What is influence?
Influence is the ability to change other people’s thoughts or actions in ways they would not likely have done themselves. It is not coercion, threats, manipulation or power.
Influence uses people’s own inclinations such as preference for knowing others have done the same (social proof), that they are getting a good deal (compared to alternatives) or that their self-interest is served (liking, commitment and consistency).
The master of influence is Robert Cialdini, PhD. I have adapted his concepts for your use in the myriad moments of influence you experience in your business or organization.
Influence techniques can be learned and incorporated into all your moments: from complex conversations to the accidental hallway chat; the unplanned call to meetings; scheduled speaking engagements to your presence at events.
Language techniques that influence:
- Clarity (not simplicity)
- Specific vs. abstract language
- Figures of speech
- Interaction and dialogue
- Case studies (situation intervention, resolution)
- Mega value propositions • Ambivert behavior
- Dealing with objections
- Attention-Getting Openings
- • Calls-to-Action
- • Polished delivery
Outcomes of your moments of influence
- Accept a new idea
- Take an unfamiliar action
- Change their behavior
- Open their mind
- Accept a proposal
- Reduce resistance
- Purchase a product or service
- Give a testimonial
- Make a referral
- Set up a meeting
Explore Moments of Influence
Executive presence: The person with presence, whether already an executive or striving to become one, has strong self-esteem, excellent language skills and a powerful focus on others. This combination causes others to be inspired. It can be learned and continuously improved.
Memorable stories: These embody inspiration when done well. Your listeners “see” and imagine themselves taking action. I’ll always remember working with Diane MacEachern. She had the outline of her approach to talking about how she came to be a passionate environmentalist and renowned leader of the Big Green Purse movement. When we carved away her heavy statistics she was left with her real story that started with a childhood experience and became more powerful when she had her own children. There isn’t a person in her audiences who can’t see themselves taking action to protect their health.
Interaction: Every hallway conversation, email or meeting provides a Moment of Influence. Do you put the other person first, or do you put yourself first? These daily interactions add up and you’ll become influential to many people when you put them first each and every time.
Event speeches: You’re an executive, or an industry leader or a ‘name’ used to attract attendees. This reputation weighs on you so you bulk up your gravitas and write a serious speech. You read the speech word for word, occasionally pausing to look up over the heads of the audience. There’s applause afterwards, so you feel you’ve done your job. But you just wasted an incredibly valuable Moment of Influence. Your audiences want inspiration more than anything. Event speeches must be inspirational for that is what will give the attendees value for the future.
Presentations: Raise your hand if you’ve ever groaned when a presenter opens the slide deck and begins…and drones on, reading bullets, telling you everything they know. Now raise your hand if you’ve ever been that person. Uh-huh, I thought so! Being a presenter is valuable moment of influence, yet almost everyone blows it. They get hung up on counterproductive models: “That’s the way we always do it” or “That’s what everyone does”. These models inhibit you from inspiring your audience and giving them just a touch of information. No longer!
Complex conversations: I think of complex conversations as times when the old adage “you get more flies with honey” applies. There are many times in our work when a true difference of opinion exists, a new and complicated project is being proposed, there are new policies to be implemented and other complex situations require us to influence others. Too often we default to information, huge amounts of it, organized in a logical fashion, presented carefully and methodically. In these situations, inspiration is the honey. The combination of inspiration along with the information is crucial. Your inspiring words get people to “see” what’s coming which helps them accept the actions it is necessary for them take.
Work with Susan
How do you increase the value of your moments of influence and make them count? You work with me! When you decide now is the time to attain a higher level of performance and value than you are at currently, learning how to make every Moment of Influence count is a great choice. Call me or write so we can create the ideal approach for you. 703-790-1424 or firstname.lastname@example.org
©Susan Trivers 2013