The Power of Influence

Have you ever noticed that there are people who can convince others that their ideas are terrific ones and others whose opinions get lost in the crowd? I was thinking about this recently in relation to a friend of mine who has an amazing ability to influence others. I mean really influence. On her 50th birthday she convinced eight of her closest women friends to go winter camping in March. She somehow convinced these naïve women that walking down a snowy path, pitching a tent and cooking dinner over a fire in 30 degree temperatures would be an adventure. None of us learned our lesson because this year when she turned 55 she once again convinced us to head to nature. This time we had a cabin but no running water.  In reflection it makes absolute sense why this friend has been so effective in influencing the rest of us. She’s prepared, clear, passionate and confident.

To influence others you have to;
•    Get your audience’s attention
•    Deliver a message that is compelling
•    Ask them to take action  

Getting Attention

Content and delivery are both important in getting the attention of your colleagues or employees. Understanding who you are talking to and what is important to them is a good place to begin. For example, if you know saving time or money is important, make sure you tie your ideas to these concerns within the first few seconds of your conversation. Use a confident and direct tone along with steady eye contact if you want to draw people into the conversation. Give a brief overview of your message before you get into the details. My friend used good food, wine and a warm fire as a way to get our attention.

Deliver a Compelling Message
Preparing your message ahead of time will increase the likelihood that your key points will get delivered. Part of your preparation is considering the objections you might hear and how you will respond to them. Make sure your message includes how your idea will benefit others. Use confident language, avoiding phrases like,”Maybe I’m wrong but…,” or “It seems to me…”  You can be direct without being abrasive. Let your face and expressions show warmth or appropriateness for the message. Let your enthusiasm match the content. Finally, inviting others into the conversation can allow you to judge their reaction to your ideas before you ask for their support.

Asking for Action

One of the things my friend does so well in influencing us is that she sets positive expectations. It sounds something like, “doesn’t this sound great!” “Won’t it be fun to all be together?” Her enthusiasm and positive assumption has a huge impact on the group. Clearly ask for what you want. If you need an employee to be on time, say so. There are situations were you will need to be prepared with creative options for getting needs met.

I wonder how I can influence my friend to choose a spa for her 60th birthday.



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