How to Influence Others

 
 

Have you ever wondered why some people can sell ice to Eskimos? Being able to influence others is such an important life skill, especially if you want to create positive changes. We influence the people around us all the time, including the way that we smile, dress, our body language, and how we interact with others. However, if you want to have the right influence, you need a level of control in the way that you interact with others. This was our theme for our May Concannon Connection event held at the fantastic young people’s arts charity, Soft Touch Arts in Leicester.

 
 
 

How do we influence others?

There are a lot of factors, big and small, that affect the way in which we influence our business contacts, friends and family members. Cultural differences can also affect the way that we influence people. We asked each table around the room to discuss some of the areas in their lives they would like to be able to influence. People expressed a need to influence things like children’s exams, supporting a charity, employers and flexible working conditions, customer’s buying decisions – the list is endless… In reality, we all consciously and unconsciously influence others most of the time. However, this is a skill that can be developed.

  • Conscious influencing - This is your desire to have a conscious impact on others – for example, using different approaches to influence your family, as opposed to your business contacts.

  • Unconscious influencing - This is where you may be unconsciously influencing others, which can lead to a negative impact – for example, snapping at your children may make their overall mood even worse.

Mask your bad mood! Emotions are contagious

Your mood is made up of emotions, and you could be in danger of infecting others simply by the mood you find yourself in. Have you ever worked with someone in the office who seems to be permanently down? Be aware that being too authentic in your mood will affect others and can have a negative impact on office morale. We call this the 'Eeyore syndrome'! In the past, I had a boss who banned "whining, whinging, blaming or complaining" in the office – why not try this rule in your workplace and see what happens?

Your mood is made up of emotions, and you could be in danger of infecting others simply by the mood you find yourself in. Have you ever worked with someone in the office who seems to be permanently down? Be aware that being too authentic in your mood will affect others and can have a negative impact on office morale. We call this the 'Eeyore syndrome'! In the past, I had a boss who banned "whining, whinging, blaming or complaining" in the office – why not try this rule in your workplace and see what happens?

Empathy is the key to influencing

There will be times when you don’t necessarily agree with someone’s opinion – you don’t have to agree, but you do need to show that you understand their reasoning. This is called ‘empathy’. Try to understand someone else’s point of view. If you want to influence people, you need to develop empathy as a skill. We shared some contentious issues around the room at our event – from Brexit to gay couples adopting children - and the atmosphere soon heated up! The key to developing empathy is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes – remember, people have the right to express their point of view even if you don’t agree with it.

The psychology behind influencing

One of our speakers was Kym Ellington, who works as a Financial Director for 10 major companies across the Midlands. Kym shared some insights on the different influencing methods used by leaders and businesses.

  • The people in your business are your engine, so the way you treat them is essential for your business success.

  • Good leaders have to show empathy on a subconscious level to avoid having a negative effect on employees.

  • When it comes to influencing sales, stay ethical and avoid deception or coercion.

Kym went on to discuss the psychology behind influencing sales, which included the 6 Principles by Robert Cialdini:

  1. Reciprocity – for example, the rise in tips when mints are given away with a restaurant bill – one mint = 3% rise, two mints = 14% rise and multiple mints = 23%!

  2. Scarcity – when resources are scarce, this can influence people to buy.
  3. Authority – people are influenced when you are an expert in your field.
  4. Consistency – for example, a ‘drive safety’ campaign used a series of postcards, window stickers and a sign to influence people about their campaign over several weeks.
  5. Similarity – be polite, pay compliments, and share engaging ideas.
  6. Consensus – for example, when you draw people’s attention to something like reusing hotel towels; this tends to affect others to do the same.

How do you influence others?

If you want to influence someone, always aim to create a positive impact and show empathy at every stage. Treat people how they would like to be treated. Listen to their needs, show concern, and ask questions to build trust, credibility, and to achieve buy in. You need to create a positive experience with people, so control your mood despite what you are really feeling.

If you’re a leader, show passion and your conviction in important matters and avoid coming across as over-confident and arrogant. Every interaction will have an impact on your employees, no matter how seemingly small.

What do you do that you might not be aware of that could be affecting the way in which you are influencing others? Do you talk too much? Do you have a tendency to be a bit aggressive at times? Ask yourself whether there is anything you could do to change your behaviour, so you can have a more positive impact on others. Why not try this out with friends, family, or even some of your business contacts?

Next Concannon Connection event

Our next event will be on 29 June 2018 at SFB Group in Nuneaton - the theme will be “personal motivation”. If you have been to one of my events before, you will know that we do not charge to attend, but I always ask that you bring someone along with you. This could be a client, supplier, or your brother; it really doesn’t matter - our aim is to see fresh faces at every event we hold. To find out more about our Concannon Connection events, Business Club, or our Director’s Development Forum, please...

 
Luke ConcannonComment