Are you as influential as you could be? These 10 tips will help you to improve your influencing skills.
1. Generate a buzz
Whatever the challenges in your work situation, approach everything with enthusiasm and energy. Being a ‘can-do' kind of person with inspirational qualities will get credibility and respect and will make influencing people an altogether easier proposition.
2. Be a good listener
In order to be influential, people have to have faith and trust in you. When someone is talking to you concentrate 100% on the person talking and give them your full attention. This will gain respect which is a key component of being influential.
3. Listen more and speak less
Ask open questions and actually listen to the answers. Dont speak just to fill silences. Make valid and relevant points to increase your influencing skills and gain credibility. Often just summarising what people have said will check your understanding and make people feel heard.
4. Think about behaviours and values
Be specific when bringing up the undesirable behaviours or actions that you want to change. Encourage an understanding of how their behaviour impacts on others or the organisation and be clear about what it is you want the person to change and why. Take the time to understand their personality and values in order to influence them.
5. Sincerity and Empathy
The more you are honest, open, and empathetic to the needs of those you around you the more open to your positive influence they will be. Building your character and personality with trust, empathy, and sensitivity will enable you to influence far more effectively then you could probably imagine.
Ultimately when influencing people your objective is to convince them on both an emotional and intellectual level that the way forward you are proposing is the best solution.
6. Present yourself appropriately
Your physical appearance says a lot about you, so think about what you wear and how others might perceive you. This doesn’t mean losing your individuality, but spending time thinking about what is appropriate for the people and situation you are meeting.
7. Relax and be a better version of yourself
Help others to relax by demonstrating how at ease you are. Be confident and use your body language to project your confidence, e.g. stand tall, smile, make good eye contact and greet people with a firm handshake.
8. Be courteous and attentive
Most of us know that good manners and polite, attentive, behaviour contribute much to a good first impression. But don’t let yourself down by forgetting to switch off your mobile telephone or dominating the early part of the conversation. Some early small talk can help to break the ice. If you want to influence people you have to build rapport with them first.
9. Focus on getting the support of the ‘early followers'
There will usually be a proportion of people in any group who are open to new ideas or new ways of doing things. Their support can often be influential in encouraging the more resistant to come forward, over time, in support of your views or action plans.
10. Maintain the interest in what you are saying
Speaking clearly, varying the tone of your voice, altering the speed of your delivery (not too slow or fast), smiling and maintain eye contact with those listening. Avoid repeating yourself too often and watch the signals you give out through your body language,e.g. slouching, looking bored, yawning etc.
To conclude, influencing other people is often more about changing your attitudes and behaviour than it is about changing theirs. Spending time thinking about your own approach and the interpersonal, presentation, communication and assertiveness skills you possess can help you to be more effective in influencing others and getting what you need.