Top Ten Tips to Influence Effectively - in any situation
Jan 26, 2016
by Tom Bird and Jerry Cassell
According to Qualtrics “on average at work we all spend 24 minutes of every hour moving people”, ie. influencing them.
This surprising fact illustrates just how we are all constantly influencing without being actively aware of it. But in today’s world, where positional authority and power are no longer the key to success, the ability to influence your team, your peers and your key stakeholders effectively is fundamental to your success.
Many leaders have limiting beliefs about their own ability to influence and this can hold them back. In fact the skill of influence is easily learnt (we have taught it around the world to over 25,000 business people) so long as you can be self-aware, flexible in your approach and open to collaboration.
What is Influence?
At its simplest, we define influencing as being about putting your point of view across in a compelling way that motivates another person, or group, to take the action you desire.
To do this you will use your voice tone, body language, and the power of language to create either a compelling message … or one that falls on deaf ears. Your success here will depend on your ability to influence effectively in a range of situations to:
- lead a team more effectively in order to gain their co-operation, share a vision and pursue a common purpose
- create an impact and presence without positional authority whilst making a presentation or managing sales or contract negotiations
- build your reputation
- manage your team to change a negative perception, shift someone's mood, smooth an argument or conflict
- create sustainable changes in behaviour, either through coaching, training, or motivating.
We have developed a blueprint called C-cubed Influence. It focuses on what drives the emotional decisions that allow someone to be influenced. It is based around our C3 Model of Influencing™ and defines the three foundations of effective influence: confidence, credibility and connection.
If you are confident, credible, and have the ability to connect easily and authentically with people, then these three elements will work together to create synergy and you will be a highly effective influencer.
Top Ten Influencing Tips
Here are our top ten tips to help you to develop your influencing ability:
1. Get the 3 C’s in Place
Confidence, credibility and connection are our three foundations for successful influencing. You need to look and feel good,because it will affect the way people receive your message, and you need to be believable and have excellent rapport building skills.
2. Identify Barriers
What stops you from being a key person of influence? Common barriers can include fear, lack of preparation, knowledge, experience or undefined goals.Make a list to identify what you can control and prioritise actions. It is easier to behave your way into new thinking, than think your way into new behaviour.
3. Develop your Surface Confidence
- Confidence is situational. There are many ways to increase your surface confidence if you are feeling out of your depth or nervous:
- Ensure you are breathing diaphragmatically
- Look up before you present, negotiate or influence. It will help keep you remain calm
- Think of a time when you were completely confident
- Visualise a successful outcome as a rich sensory experience.
4. Pace People
If we know we are being sold to most of us become defensive. So the answer is to pace people – ask questions, listen, lobby in advance and put yourself in the other party’s shoes. This then gives you permission to influence and lead. Very few of us like being sold to and yet everyone is open to influence.
5. Develop your Credibility
Credibility comes from your knowledge, experience and expertise. It can also come from your body language (palms down gestures, smile, eye contact).
6. Connect on a Personal Level
People buy people. Match other’s body language, remember names, use humour and identify common interests. Identify their values by asking: ‘what’s important to you about….?’
7. Identify your Style
Your natural voice pattern indicates your preference. Credibles talk slowly, use pauses, are fairly monotone and go down at the end of a sentence. Connectors talk faster, have a variable tone, use few pauses and go up at the end of a sentence. Neither is better or worse. Understanding your own and then recognising others’ preferences will help you have more flexibility when influencing others.
8. Be open to feedback
Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Take it on board – it is there to raise your awareness. Seek it and learn to become more flexible in your approach.
9. Practise on the edge of discomfort
When you learn to drive a car, play a musical instrument or learn a new language you are practising on the edge of discomfort. To get better at influencing you need to practise, especially when it is outside your comfort zone.
10. Use the Power of Three
Three is a magic number. If you need to be more concise use the Power of 3 to communicate your 3 core ideas. It makes is far more memorable.
We all need to influence to gain commitment - to persuade, motivate and inspire - and if you can influence better than those around you then you will get the success you desire. To find out more about C-cubed Influence visit www.c-cubedinfluence.com.
This article was written by Tom Bird and Jerry Cassell who are business trainers, coaches, speakers and co-creators of The C3 Model of Influencing™. They have co-written a number of books including Amazon best-seller ‘Brilliant Selling’ and ‘The Financial Times Guide to Business Training’. They are founding partners the Moller PSF Group and RTPC Ltd.