build your influence...
How are you already influential?
Whether you know the answer or not, your approach to persuading others is most likely to be based on what persuades you. All well and good if you are similarly wired to those whose minds or behaviours you need to shift. While a passionate rallying call may work for some, only a strong case built on sound logic will work for others.
On that score, what is logical if you are looking to develop your influence, is to start by understanding your patterns.
Carl Jung identified four core personality types - amiables, analyticals, expressives and drivers. While many of us may not fit neatly into any one type, there may be dominant traits we can recognize in ourselves. Knowing where such traits may help or hinder your professional relationships is a real advantage. Remind yourself of the characteristics of each...
feel comfortable when the facts stack up – information is their comfort zone. Reasoned argument, substantiated by convincing statistics is necessary before they make decisions. Their preference for detail and clarity means they are systematic, well organised and deliberate. Uncomfortable with abstract concepts or wooly rhetoric, they may be perceived as cautious...
are always conscious of feelings. Aware of those who need to be involved or consulted as well as those who will need to be handled sensitively, they naturally expect the same from others. Amiable by nature they are loath to upset anyone - as a result they often say yes, sometimes at their own expense. Tolerant of the foibles of others, they dislike uncertainty, may shoulder lots of responsibility. They are often...
read the signs...
When you are able to read others, when you notice how they communicate their ideas and relate to other people, clearly you are much better equipped to find ways to connect.
listen for clues...
Which personality type talks about specifics, possibly at length, is cautious about flimsy opinion and feels more at home with facts than feelings?
Who is usually gregarious, expressive and enthusiastic, possibly flamboyant in appearance, shares their views and opinions easily?
Which type is kind, empathetic and a great listener and is usually sensitive to the feelings of others?
Who is clear, decisive, bold and forthright and may also come across as abrupt and challenging?
Aristotle argued there were three core requirements to being your most persuasive which relate to ethos, logos and pathos.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary:
ethos - the characteristic spirit of a culture, era or community as manifested in its attitudes
logos - the principle of reason and judgement
pathos - a quality that evokes pity or sadness - sympathy or compassion
three calls action...
To spell out the modern day practicalities of what he was saying, check your credibility by asking yourself three questions...
1. How can you better align yourself with prevailing expectations and codes of best practice?
2. Where could you display your logical reasoning?
3. Can you more actively display your empathy for others and how they may perceive situations?
your spheres of influence
Clearly, to have influence in the first place you need to be visible. Knowing how far your influence extends, ask yourself questions about the nature of your influence. Are you visible in the right ways? Are you visible to the right people?
build your professional network
Cynics might also say that it is not always what you know, but who you know. That said, being well connected does not always have to be via the old school tie, there are clearly many ways you can be proactive in building your professional network...
In face-to-face situations, here are some some obvious refreshers about networking skills...
What if you already have a wide professional network but your potential influence feels undermined?
This is often the case when stressful or threatening situations provoke an aggressive or passive response - neither of which are useful in the longterm to your professional standing, or indeed your health.
There are more than a dozen ways to find more assertive outcomes, but here's our first twelve to help you get closer to a win-win...
are often positive and sociable – vocal about their feelings that may also be leaked out via their tone and body language. They don’t do detail, preferring a more broad-brush approach. Fast moving, passionate about ideas, they may be drawn to abstract concepts and creative approaches. They can be viewed as influential, pushy or manipulative or...
are often natural leaders. Results–driven, they are clear about the bigger picture. Their clear vision helps them to get the job done within budget and for targets to be met, - despite potential casualties on the way. As pragmatists they can be frustrated by slower, softer approaches or those who offer too much detail. Instead, they could be described as being forceful characters...
know how to pitch to them...
If you want to sell your ideas, services or products, be mindful of who you are speaking with and what will make them buy.
Drivers usually prefer you to be clear, aligned and brief.
Amiables will best respond to those sensitive to politics and feelings.
Analyticals are most convinced by those who are on top of the facts and details.
Expressives will be engaged by your passion and energy and by being involved in some way.
WIIFM - or what's in it for me - is usually the thing which motivates most of us to change our behaviours. Have a look at what Simon Sinek has to say about trying to persuade others ...
develop double vision
When you consider the issue from their perspective - whether you agree or not, you also have the key to turning things around.
Letting the other person know that you acknowledge their viewpoint is the first step towards resolving differences.
Another, is to seek out the bridges between you. On that score, remind yourself of the vital importance of status...
make it easier for yourself...
Where you have already established rapport, the process is even easier. Remind yourself of how easily it's done...
Our approach to sharpening your communications is that there is always something else you can try, so ending with a prayer is not usually on the agenda! The sentiments of the Serenity Prayer are our exception...