The Art of Influence
Is influence an art you can learn to become better at or is it something you have to be born with.
There are definitely things you can learn on how to get rapport, how to encourage people to talk and some of the ways to get really good at listening. You can also learn read and use body language more effectively and there are practical ways to be more assertive. These will all give you influence and impact.
A key part of a leaders role is to be able to understand peoples needs better, get to know the beliefs and values people have, and to gain trust which in turn provide opportunities to influence and communicate your needs and expectations effectively.
“ The art of effective communication is that the receiver of a message understands it in the way in which the sender intended” Lao Tze
The structure of influence is.
- Get Rapport
- Encourage people to talk
- Demonstrate you are listening
- Demonstrate your interest
- Gain information
- Show you understand peoples needs, beliefs and values to gain trust
- Spot opportunities to influence and communicate your needs.
How do you build rapport?
- By taking a genuine interest in another person
- By being curious about who they are and what they think
- By being willing to see the world from their point of view
You build rapport through matching and pacing.
Matching is when you complement an aspect of another person’s world. It is not copying; it is more like a dance. When you match, you show you are willing to enter another person’s model of the world. They will intuitively perceive this so you can feel more at ease with them and they will feel more at ease with you.
Pacing is when you enter the other person’s model of the world on their terms. It is exactly like walking beside them at the same pace. Too fast and they have to hurry to keep up with you, too slow and they will hold themselves back. In either case, they have to make a special effort.
Once you have paced another person, established rapport and shown that you understand where they are coming from, then you have the chance to lead them and use the influence that you have built up from pacing. You cannot lead a person unless they are willing to be led and people are not willing to be led unless they have fist been adequately paced. To extend the metaphor, once you have walked at someone’s pace so that they are comfortable, you can change your pace to one that suits you better and they will be more likely to follow your lead.
To understand the impact you are having in communicating it is important to use all three perspectives.
First position:Is your own reality, your own view of any situation. You need to know yourself and your values to be an effective role model and influence others by example.
Second position: Making the creative leap of your imagination to understand the world from another person’s perspective, to think in the way they think. Second position is the basis of empathy and rapport. It gives us the ability to appreciate other people’s feelings. Emotional second position is understanding the other person’s emotions. Intellectual second position is the ability to understand how the other person thinks, the kind of ideas they have and the sort of opinions and outcomes they hold.
Third position: A step outside your view and the other person’s view to a detached perspective. There you can see the relationship between the two views
To start having more influence and impact work first on rapport and understanding the different perspectives. Only then will you be able to influence.
If you are interested in developing your leadership or creating more effective teams we would love to have a conversation.