In your daily life, and in work, influencing people is a must-have skill.
Influencing is an art of effecting how others think (and finally act) towards a particular purpose. Influencing can be when you are at home, getting your spouse to agree on a particular purchase, or getting the children to complete their project. At work, influencing is like the number one task – selling products to potential customers, getting the boss to approve that big project of yours, and even negotiating team mates on a favor on a particular task.
Most importantly, influencing is done without authority. That means, you make someone believe that what you are saying is right, hence he should do as you suggest. You are not influencing when you are giving instructions (read: boss, parent, senior in the job).
The most important party to consider when you are planning to influence is – the other party. What YOU think, is not as important as what HE thinks. Because the aim, is to change how HE thinks. Try to look from his point of view, and answer this question “What’s in it for me?”. “Me” here, as in, “him”, of course. Think about what benefits he will get, if he does agree with you. If you can show that to him, influencing can be very easy.
Here I share 3 tips on influencing people.
1. Build relationships.
You want to influence someone without using authority, so the first thing you need to do is, build a good relationship.
Generally, building relationships is easy, when you are interested in someone, and expresses that interest to him. That involves active listening, asking good, open questions, and relating to what he is thinking. When someone feels that you have interest in him, he will be more open, and keener to create a connection with you, ready to hear your thoughts.
Also, use common courtesy. Be polite, sociable and friendly. Smile.
Other ways to build relationships include:
- Notice positive behaviours or changes in the other person – comment on that
- Give compliments and praises
- Read their body language and adapt how you speak
Build rapport and make him feel a connection to you. Do this genuinely, because everyone has his own story to tell, and his side of the story is important too.
2. Social proof.
This is where we use others’ acts to influence people.
“Others” here may mean those familiar to someone, or those he feels similar to him. Or someone he respects.
For example, when seeing an expensive product on your own (alone), you may not feel the urgency to buy it. But if a few respected colleagues, or someone close to you just bought it too, that curiosity to purchase it may grow.
That’s why we see “Other people also likes…” columns while shopping online. These suggestions (exists with the social media algorithm) appear to you, to utilize the power of social proof, and influence your buying.
So, when you want to influence someone, pay attention to what his surrounding people are doing too. You could use that someone’s influence towards him.
3. Credibility and reputation.
As said earlier, influencing does not involve the use of authority.
However, using credibility and reputation is something else. People can be influenced by experts, believing his words and suggestions.
There are many experiments of changing people’s mindsets by experts, influencing their behaviours and ultimately effecting the results. A good example is the placebo effect, where medical patients are given something like a “real” medical treatment — but in actual, does not contain an active substance meant to affect health, like a dummy treatment. Researchers use placebos during studies to help them understand what effect a new drug or some other treatment might have on a particular condition. Around one third of the patients taking a placebo may get better. Believing in experts, it shows even the body’s chemistry can create effects similar to medication. A classic case of mind over matter.
So, as an influencer, having credibility and good reputation is important, too. Where can you find your own credibility? Look at your qualifications, your educational background, expertise, or experience.
So those were 3 tips on influencing people. Different situations will require different methods of influencing. We’ll look at more influencing methods later.
What is your favourite influencing method?