Being able to influence others is a crucial skill in life today. Particularly in the context of a career, influencing and negotiation skills come in to play at almost every level, from promotions to getting the hang of management. You may need to exert influence over those who are more senior in order to get ahead – or with multiple individuals at one time. Being able to do so could open doors that will take your career to new heights.
The importance of empathy
Asserting influence over another person is often seen as an aggressive or forceful way to behave. However, the reality of being an effective influencer is that this is much more subtle. It starts from a place of empathy and ensuring that the other person feels like you understand them. For those being influenced, it should always feel like winning, or as if an effective compromise has been reached that is mutually beneficial.
Listen and enquire
It’s quite difficult to exert influence if you’re not aware of who you’re dealing with and what their key concerns are in any given situation. Asking questions is crucial to being a good influencer – this is the way you’ll be able to extract the most important information to enable you to find a way forward. Listening is also essential. Most people will tell you what they’re looking for in terms of needs and outcomes, whether directly or indirectly. All you have to do to pick up on that is listen.
It’s much easier to influence someone who likes you than a person who doesn’t trust you. That’s why building a rapport with others is essential if you’re looking to successfully influence them. This feeds into the idea that influencing should never need to be forceful – instead it should be a positive process that feels good for all those involved.
Be aware of your behaviour
There are a number of ways in which behaviour has a big impact on influencing. For example, your body language can feed into whether someone you’re communicating with feels that you’re trustworthy. If your body language is calm and open or you’re mirroring their own then it’s much easier to establish trust. Natural behaviour and easy confidence also have a lot to contribute. The more relaxed and confident you are, the more persuasive your words will be.
Look beyond your own perspective
You may be able to see the benefits of what you’re pushing for but if you want to be able to successfully sell this to another person you need to be able to see it through their eyes. What does your argument look like from their point of view?
Don’t be impatient
Influencing isn’t something that often happens over night. It can take time and patience to achieve a desired outcome. In fact, the best outcomes are often those that require the most dedication to achieve.
Influencing is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Being a successful influencer has the potential to change your life.