Influencing Others –

influence-to-benefit-othersSo, you understand that people will follow your lead because they want to, and not because they have to? And, you have worked hard to keep a consistent character-driven relationship with everyone. What’s next?

There are many force multipliers in the field of “influence”, but there are an equal number of “force-dividers”, which will ensure that the banana peel of regret will lurk around the corner of your critical conversations.

Cynthia Clay identifies listening as an important element of influence, with the counterproductive behaviors of raising your voice, cutting people off, or coming on strong from the start with no sign of compromise or negotiation.  People love the conversations that suggest in the first five seconds that whatever they have to pass is not wanted.

Here are some accepted powerful methods to maximize your persuasion attempts. First, start off on the right track.  Make sure that before you launch, everyone in the conversation should be at least on the ground floor.  Don’t be esoteric.  Be sure that your communications, both written and otherwise are scrubbed of wiggle-words like “it seems”, “it indicates”, “it appears” or other non-declaratives that suggest YOU are not sure of what you are saying. It’s OK to summarize some bigger-picture information to relate your small-point to the big point.

As has been covered in other posts, humility is a mark of educated leadership.  If you are trying to persuade or influence, arrogance is not on the list of go-to maneuvers.

The habit of listening to what is said cannot be overemphasized.  Make sure to take the time to clearly communicate if decision time has been reached and discussion is over.  Sending false signals that input and discussion is still ongoing when it isn’t is a sure way to ensure your next conversation goes nowhere.

Timing is key to any crucial conversation so use your powers of self-awareness to prepare the field before you step on it.

Lastly, if you haven’t considered your non-verbal signs before you began your influence journey, ask around.  Get some feedback on your “tells” from people who know you.  Chances are, they will tell you what you look like when the door has slammed shut in your mind.  Learn it, know it, and handle it.

DwightEisenhower_Leadership Patton