Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Using influence, part of Communication Tips.
- Many of the lynda.com members I've met are creative people with amazing ideas. I suspect that is true of you as well. So it's important that you know how to get your great ideas out of your head and into the world. We do this through influence. We influence others to buy into our ideas, to give us permission or authority to take action, to give us the resources and information that we need to make our ideas a reality.
Influencing others becomes as fundamental to our success as having good ideas to begin with. I learned an important lesson about influence nearly two decades ago, when I worked for a training and development department that operated in a fairly entrepreneurial fashion. Each of the training consultants was tasked with coming up with new training topics that the staff of the organization needed. We then pitched these ideas to our boss in front of one another.
If your topic got chosen, you were resourced to develop and offer the workshop. Well I thought I had a fabulous idea to offer a course about work-life balance, targeted to working parents with young children. I made the case to my boss and my other colleagues, and my idea went over like a lead balloon. They just stared at me for a minute, and then my boss said, "Hmm, what else do we have?" And that was the end of that.
This was my wake-up call that I needed to be a better influencer. So I started reading about persuasion and observing the successful influencers around me. One of the common themes that emerged again and again is that influence is a campaign. Rarely is successful persuasion a one-shot deal. Rather, successful influencers plant the seeds of their ideas. They get input from key decision-makers.
They adjust their plans. They plant a few more seeds with the same key people, and eventually, they make their ask. The next round of workshop topics went very differently for me. I went to my boss months before the big meeting, and I said, "I wanna talk about a class "for people who are struggling with the demands "of full time employment and child-rearing." I gave her some stats of how many people in our organization were in that demographic, and I gave her some anecdotal information about the struggles experienced by working parents.
She thought about it a bit, and said, "I don't know, seems like I'm having more trouble dealing "with my sick parents than I am children that won't sleep." Well this was valuable information. I can easily adjust the class to include caretaking for either children or parents. I thanked her and left. I did some more research about elder care options in our community, and I went back to her office a few weeks later. "Thanks for your great idea to include elder care "in the work-life balance workshop.
"Here is what I've learned. What do you think?" "Hmm," she said, "Have you thought about..." And she threw out another idea that I could work with. I had visited her office four times about the workshop before the day of the actual presentation. When I brought it up in our big meeting, she said, "Oh yeah, of course." And the workshop was offered that very quarter. What big, brilliant ideas are percolating in your mind right now? Don't wait for one super-meeting to start talking up your ideas.
Go, plant seeds. Get input. And start building your case with key stakeholders right now. Influence, successful influence, is a campaign.
- Understanding introversion and extroversion
- Persuading people
- Negotiating your needs
- Making small talk
- Saying no
- And more…
Skill Level Intermediate
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