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Influence people to increase your success


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Influence people to increase your success

  1. 1. Influence People to Increase Your Success By Chelse Benham “Power lasts ten years; influence not more than a hundred.” - Korean Proverb The ability to influence is the ability to change a person’s core beliefs in such a way as to get them to want to do something, not force them to do something. It’s a social skill that has the potential to make you president of a country or leader in your industry. It’s a skill that requires effective and persuasive communication and excellent people skills, but the returns are impressive. “Effective, ethical persuasion is predicated on identification between the persuader and his audience. We believe those people who look, act and sound like us also think like us,” said Dr. George McLemore, associate professor in the Communication Department at The University of Texas-Pan American. “Ultimately, the audience is persuaded to the degree that they identify with the speaker.” The article “Control, Power & Influence: Six Basic Ideas to Consider” by Dr. C.S. Clarke, author and founder of Super Performance web site, looks at the aspects surrounding the skill of influencing others and those things you need in order to do it. 1. All control is self-control. Although you may believe that you can control another (or vice-versa), the truth is that what you perceive as control is influence. 2. You can influence another's reactions or choices, but that other person has the choice of whether or not to respond to you and how to respond to you. Refusing to control yourself and trying to control others is a waste of time. 3. Moreover, when you try to control what you cannot, you lose control of yourself. Your sense of power, part of your self-esteem, depends upon your satisfaction with your own performance. And if you are trying to control someone else, you begin to think of what they do as part of your own performance. 4. Your best satisfaction with your performance (behavior) depends upon divorcing the value of your action from the results. This is part of the concept of personal responsibility -- you are completely responsible for what you do, think, or feel, for who you are. But you are not responsible for the outside factors.
  2. 2. 5. Control means choice. Self-Control is the control over emotions, thoughts, body and behavior. Control over emotions, rather than the elimination of emotion, means being able to choose emotional responses. 6. Self-control, power and influence: The person who realizes that he's the only one in control of himself and acts always upon his own choices becomes very powerful. Not only is he the most free of the influence of others, but also he is most influential upon others. The self-controlled person is admired and sought- after as a leader. He is also intimidating to the insecure. Clarke stresses the importance of learning the difference between control and influence. The difference is the key to true power. According to Clarke, “You can improve the range and intensity of your influence and the probability of your behavior accomplishing desired or predictable results by developing skills designed for this purpose.” He recommends reading the book "Influence" by Cialdini and the careful planning and strategy selection in the book "Art of War" by Sun Tzu. “Study your audience whoever that is,” McLemore advises. “You need to know the values, culture, history and any and all aspects about your audience.” Another book that made significant progress in defining and teaching the key points of influencing others is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie written in 1936. It continues to be the ultimate reference when dealing with and influencing people. In the first part of his book he offers some fundamental techniques in handling people. • Don't criticize, condemn or complain. • Give honest and sincere appreciation. • Arouse in the other person an eager want. On the heels of that advice, he immediately provides six ways to increase personal likeability. • Become genuinely interested in other people. • Smile. • Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. • Talk in terms of the other person's interests. • Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely. The art of persuasion is just that, an art or skill. You must have the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively in order to influence. You must be seen to have integrity and work honestly with others.
  3. 3. “Aristotle said that people are persuaded by a person if they believe that person as having a high character. Protecting one’s reputation is key to influencing others. Protect your reputation at all costs,” McLemore warns. There are concrete ways to build confidence in others belief in you. Carnegie provides firm advice to help win people to your way of thinking. • The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. • Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong." • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. • Begin in a friendly way. • Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately. • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. • Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. • Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view. • Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires. • Appeal to the nobler motives. • Dramatize your ideas. • Give them a call-to-action. Present a challenge. Dr. Stephen K. Markham, an associate professor of management at North Carolina State University, evaluates how effective group leaders’ (champions’) influence people (targets), in his article “A Longitudinal Examination of How Champions Influence Others to Support Their Projects” in the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Volume 15, Issue 6 , November 1998, Pages 490-504. Markham identifies several different tactics used by group leaders to influence behavior. The strategies are as follows: • Region - This strategy involves the use of facts and data to support the development of a logical argument. Sample tactic: ‘‘I explained the reason for my request.’’ • Coalition - This strategy involves the mobilization of other people in the organization. Sample tactic: ‘‘I obtained support of co-workers to back up my request.’’ • Ingratiation - This strategy involves the use of impression management, flattery and the creation of good will. Sample tactic: “I acted very humbly while making my request.’’ • Bargaining - This strategy involves the use of negotiation through the exchange of benefits or favors. Sample tactic: ‘‘I offered an exchange’’ (If you do this for me, I’ll do something for you). • Assertiveness - This strategy involves the use of a direct and forceful approach. Sample tactic: ‘‘I demanded that he or she do what I request.’’ • Higher authority - This strategy involves gaining the support of higher levels in the organization to back up my requests. Sample tactic: ‘‘I obtained the informal support of higher-ups.’’
  4. 4. • Sanctions - This strategy involves the use of organizationally derived rewards and punishments. Sample tactic: ‘‘I threatened to give him or her an unsatisfactory performance evaluation.’’ Source: Adapted from Kipnis and Schmidt [32,34]. In Markham’s research found conclusive correlations between group leaders and the people being influenced. His research showed that ultimately, it is very important for people when they want to influence someone else that they create a good rapport and use cooperative methods of engagement. Carnegie offers some suggestions on how to accomplish this type of influence: • Begin with praise and honest appreciation. • Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly. • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. • Let the other person save face. • Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise." • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. • Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. • Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Influencing others is an acquired skill that takes dedication, self-observation and an understanding of social psychology to perform well. It may seem daunting; however, when you get right down to it, it’s about common sense and respect for others. Make them feel good and they’ll see things in a more positive way; your way. “Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.” - Lao Tzu, 600 B.C. Chinese philosopher