Whether you are working for an organisation or running your own business, influencing is a key leadership quality that you need to have and develop. Influencing is the ability to affect the decisions of others. So how can you become more effective when it comes to influencing others?
Be clear on your outcome
In any situation where you need to influence, you are likely to be seeking a certain outcome. It might be a re-grading, a salary increase, a promotion, a new job, additional resources or support for a proposal to name a few. Being clear on your outcome that you want provides the essential foundation for effectively influencing.
Look beyond the formal channels
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that the formal channels are the only way of influencing. You might have the view that the only way to get your ideas or views across is through the established hierarchy. In reality there are often people who have the ear of senior people. PA’s or secretaries are one example. There may be someone in your peer group who seems to have built up trust with senior people. The tip here is to think outside of the box.
Supporting your proposal, suggestion, idea or initiative requires the other person to take some risk. Before anyone will take risk, they need to know that they can trust you. Make the time and make the effort to do things to build up trust first. Once you have that trust you can ask for the support.
Plan your approach
If you go into a situation where you are trying to influence without planning ahead, you are greatly increasing your chance of failure rather than success. Ask yourself two key questions:
o What could help you succeed?
o What could stop you succeeding?
Once you have answered these questions you can start to think about the strategies you will adopt.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
A really simple but highly effective strategy is to put your self in the shoes of the person or people you are seeking to influence. In other words think about the type of factors you would consider if you were the person being influenced rather than the influencer.
We all have situations in our life where we need to influence. Being clear about what you want, looking beyond formal channels, building trust, planning your approach and standing in the other person’s shoes are just 5 things that you can do to become more effective at influencing.
By John Benson