Our recent blog series has covered the importance of connection and clarity to influencing those around us. These two pillars of influence help us build strong personal connections, with clarity around our objectives.
The next step is communication: The way we communicate our ideas is what ultimately makes us Master Influencers — or not.
When you’re trying to influence someone, there comes a time when you need to persuasively communicate your “ask.” This is when it’s imperative to consider the person’s goals, perspective, knowledge, and even behavioral style in making your case.
If not, you’ll struggle to influence without authority.
Answer the following 6 questions and you’ll have an effective formula to communicate your “ask” like a Master Influencer:
- Who needs to be influenced? Determine who must be on board to achieve your objective. You’ll communicate with different people in different ways — for example, talking to the CEO versus a colleague on your team. So, the first step to crafting the right communication approach is to identify exactly who needs to be influenced.
- What’s happening in their world? Imagine how you might approach a conversation differently if you knew that your colleague had just been demoted or promoted -- or, if you knew that your manager was having a difficult time at home. Gain insight into the lives of the people you want to influence, since both personal and professional issues impact how people receive your “ask.”
- Who are your allies/resistors? Are there people who seem like obvious allies to your cause? Maybe there’s a co-worker who’s demonstrated interest in the initiative you’re trying to get approved, or a manager who’s supported your project ideas in the past. Identify these allies — but also identify your resistors. You’ll communicate your “ask” differently to these two groups.
- What questions can you ask to move them? Thoughtful questions are key to effective communication, no matter your audience. As we mentioned in our last blog, the right questions can prevent you from making dangerous assumptions about the people you need to influence. Ask questions that clarify their goals, challenges, and motivations before presenting your case.
- What key points need to be presented? Plot out your key points and organize your argument in a logical way. But don’t forget to use emotion, too. While people often use logic to justify decisions, emotion is equally important. Depending on who your audience is, think about ways to present your key points to their emotional side.
- How will you tell your story well? As we mentioned in our blog about connection, you’ll connect more deeply with people if you can come up with relevant examples, stories, and anecdotes that will hit them in the gut — and ultimately move them. The better you tell your story, the more likely you are to influence those around you.
Remember, communication is key to influencing without authority. Without it, you simply can’t leverage your connections or clarity to persuade those around you. 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.