No matter who you are, where you work, or what your professional goals are, achieving more influence in the workplace is critical for success. Influence has countless advantages, but gaining that influence takes time and effort. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to develop this skill.
Understand the decision cycle.
When people are trying to make a decision, they go through a cycle with six stages:
- Define the problem
- Establish the criteria
- Consider all the alternatives
- Identify the best alternative
- Develop and implement a plan of action
- Evaluate and monitor the solution and feedback when necessary.
Your job is to listen and learn, to gain perspective on what part of the cycle a person is at and work with that in mind.
Trust is the corner stone of our relationships and the only way we can successfully influence anyone. There are Four Core Elements that build trust:
- Being straightforward
- Being open
- Being accepting
- Being reliable:
If people know they have time to think about something, then they will take that time. This gives them the opportunity to talk themselves out of what you’re asking them to do. The only way out of that is to create urgency. To create urgency, ask probing questions that help people to consider the issue and contemplate the what-ifs. To comprehend the consequences. Ask questions such as, “What will happen if we don’t act on this?” Or “How soon do you want to solve this problem?” Your job is to help people see the possible impacts of indecision.
Believe it or not, but objections are a good thing. When decision making seems too good to be true, many people fear they’re making the wrong choice. So you actually want them to resist. It means they’re verbalising their fears instead of internalising them. Go with it. Face their objections and overcome them. That way you can move forward knowing you’ve waylaid their doubts and fears.
If you have answered all of their questions and taken them through each step, doesn’t it make sense to ask them for their commitment? Why wouldn’t you? You’ve established that they have a challenge that you can solve and that they are ready and able to move forward.
To influence others, you’ve got to know when to talk and when to be quiet and listen. Moreover, you’ve got to know when to give and when to ask.