05 Sep Becoming More Influential

The effectiveness of any influencing style will obviously depend on the situation.  For instance, the culture of an organisation, the personalities involved, the way they make decisions and their view of their own expertise and that of the person attempting to influence all impact on how influential a given style will be.

Influencing skills can definitely be developed, regardless of your preferred I-Style.  I recently worked with the CEO of the Australian arm of an international company who had been lobbying unsuccessfully for 3 years to close one of the branch offices as a way of improving the financial performance of the company. After learning a number of new influencing skills relevant to the level of board presentation, he received the board approval that he needed on the spot. I have also worked with many technology-focused clients pitching for multi-million dollar projects where those involved would certainly not describe themselves as ‘people people’. Yet once they learnt the simple steps to influencing they too have won their bids.

In order to improve your power to influence you must appreciate that not everyone will be influenced by the same things and in the same way as you.  It is critical then, to learn ways of flexing or adapting your influencing style to suit the needs and decision-making behaviour of your stakeholder. As well, it’s close to impossible to influence others based only on an understanding of I-Styles. If you are serious about increasing your chances of hearing the word ‘yes’ then you must also seek to develop specific influencing skills in your influence toolkit.