LINDA CATTELAN: The ability to impact and influence others is a key competency frequently identified in top performers. While we assume salespeople are good at impacting and influencing, the ability to impact and influence others is often the number one competency in helping, service, managerial and leadership roles.
Learning to increase your ability to impact and influence others can make a big difference to your career success.
What is Impact and Influence?
Impact and Influence as a competency is the ability to persuade or convince others to support an idea, agenda or direction. Sometimes we refer to it as strategic influence. It involves taking a variety of actions to influence others including establishing credibility or using data to directly persuade or address a person's issues or concerns.
Impact and Influence is often linked to organizational awareness. Understanding who the key decision makers are, who wields the power and who the influencers are, enables you to be more strategic in your dealings and approaches with stakeholders in order to get your desired results.
Here are some ways you can increase your ability to impact and influence others:
Be Confident - Confident people command more attention. Do what you can to build your confidence. That could mean doing more research or homework on the topics you are trying to promote or influence. Practice speaking in front of a mirror until you like how you are coming across.
Be An Observer - Successful people really do listen twice as much as they speak. Learn to observe others: what they say, how they say it, what they value, how they communicate both verbally and non-verbally, through their body language. Study and observe your audience until you understand what makes them tick.
Build Relationships - Get to know your key stakeholders and build rapport with each of them. Rapport is the first step in building stronger relationships and the key to effective and more meaningful communication.
Ask Questions - The best way to understand your client or prospect is to ask lots of open-ended questions. Ask questions to better understand their needs, wants and desires. This will help you better plan your communication strategy with each of them.
Communicate Effectively - How well do you know the communication style and/or preference of the person you are trying to influence? Knowing whether they are visual, auditory or kinesthetic can assist you in better targeting your communication and your message.
Know Your Outcome - What is it that you are hoping to achieve? What does success look like? Be clear on your desired outcomes.
Be Strategic - Plan and do your homework. Have a plan and work your plan. Know who your stakeholders are and find out as much as you can about each of them. Determine how and when you will communicate with them. Follow your plan and change as you go. Incorporate your learning into any changes you make. Keep your focus on your goal.
Increasing your impact and influence capabilities will increase your credibility and your success in getting things done with others and through others. The stronger your ability to impact and influence others the more likely you too will become a power player, a key influencer or an organizational decision maker - the choice is yours.