Elevating YOUR Influence - Handout

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As communicators, we spend most of our time thinking about influence. Who has influence in our industry? How can we get more for our organizations? Which outlets carry the most and how can I tap into it? However, we rarely reflect on our own influence. And yet, the influence we wield – internally within our organization or externally to our clients – is the single most important factor in our ability to produce great programs and help organizations make sound decisions. Named a “Woman of Influence” by the Austin Business Journal in 2011, Stacy Armijo provides a perspective about how PR practitioners can increase their influence and how to use it elevate the role of the PR function in your organizations.

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Elevating YOUR Influence - Handout

  1. 1. “Elevating YOUR Influence”By: Stacy Armijo on June 6, 2013Elevating YOUR influenceAs PR people, we focus on influence for others, not ourselvesInfluence is central to our success in our roles and professionWill cover practices, skills and tips to elevate influence, plus a few cautionsMy Assumptions – You already meet the minimum requirements…You do good work and deliver a quality productYou do what you say you’re going to doYou’re honest and trustworthyYou’re not a jerk; In fact, people generally like youAlways look at the bigger pictureMost important factor is to understand our organizations and industries deeplyOthers earn executives’ trust as peers and partners (not “do-ers” or vendors)Must understand key business drivers, success factors and engage accordinglySpeak in organizational objectives, not communication strategies“Thought Leadership” becomes “positioning to win projects”“Community Relations” becomes “decreasing expansion costs”“Enhancing awareness” becomes “lowering customer acquisition costs”
  2. 2. Input on Strategy –> <– Autonomy on TacticsFirst, do good work to demonstrate capability and earn confidenceThen, set parameters for involvement based on expertiseProactively engage input on strategies, but insist on autonomy for tacticsOwn both the accountability for programs and the authority to direct themBe an advisor, not an order takerBefore doing what’s asked, uncover what’s neededClarify “hard” vs. “soft” opinions, ideas vs. directivesWhen you have to say no, try to find another way to say yesIf you’re consistently overruled, it’s time to goDefine your own successPaint the picture of your program’s success and hold yourself accountableAlign your definition of success with your executives’ scorecardDocument, track and report, even if executives don’t request itAlways be ready to communicate the value of your workKey Skill: ListeningMisperception the influence is to “convince” or “manipulate”True influence = Respect, which begins with genuine, undivided attentionTrue listening is a rare skill; requires constant effort and attentionListening Tips: http://www.piercom.com/Blog/Stacy-Armijo/August-2011.aspxKey Skill: Speaking in meetingsAbility to express yourself clearly and succinctly is central to influenceWikipedia: The average human attention span is eight secondsThe more you say, the less they hear; Say less and make it count moreLet your statements stand on their own; projects confidence and credibilityKey Skill: Speaking to crowdsAs your career progresses, your ability to garner resources will be increasinglytied to your ability to present effectively to groups (such as boards of directors)Stakes are higher for communications leaders, who are expected to be expertsPoor delivery can cause executives to lose confidence in PR programsPractice, seek out training and improve; Will yield significant rewards
  3. 3. Tip: Be InquisitiveEveryone likes to feel interesting; Make them feel that wayLearn more from questions asked than from answers givenStrive for my favorite compliment: “That’s a good question.”Ask my favorite question: “What haven’t I asked you that I should?”Tip: Cast a wide netPart of influence is number of contacts, so cast a wide net to meet more peopleInternally: Seek task forces, special projects, company networking opportunitiesExternally: Engage in professional organizations and community leadershipsRefer to all those articles and presentations on networking and get crackin’!Tip: Make effective requestsMake it easy for executives to say “yes” to initiatives, investmentsAvoid “buy in,” “support;” Be clear and direct, making benefit evidentBe prepared with justification, but don’t necessarily offer it (wait to be asked)The more authority you own, the more authority you’ll earnResource: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?trk=tab_pro&id=16619181Caution: Don’t compromise deliveryWe judge ourselves on intentions, others judge us on actionsIf you fail in service delivery, nothing else mattersDon’t let good intentions that turn into poor executions diminish your influenceCaution: Don’t look for groups full of people just like youTendency to engage with groups of people of the same age, backgroundDon’t restrict yourself to those so similar to youStrive to be the only one of your gender / race / age / background / professionin the room; will lead to more learning, richer networks, more influenceAvoid DIY DiseasePart of influence is leadership and part of leadership is engaging your teamAs a top performer, you may be reluctant b/c, “It’s easier to do it myself.”Don’t get caught in that trap or you’ll be relegated to a tactical roleChallenge and invest in your team instead, increasing their influence and yours
  4. 4. Don’t Limit Yourself“I don’t do numbers” = I have no influenceBudget follows those who can follow the budget; Learn it and work itCultivate business acumen in general (take courses, read books)Influence resides at the executive table; prepare yourself to sit thereStacy Armijo is Senior Vice President for Pierpont Communications. As General Manager forthe firm’s Austin office, she oversees all public relations clients and has played an integral partin helping the office grow since 2002. Stacy has led account teams that have garnerednumerous communication awards and is valued by clients for her ability to communicatecomplex ideas concisely and produce meaningful results. She speaks regularly about publicrelations, marketing, social media and community involvement. For more, visitwww.piercom.com, email sarmijo@piercom.com, call 512-448-4950 or follow @Stacy_Armijo.

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