The Art of Virtually Invisible Influencing
Professionals must communicate and collaborate effectively in order to succeed in today’s business environment. They also need to influence others.
Although secret influence may seem counterintuitive for relationship building, it is actually a powerful tool that can be used to influence others.
Influencing is almost invisible
Influencing others is not the same thing as influencing. The best influence doesn’t always come from the place you expect.
My career has taught me that the most successful influencers are those who are authentic and who build relationships based upon mutually beneficial outcomes. They are not salespeople with their own agendas. They are people who want to get other people on board.
Influencing should not only be a skill that salespeople need. Project managers must influence to move their projects forward, creative contributors must influence to get their ideas accepted, and leaders need to influence to secure funding.
Three areas of focus
These are the three areas that will help you to build the foundation for influence. These areas will help you become an invisible influencer.
Before you try to influence outcomes, you should consider the nature of your relationships with other people so that you can adapt your style to suit their needs and the demands of your environment.
Influencing is often misunderstood as a way to get people to see things our way. In reality, it is impossible to be an influential person while trying to convince others.
Instead, we need to prepare our minds to influence others through a spirit and partnership by establishing mutual understanding.
The best influencers are those who engage in conversations to understand the point of view of others and ask open-ended, well-chosen questions. If this does not feel natural, ask your manager and key stakeholders for feedback on where you should focus your efforts in relation building.
Your ability to influence rests upon your ability to create positive interactions with stakeholders, identify the real issues, and engage in dialogue about potential solutions.
Your ‘talk’ is only as strong and as effective as your listening. You can discuss the topic by putting yourself in the shoes of the other person, clarifying any differences or confirming your common ground.
Self-awareness tools that evaluate psychometric data and use personality principles can be very useful resources to learn more about you and how others perceive your behaviour.
Influencers who are successful can translate customer’s body language, verbal style and work environment into actionable insights that guide their interactions.
Ask yourself: How do you like to communicate with the other person? Do they prefer to have data and analysis before making decisions? Do they prefer to discuss things more naturally? Pay attention to their speech in meetings – are they trying to communicate or are they just doing it to think?
You can adapt your communication style to make your message more understandable if you are able to learn about the way the other person processes information. You can avoid having the message get lost by using a delivery style that is not appropriate for the recipient.
Influencing: soft skill, hard results
Influencing is often referred to as a soft skill. However, if you have the right mindset, behaviours, and commit to building your capabilities, it can lead to hard results that will help you build more effective relationships.
While it is true that some relationships at work are easier than others, everyone has their own preferences.