‘Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.’
Napoleon Hill

Overview

Making a positive impact on people and having the ability to influence them is a very powerful life skill to possess. More and more, in the competitive world in which we live, having the confidence to stick your head above the parapet and get noticed is very helpful, not just in a work environment but also on a personal level.
The key is to make the best impact you possibly can on people’s lives and to be conscious that all your actions bear consequences. Treating people how you would want to be treated yourself is very important and having respect for your fellow man is indeed a virtue.

Influencing is an important skill and we all approach this in different ways. Taking into account the four social styles used in communication is a good basis for helping you to understand what your strengths and limitations are. This will also help you to be aware of the way in which you may go about influencing people and how people may respond.

If you want to have a positive impact and be a really successful influencer, you need to understand who you are dealing with and what communication style will work best for them, otherwise, you may appear either too aggressive or not assertive enough! Also, people are stimulated in different ways, so learning what motivates someone will be very helpful. For this reason, listening and observing rather than racing in full throttle is the best approach.

It is also important that you establish first of all what you are trying to achieve. If you are unclear about your own intentions or direction, it will just confuse other people and they will, in turn, lose confidence in where you are trying to take them. Time is of the essence for many people these days, and time wasters are never popular!

One of the key factors required when influencing is the enthusiasm you convey when delivering any message. Passion, energy and a strong belief in what you are trying to achieve can be contagious and showing these qualities is the best way to positively impact upon and influence others.

‘You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.’
Scott Adams

Impact and Influencing – Steps to Success

  • Believe in yourself and your abilities
  • Be assertive and develop trust
  • Treat people how you would like to be treated
  • Manage your enthusiasm appropriately
  • Plan ahead and prepare yourself
  • Be genuine and influence with integrity

Making a positive impact

Making a positive impact, however, is not just about how you initially come across. It is also about developing a positive and sustainable rapport with the other person. Listening, empathising and cultivating trust will most certainly help you create a better connection that will ensure that people are responsive to you. Here are few tips on how to make a good impression and have a positive impact on people:
1. Work on developing your self-confidence by increasing your self-awareness and by being aware of your strengths and limitations.
2. Communicate with people assertively by getting your message across in a way that is both positive and constructive.
3. Be aware of your body language and make sure that it is open.
4. Listen to what other people say and create empathy and trust so that you are able to connect more easily.
5. Be enthusiastic and generate positive energy as this can be contagious.
6. Look at people and talk with your eyes.
7. Smile – it’s a universal language.
8. Be genuine and be the best version of who you are.

1. The Law of Scarcity: Items are more valuable if they are of limited availability. If we are told that something is scarce and likely to run out, we are persuaded to buy. If there is a time limit on when an item can be purchased, or if we are told the price will increase in the future, we are persuaded to buy. If something is expensive, we assume if is of high value – for example, a jewellery shop doubled its prices and sales rocketed due to increased perceived value. So, in order to influence an outcome, decrease your availability or increase your perceived value. For example, if you make it known at a job interview that you have a number of other interviews lined up, you will both decrease your availability and increase your perceived value because other companies are interested in you.

2. The Law of Reciprocity: If you give something away, whether it be your time or something more tangible, people will feel compelled or obliged to return the favour, and will feel bad if they do not so something in return.

3. The Law of Authority: We are more likely to comply with figures of authority, and will take advice from experts. We have deep-rooted perception of authority learned from parents, school – and in some cases from religious authority – stemming from childhood.

 

4. The Law of Liking: We are more likely to take notice of someone we like, and are more liable to like someone if they are similar to us. We have a tendency to like and remember those of a similar age and background to ourselves, or those who dress the same, have similar interests or who even have the same name as us. Sales executives are taught to mirror verbal style, posture and mood in their pitches in order to influence sales.

5. The Law of Social Proof: The more we witness a behaviour, the more likely we are to assume it as correct. If we see a group of people doing something, we are inclined to assume that they know something we don’t. If we are uncertain, we are likely to go with the security of collective knowledge and follow the crowd. For example, when there is panic on the stock market, everyone follows each other and sells. However, this is actually the time for rock bottom prices, so in reality it could be the best time to buy.

6. The Law of Commitment and Consistency: Consistency is a desirable characteristic due to its association with ability, honesty, strength, logic and stability. If we do not see things through, we can be assumed to be uncommitted, indecisive and unreliable. Taking just one small step towards our goals can be powerful enough to make us consistently strive towards them, as we have already committed ourselves by way of that one step.

Change: Ten Tips

Whatever our position in a company, we are all responsible for ensuring our every day behaviour makes for a positive, happy working environment. Use the following tips to positively impact and influence at work – imagine what a difference it would make if everyone did the same!

Remember, each interaction you have – whether formally or informally, with a single individual or a large group – may leave a memorable impact, so make sure that it is a positive one!

1. Be attentive and engaged

How you communicate and behave in interactions with others can have a strong impact. These simple but effective steps will help you leave a positive impression on whoever you interact with:

– Greet everyone with eye-contact, a smile and a ‘hello’
– Use peoples’ names
– Give your full attention when interacting with others: don’t be distracted, look around the room, or keep checking your mobile phone
– Listen carefully
– Be actively interested and respond assertively
– If appropriate, remember the conversation and let the person know how this influenced or impacted upon you
– Take the initiative to action what was discussed
– Thank the individual(s) after your interaction with them.

2. Be available

It is important to make a connection with someone when aiming to impact and influence. Meet people in person where possible, or hold seminars or group meetings to reach as many people as you need to at the same time. Time is valuable, so taking the trouble to build a connection in person rather than via email may help you make a memorable difference.

3. Be sincere

Show genuine enthusiasm when you are assisting or supporting someone, even if the circumstances are challenging.

4. Be clear

What impact do you want to make? How do you want to influence others? What is the desired outcome of your positive influence and impact upon others? Write these goals down to help you focus on achieving them.

5. Be diplomatic

If you need to disagree with someone, do so with tact and in a professional manner. Remain focused on solving the problem rather than on accusation, blame or arguments. Conflict and confrontation will have a powerful negative impact on the workplace, so put a positive spin on the situation.

6. Be respectful

Everyone has their own value and worth regardless of their position, so be respectful to everyone.

7. Be intentional

Make a concerted effort to make a measurable difference.

8. Be open

To new ideas, opportunities and possibilities. Purposefully encourage an environment receptive to creative thinking, whether for problem solving, new products and services or more effective and innovative processes and procedures.

9. Be positive

Create and nurture a positive working environment, and encourage everyone to share an optimistic vision for the future of the company. Make sure your demeanour and attitude radiate your positivity – bad temper and grumpiness at work can have a significant detrimental impact on the workplace, and are likely to influence others to behave in the same irritable way.

10. Be a work in progress

Continually improve who you are, what you know, and what you do by learning something new every day.

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