The skills to lead others- Influencing

Nowadays we often here about influencing others, people who call themselves influencers etc. Influence is one of the tools, used from people all around the world to make money, win glory, become electrifying leaders etc.

If you look at the definition of the word influence you in the dictionaries you will find a like the definition: “The ability to change someone’s views, attitude and/or behavior in a positive way.”

This definition of the influence has been adopted as one of the characteristics of the modern leadership.

Even where definitions of leadership don’t refer to influencing directly, you can find an implicit reference. Warren Bennis, an US academic says: “Leaders are people who know what they want and why they want it. These people have the skills to communicate that to others in a way that gains support.”

One of the oldest paradigms of the leadership influence is the one that states the connection between power and influence. The definition of influence here refers to the power someone must affect another person behavior or attitude.  Power can be thought of in several ways. Bellow I’m sharing with you three ways you can think of power:

1. Position power – this power comes from the position someone holds and is more connected with the hierarchical structures in an organization.

2. Expert power – this power represents someone’s skills and knowledge, combined into expertise in a specific area;

3. Spirit or person power – this power comes from the way how others think about a specific person.  If the person is more valued, respected and trusted then it is more likely others will hear this person’s opinions.

To master some or all 3 types of power, you will need several skills, to help you influence more effectively others. Bellow I’m offering you my list of basic skills to become an effective influencer:

  • Active listening

You have heard about this very often, but do you really know what it really means. One of the definitions I like states very much that active listening is: “The act of alert intentional hearing, interpretation and demonstration of an interest in what a person has to say through a verbal signal, nonverbal gestures and body language.”

Your active listening skills are in a great connection with your influencing skills. Only a person, respected and trusted from others can influence and lead them to change.

  • Interest in others

If you want to be better understood, you first must understand others better.

A Chinese philosopher has said: “To help another person effectively, I must understand what this person understands. If I don’t know that even my greater understanding will be of no help to him.”

This skill refers to the term putting yourself in the shoes of others.  If you want to influence others you need to focus on what really motivates them, what is interesting for them and what they will value in your behavior as a presenter and influencer.

  • Body language

To influence others, you must have control of what you don’t see. Your body language is critical element of the influencing. Body language matters because before you say something your body has already said it. People are very good at noticing when someone is not convincing, usually when their body is language doesn’t back their words.

Getting your body language right will encourage others to trust you and will help you more effectively influence

  • Assertiveness

When having control of your body language that can lead to positivity in your words and assertiveness.

Assertiveness can be defined as: “The state when your communication is backed with self-assurance without being aggressive.”

Assertiveness is a learnable skill that can help you to   improve your communication. This skill stands for bringing more positive experience to the others taking place in your communication process to help yourself with building trust and ensuring positive support to your ideas. To learn the skill, you need to practice with others and collect feedback as much as you can, to plan and execute activities that can change your communication habits and make them more adaptable to different situations and personalities.   

  • Building rapport

The respect, implicit in the assertiveness, can support building trust and is an important aspect of building rapport.

Building rapport can be defined as “The process of developing connection and understanding with someone else.”

Rapport is shown when 2 people develop a mutual feeling of understanding, harmony and security. It also means to meet people on their level, to ensure these people feel comfortable when interacting with you.

Building rapport ensures a more natural influencing process that is most effective.

IN CONCLUSION:

Influencing skills are combination of different personal skills. When brought together all these personal skills can boost the process of changing someone’s views, attitudes and behaviors in a positive way. Taking in mind all this can turn a good communicator to an excellent influencer. There is no receipt for what is right or wrong when trying to influence others but keeping in mind that people are different and adapting your style, attitudes and behavior to theirs will win you other persons trust and understanding and will help you in your path to becoming a reality changing influencer.  

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