Influencing activities are played out every day in corporate board rooms, in management meetings, during departmental decision-making, between peers and within boss/subordinate interactions. The unskilled observer fails to recognize the influencing process that is shifting them towards someone else’s opinion. They cannot ‘see’ the mechanisms that are being used to persuade, yet alone know how to counter them.
When Does Discussing Become Influencing?A discussion becomes influencing as soon as someone aims for a specific outcome. If your awareness of the influencing process is low (ie. untrained), you probably will only see the surface objectives: the board member trying to enhance the corporate report, the manager trying to introduce a new system, the peer trying to meet a deadline. If your awareness level is high, you will recognize that the board member aims at enhancing her reputation, the manager wants to remove a ‘trouble maker’, and the peer is trying to impress his boss. Rarely do the facts speak for themselves. They offer only a fraction of the full picture. The REAL skill for influencing is to understand what lies behind the ‘facts’, and then build an effective strategy to take control of the influencing process.
Commonly, Well Over 60% Of Our Work Time Is Spent InfluencingAsk yourself:
- How fully aware am I when someone is trying to influence me?
- How confident am I that I have a wide range of influencing strategies to call upon?
- How competent am I in being able to counter-influence – particularly when operating from a low power base?
8 Tips On Influencing
- Activate your AWARENESS level.
- Identify the influencing situation. (If there is an objective, you are already involved in the process.)
- Decide to engage consciously in the influencing opportunity, or not.
- Appreciate the stated goals of all stakeholders.
- Diagnose their underlying motivations, noting the ‘politics’.
- Clarify your own objectives.
- Select the appropriate behaviors from your Influencing Tool Kit.
- Stay focused on your OUTCOME which includes the impact on relationships.