The ability to influence, to change minds, shape opinions, leverage contacts, close deals and move others to act is a crucial skill for leaders and aspiring leaders in our highly competitive, interconnected, global business environment.
Where influence and power once came with the position you held in a company, now power and often position comes from your ability to influence. The more influence you have, the more desirable and valuable you are to employers.
But how do you build your influence and, as a result, your career? Here are three tips to help you master the art of influencing.
Increase Your Credibility
To be an influencer you need to have credibility, and to build credibility you need to become an expert in your industry.
Stay up to date with the latest industry news and trends by subscribing to industry association newsletters, journals and magazines and setting Google Alerts for key terms you want to track.
Further your education through reading books, attending seminars, webinars and workshops and continue to research the latest techniques, statistics, findings and innovations to stay ahead of your industry and provide the most up-to-date, relevant and effective information to those you talk to.
Having a strong understanding of your industry will enable you to handle different situations, answer questions, overcome any objections and provide intelligent ideas, giving your customers and your employer the confidence they need for you to advance your career further.
Know The Key Emotional Drivers
Emotions are powerful motivators. They cause us to move towards something, or cause us to move away. They drive us to change, to strive for better, to want more. They influence every decision we make.
That is why, in order to influence others to change their minds, come to a specific conclusion or move them to act, you need to know the key emotional drivers that motivate each of us.
These emotional drivers include, but aren’t limited to, a desire to belong, receive recognition, elevate status, make a difference, feel secure and avoid pain. If you can appeal to these through your negotiations, sales meetings and business dealings you will rapidly increase your ability to influence.
Build Your Contacts Through Networking
Your power as an influencer comes from what you know, who you know and who knows you, and proactive networking helps you build the last two elements in this winning formula.
Relationships underpin every business transaction, by increasing your profile and building your own personal contacts, your influence grows.
But your networking needs to go beyond swapping business cards and attending regular events, you need to build rapport and follow up in order to form profitable relationships with key contacts and influencers.
Leverage is one of your most powerful tools as an influencer. The more you can leverage your knowledge and contacts and find ways to leverage of others the faster you will influence your way to success.
These are simple but effective techniques to use face to face and through the power of social media and once you get started you’ll feel encouraged to do practise more.