Influence at work

To be effective in organizations today, you must be able to influence people. Your title alone isn’t always enough to sway others, nor do you always have a formal position.

Having influence in the workplace has clear value : You get more done and you advance the projects you care about and are responsible for, which means you’re more likely to be noticed, get promoted, and receive raises.

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@michelleyaa

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Career

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Increase your influence at work by being seen as a recognized expert within your industry or organization.

This won’t happen overnight, but immerse yourself in your topic area”by regularly attending industry conferences, enrolling in a class or specialized certification program, or taking on a leadership role in a relevant professional organization - visible signs that you are informed and up-to-date.

  • Your body language is critical to conveying the right message: signal that you are a friend by keeping your arms uncrossed, your hands by your sides, and your torso open and pointed at the other person.
  • Pitch your voice a little lower than you normally do in order to connote power. This is useful to work on because it counteracts the effect of nervousness, which tends to push your tone higher.

Work on cultivating personal connections with your colleagues, and allow them to get to know you. 

You don’t have to be “the greatest person in the room” or make sure “everyone is blown away by your charisma.” You just need to have good rapport with your colleagues. That way, they won’t impute negative intentions or motives to you.

Give people what they want
You can increase your influence on a particular issue by authentically framing it as a benefit to the people you want on your side.

Consider each stakeholder’s needs, perspectives, and temperaments. Do your homework to find out what they need to hear and what will capture their attention.

Be strategic...

...when it comes time to leverage the influence you’ve built to promote a particular initiative or idea.

Create a power map, an org chart of decision makers related to your issue,she says. As you go through the levels, “ask yourself, ‘Can I influence this person directly? If not, whom can I influence who can influence that person?’ Then begin to think about how and when you will approach these various colleagues. 

The best way to prime colleagues for backing you and your agenda is to make them feel heard. 

Start by giving them your undivided attention in one-on-one situations. Turn your body toward the other person, freeze in place, and listen.

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RELATED IDEAS

How to Tell a Great Story

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Consider your audience — choose a framework and details that will best resonate with your listeners.
  • Identify the moral or message your want to impart.
  • Find inspiration in your life experiences.

Don’t:

  • Assume you don’t have storytelling chops — we all have it in us to tell memorable stories.
  • Give yourself the starring role.
  • Overwhelm your story with unnecessary details.
Exercising Integrity

Not every leader is benevolent. Many leaders have insight, initiative, influence, and impact but their lives and legacies are tainted by a lack of integrity.

A great leader must have a life integrated with the highest values so the impact of his/her leadership is positive.

Attending conferences
Conferences are overwhelming:  the rush of presentations, conversations, and potential meet-ups, and it can make it tough for you if you want to find focus.

But skipping them isn't the best solution: you’re missing out on the benefits of networking.

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