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How to be a better influencer
While communication skills are vital in almost every business role, possessing the ability to influence the decisions of others can really make a difference when it comes to driving business goals. So it should come as no surprise that it’s a skill that’s in big demand by employers. Some people, such as sales professionals are natural born influencers, but there are ways you can make yourself become a better influencer by understanding the mechanisms by which people make decisions. To help with that, we designed a negotiation and influencing skills training as well as emotional intelligence at work courses.
Know your audience
Before putting across your case, you need to be clear about what you want to achieve. Know your goals, assess the background to the scenario and take the time to plan the best course of action for the optimal outcome. Above all, know your audience. Understanding the needs, motivations and concerns of the person, or people, you’re trying to influence are key to success be it a sales pitch, job interview or board meeting.
One of the cornerstones of persuasion is trust. Be honest and open about your objectives. Be respectful, smile, make eye contact and be friendly. Do what you can to make the other person feel important. Being a good influencer doesn’t mean you should do all the talking. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers as these will contain insights that can guide you towards your ultimate goal.
The art of the deal
The person (or people) you’re negotiating with needs to see the benefits of what you’re proposing. This is where logic can help outline the benefits and solutions, essentially, what’s in it for them, whether you’re selling a product, or an idea. Make sure your facts are figures are accurate. If you need to know something – ask. Find out what the barriers are to buy-in, then go about removing them through factual evidence.
Finally, be flexible. Plan for a potential compromise. Sometimes when you’re negotiating, half a deal is better than no deal at all. There may be the opportunity to revisit the negotiation at a later date.
Practise influencing in every area of your daily life and you’ll get better at it. There will always be variables that you can’t control, but by doing your research and breaking the journey into understanding who you’re talking to, building trust and rapport, and clearly demonstrating the benefits, you’ll be on you way to becoming a better influencer.
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