Written by: Elaina Zuker, C.E.O., EZInfluence
Influence: Why Does It Matter?
Should you be attempting to accomplish any of the following or something similar, you will soon realize the value of Influence:
- Attempting to get a promotion or a raise
- Aiming to become a better leader and earn the trust of your team
The concept also applies to your personal life. Ask any mom who’s ever successfully managed to get a fussy toddler out the door and on schedule. The Oxford dictionary defines Influence as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” Having Influence is almost like having a superpower.
Should you think influence is a dirty word, think again. It’s all about how you direct that power. Influence is like electricity or nuclear power. You can use it for good or ill.”
Elaina knows best, Her book, Seven Secrets of Influence, has sold 150,000 copies and has been translated into six languages.
Develop and Increase Your Influence
Is Influence Positive Or Negative?
Answer these questions:
- What are my intentions?
- Are my intentions honorable when I’m attempting to influence a person?
- Do I intend to provide some benefit or added value?
- What is the effect on the other person?
- Do they feel used or exploited?
Prepare to Influence:
- Are you ready to become a master influencer?
- Will you reap the many career and life benefits of developing the sought-after skill of Influence?
The Six Habits Of Influence
Adopt the six habits below to increase influence and improve results.
1. Listen and Observe
“Be a good listener and observer.
The best influencers are people who listen more than they talk.
What they’re doing is absorbing information about the other person.”
So, why is paying attention and gathering intel so important when it comes to building Influence? Because it allows you to understand the broader context and dynamics of a situation. The concept is critical in terms of influencing. The more you know about what someone might need or what they value, the better informed you’ll be to move your agenda forward.
Additionally, take the time to figure out who the right person is to turn on your Influence. For example, Zuker recalls pitching a high-profile client and scanning her audience to identify the higher-level decision-makers. She carefully examines cues like body language.
2. Understand Your Influence Style
Some people are natural influencers. But even if they’re good at it, they don’t specifically know the what or how they do it. So it’s not that helpful,” says Zuker. “Accordingly, I broke down six different influence styles in my signature influence-building framework.”
For example, some people are more analytical and tend to use facts to convince people. Others are visionaries who like to paint a perfect picture and focus on their message’s emotional resonance.
Understanding your style of influence style allows you to accomplish a few things:
Intentionally direct and leverage your influence skills.
Identify areas of improvement so you can become an even more powerful influencer.
Become more aware of the influence styles of others.
Use that information to your advantage.
Be ready to increase influence
3. Adapt in Real-Time
Know that the most influential people in the world can adapt in real-time to situations where influence-wielding will be required. Know that it happens daily!
Imagine the possibility of pitching a project or service. But, the people whom you thought would attend the meeting are absent. Now you’re faced with an audience you don’t know. A lack of preparation leaves you uncomfortable.
Know that you can quickly get information about the people through an informal pre-presentation conversation. It will allow you to warm up the room. You can then adapt your pitch to speak their language and address their main concerns. These actions are what advanced influencing can look like in action.
Excellence is about precision and intentionality. Think of it as being an athlete training for the Olympics. You’d practice for hours and work with your coach to know your strengths and weaknesses inside out. So when it comes to influencing, adopt the approach of continuously gathering insights from your experiences. You will be unstoppable.
Imagine you have gone through life with much success. You might have thought it was an accident or just good luck. The downside is you may not be able to duplicate a success or fix a failure. Why? Because you don’t know what the ingredients and building blocks of what you did.
So don’t leave your moments of Influence up to luck. Review what went well and what didn’t go so well. Next, step your game up. And learn from observing other influencers as they can be a great source of insights.
4. Continuously Gather insights
Excellence is about precision and intentionality. Think of it as being an athlete training for the Olympics. You would practice for hours and work with your coach to know your strengths and weaknesses inside out. So when it comes to influencing, adopt the approach of continuously gathering insights from your experiences, and you’ll be unstoppable.
Let’s say you have gone through life and been successful. You might have thought it was an accident or just good luck. You may not duplicate a success or fix a failure because you don’t know what the ingredients and building blocks of what you did were.
So don’t leave your moments of influence up to luck. Review what went well and what didn’t go so well, then step your game up. And learn from observing other influencers — they can be a great source of insights as well.
5. Balance Weaknesses vs. Strengths
Let’s say you understand where your influential strengths reside. You can lean on them when you need them the most. Now what? Stretch and learn the style that you’re not comfortable and have it ready when you need it. It’s advisable to continually practice new strategies until they are in your comfort zone.
Accordingly, you function not just intuitively but also strategically. You’re already good at what you do. You can pay it forward by teaching the skills o others. And you can or use it when in need.
However, you may be missing out on five of the other possibilities or methods:
6. Practice with Intention
Practice makes perfect. And if the thought of influencing others makes you feel overwhelmed, don’t despair. Anyone can learn the skill. Start by flexing your influence muscles in low-stake situations or even outside of work.
Elaina is an International Best-Selling Author, an Influence Expert Speaker, and Coach, and the CEO of EZInfluence/eLearning designer. Click here for my books and publications.