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Influence and communication: A short guide

As organizational hierarchies and layers decrease, enhancing personal effectiveness and influence skills is vital in the modern workplace. The success and results can only be accomplished through collaboration and with the help of others. Being able to influence others without formal authority is a crucial ability, and it is impossible to achieve this without confidence, clarity of vision and the ability to express our thoughts fully. As leaders, our responsibilities demand that we draw from our personal characteristics and the things we do to motivate and inspire our employees.

However, communication & influencing skills training is not only about influencing others to accept our point of view. We may be able to convince them to join with us, but they might not always be in agreement with our views. It’s not about winning every time and being able to do things our way every all the time. It’s not about imposing or influencing others to change. We can’t change other people.

The art of influencing skills is to behave in ways that give others an opportunity to alter (their behavior, attitudes thoughts, or ways of thinking) or to accommodate your desires, while accepting that they might not be able to or aren’t willing to or unprepared to meet our request to be affected.
Definition of skills that influence

Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, defines influence as

“not the power to influence people to do what you would like them to do It’s the ability to convince yourself to perform what you would like to accomplish”

If we want to whether we like it or not, the truth is that we use influencers all the time and not only through our actions. The mere presence we have in a gathering can influence people in a positive or negative way. The manner or the nature of our presence, the words we say, or how we speak and the manner in which we (unconsciously or not) convey can be a powerful influence.

The more adept we become in analyzing what we do or the things we do about us that has an impact on other people, the more personally efficient and effective we be.

Ten key influencing skills

Pay attention to the non-verbal behavior of a person – what’s not being said, what a person is feeling and being aware of your own thoughts emotions, feelings, hunches, and intuitions

Interpretation – to comprehend and react to non-verbal behavior such as body movements such as changes in skin colour and breathing patterns, as well as demeanour, etc., mean.

Active Listening – listening to what’s being said and listen to what is implied or not and also to express using your own words what the other person expressed and their thoughts and summarizing the conversation to ensure clarity and agreeance.

Feedback – give feedback to the other person on the things you observe, interpret and hear, as well as your feelings and intuition. Get feedback from other people to improve your self-knowledge and impact on others.

Awareness – Be conscious of your surroundings, moment by moment, especially of behaviors that are detrimental to your health and your negative thoughts, beliefs and reactions.

Make a conscious decision – recognize anytime when you realize that your behavior is not productive, you are able to alter your attitudes, thoughts, and feelings.

Self-confidence is the feeling of being at ease when faced with resistance or conflict. The confidence you have should be built on self-acceptance and not a sense of superiority over the other.

Timing – Be able to be able to get the timing right, for when to provide feedback and when to not and when to make use of choice A or B and when to resign or remain persistent, and when to completely let go.

Trust your intuition – rely on your intuition or thoughts about the probable patterns of the other person’s behavior, and listen to your inner positive voice.

The Other’s Perspective – looking at your goals (what you’d like to achieve) from another’s perspective. You are not able to control or force them to accept your position, so determine what’s best for them, then present them with the benefits, take into consideration your feelings and be ready to change your mind.

The modern workplace relies heavily on relationships and influence abilities – working with and through others. It’s rare that you are able to be effective on your own and influence others positively, without the reciprocal giving to and receiving from others that provides opportunities to grow and increase your efficiency – and you will only be successful when you are supported and challenges that only others can offer you.

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