Do you know anyone who is a Master Influencer?
Maybe it’s the person who raises the most money for the annual office fundraiser. It could be the manager that always gets approval to increase her headcount.
In our increasingly matrixed workplaces, these Master Influencers are often those who can pull off a major project through only dotted-line relationships in a cross-functional team.
If you read BRODY Pro’s most recent blog post, you could probably guess that Elon Musk is also a Master Influencer. How else could he convince skeptical investors to support his daring projects, from building an electric sports car to sending rockets to Mars?
How do they do it?
Whether it’s Robert Cialdini’s seminal book “Influence” or Dan Pink’s “To Sell Is Human,” being a Master Influencer really comes down to 3 components: Connection, Clarity, and Communication.
- Connection - People are influenced by those they know and trust. One way to begin building a connection is by finding uncommon Small talk is considered a crucial skill in sales, but often underestimated in the context of internal stakeholders. The time you take to ask people what they did this weekend could uncover a common bond: a favorite beach town, sports team, or even a movie you saw. Building these personal connections will add a stronger foundation to your business relationships and increase your influence. Ultimately, connection requires that you truly care about others, and they know it.
- Clarity - Be clear about exactly what you need and how it aligns with the organization’s goals. If you aren’t clear about what you need, it’s difficult to ask for it. If you aren’t clear about what’s important to others, it’s difficult to align your “ask” with their priorities. One of the best ways to get clarity is to ask questions – of yourself and others. What is needed? Why is it important (to you, department, partner, organization)? What are the obstacles? Who needs to be influenced? What is happening in their world?
- Communication - Influence is a process, not an event – but there comes a time when you need to persuasively communicate your “ask.” This is when you consider the person’s goals, perspective, knowledge, and even behavioral style in making your case to: approve the proposal, complete the work, increase the budget, support the initiative, etc.
The following powerful framework can help you communicate your “ask” with the greatest impact based on the acronym PREP:
- Position: Start by stating your position about the goal.
- Reason: Provide a reason for what you believe. Remember to align the reason with what’s important to the organization and the person you’re asking.
- Example(s): Give examples of how this will make an impact. Be descriptive so people can really envision it.
- Position: Return to your original position and a call to action.
Regardless of role, we all need to influence. As a manager of people, influence enables you to get the best out of your team. When you’re rolling out an initiative, influence is key to creating team collaboration and getting stakeholder buy-in.
BRODY Pro’s interactive “Influence without Authority” workshop develops the skills needed to increase collaboration and team performance. You can download a full outline of the workshop here.