Influence is the ability to persuade and get buy-in from others towards a cause that you believe in and want to act positively. This is very useful as our success will be built on working with people around us. It would be a challenge for us if we only rely on ourselves to get things done. We need a team and people to support us to succeed.
The following are some examples where influence is needed in order for us to succeed no matter you are in re-pivoting a business, starting a new career or climbing the corporate ladder:
Selling a product or a service (including an interview with a potential employer).
Getting the committee or board to approve your proposal to transit to adapt to rapid change
Wanting colleagues or team members to support you in a project or doing a new thing
Expressing ideas that are new where others may yet be able to see the benefits versus the risks of change
Finding investors that are convinced of your business plan
One of the best examples that proved to me that influence works at its best, is through a national director of a non-profit organization. He manages a team of about fifteen full time staff he manages and leads his team well.
Everyone knows their tasks, is motivated; feel empowered and enjoy their work. On top of this, he really amazes me with his ability to use his influence to manage the stakeholders that finance the organisation’s work, as well as a group of motivated and aligned volunteers that came from various professional backgrounds to pitch in and help advance the cause.
He is quite a strong- and single-minded leader – minus the abrasiveness. He knows how to influence people (be it stakeholders, staff and volunteers) and make them feel that their interests and passion are aligned with the cause of the organization.
The organization that he leads is thriving and gained much reputation since he took over despite many changes in our uncertain economic landscape.
In order for us to dissect this subject matter of influence like what the said national director possesses, let us look at the following formula which I believe embody and equip us to positively influence people around us.
This is an area where we use influence in our daily interactions with people around us that help us to be successful. By practicing these six principles (Give, Rare, Credential, Flow, Likable and Similarity) consistently, you will be able to draw support from people around you be it agreeing with your ideas, hiring you and/or approving your proposed solutions
Inexpensive motivational gifts in training
This is a simple principle of giving others what they need or what you think they need without them asking. It is most effective when they least expected this gift. For example, in our training, I always make it a point to give little gifts that will remind the participants to practice lessons that they learnt.
On one of the occasions, I gave them wrist bands that bear a message of “Live in your Strengths” to remind them to use the strengths that they discovered in one of the assessment exercises.
This wrist band serves as a reminder as well as influence on them to practice their learning. It was unexpected and a delight. It actually works on the fact that people are influenced by kind deeds that you have done and felt obligated to return a favor with good deeds of their own.
In my corporate dealings, I always make it a point to give away our book “8 Success Qualities of Outstanding People” to clients that showed support towards our work.
This has made me many friends and often, I would say that I have created a better mind share with the influencer within the client company that later champions my solution for his organization.
However, please be mindful of the ethics on gift giving. It should not be of high value and it should be given with clear expectation that you are not expecting a return in favor.
In fact, what you are giving may not even cost anything like a word of encouragement, an email with a motivational message and a smile. One of the best things you can do to provide a good service is smiling.
If you were to smile at someone (like your boss or colleagues) in the morning, it is harder (not impossible, of course) for the same person to have the heart to scold you after that. Apart from just giving, you can enhance your influence, by personalizing your gifts with a short message on why you are giving them the gift.
Here are some examples: Wrist Band: “We have customized these bands for you so that you can be reminded to live in your strengths. We loved to see you excel at work” Book: “I notice that you are a career driven person, so I think this book will help you to advance in your career” Email of Motivation message: “I just want to cheer you up” Support their ideas:
“I have confidence in you, that’s why I agree with your idea to hire this consultant” Now is your turn to practice giving. Start by focusing on a few important people that matters to your success?