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Action Lists > Developing Influencing Skills

Developing Influencing Skills

Getting Started

Organizations today are flatter, leaner, and meaner than they have ever been. In a bid to drive out inefficiencies and unnecessary costs, many organizations have taken on a “matrix” or networked structure that relies upon cooperation within and between teams from the different parts of the business. The advent of these new organizational structures has meant that the traditional “command-and-control” style of management is becoming less important. As a result, working relationships are based less on power and authority than on influence and persuasion.

Influence and persuasion emphasizes the human connection. Rather than “telling” someone what to do, you now have to understand where their values, beliefs, and motivations lie so that you can influence or persuade them to meet your agenda. This is a much more sophisticated form of communication and one which you may not feel properly equipped to manage. However, most of us already do this far more than we realize, so by increasing your awareness of your instinctive talents, you will be able to develop your skills and put them to more effective use.


My job requires me to influence people over whom I have no authority. How can I stack the odds in my favor to win support?

Influencing does not require authority in order for it to be effective. In fact, influencing from a position of authority could be experienced as bullying. Influencing, done well, can result in both parties getting what they need. If you enter the discussion with the intention of arriving at a win-win solution, you’ll find that you have a lot more authority that you thought!

Are there different rules for influencing up the organization?

People respond to good influencing techniques regardless of their level in the organizational hierarchy. However, if you imagine what benefits would best appeal and aim to deliver these, you’ll probably find your approach more effective.


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