Influencing, Persuading…or worse?

Posted May 1st, 2012

We all use what we consider influencing skills every day to try and get what we want. However, although we might think we are influencing, it could be that the methods we are using are quite different to what can be considered ‘influencing skills’.

Typically, the methods we end up using to get people to do things fall into the following areas:
  • Manipulation
  • Coercion
  • Threats
  • Authority
  • Persuasion
  • Deals

These approaches usually only give us short term wins and more often than not people become resistant to the methods and become less likely to respond to them. The reason for this is that they are more about helping you out than demonstrating that there are benefits for both parties. Once we have experienced these behaviours from one person, we are less open to them in future.

What this means is that in order for anyone in the workplace to consistently gain the cooperation of others they must learn effective influencing skills.
The behaviours we should be displaying to get people to do things can be:
Listening, questioning, understanding, empathy, honesty, challenge, support, exposing concerns, fears, blockers, positive attitude, positive body language, rapport building, seeks first to understand before being understood, trying to appeal to a value that is important to the other person.
This is summed up with the difference between the definition of ‘influencing’…
Getting others to do things by showing that there is a real and genuine advantage to them in moving in the direction you want – Influence is the ability to affect a person’s character, beliefs or actions, reaching agreement by discussion
Versus the definition of ‘persuading’…
Persuading is to induce, urge or prevail. To convince through reasoning. To talk someone into something.

So, the next time you try to influence someone, consider what style you are using and whether you are in fact influencing, or just telling people what to do!

This article is a short extract from the Trainer Bubble Training Course Materials for ‘Influencing Skills’. Visit our website now to purchase these engaging, activity based training materials.


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