Are you spending lots of effort trying to get people to agree to things with limited success? If you want to be successful at influencing people, I have found you need to tackle it as a job. It is important to prepare, plan and and review, so that you continually improve your relationships and ability to influence.
A good starting point is to ask yourself these 3 questions:
1.Who do I need to influence and why? Always begin with the end in mind, if you are clear about the issue and what you are trying to do, it will be easier to identify what yo want to achieve, who you need to get involved and what you need them to do. Think about how important these people are to your success, who will be a supporter who do you need to convert so that they don’t become a barrier to your success.
2. What do I know about the people I need to influence? Really get into their shoes and think about what is in it for them, what will the benefit be, this way you can prepare the right information or approach to meet their needs. What do you know about how they like to receive information – do they like lots of detail or just top line? What is the ‘win-win’ where we both get what we want out of this? What common interests do you have, where are they coming from?
3. What skills do I have that will help me influence? To influence others you need to know yourself, think about what skills you could develop. How good are you at understanding others, communicating clearly and building rapport? When have you successfully influenced before – what did you do that you could do again? When has it gone wrong in the past, are there any common factors?
In my experience it is very important to view influencing as part of relationship building, it is rarely a one off event and therefor needs to be sincere and mutually beneficial. A good influencer will know their audience, be clear about what their goal is, look for the ‘Win-Win’ solution, communicate well and build up the trust. If you can do this you will see a gradual decrease in the amount of time that has to go into maintaining the relationship.
Good Luck! Ruth