on others; forcing people to comply by being loud, overbearing, abrasive, arrogant, aloof, or insensitive. The preferred technique of bullies.

Threatening

Harming others or threatening to harm them if they do not comply; making examples of some people so others know that the threats are real. The preferred technique of dictators and despots.

Influence may seem out of reach, but that’s not the case. Learn about the 6 principles of influence that will help you persuade others and get what you want.

How to influence

Dec 8, 2015 · 5 min read

How to influence

I nfluence is power. Maybe even a super power. Imagine being able to harness influence as a skill. To be able to use it when the situation calls. The truth is, this is more possible than you may have thought, thanks to research done over the years.

One book in particular has had the biggest impact in this field: Robert Cialdini’s Influence. In it, Cialdini introduces the 6 principles of influence that will help you persuade others. Theses 6 principles are reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.

“I think the power of persuasion would be the greatest super power of all time.”

Persuasion a s a superpower is very much within reach. In this post, we’ll explore these six principles more closely and how you can use them. And if you want to learn more, be sure to check out the book.

One of the most basic principles of influence is to simply give that which you want to receive. In other words, doing right by others is a good way to get others to do the same for you. This idea of reciprocity is a powerful one.

There are a couple of ways to have this reciprocity work for you. Giving others small gifts, treating others with respect, and doing favors for those in need, are all things that can win you points with other individuals.

So a good approach is to always help others and be kind when you have the opportunity, because you never know how it may help you down the line. Moreover, it is these small acts of kindness that will be remembered and come in handy when you’re in need of a favor yourself.

The principle of consistency is based on the power of active, public, and voluntary commitments, which results in people actually sticking to their word. Let’s walk through these requirements in a little more detail. The first part is an active commitment. By active, Cialdini means something that is written or spoken to other’s. Having people say they will do something is a start, but when they actively commit to it they’re much more likely to follow through.

The next piece is making it public. When other’s witness this commitment, it adds a level of accountability to the statement. And no one wants to go back on their word.

Finally, it has to be voluntary. If you force someone to make an active, public commitment that they didn’t decide on themselves, you’ve accomplished nothing.

So how do you use this? Once you’ve persuaded someone to do something, get them to make these types of commitments to implement the principle of consistency and ensure there is a legitimate commitment to their words.

People rely on social cues from others on how to think, feel, and act in many situations. And not just any people, but peers. People they believe are similar to them. This is a key point and what is called social proof.

So if you wanted to influence your interns or a particular team in your department or the new hires, you need to get one of them to buy in first. When they see an employee like themselves seemingly taking action on their own or following a new directive, they are more probable to follow suit.

Having that first person take action makes all the difference and unlocks the power of social proof.

People like those who like them or who they perceive as friends. It’s a simple, yet powerful idea. The principle of liking can be used in a few different ways.

One method is finding common ground with the people you meet. If you can connect with them on their hobbies or interests, you’ll have a solid ground to build from. Being observant of people is a great way to pick up on any clues that may lead you to such common ground.

The other approach is genuine praise. Paying compliments and being charming can go along way to building a positive rapport with others. A word of warning though, don’t go overboard. The key here is genuine praise, don’t manufacture it to the point that you’re clearly trying to butter them up.

When you are perceived as an expert in an area, other’s will be more likely to defer to you. Why? Often because experts are able to offer a shortcut to good decisions that would otherwise take a long time to devise themselves. The idea then is to establish that credibility of authority and expertise.

Many often miss this opportunity because they assume others will identify their expertise automatically. You can’t leave it up to interpretation because it will often be overlooked.

There are a number of ways to establish such authority. A quick and easy one is to make visible all diplomas, credentials, and awards in the office or workplace to establish your background. Of course this may not always be an option. Another approach is to convey expertise through short anecdotes or background information shared in casual conversations.

Just remember, your expertise isn’t always a known quantity, so be sure to convey it when you get the chance.

People value what is scarce. It’s just basic supply and demand. As things become more scarce, they becoming more valuable to others. There are a few ways that you can use the principle of scarcity to persuade others. One is simply to make offers limited-time, limited-supply, or one-time, which immediately creates a sense of scarcity.

At the same time, how you present such opportunities matters too. If you focus more on loss language, or language that demonstrates what you will lose out on rather than gain, your message becomes more powerful.

Finally is the exclusivity approach. Providing access to information, services, or other items to a limited set of people creates a sense of exclusiveness. This often gets translated into being a favor to those people or that you value them more than others.

If you can combine all of these to frame a situation, your powers of persuasion greatly increase. So try to utilize limited offers, loss language, and exclusivity, to create a sense of scarcity.

Mastering these six principles of influence will enable you to maximize your abilities of persuasion. But a word of warning. Don’t abuse these skills. They can easily be used to manipulate and control others.

“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”

Cialdini is clear to say in his own writing, these principles of influence should be used from a place of good, with your influence being authentic, genuine, and leading others to the best decisions, not only for themselves, but everyone else.

Use it the right way, and you’ll reap the rewards.

When it comes to the principles of persuasion, there’s a reason why these tried-and-true formulas have worked for centuries.

How to influence

A person’s ability to influence is one of the most essential skills for leaders at any level.

Many of us assume that an individual’s capacity to influence is due to their confidence, intellect and charisma. Perhaps it comes later in life in conjunction with a powerful title or burgeoning bank account. The reality is we all have this ability. However most of us fail to tap into this attribute, believing that persuasion is a natural talent.

The aptitude to influence doesn’t just happen. It is a purposefully honed skill involving careful intention and the people we revere are leading us using the same formula that has worked for centuries. If you are looking to cultivate your capacity to influence, then here are seven key steps to becoming a master of persuasion

“The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.” – Dale Carnegie

1. Build trust and be consistent

One crucial mistake people often make is thinking that influence can be episodic.

In the book Psychology of Persuasion, author Robert Cialdini stresses that you cannot demonstrate integrity in someone when you are in the midst of persuasion. You must garner their trust and always have their best interests at heart. To do this, it is essential to build a solid rapport and a genuine concern for an individual before endeavoring to direct them towards a certain outcome. You must act with authenticity, demonstrating that you are trustworthy and that your primary goal is to help.

2. Be present and connect

To be fully engaged in the moment, hear more and speak less.

By being an active listener, you gain insight into what is driving the other person emotionally. Once you understand the emotional factors steering their thinking, you can demonstrate that you understand them, and your conversation will advance.

If you appear distracted, insincere, or self-concerned, you will lose them from the outset and they will likely be resistant to your efforts.

As Napoleon Hill articulated in his eminent book Think and Grow Rich: “Selling and persuasion are the transference of emotion.”

3. Ask to understand

Questions persuade more powerfully than any other form of verbal behavior. The more you ask, the more successful the interaction will be.

Before you can motivate someone, you need to understand their core values and driving forces. Are they hoping to make a difference in the world, gain admiration from their peers or advance their career? What is fundamentally essential to them? What are they going through in their life?

A great way to do this is to ask them a series of open-ended questions, then follow up with “why?” multiple times. The root answer never comes from the initial query, so dig deep.

Remember that people don’t do things for your reasons; they do it for their reasons. You must take the time to fully understand their motivation at the deepest level. Knowing the essence of a person will give you more influence, and if you fail to inspire, you probably didn’t know what was truly driving them in the first place.

4. Educate and encourage

Most influential people primarily impel others through teaching.

People listen more effectively when you teach them how to make better choices, how to handle problems, and how to think about their lives and circumstances in a constructive and self-supporting way.

The most compelling way to teach a lesson is to inspire through storytelling, metaphors and analogies. Walk them through relatable emotional experiences but encourage them to take the lead in shaping the outcome and discover the answers for themselves. The easiest way to persuade someone is by helping them persuade themselves.

5. Confirm suspicions and acknowledge objections

First and foremost, never make the other person wrong. As soon as you injure their intention, they will become triggered and you will lose.

If there is an element of truth to any suspicion they may have, deal with it head-on. Nobody can expose your weaknesses in a better light than you. Doing so will also bestow you with credibility and allow you to resolve their concern before giving them the chance to object.

6. Praise lavishly but sincerely

In How to Win Friends and Influence People, author Dale Carnegie stresses how vital it is to compliment the person you are trying to persuade. Make them feel important, and show admiration, but always do it earnestly.

Every person seeks out sincere praise. But be mindful of the fine line between acclaim and flattery, as fawning can turn a person off.

7. Challenge and encourage

People who have the most influence are usually those who consistently encourage us to become better versions of ourselves. By challenging us to raise our standards, learn from failures, mistakes, and setbacks, push through our own glass ceilings, and persuading us to demonstrate impeccable character in the face of adversity. They see who we are capable of being, what we can accomplish, and inspire us to rise to the level of our true ability.

Nothing mobilizes attention, or energizes us, better than a challenge that demands we stretch our knowledge, boosts our skills and enhance our ability to reach another level of success.

Whatever your objective, whether you want to get others to do something, change something, be something, buy something or believe in you, you need to approach your conversations with these critical steps in mind. You can recall the key tactics easily by using High-Performance Coach Brendon Burchard’s acronym CUP to facilitate your interactions: Connect, Uplift and Praise.

We are not born leaders with an innate ability to persuade others. We must actively cultivate the skills, and by doing so, we can thrive.

Wondering How To Influence People?

There is no single right way.

Every one of us is able to be influenced – but we are also all capable of influencing others.

And we are, all of us, influenced by people, places, events and situations at all times.

Influencing in the Workplace

Your job will always require you to influence people at work.

It may take the form of gaining support, inspiring others, persuading other people to become your champions, engaging someone’s imagination, creating relationships. Whatever form it takes, being an excellent influencer makes your job easier.

People Like Influencers

An interesting point about people who use their influencing skills well is that other people like being around them. There’s a kind of exciting buzz or sense that things happen when they’re about.

It’s because they don’t sit around wishing things were different while moaning there’s nothing they can do about it.

They don’t sit around blaming others or complaining about what needs fixing that will make things better. They see what needs doing and set about getting it done.

Influencing Skills

Truly excellent influencing skills require a healthy combination of interpersonal, communication, presentation and assertiveness techniques.

It is about adapting and modifying your personal style when you become aware of the effect you are having on other people, while still being true to yourself.

Behaviour and attitude change are what’s important, not changing who you are or how you feel and think.

Coercion and Manipulation

You may try to exert your influence through coercion and manipulation. You might even succeed in getting things done, but that isn’t really influencing people.

That’s forcing people to do what you want, often against their will. You won’t have succeeded in winning support.

Pushing, bullying, bludgeoning or haranguing DO NOT WORK! Like elephants, people will remember the experience.

Work With The Long Term In Mind

Indeed, if you force someone to do something you want, without taking their point of view into consideration, then the impression the person is left with is how they will see you forever.

You’re stuck with it unless you deliberately change what you do in order to be seen differently.

People are far more willing to come halfway (or more) if they feel acknowledged, understood and appreciated.

They may even end up doing or agreeing to something they wouldn’t previously have done because they feel good about making the choice.

How Do You Influence?

Influencing people is about understanding yourself and the effect or impact you have on others.

Though it can, on occasion, be one way, the primary relationship is two way, and it is about changing how others perceive you.

In other words, the cliche, perception is reality, makes perfect sense in the context of influencing others.

It doesn’t matter what’s going on internally for you – if it isn’t perceived by the other person, then it doesn’t exist, other than in your mind.

The Eye Of The Beholder

You could be doing the most brilliant presentation you’ve ever created, but if you haven’t brought your ‘audience’ with you, the brilliance is wasted.

And that’s about being able to see what’s going on for them, which will be different, however much you may have in common.

Influencing people at work can sometimes be looked at as the ability to ‘finesse’, almost sleight of hand.

The other person isn’t prodded into seeing your view of the world but is persuaded, often unconsciously, into understanding it.

Personal Influencing Style

Sometimes you can get so used to your own personal style or way of being or pattern of communicating, that you don’t think of how it is being received, and you don’t think of behaving in any other way.

Influencing people is about being able to move things forward, without pushing, forcing or telling others what to do.

Now what we know is that one of the most powerful forces that affect people’s behaviour is the avoidance of humiliation.

Behaviour Change

No one wants to embarrass themselves if they can help it.

So changing your behaviour entails a certain risk.

But if that behaviour change is deliberate, and you have made an effort to see the world from the other person’s point of view, then humiliation can be avoided on both sides.

Whatever the arena you work in influencing others is about having the confidence and willingness to use yourself to make things happen.

Influencing people is also the ability to ‘work’ a dynamic, whether it’s a large group, one to one or over the phone.

By ‘working’ the dynamic, we mean using everything at your disposal, both verbal and non-verbal communication, to create the impact you want, rather than letting things just happen.