One of the most common leadership development topics that clients ask us to share is influence and persuasion – because so much of leadership, of successful leadership, relies on being able to successfully influence others to your point of view. To get them to do what you need them to do, and to like it.
There are many keys to successful influence – and Kevin Daum offers great tips in this blog post for Inc.com. My favorites of his list of the seven things that the most persuasive people consistently do are:
- They know when to shut up – Kevin shares that successful persuaders carefully support their arguments and check in with questions that will help close the conversation, and then they step back. As someone whose business partner has kicked her under a table to get her to shut up after we won a deal, I appreciate the need to know when to stop talking.
- They acknowledge credibility – Really successful people value strong opinions and will give you full credit for every argument of yours that has validity, therefore making it harder for you to fully dismiss their point of view.
There are key persuasion and influence skills that aren’t mentioned in Kevin’s blog, such as:
- They think about what really matters to you – Successful persuaders have taken the time and effort to put themselves in their “opponent’s” shoes, and to think through what really matters to the person they’re trying to influence. This gives them the knowledge and information with which to craft an argument that does persuade. If I can acknowledge what you’re looking for, and point out how my idea or product offers you what you’re looking for, I am more likely to get you to agree with me (or to buy from me).
- They go out of their way to help – People throughout the world are compelled to return favors. If you do something for me, I feel obliged to do something for you. Successful persuaders know this and use this – they perform a favor, even a small favor or a non-requested favor, for someone, knowing that when the time comes to influence, the person will want to give them something in return.
- They share information – Knowledge and information are power, and successful persuaders share as much information as they can with others, so that a shared understanding can be reached (and others can view them positively, thereby wanting to say “yes” more often).
The “higher” one goes within an organization, the more essential it is to be able to successfully influence others. At times it becomes the main job a leader has. Luckily, there are many ways to successfully influence and persuade.
What is your favorite influence skill?
Please leave a comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
For support in building your influence and persuasion skills, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: ChistianChan/Bigstock.com