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How to Become More Influential

Success requires influence. To achieve your goals, you need to get people to think, feel and act differently. You need to learn how to influence them. And you're not alone. Everyone else is hoping to be influential too, so you have to be more influential than your competitors to win. When you are highly influential, you set the course and others will help you along the way — they'll help you to become successful. Without influence you're likely to be an also-ran, the runner-up or, more likely, you'll come last!

Becoming more influential requires hard work, energy and commitment. No surprise there! However it is easier than you may think. Often it just requires a little clear thinking, and refocusing your development time. As a specialist in this area, here are six steps you can take to start to become more influential, and you can use these again whenever you need to move up a gear.

  1. Assess Your Skills. Give yourself a score out of 10 for each of the seven dimensions of influencing skill — 10 being perfect. The dimensions are Self-Awareness, Understanding People, Understanding Groups, Influencing People, Influencing Groups, Networking and Building Trust. Free Influencing Skills 360° here.
  2. Prioritise One Dimension. Which of these, if improved, would give you the biggest gain? They are all important, but some are more important depending on your situation. Now figure out three actions you can take to become better in this area.
  3. Focus Your Personal Power. This is what makes you influential without even acting. These are the assets you own (either tangible or intangible) which cause people to do, think or feel differently. Which of the ten sources of personal power could you build on? The ten are Network, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Force, Technical, Image, Impact, Status, Resource and Physical. Identify one area and find three actions you can take. Diagnose your power here.
  4. Consider Your Style. The manner or behaviour you use when you try to influence can make or break your attempt. Different people have different styles and you can flex your style to suit. So, review the type of behaviour you prefer, how this differs from those you want to influence and find ways to become more flexible. Identify one person to adopt a different style with. Assess Your Preferred Style here.
  5. Get Feedback. With all of these steps it really helps if you can use some trusted friends as a sounding board. How do they see you? What do they think you could improve on? No point in continuing to delude yourself — so get real and find out what they think so you can start to improve. Talk to one person within the next week. Get 360° feedback using the Influencing Skills 360°.
  6. Focus on Goals. This is the key — make sure that you apply all of the above on a specific goal you want to influence. This helps you to implement your learning and move forward your success. Define two goals for today.

These steps cover all of the main areas you need to focus on to become more influential. If you use these to find things to do to improve, you will always be moving forward. As I often say on my workshops, when becoming influential there is always more to learn. The most important thing is that you keep focus on developing your capability in this area — if you do, your success will increase as you become more influential.

We'd love to hear what you think about this. . Please email us or post on our Google+.

Published 28-Nov-2012 by Colin Gautrey


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