How to Influence People at Work
People like people who are like them. Everyone has something in common with another person, the key is to find out what this is and use it as an icebreaker. Spend a little time each day asking people about their children, partners, holidays etc. This shows that you are interested in the person not just their value in the workplace. Remember, we like to say yes to people we like. Listen intently when others are talking, reassuring through positive body language, nodding and reassuring that you are interested. Don’t interrupt and always ask questions, this indicates that you are interested, if they feel safe and they like you they will keep on saying yes. Mirroring body language can be equalising – When talking to someone who is sat down you should also sit. By sitting down (or standing up if required!) you ensure your eye line is level with the other person. You are establishing yourself as an equal rather than an aggressive or submissive individual. For more Rapport building techniques click here
Respected or Popular?
One of the most critical mistakes colleagues make at work is the pursuit of popularity rather than respect. Most of us are concerned with how others see us and can dwell on this, when respect rather then popularity will make you more influential. During a meeting if part of your agenda is to retain popularity this will reflect in your body language and you may appear submissive. The top of your agenda should be to concentrate on getting your point across. Don’t guess answers or say yes if you don’t agree, give your opinion and back this up with evidence; you can do this with a smile, in a calm voice while being relaxed, this helps when your opinion differs from that of the person(s) your talking to. Demonstrate creativity and leadership, this will highlight your knowledge and show that you are not just following others.
What would you like to achieve?
We follow authority and experts, share with people your expertise on the topic/discussion, don’t be embarrassed people wont know about your strengths and experiences until you tell them. State what you want to achieve straight away, don’t try to cover what you want to say in cotton balls, don’t add pleasantries “I hope you don’t mind” etc as this can sometime make the message less clear then we want it to be. You want others to see the benefits and possibilities of your ideas. Be truthful, if something has not worked tell them and back this up with your strongest suggestion, this will show you as knowledgeable and honest. Your message has to be constant throughout, to increase people following through on your ideas get them to write it down, people tend to live up to what they have written and signed.
Can you listen?
We all have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk. As well as listening to what people are saying, you need to hear what is not being said. By listening to others you can easily find out what motivates them and what de-motivates individuals.
If you help others, others will help you.
Help your colleagues with work, getting others a sandwich while your getting your dinner, hold open doors. If you help people, then they will feel more compelled to help you. When presenting ideas and suggestions to others, explained to them “what they will get out of it” not just what you and/or the company will gain. When you are thanked Don’t undermine your powerful position by saying something like, “Oh, it was nothing; I do that all the time” Say “I was glad to do it, I know you would do the same for me”
Timing is Everything.
Plan your timing, if someone is busy or has other things on their mind they will not take in what you are saying, in many situations you need to ensure your first conversation/presentation convinces them as you may not get a second chance.
Looking for Fame?
Often people look for the fame and glory of giving an idea, you have come up with a positive suggestion that can help others and/or the company move forward. If you want to take the fame for this idea, often you will not listen or take on board other peoples suggestions that may improve your original idea. Step back, become emotionally dissociated and critically evaluate all ideas including your own. You do not have to be popular to influence others.
Show the way.
Explain what people will gain and also what they will lose, people are motivated either towards something (a positive) or away from something (a negative) Make your suggestion/time scarce as people hate to miss out an opportunity, tell them they can only succeed if they follow your direction, as you are the expert. Show people the way, prompt them and let them work it out for themselves. Never be to forceful as this will only work for a small period of time until people start to resent you. People like to feel they have contributed to what they are doing. People are followers, once you have people on board others