Ever wondered how to:
- get people to listen to you?
- sell your ideas?
- get buy-in and commitment?
- increase your impact on the organization?
Join the club.
Your impact is directly tied to your ability to influence others.
Influence is both a set of skills and a process honed through practice and experience.
You may think influence is just something that happens, or that it’s random, or that’s it’s not needed. I disagree.
The Impact Formula
Step 1. Build Credibility
Effective influence begins by building a base of credibility. Credibility is the value that others attribute to you based on your success in helping them get what they need.
Your credibility is based in one sense on logic – your expertise and experience, and in another sense on perception – your track record and reputation.
Credibility emanates from how your present yourself – your image – how you do business.
You build credibility by doing one thing over and over again, that is, to commit and deliver.
Commit to doing something that is important to another person, then deliver on that promise.
Is there a shortcut to building credibility? No shortcut. But you can get better at it by making it a priority.
Step 2. Build Relationships
Building relationships is more than just getting along with people. It is strategic process for engaging people that are important in the execution of your current duties and instrumental in finding future opportunities.
Suppose you had the job of collecting and analyzing data for a crucial financial report. You send out emails to individuals who have the data, people you don’t know that well. No responses. Another email, same result. You can see where this is going.
What would be different if you had built relationships with these individuals.?
I’m talking about walking out of your office, going over to another building, talking to folks you don’t routinely interact with. Personalize the relationship. Now you’re not an email. You’re someone trying to do your job just like the other people are trying to do their jobs.
Need to circumvent the bureaucracy?
Build your own network of contacts to get things done.
Looking for a new job?
Network with colleagues and friends.
Looking for someone to help you manage your career?
Build a relationship with a senior leader.
Need to sell your idea? Implement a new system? Change a procedure?
Build relationships with the people that can help you.
Step 3. Use Effective Influence Techniques
It’s your ability to influence others effectively that creates a broader impact on the organization.
Successful influence consists of five elements:
1. Active listening
If you were to master one skill and one skill only, make it listening. Listening is the key to understanding what’s important to others. Research indicates that people are more apt to be influenced when you’re listening and they’re talking. Think about it.
2. Communicate at the level of understanding of your “audience”
Whether it’s one person or several people, you must be on the same page with others to create a common base of understanding.
Here’s a common mistake.
Feel the need to show people how smart you are? Use words and concepts no one else understands? Talk down to people? Forget about it.
3. Establish common ground
Acknowledge those areas of agreement. Move the conversation to how best to meet what’s important to you and the person you want to influence.
4. Master a variety of influence strategies and techniques
Some people are persuaded by facts. Some need to see the big picture and benefits, not the details. Some need an act of impact to grab their attention.
What’s important is to match the type of influence with the person and the situation you are dealing with. It’s not one size fits all. This is not about you. It’s about what the other person needs to buy-in.
5. Take action
You got the votes, sold your idea, made the sell, brought home the bacon.
Now make it happen. Keep on keeping on. More credibility, more relationships, more effective influence.
Watch Your Stock Price Rise
Your value to any organization is not just what you know, how smart you are, and how much experience you have.
Your value is based on having a favorable impact on others and the organization. This takes practice. It’s real work, not something that just happens.
Want to make a difference?
- Think credibility – each interaction, each day, every day.
- Build relationships, study people, understand what’s important to them.
- Get really, really good and really comfortable with influence and persuasion. Get the buy in. Nail the commitment.