INFLUENCING OTHERS

Having influence over people means that you have the ability to gain support for your opinions, views, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, goals and objectives by using language to persuade people to buy into your way of thinking.

If you make an effort to acquire good communication skills and you combine it with responsible honesty and pay close attention to and take specific details into account, you are likely to engage people more and reach agreements that you all can live and work with. You will be more likely to get what you want and it will be for reasons you won’t regret.

Follow these guidelines to learn the art of persuasion:

  1. Lead by example. One of the most effective techniques in the art of influencing others is to display the behaviours you want from others. If you want your staff to be hard-working you need to demonstrate good work ethics by working hard yourself;
  2. Keep reminding staff of the changes you wish to bring about and discuss the benefits of these changes;
  3. Be very careful not to be seen as a manipulative person. Be sincere and speak with conviction;
  4. Never play one person against another. This will cause a rift between them since it breaks down relationships. Remember, you need to build relationships in your organisation – not break them down;
  5. Make a list of the most important points you need to make. This will help you to create a compelling case for change;
  6. Use your list whenever you need to persuade others to buy into your ideas, thoughts, goals or opinions;
  7. Use hard evidence such as facts and figures that can support your argument;
  8. Use practical, simple, non-technical examples to illustrate your point;
  9. Find a different way to present the same idea if you come up against any resistance: If you used emotion in your argument, you should not allow emotion into your conversation when presenting the same idea again. People will buy into a carefully considered, well-reasoned argument; If you were well-reasoned and unemotional in your first argument, you should use emotion when you present the same idea for the second time;
  10. Try to see someone else’s point of view by turning the table. You will be in a much better position to come up with ideas that actually support their opinions and ideas;
  11. Prepare for and anticipate how people will respond to your argument so that you have alternative supporting arguments. This will increase your chances of influencing your conversation partner or audience;
  12. Listen to other’s concerns, opinions, views and ideas because it reflects their beliefs. In order to change someone’s beliefs you need to give them a lot more information so that they can gain new insight. When you know better, you do better;
  13. Learn as much as possible about the people you are trying to influence through observation. Look at the pictures on their office walls and desks; screen-savers; books they read; ornaments; things they say about their family and personal lives. Use the information to bond with them. Remember to be sincere in your approach;
  14. Show your proposals and strategies to individuals before presenting it so that you can incorporate their ideas. This way you will have allies who will give your arguments credibility;
  15. Make an effort to study the underlying dynamics of groups so that you understand the key individuals and their allies and rivalries. Use the information to your best advantage when presenting your case to them;
  16. Identify important stakeholders and make it your business to uncover their personal motivations. Find out who they are and also find out who exert influence over them. Present your arguments so that you specifically address their needs and make sure that you also enlist the support of the people who influence them;
  17. Network and build sincere relationships with influential individuals. Their influence and reputation can be used to support your position;
  18. Set specific goals for achieving specific outcomes. You should know exactly what you want the other person to do or say after your meeting;
  19. Do not push too hard because you may damage the relationship;
  20. On the other hand, if you don’t push hard enough you may not achieve your objective;
  21. Be careful not to ramble too much.       Don’t use too many facts and figures without giving your conversation partner or audience compelling reasons for the facts and figures;
  22. Don’t get too technical. If people don’t understand what you are talking about they will not support your ideas;
  23. Find out what would ‘hook’ the stakeholders and incorporate it in your presentation.

ELSABE MANNING

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