In a business world where collaboration is common, those with superior influencing skills will have more success. Among the proven ways to influence others are:
“People are doing this, so you should too.”
People are more likely to be persuaded if they see others in their social circle — or people they aspire to be like — already doing it. This is the principle that celebrity endorsement is based on: “Cool” people do it, so if you do the same, you’ll be “cool” too.
“You should listen to this.”
People are very likely to be swayed — even to do something unpleasant — if asked by someone they perceive as being in a position of authority. This may be you, based on your reputation or achievements. There are others your audience would see as authority figures and the right quote, anecdote or expert analysis from them will give you the support you need.
“going fast…don’t miss out.”
We all hate missing out. Marketing companies spend millions on “limited-time offers” because they work. People have so many offers and demands fighting for their attention that you are most likely to have success if you instil a sense of urgency in them. Encourage them to be the first to volunteer or let them know there are limited places available.
“You’re going to love how this makes you feel.”
While logic evokes thinking, emotion spurs action. Use stories, word pictures, metaphorical language and emotionally charged words to stir your audience’s feelings. Challenge them with rhetorical questions: “how would you feel if…”
“You’ll want to be part of this.”
Humans are social beings, and we all want to be part of a group, or, at least, we don’t want to be left out. This might involve tapping into their obligations or responsibilities as part of a community or their desire to be part of the “in” group.
“After all I/they have done for you, it’s the least you can do.”
If I do something for you, then you will feel an obligation to me. This might be quite overt: “Remember when we were hit by that monster storm? Most donations to the relief appeal came from this area. Well, now, they need our help.”
Mostly, however, it is more subtle, with unsaid messages like: I’m giving you this special information and, in return, you will listen to what I want you to do.
“It is so rewarding to know you’ve done good.”
We all have an inbuilt desire to help others, especially in time of need. To tap into this, you may need to emphasise the need and their specific ability to assist. If this aligns with something that meets with their life purpose, the better — we all wish to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
“You could do better for yourself.”
We all aspire to improve our situation. Once we acquire a certain object or position, we are looking to work on the next. Often, the dream home, once acquired, is quickly replaced by a bigger and better dream home. We all need something to look forward to.
“This will put you in charge.”
We all want to be in control, at the very least, of our destiny. In times of change and uncertainty, this need to be in control is heightened. Even though, in reality, there are many circumstances beyond our control, we still crave the power to manage our reactions to change.
Recognition and respect
“You’ll get the credit for this.”
We all want to be recognised for our achievements, to be appreciated for our efforts. We believe that our opinions are as worthy as everyone else’s.
Some gifted people are born with the skill of influence. It’s often called charisma. But influencing can be learned, as long as you have the right attitude and the knowledge to apply a range of proven tools and techniques.