It’s no secret that influence and negotiation skills are potent tools. Many surveys highlight the increasing importance of these soft skills in the workplace.
Unfortunately, many people feel that they don’t have the ability to persuade others or lack the confidence to try.
So, how do you develop these influencing skills and position yourself as a leader in your organization?
We’re here to help.
We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks as well as the dos and don’ts of influence to help you discover that the power of persuasion is already in you.
What Are Influencing Skills?
Simply put, influencing skills are the ability to persuade people to change their way of thinking on a particular topic while acknowledging their opinions without force or coercion.
Developing influencing skills is becoming increasingly important as employers seek potential employees who can easily demonstrate this soft skill.
So, what can you do to ensure you have what it takes to rise above the competition?
The Maker Group specializes in customized negotiation training workshops that emphasize the importance of influencing skills.
Our programs are designed to teach employees at every level of negotiation how to develop influencing skills that will put them on the winning side of every deal.
Why Does Developing Influencing Skills Matter?
Developing influencing skills matters for a few reasons, including:
- Respect: The most influential people are those who put in the effort and work, demonstrating to their team what it takes to get the job done.
- Trust: Your team is far more likely to trust you when you can admit fault and apologize. When you are authentic and genuine, your team will naturally back your ideas and decisions.
- Innovation: Leading through influence rather than authority inspires people to reach a common goal. When your team feels like they are part of your vision, it will empower them to act.
In a nutshell, when leaders possess influencing skills, everything in the workplace becomes easier. Your team will be more willing to put the effort in and managers won’t have to chase after the work.
How Do You Develop Negotiation and Influencing Skills?
Developing negotiation and influencing skills is about:
- Adapting to others’ needs
- Identifying personal triggers; and
- Listening above all else.
An influencer creates rapport, asks the right questions, and sells the benefits of their idea or decision. Influence is more than the power of persuasion; it’s about inspiring the people around you.
Influencing skills don’t come easily to everyone, though. We get it. This is why we’ve compiled 10 tips and tricks for developing these all-important skills.
How to Develop Influencing Skills: 10 Tips and Tricks
#1: Make a Connection
Unfortunately, popularity contests don’t end in high school. While the workplace is less terrifying, in general, it’s still important to ensure that your colleagues and team members like you.
Building rapport requires making personal connections by getting to know your coworkers and letting them get to know you.
We’re not suggesting that you be the most charismatic person in the room, this doesn’t always inspire trust, but cultivating relationships in an authentic and meaningful way does.
#2: Develop Listening Skills
Learning to listen — and we mean REALLY listen — is probably one of the most valuable skills you can develop to become an influencer.
When you give people your undivided attention, meaning …
- Putting your phone away
- Turning toward them
- Actively listening to concerns; and
- Letting them know their opinion matters
… you’re more likely to persuade them to your point of view. If you’re in a distracting situation, it’s best to let the other party know that you’d like to schedule a time to hear what they have to say.
#3: Learn to Observe
Learning how to read subtle reactions or feelings is an important step in understanding how influence works.
When in conversation, ask yourself what the other parties may be thinking.
Watch for body language and physiological cues, such as:
- Breathing patterns
- Eye movements; and
- Changes to skin color
These are all details that will help you understand who you’re dealing with and what you need to do to influence them.
#4: Manage Your Body Language
How you present and portray yourself matters. To inspire trust, you must appear confident — authoritative, even.
Practice body language that is friendly and approachable but also self-assured. You want to convey the message that you are a friend that can be trusted.
Stand tall with your shoulders back, make eye contact, and smile. If you’re looking down at your feet, slouching, or averting your eyes then you’ll appear less trustworthy.
Be aware of your nervous habits. Do you cross your arms in front of your chest? Maybe your voice pitches a little higher than normal?
Think about the way you move about your workplace and communicate with coworkers and then practice confident body language until it becomes a habit.
#5: Find Common Ground
Increasing influence comes easily when you can frame your idea or decision as something that benefits the parties you want on your side.
When you consider the perspective of everyone involved, you’ll do a much better job of finding common ground that everyone can agree on.
Using inclusive terms, such as “we” and “us” when discussing the benefits of an idea or decision can help the other parties see the value in the proposal.
Let’s be real… in most situations, people are thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
When we address the wants/needs of everyone involved, and address the situation as a common benefit to all involved, then you’re far more likely to have support from everyone involved.
#6: Give Praise
When you authentically praise your peers, it can help improve their performance while building an important and positive connection.
Even if your team isn’t performing to your preferred level, telling them what they are doing right is an effective technique.
Praising your team for the little things will motivate them to support the betterment of the company.
#7: Offer Compromise
It’s not always about getting your way. Influence is about much more than that.
You have to know how to choose your battles. Adapting to the needs of the other party in a particular situation will earn you both appreciation and respect.
When you show flexibility in negotiations, then others are likely to be flexible as well.
#8: Show Confidence
If you’ve done the research and you feel prepared, there’s no reason that your team won’t feel inclined to agree to your goals or ideas.
Confident people attract listeners and followers. Practice presenting your ideas and decisions with self-assurance.
There’s a stark contrast between confidence and arrogance. Be sure that you’re not belittling your team in the process of influencing them.
#9: Have a Strategy
Strategy is key to influencing the right people. Create an organizational chart to guide your campaign.
Consider who the top decision-makers and influencers are and determine if they agree with your proposed path.
From there, decide how you’ll approach each of these colleagues. What will they gain from it? How can they use their influence to bring others over to your side?
You’re not being sneaky, you’re being strategic.
Strategizing is one of the most critical skills to influence others to your way of thinking or decision-making.
#10: Become an Expert
When your team trusts you, they’re more likely to listen to and support your ideas.
Become an expert in your field.
Stay up-to-date on the issues and trends that affect your industry and be willing to share this information with your team and co-workers.
If you build it, they will come…
Try offering informal seminars or creating a blog on industry-related topics to show your team that you’re a trusted source of information.
The Basic Principles of Influencing Skills
Influencing doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but when you follow these tips and keep some basic principles in mind, it should become easier over time.
Successful negotiation and influence start with:
- Building rapport and making personal connections with your colleagues so they trust that your intentions are positive.
- Become an expert in your field. Not only are you more likely to become a natural leader in your industry, but you’ll gain support from the people around you.
- Ensure that your colleagues feel that they’ve been heard and that their opinions are valued.
When trying to gain the support of those around you, then you should avoid:
- Worrying that you’re being manipulative. Remember, if your intentions are good then you’re simply being strategic.
- Meek or doubtful body language. Maintain confident posture, smile, and make eye contact.
- Using “I” when you’re trying to persuade. Using “we” will let the others know that your ideas are valuable to the organization and will benefit everyone involved.
- Pressuring others to do things your way.
The Maker Group: We Teach You How to Develop Influencing Skills With Custom Training and Workshops
Negotiation training by The Maker Group utilizes two key pillars of persuasion: people and process.
Our mission is to maximize the influence and negotiation potential of your team. Our background as commercial negotiators combined with years of negotiation consulting have positioned us as leaders in negotiation and influence training, and we want to help you.
What separates The Maker Group from other negotiation consulting firms is our strategic and customized approach that utilizes a rigorous 8-step process for negotiating and influencing based on proven behavioral frameworks.
We consistently exceed the expectations of our clients, and here’s how:
- We don’t use outside contractors. All of our workshops and training are led by employees who have a proven track record of negotiation and influencing skills.
- We customize our training to the needs of your organization. Using real-world scenarios that your team can relate to, we’ll show you exactly how to succeed in negotiation.
- Our pragmatic methodology uses strategic and behavioral aspects of the negotiation process that removes the guesswork while driving profitability.
For more information, contact The Maker Group. Making good, great.