Using Influence to Achieve Extraordinary Performance
Most people are not aware that every human interaction involves a complex process of persuasion and influence. In fact, our ability to influence others is a core leadership competency. When we have differing points of views, experiences and approaches to problem-solving, life gets tougher. In these situations, our goal is to negotiate an agreement. How well we do it can make a difference between a harmonious or disharmonious existence and success in life. Here are some tips to help you achieve success:
Be aware of your own interests and motivations at any given point in time
Great leaders, coaches and communicators don’t focus extremely on other followers, players and audiences. They have a high degree of self-awareness. We all have basic skills to lead, coach or communicate. Unfortunately, most of us have a few psychological blocks to applying these skills well and consistently.
Listen carefully to identify underlying interests and motivations of others
When listing the inventory of projects it is important to ensure that each project has an approved scope statement and detailed project plan because this will affect project prioritization decisions. Projects that fail to have clear scope and detailed plans are bound for failure. When conflict arises, most often it is because either or both parties are taking a rigid position from their viewpoints, without consideration to the other person’s interests. By asking ‘Why?’, we may discover why they feel as they do and what is motivating their behaviour.
Attempt to make human connections with the other person
Learning to connect with your senses and imagination will give you a significant competitive edge. It will help you maximize the potential in every relationship, be it personal, business-related, or social. Some suggestions for making connections are:
- Look others straight in the eye – It is one of the most important non-verbal communication channels with people.
- Connect with the senses - People have different ways of communicating, some express themselves through visuals (pictures), others through Auditory (how you say things) and Kinaesthetic (feelings) methods.
- Ask simple open-ended questions - When a person answers an open-ended question, he stops focusing outward and goes inside his mind. Just listen. Most people tell you more about themselves than they think.
- Manage cross-cultural differences - Culture is often the root of communication challenges. Becoming more aware of cultural differences, as well as exploring cultural similarities, can help you communicate with others more effectively.
Build rapport with the other person
Rapport is the ability to be on the same wavelength and to connect mentally and emotionally. It is often the key to influence. Rapport and influence start with understanding and acceptance of the other person’s point of view, their state and their style of communication. And these work both ways: I cannot influence you without being open to influence myself.
There are always two choices: either you can persuade others to help you or you can be persuaded to help them. It is one or the other. In every organization, influential people have better chance of success as they can motivate and bring out the best in others.