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.’
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
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!