No matter which position you hold within your organisation, the need to influence others is a daily occurrence for us all. Many of us have experienced the frustration of having our ideas shot down or a request refused by our key stakeholders; whether this is by our manager, a potential client to whom we are pitching our products or services, by another internal department, or for managers and business leaders, by 'the powers that be.'
So how can we reduce the likelihood of our ideas being met with a 'no?' In order to answer this lets first consider why it is influencing is so important and why we need to be good at it:
The examples above show that our ability to influence affects the whole spectrum of the organisation; so how do we effectively influence these people to increase the likelihood of our requests and ideas being bought into and met with a 'yes?'
We are providing you with the top ten things skilled influencers actually do – try it for yourself.
Certain words and phrases irritate other people such as "we've always done it this way," "it's up to the powers that be," or "at the end of the day."
Introducing these too early when the original idea has not been discussed - these complicate and confuse the other party.
Emotional behaviour such as, "you cannot be serious," or attacks others, "you really are being very petty about this."
The smart influencer thinks of one single persuasive reason whereas the poor influencer chooses three to five giving the other person the opportunity to dispute the weakest of the many reasons.
People don't like surprises. Skilled influencers give advance warning of what they are about to say, "I know that you are busy at the moment but we need to talk about deadlines, is now a good time to do so?"
Testing checks to establish whether a previous statement has been understood. Summarising is a compact re-statement of several previous points.
Skilled influencers seek out more information than the average influencer by asking more quality questions.
This means adopting rigorous problem solving techniques whilst being very supportive of the person’s feelings. Separate the people from the problem.
Skilled influencers when they have agreed a way forward agree on a small number of success criteria that will measure the idea that you have both agreed.
Research shows that skilled influencers are more likely to give information about their feelings than average influencers. For example, "I accept your information in good faith, but I feel uncomfortable about one or two aspects. Can I share these with you?" The work of psychologists such as Carl Rogers has shown that the expression of feelings is directly linked to the establishment of trust.