3 Ways to Build Your Influence

WANT TO BUILD YOUR INFLUENCING TOOLKIT

There are many skills that will serve you well in life: the ability to make a great latte, seal the sink without smearing sealant up the wall and spreading marmite and just the right thickness.

The ability to get things done with and through other people has surely got to rank as one of the top skills to get you far in your career.

When I worked in-house as an L&D partner, the most common development request I received was ‘developing influence’, although it was sometimes described in different ways:

  • I need support to present to my senior stakeholders.
  • The project team need to work together more collaboratively.
  • I don’t get invited into the meetings I need to be at

Building your influence helps with all of these, and in many more ways too.

So what is influence anyway?

To be clear, when I’m talking about influence, I’m not talking about manipulating (getting your own way at the expense of others). I’m talking about:

  • Getting stakeholders on board with your recommendations
  • Encouraging a team member to perform differently
  • Being known as the ‘go-to’ person in your specialism

So, although it is about learning how to get people on-side, it’s not about them losing out as a result.

And when you look at it like this, you can see why it’s such a fundamental skillset to have if you want to make real progress in your career.

With the advances in AI, we know that in years to come, the work many of us do as humans will be replaced by automation. Whether that’s diagnosis of illness, accountancy or basic coaching and development.

However, all of the research on future skills points to an increased need for us to focus on our innately human ability to develop what has long been called ‘soft skills’ (I much prefer the phrase “core skills”)

How can I build my influence skills?

3 key influencing approaches will be enough to truly up your game. When you know which to use. When to use them and how to use them, it makes a dramatic difference to your career success.

To keep it simple, we use our own trademarked Influence A.B.C.® framework:

ASSERT yourself: These are the skills to persuade, get compliance or buy-in. This is all about being clear with what you want or need, brief with your recommendations and having impact with what you say and how you deliver it.

BUILD relationships: This is all about focusing on the other person. Understanding their views and perspectives. Creating trust, so that they know you’re on their side and will support them to achieve what they need.

CREATE impact: When you use this approach, you’re focusing on 2 things. Being compelling and demonstrating credibility. Both of which are powerful techniques for influence.

There are 8 different techniques in each of the 3 areas above, which combine into a comprehensive toolkit to build your skills.

But If you want to get started right now, here’s how.

3 quick tips to build your own influence

A: Use less words! It’s just like packing for holiday – we’re often tempted to cram far too much information into a report, slide deck or recommendation. Keep it clear and brief. One great way to do that is to ‘think in 3’. If you could only give 3 points to support your recommendation, what would they be?  

B: Look for commonality. We’re likely to build relationships quicker with people we have something in common with. Highlight what you have in common, rather than what you disagree about. For example if you disagree about the way forward, try highlighting the common goal you’re working toward and find out more about their perspective before putting your own forward. 

C: Share a story. We’re more likely to pay attention to something when it’s interesting. Try bringing an idea or recommendation to life using metaphor or analogy so it creates interest and becomes more memorable. You could share story about a relevant challenge that you’ve overcome in your career and the impact it had, instead of telling a team member what they need to do next to develop in their career. 

How can I learn more about influence?

Glad you asked! Our Influence A.B.C.® programme is practical and chock-full of tools, techniques and step by step guides. We take you through:

  • How and where to use them 
  • How to adjust and flex your natural approach 
  • How to deal with your biggest challenges 

It’s a practical, hands-on experience, which leaves you equipped and ready to develop your career. We spend 2 days together getting familiar with the techniques and you have access to our Learning Portal so you can revisit any of the tools after the programme. 

One month after the programme, we have a group coaching session to find out what you’ve put into practise, what’s working and where you still need support.  

Click here to find out more about the programme.

Read!

Presence:
Amy Cuddy

Builds on her research of the 2nd most watched TED talk of all time “Your body shapes who you are.”

CLICK

Watch!

Trusted Advisor:
Green, Maister & Galford.

An informative 6-minute video on why we need to focus on more than competence and capability.

CLICK

Do!

Have a go!

Start with trying out some of the techniques in a lower risk situation. Perhaps with friends or family, or in a team meeting. If you don’t get a great outcome, reflect back on what you were doing, saying and thinking.

What could you change for next time?

Join THE PROGRESS CLUB, a community on Facebook focusing on your development. This includes us sharing tips and resources on building your influence and impact (see link below).

And if you:

  • Want to know more about and practise some of those influencing techniques
  • Need support and guidance to deal with the specific challenge that you’re having right now
  • Want to make sure that you’re prepared for when the influencing stakes are high

Our coaches are skilled at working with people who find it challenging to influence for whatever reason and can work with you 1-1 to overcome your barriers or boost your skill levels.

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