Instructor-led training - Influencing Skills course

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Influencing Skills Training CourseInfluencing Skills Training Course

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Below are some extracts from our Influencing Skills manual.

Influencing Skills

 

Whatis Influencing?

Influencing isan active process whereby one person or group modifies the attitudes orbehaviour of another person or group by adapting their behaviour andcommunication style to gain agreement and commitment to ideas and action.

Whatare the Benefits?

The benefits of having people with good influencing skillsto an organisation include:

·       beingflexible enough to cope with change

·       beingwilling and able to delegate more

·       creatinghigher levels of morale among their own staff

·       havinga greater chance of hitting targets by being able to mobilise all the resourceswithin their control

·       buildingand developing effective work teams

The benefits to the individual themselves:

·       greaterself confidence

·       abilityto involve others and get their commitment

·       greaterlevels of respect from others

·       theability to manage change

 

Skillsfor Influencing

Planning
The more work done prior to entering an influencinginteraction the more likelihood of achieving a successful 'win-win'outcome. Planning involves thinking about the people involved, the issue, theenvironment and approaches to use.

Patience
Influencing is not always achieved over short time spans.For many issues the influencer must be patient enough to deal with manydifferent people, in different environments, who have different priorities. Allof this demands not just patience but true understanding of the process ofeffective influencing.

ActiveListening
This means maintaining a well-balanced level of eye contactand expressing an interest in the discussion. This is done using interjections(mm, aah, yes, etc.) or facialexpression (smiles, head nods, eyebrow movements, etc.).

Ask questions to get a full understanding of the issue anduse open and probing questions to test understanding. The approach of openquestions followed by probes is often referred to as 'funnelling' andis an effective method of getting to the real meaning of a discussion.

Observe the people involved in the influencing issue. Listento how they use their voice in discussing the issue (words used, speed ofspeech, variation in tone, etc.), watch their facial expressions (look for cuesand clues of their feelings while talking) and observe their overall bodylanguage (gestures, body position, etc.).

Awareness

Self-Awareness
The effective influencer must be aware of his or her ownskills and abilities. They should have a clear understanding of their preferredstyle of dealing with others. They should know their own strengths andweaknesses, motivators and demotivators, sources of power and have a very clearunderstanding of their role in the influencing process.

Others' Awareness
As well as being self-aware, an effective influencer willalso observe others preferred influencing styles, the skills they use ininfluencing situations, their power bases and what turns them on and off.Awareness in this area will help you to choose the right influencing approachfor the persons involved.

Flexibility/ Adaptability
The ability to change and adapt to suit the situation isvery important, and a skilled influencer realises that there is no one way ofinfluencing. There are only effective skills which can help you in the process.The success of any influencing interaction is usually down to how the skillshave been used in practice, so adaptability and flexibility are key. This meansthe flexibility to be able to vary your style and approach to suit thesituation and people involved as well as the ability to diagnose the situationand people facing you.

 

InfluencingStyles

It is important to reflect upon the styles you use whenattempting to influence others. Most of us will have a preferred approach, butone approach will not work for all. Therefore, it is important to develop arange of different styles to use depending upon the situation and people.

Coercion
This is where you use insistence or threats to get thingsdone. Overuse of this approach can result in resentment from those you areattempting to influence

EmotionalAppeal
Appealing to the feelings and values of those beinginfluenced. This can be counterproductive if the person influenced feels thatthey are being emotionally blackmailed.

Reason
Presenting a well thought through case which focuses onlogic and rationality. This style is the basis of many influencing interactionsbut rarely succeeds on its own unless the people are in complete agreement withone another's views. This is a common style among most business people -however we must remember that not all decision-making is rational.

Compromise
This is when people recognise that it is necessary tosatisfy at least some of each party's interests. Working towards a negotiatedoutcome is necessary when you may not get everything you want but when aneffective outcome for all parties could be reached. Effective use of this styledepends upon the use of good communication skills.

Participative
This is about mutual agreement of the best decision. Itoften means that you encourage the other people to develop their own analysisand solutions to the issues. This approach is very time-consuming and demandsmutual respect and trust. However, the major benefit of adopting this style isthe high level of commitment you gain from those you are influencing.

Informative
This style is characterised by the provision of new conceptsor ideas and can often be teamed with expert power. The important thing inusing this style is to ensure that the information is highly relevant to theissue under discussion.

Charisma
Use of one's personality and charm can often be an effectiveinfluencing style, but if over-used it may appear manipulative.

 These seven styles are by no means exhaustive, nor is anyone style better than another. The secret for effective influencing is first toknow the styles you prefer and then to develop your use of the full range ofstyles. Adopting the most appropriate style for the situation is essential foreffective outcomes.

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