Influence is not the practice of getting other people to do what you want.
Whether you are motivating employees to work harder or see your point of view, people do not act the way you hope they will against their will. Your goals and needs are not uppermost in their mind. But if you figure out what motivates them, then you may be able to connect what they want to what you want.
You may fall into a trap where you:
- Press – Pushing too hard with too much telling and selling and too little listening.
- Understate – Unwilling and closed to consider anything but your own ideas and agenda.
- Have a short-term focus – You seek quick wins (often one-sided wins that only benefit you) rather than long-term relationships and reputation building.
- Hassle – Interactions are friction and conflict so you come to them with ego-driven combativeness instead of open curiosity, listening and a mind-set that looks for shared solutions.
What can you do to influence and connect?
Look for a Terrific Outcome
Aim for results that are win-win. Think about the optics – your reputation is your most valuable currency. Everything you do adds to or distracts from your reputation. Forget about reciprocity – think about long term objectives. You are building a campaign
Never assume you are correct or that you know everything there is to know. Others can teach you something. Listen with an open mind. Give people your full attention (stop checking your phone for messages). Resist the urge you may have to interrupt others. Ask questions. When you are open to influence, you can gain influence.
When you genuinely listen to other and see things from their perspective, you are in a better position to support and assist them. (This is known as situational awareness) This enables you to offer ideas that resonate, demonstrating that you understand. Learning someone else’s perspective will also help you be in a better position to offer help because you have learned what they need and how they view the situation
Being a great listener is not enough. Good results that create a win-win outcome isn’t enough either. The goal is to create a lasting impression – that’s how to create genuine influence. Not to get applause
Real Influence isn’t Instant
Stop looking to create influence. Instead, develop and integrate the influence skill set. Influencing others is a set of skills, which means it can be learned. To learn it well means that it becomes woven into the fabric of your interpersonal interaction. Interestingly, those who consistently acquire and keep this skill set don’t really crave it explicitly.
Aim to always be appreciative. Never underestimate the force of a sincere, specific thank-you. To gain influence, show appreciation for those who help you. Steer clear however, of overdoing the flattery. Folks can see effusive phonies a mile away, and that will erode the very thing you are trying to build.
An attitude of gratitude as a way of life, not just in thanking people but also in being appreciative of all the good things in your life. This is an attitude that can impact people’s disposition toward you in as positive way. Real influence comes from long-term relationship building. It’s a lifelong journey toward earning a solid reputation.