Influencing: Advice and Suggestions

Influencing: Advice and Suggestions

Last week I delivered a career development workshop in London at RADAR’s Leadership and Empowerment programme. I chose to deliver it on influencing as I think now more than ever the ability to influence is key to career development and for social inclusion. Cuts to services and the stiff competition for funding and employment require us to evaluate how we can best influence a situation so as to achieve our desired outcomes.


Below is a summary of points raised in my career development workshop:


Influential people DO:


  • Relate easily to others
  • Make things happen
  • Are clear about what they want to achieve
  • Communicate effectively
  • Speak the language of those they hope to persuade
  • Are passionate about their cause
  • Remain true to their beliefs
  • Listen to, and show genuine interest in, others’ viewpoints
  • Understand themselves and the impact they have on others
  • Use good questioning techniques to understand more
  • Recognise their own limitations
  • Aim to get others to want to do what they seek
  • Work hard to develop mutual trust and respect
  • Are not afraid to show their own emotions
  • Are patient, not expecting to be successful the first time
  • Demonstrate knowledge and authority in their appearance and actions
  • Have a positive outlook in all they do
  • Make use of other ‘champions of change’
  • Seek ‘win-win’ solutions
  • Are aware of the positive and negative impact of body language



Influential people DO NOT:


  • Wish things were different, but do nothing about it
  • Whinge and moan about things
  • Continually blame others for problems
  • Seek to exert influence through manipulation or bullying
  • Refuse to compromise
  • Cannot understand and empathise with others’ resistance to change
  • Refuse to see things from others’ perspective
  • Tell people what to think or do
  • Embarrass or humiliate others
  • See it as a battle that has to be won
  • Think they are the font of all knowledge
  • See themselves as the solution to all problems
  • Refuse to let people see their own inner self
  • Want things to happen yesterday



Key Points:


It is said that,there is only one way to influence anyone to take the action you desire and that is to make the other person WANT to.


Undertake research about the person you wish to influence and use this research to create rapport.


Once you know more about the other person you can ensure what you have to say meets their objectives and is of benefit to them.


Create a favourable first impression.


Where possible the words you speak, your tone of voice and your body language should all be congruent.


Hold your head up high and smile; smile even when talking on the phone. Remember everyone likes to feel important and appreciated. By smiling you are giving the message, ‘I am glad to see you I want to hear your views’.


Make an effort to remember people’s names. A person’s name is special to them and will make them feel special if you remember it.


Begin with what you have in common. You are aiming to get agreement before you deal with the barrier or opposing method.


Focus on being INTERESTED in the other person. You are of course interested in your own outcome but the other person is more interested in theirs.


Listen, listen then listen a bit more! Ask open questions then patiently listen and refrain from interrupting. This endears you to them and makes you memorable.  Once they have made a connection with you they are more likely to listen to your views.


Even if you know you are right and the other person is wrong, avoid telling them this and certainly avoid an argument. No one likes to be told they are wrong. This is neither endearing or going to help you influence them to your way of thinking.


Friendliness breeds friendliness. Do something for someone else and they are likely to return the favour

My book recommendation for this workshop was ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  Get your copy here

More recommended titles can be found here.

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