Influencing

Strong interpersonal and influencing skills are essential to be impactful across different disciplines, stakeholders & customers.

In the past, knowing what to do technically & building the right networks did the magic, today with technology becoming obsolete & contacts vanishing with one restructuring we need a more permanent resource: Our Own Personal Ability to Influence.

When we set out to influence someone, there are two polarities at work:

  • How far you try to meet your own needs
  • How far you try to meet other people’s needs

In order to ensure that the pull & push strategies of influencing works, try the following tips:

  • Establish rapport using respectful verbal and non-threatening non-verbal communication
  • Be a good listener
  • Develop a more flexible behavioural repertoire
  • Gain credibility through accountability
  • Spend time in understanding people & their decision making strategies
  • Practice the skill of facilitation, this will help you to enhance your ability to facilitate other people’s decisions
  • Remember the influencing happens when you remember, it’s not about only YOU but THEM also, so be sensitive to the other person & using NLP techniques mirror your communication to fit specific situations and people

A quick check on mapping your Influencing Quotient

Step 1: How do you think people describe you most often? Be fiercely honest with yourself. Choose any one option of the 5 listed below:

Option A

Confident, forceful, ruthless, determined, inflexible, articulate, impatient

Option B

Patient, long-winded, calm, impassive, steady, over-serious, willing to learn, afraid of failure

Option C

Co-operative, passive, flexible, unselfish, cautious, modest, fearful of authority, lacking authority

Option D

Pragmatic, cynical, charming, frivolous, focussed on the short term, tactical rather than strategic, optimistic, naïve

Option E

Sceptical, fearful, careful, procrastinating, discerning, suspicious, low- key, unconfident

Step 2: Interpreting the options:

  • If you have chosen A, than your influencing style is Dominance, which means that more often than not  you would put your own needs first and take less account of the needs of others. If overused this style can create can create fear & resistance in people. The result of this could be that you may be successful in influencing  in the short run, with little or no  long run impact
  • If you have chosen B, then your influencing style is Partnership, which means that you are willing to spend time in exploring the views of the other person, even at the cost of discomfort to yourself. This style can be successful in situations where you have unlimited time for influencing and persuading, however will have limited impact when the reality is different
  • If you have chosen C, then your influencing style is Others First, which means that you place others needs higher than your own. In real terms this would mean that you hold back your views and the whole interaction is about meeting other person’s needs, you will miss the opportunity to influence others and end up getting influenced
  • If you have chosen D, then your influencing style is Bargaining, which means that you are willing to give away some of the things you want and expect the other person to do so too. While this may work at times,  there is a possibility that you may look for compromise when it would be more appropriate to stick to your principles and devote more time to the process of influencing
  • If you have chosen E, then your influencing style is Withdrawing, which means that you a naturally cautious influencer.  While this style works well in situations which could be overwhelming,  the typical impact of this preference is that your low key style may mean that people simply forget to consult you on certain issues

While you may have a dominant style, for being a powerful influencer you need to have a range of ability to use all styles as fluently as possible.

Use dominating when there is no time for dithering, partnership when you want to create healthy win: win relationships, others first when you want to retain a relationship and the matter at hand does not involve non-negotiable values, bargaining when goals are unclear, and withdrawing when you are faced with powerful opposition.

Finally Leadership = Influencing, so go ahead and play the game on the play field called life.

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